Travel by the Pair


By Tanya Silverman

Additional contributors: Jess Goulart and Dane Feldman

Photo courtesy of mrhayata.

Many important questions arise in our relationships. For one, should we travel together?

Then, even more questions will rise out of that: Where should we go? How should we go about our trip? What kid of vacation should we take? Do we really even want to travel together or will we drive each other crazy?

BTR staffers who’ve traveled with their partners share their thoughts.

Jess’ Take:

How to travel:

In a word: don’t.

Allow me to explain: I traveled extensively with a partner throughout Europe. Initially I was psyched to have someone by my side who I considered assertive, protective, and gregarious–three traits I place high value on.

But once we were in another country and removed from our comfort zone, assertive became rude, protective became paranoid, and gregarious became egotistical. We failed to connect in almost every aspect of what I call travel personality, meaning the person you are when you are on the road, which can be quite different from the one you are at home.

Since we were already committed to the trip and I’m not one to argue, I appeased him and ended up having an experience that didn’t live up to the one I had envisioned. A year later when our relationship ended, I truly regretted wasting my trip on someone else’s interests.

Traveling with a partner is different. It just is. You will become closer to that person but you won’t be testing yourself in the same way and you certainly won’t have the freedom that comes when you travel alone, or even with friends.

That’s why I say, unless you are engaged or married, do future-you a favor: buy yourself a ticket and leave your partner at the gate. If you want, you can kiss them goodbye first.

Paris, France. Photo courtesy of Hugo BERNARD.

Where to go:

Not going to listen to me, huh? Well, ok then. If you decide to travel as a couple, I suggest embracing the one thing you two will have that solo travelers won’t: romance.

In other words, head to France.

Whether you’re in the City of Love (Paris) or the breathtaking Riviera, France is the perfect place to get all gushy with your special someone. Just the beauty of the countryside alone is enough to make anybody swoon, but add to that hundreds of vineyards with private tasting rooms and the French penchant for butter and cream in their cuisine, and you’ve got all the makings of the ideal two-some getaway.

Also, if things start to go south in the relationship, the wine will still taste amazing.

Dane’s Take:

How to travel:

In my experience, the worst way to travel as a couple is to go with friends. Hear me out. It’s a great idea to go with one or two other couples, but it’s a terrible idea to be the only couple in a group of friends while traveling. It can lead to ugly fights at worst and petty disagreements at best.

For that matter, it’s best to go just the two of you the first time you travel together. Before you go, it’s important to be 100 percent on the same page about your relationship. I don’t think it’s necessary to be serious about each other, but if one of you is serious and the other one isn’t, traveling isn’t a good idea. Being in a foreign place for a set amount of days or weeks can be a bit of a catalyst, creating opportunities for conversations you’d really rather not have. So, have them beforehand.

Once you’ve gotten that out of the way, have a plan. It’s okay if the plan is no plan at all, but you’ll still need to discuss that.

Montreal, Canada. Photo courtesy of Martin aka Maha.

Where to go:

Speaking of a plan, it’s imperative that you converse with your partner about the kinds of trips you like to take. If you love hiking and cabins, but your partner isn’t a fan, don’t force it. Come up with a place to go that you’ll both enjoy. If that doesn’t exist, don’t go.

With that in mind, my suggestion is to go literally anywhere as long as it is by car. Flights and airports bring out the worst in most people. Road trips are meant to be fun. For New Yorkers and New Englanders, my pick is Montreal, Quebec. It’s enough of a distance away to feel like a big trip and the natives speak French Canadian. You’ll feel far, but you’ll be able to cut the trip short if the need arises.

Tanya’s Take:

How to travel:

Balance is key to traveling with your partner. As close and connected as you may be, you’re both different people, so each individual should make sure they respect what the other cares to do.

Try and look for destinations that offer opportunities to accommodate each person’s interests. If tastes are too fundamentally disconnected–he prefers camping but you only like big cities–then maybe alternate who chooses the place.

Don’t be selfish, but don’t keep your feelings canned up if you truly feel like you’re not getting to cover enough of the activities you desire. It’s worse to have a passive-aggressive or peeved mood while you’re in each other’s constant company for a short amount of time. You’re on a trip to enjoy each other and get away from your routine.

The eastern coast of Taiwan. Photo by Tanya Silverman.

Where to go:

Craving some adventure, couples? Taiwan would be my pick.

The Asian island is a wonderful location for exploratory couples that want to experience a mix of nature and culture at their own pace. They can do so by renting a scooter in Taipei, the capital city, and depart from the northern region to circle around the island.

Southward and eastward from the urban bounds of Taipei, couples can first stop in a cute spa town called Beitou. Various hotel rooms are rigged so that the natural hot spring water flows into private baths.

Following a relaxing night of soaking, couples can venture down the verdant eastern coast toward the southern beaches of Kenting. The drive continues up and down mountain roads and adjacent to ocean waves, skimming alongside green tea plantations, lush palm trees, or limestone rock formations. Back up toward Taipei, scooter-driving couples can then check out the western coast, which is more populated and industrial, so they can get a taste of the cities.

Scooter tripping as a couple is great because it’s a tiring activity, so the drivers can switch off.