Visual pyramid in Slovakia (zraková pyramída) - traveling couple

Backpacking as a Couple: 8 Rules to Survive

Many people say: “If you want to understand if you can live with this person or not – go with him on a trip”. Cannot agree more here. But after being on more than 20 backpacking trips with my husband, I realized, that the first one really differs from the last. And the last differs from some in the middle of our relationship.

Why is that? Well, the beginning is beginning. You may find some things that bother you since you are not used to be with this person 24/7. But you are willing to close your eyes for it. And then the time comes. You start seeing all the imperfections in each other during your backpacking trips. Things you are used to basing on your personality, experience, and education are confronting what your significant other has. The fight begins.

Rules for backpacking couples

And this is the crucial part for most backpacking couples to either work on it or give up. Well, compatibility in your relationship definitely should exist. But I guess, if it wouldn’t, then you won’t be together backpacking. So how to proceed?

There is no exact answer for everyone. We all are different. And for all of us something might work and others not. Based on our backpacking experience I want to share with you a couple of things we’ve worked on. So the question is: what helps backpacking couples not to argue, stay positive, and enjoy time together being on the trip?

1. Have some personal time

Of course, having personal time is different to manage during the backpacking trip. Yet it’s one of the most important things to stay mentally healthy and not kill each other at some point during your trip. As longer we are together, as more we are tired of each other’s differences. Yes, yes, I know, love is all about accepting the person the way he is. But you also need energy for it, mental energy. And once you are together for a long time, at some point you will get tired. You will start getting angry during the trip easily, “being rested”, you could accept. And then you start fighting at some point because you are no longer able to accept something.

In our relationship, Robo is always being more proactive in getting his personal time. But I also understand that I need it sometimes. On the trips, we try to have this space in the evenings. He likes to fill a diary, where he writes every day of our backpacking journey. At that time I try to not touch him at all and do my stuff.

If you are on a longer backpacking trip, I strongly recommend you to consider at least 1 day off from each other. It can be a nice experience: both of you will go to the places, where other didn’t want to go. And in the evening you will have a nice time chatting about your day.

2. Divide responsibilities during backpacking and stick to it

Trust me, this is important to do when backpacking as a couple. If everyone will do everything during the trip, that will bring you to…right, a huge argument. Much more effective and efficient for your relationship and time management is when you decide who plans/does what.

This tip helped us a lot. Though we didn’t realize that we have a division of responsibilities in the beginning. As more we backpacked, as more we saw, that Robo loves to plan concrete destinations, make a plan of the days, find directions. I was more for the back office: food, restaurants, some fun activities.

Yet, sometimes, some things both of you might hate to do. Then you will need to compromise. Maybe, one time one person is making it, another time – another.

Hitchhiking to the beach Baska in Croatia
Traveling as couple in Croatia

3. Rule 3 to 1

I like to use it a lot when we cannot get a compromise on something during our backpacking trips. For example, as we divide responsibilities, Robo is searching for accommodations. Yet, knowing me, he can expect, that even though it should be up to him to decide, if I will not like it in the end, I can get nervous. So he has to choose 3 best ones for his opinion, in all of them he would imagine staying. He gives it to me and I have to choose the final 1.

Like that, you are still responsible to find and choose the accommodation. Yet you give a chance for a compromise to your significant other if he is concern about something.

4. Be aware of each other’s disadvantages

I am very nervous when I get hungry. Especially it can accumulate with tiredness on the long walking trips and boom. I am done. Sometimes I really cannot control it and a small irritation can start a hurricane. But since Robo knows about it, he tries his best to accept it. And feed me as soon as possible.

Jokes aside, it is good to understand, what can influence other’s moods, behavior, and actions. I know, that if Robo doesn’t get enough sleep, then he will also feel very bad. And if I wouldn’t know that, I would get nervous or anxious about his behavior instead of supporting him.

But it will come with time. We also didn’t know a lot about each other from the beginning. But as time passed, we learned more and more things and now try to adapt to each other.

Traveling as a couple
Traveling as a couple in Russia

5. Be clear about the expectations

You come to Barcelona. You are dying for visiting Park Guell. But it turns out, that your significant other didn’t plan to go there. It is expensive for him and he actually doesn’t like these kinds of things. And for you, this is all you came for.

The war is starting again. But if you could talk way before the trip about places each of you want to go. Things to do. Food to eat. Places to live. AND even about your disadvantages, you are aware of, but the other not. That would save you some nerves. And will not make your trip a complete disaster.

6. Set up a budget for the backpacking

We like to set up an amount of money we want to spend on a trip. We are planning and tracking our finances, so we always write down everything we spend. We have a common budget on one card, so it’s much easier to not get into a fight where did we spend that money or who paid for what. Trust me, money is a big issue to argue about during traveling as a couple, so you gotta be clear on it. The expectations setting applies here perfectly.

7. Spend some time with other people

The same as personal time, it might help you to not feel like you are the only world and universe for each other. It has also pluses when it comes to getting to know the culture, tips for the trip. But speaking relationship-wise – definitely worth finding a friend for an evening to have fun all together.

Traveling couple with a friend
Traveling as a couple in Slovakia

8. Have some private time during the traveling

Anna, you make all of us confused! You said to have personal time, then to have a friend. Now what?

Calm down and let me explain. I’ve told you earlier that for me travel is about the experience, adventure and not the Eiffel Tower or Louvre. It’s about walking from the Airport of Ponta Delgada at 2 am to our flat. It’s about checking the sunset from the top of Sarajevo. It’s also about being in our accommodation with a glass of wine playing cards. It’s the time when we are just two. Enjoying it together. And this is all you need during the trip.

These are just our tips from our own experience. For sure, there are much more things to keep in mind in order to maintain good relationship on the trip. If you find yourself in those points or you have something to add, share here in comments!

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