Traveling Alone Vs. Traveling With a Partner

How to make the transition from traveling alone to traveling with your lover, partner, or spouse

Traveling alone is one of the most rewarding experiences in the world, an experience I believe every traveler should take advantage of at some point during his or her life.

Traveling alone enables you the freedom to do what you want, when you want, while showing you more about yourself than you ever thought possible.

As a solo traveler you are normally more social as well, going out of your way to meet locals and travelers alike because you don’t constantly have someone by your side. You end up creating long lasting friendships that defy distance and time.

But what happens when you meet your partner and you begin to travel as two instead of one?

Travel as a couple is supposed to be perfect, right? Visiting romantic, exotic places together, sharing new dishes at sunset, and visiting the world’s tallest peaks or most serene lakes hand in hand.

It’s impossible not to romanticize. After traveling alone for nearly two years, I have recently begun traveling with my partner, and though I wouldn’t exchange the experience for the world, I have realized that each type of travel – traveling as a couple and traveling alone – has its perks and disadvantages.

Our trip together started out rough.

Within a week of my partner joining me in Nepal he fell ill with everything from giardia to typhoid fever. His illness prevented us from cycling (a bummer when you have set out to cycle around the world) and completing a trek I had been waiting six months to do.

I was distraught. How was it that life was no longer going my way, that I was suddenly unable to do the things I wanted to do because of someone else?

But that’s the thing with traveling as two –  you learn to compromise. You learn to put the other person first even when it’s the last thing you truly want to do, and you learn to work around problems together rather than separately, just like you would need to in a successful relationship back home.

Just because we are on the road doesn’t mean that all of our troubles have disappeared, it just means we are faced with different ones than we would be back home.

Now that we have settled into more of a routine, a give and take that I have realized is extremely important while traveling with someone else, I love traveling with my guy.

For the first time, I have someone to share my adventures and stories with, someone who understands how hard the last pass was to cycle over or how great our last camping spot in the mountains was.

Traveling with someone is also a great way to strengthen and improve your relationship as it enables you both to work together through stressful or unusual situations.

Traveling with somebody shows you who that person truly is because you’re with them constantly, and enables them to see you clearly as well. It’s a learning experience, once that requires time and patience to perfect, but one that also provides both of you with an enormous reward, the beauty of traveling as two.

So which is right for you? If you are alone, take advantage of this time to explore the world for yourself in your own way, unhindered by anything but your own imagination.

And if you have already found that special person you want to travel with, then go for it instead, because travel as two is an adventure all its own.

Shirine Taylor is a 20-year old traveler cycling around the world, and a regular contributor to The Happy Passport. Follow her journey at awanderingphoto.wordpress.com.

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6 comments on “Traveling Alone Vs. Traveling With a Partner

  1. Alexandra Hübner

    Hi Shirine,
    you sure are an amazing young woman! I only travelled alone once going by bicycle from Bremen in Northern Germany to Munich to visit my sister. Before that I have always cycle travelled with my hubby, the longest being a year in the USA and South America.
    Just as you say it has strengthened our relationship beyond words, and I strongly feel and know that we will stay toghether “till death do us part”. A lot of long term travelling couples say you either stay together and nothing can separate you or you break up.
    But I am a lot older that you (48) so maybe that is different. Anyway, it is an extreme experience that few people make in a realtionship, you cannot escape, so you have to deal with problems and you feel responsible and don’t let your partner down.
    Hugs and keep rolling,
    Alexandra

    Reply
    1. Rebekah Voss Post author

      Hi Alexandra, just wanted to thank you for your comment on Shirine’s behalf, as she’s somewhere in the middle of Georgie with no Wifi at the moment! I’m sure she’ll respond once she’s back online but thanks for your kind words and for reading the blog.

      Reply
  2. Shirine Taylor

    This was great to hear! I completely agree it either makes or breaks you because when you travel like this you either commit fully or you don’t. Marriage isn’t about everything being perfect, it isn’t some Hollywood movie that always ends in a happy effortless partnership, but rather a full time commitment on each persons par to put the other person first. It is an amazing experience indeed!

    Reply
    1. Rebekah Voss Post author

      I love your point that a great relationship is never “effortless.” We reap what we sow when it comes to work and anything in life. I’m venturing into traveling with a partner right now and can’t believe how different it is – so much better in some ways, so much harder than others. We’ll see how it goes…

      Reply
  3. April

    Hmm. This sounds interesting. I’m a bit torn but I think, since I have a family already. I should be choosing to travel with my partner. Although I would still love to travel on my own but right now, it’s my priority to be with my husband in travelling.

    Reply
    1. Rebekah Voss Post author

      I hear you April! It’s hard to choose, but maybe we don’t have to. I’ve recently started traveling with a partner and it’s awesome! But I think I will always take time to travel solo, even if it’s just on shorter trips. There are definitely ups and downs to both, but I think the point is to just get out there, no matter who it’s with!!

      Reply

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