We’ve always known that although we both enjoy traveling, we do have different travel styles. I prefer having schedules; following planned, well-researched itineraries; and more laid-back trips. Andrew, on the other hand, enjoys exploration and more active ventures.
Being different types of travelers can make it difficult for us to decide on what to do and where to go, and it sometimes causes tension even when we are surrounded by amazing sceneries. There are still times when we don’t agree on some areas of our travels, but for the most part, we have slowly learned how to deal with our different approaches to travel.
Many couples have been told that “compromise is key,” and for couples like us who love to travel, we believe this is especially true. We have realized that neither one of us can have full control of any travel situation. In order for both of us to get what we want from our travels without alienating each other, we have to accept our differences and learn when to let the other lead the way. Andrew understands that I have to plan the major parts of our travels, such as researching ticket prices and finding lodging (at least the first few days, just to get settled and have a starting point). On the other hand, I’ve also learned that Andrew is most fulfilled when he goes off the beaten path, or decides on what to do next based on what he feels like at that moment. Being aware of these differences not only allows us to get to do what each of us want to do, but it also gives us the opportunity to try new things—I learn to little by little push past my fears (of almost everything) and Andrew realizes how important it is to relax and just take everything in even for just a few minutes.
Although compromise and willingness to try new things are important when traveling with someone, it is also essential to give each other space to do our own thing. Andrew would have been so bored if he had to watch me read my book at the beach and I would have spent money and had a bad time scuba diving without being able to see anything if Andrew pushed me to go scuba diving with him even if he knew I was blind without glasses or contacts. Most of us need our alone time to feed our souls, whether we are at home or halfway around the world, and our alone times can be very different. Setting aside time for ourselves has been very beneficial.
With these in mind, we also value the importance of communication. This is the first step to being aware of differences when traveling, and it also helps us understand each other’s reservations when refusing to follow the other’s lead. For us, “Because I don’t want to” is too vague of an answer to explain why I didn’t want to wear contacts underwater (even with a mask), or why he couldn’t get out of bed to explore the Las Vegas strip with me. We become more understanding and accepting when we clearly explain our safety/health concerns, our exhaustion, and any other barriers.
Those times during our travels when tensions do arise and we just can’t agree are the toughest. They potentially could ruin our day, or even our entire trip, when left unresolved. These are the times that remind us we’re still a married couple and we do still have our arguments and disagreements, no matter where we are in the world. Each couple has their own way of resolving arguments; for us, food is usually the answer because we’re just too hangry (hungry + angry) most of the time. No matter how we resolve it, it’s to our advantage to resolve it quickly to not spend the rest of our trip in a bad mood and to learn from it to avoid any further mishaps.
We still have a lot to learn about each other and ourselves, and the more we travel together, the more we do. How do you and your travel companion approach differences in traveling? Any other tips or stories? Share below!