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Couples Trip Survival Guide: 15 Tips For Traveling as A Couple Whether it’s Your First Trip or 10th

Caleb and I have been traveling together for nearly a decade, and we’ve been to 40+ countries as a couple. I would be lying if I said our first few trips were awesome because, honestly, they were ROUGH. We didn’t know how to be together all the time without wanting to kill each other.

In this guide, we’re sharing everything we’ve learned about traveling as a couple, like our golden bathroom and hunger rule, how to plan appropriately, and setting meeting points. Now, our travels are the highlights of our years, and we hope this helps you do the same!

Let’s dive in, starting with a video if you prefer to watch than read!

YouTube video

1. The Golden Rule of Hunger and Needing to Pee

A couple embraces while posing in front of traditional half-timbered houses decorated with Christmas ornaments in Colmar's old town, a woman lifts one leg in excitement.

If you take nothing else from our list of tips for traveling as a couple, let it be our personal golden rule: if one of you has to use the bathroom or is hungry, you both drop everything and fix that problem.  No matter where you travel to, this is a MUST!

If you guys are anything like us (and, uh, any other human in the world?), you get majorly grumpy when you gotta pee. And, in the words of Snickers, you’re a different person when you’re hungry, so trust us, following this will save you SO.MANY.FIGHTS. Our stupidest fights have been when we didn’t follow this one.

TAYLOR’S TIP:

bring snacks (such as protein bars) to carry in your backpack for emergencies when you can’t get food and the hunger monster comes out.


P.s: I LOVE these protein bars for travel!

A man and woman, clad in casual attire, hold hands while looking out over the Seine River with the Eiffel Tower in the distant Paris skyline.

2. Don’t Get Too Busy You Enter the Friend Zone

This is the second most important tip that no one tells you. In the past, Caleb and I have packed our travels SO FREAKING full of “stuff” that there is almost no time to just be a couple. We’re always running around to see things, and then we’re so tired by the evening that the last thing we want to do is “connect,” if you know what I mean. 

We have ended up feeling more friends or roommates on a trip! With 44% of couples getting their spark back on vacation, you want to make sure you prioritize doing just that!

TAYLOR’S TIP:

we still love full days, but we now leave our evenings pretty wide open. This gives us time to find a cute cocktail or wine bar and just sit and talk about our day and be a couple. We’re also less tired at night 🙂

A man and a woman sit facing each other on a stone wall, engaging in a casual conversation with a serene, landscaped garden and classic European architecture in the background, all bathed in the soft glow of the afternoon sun

3. Expect Fights (And That’s Okay)

Traveling together is awesome because you learn so much about each other!

Traveling together is also NOT awesome because you learn so much about each other…that you didn’t know before. 😅. In fact, 33% of couples break up on vacation, and we do NOT want that to be you!

You are going to be together ALL THE TIME, which could be a first for you. You may learn some things about each other you don’t like or have disagreements about, and if you’ve gone on the trip thinking everything is going to be flowers and daisies, it could ruin your trip.  That’s why we always revert to our couples road trip questions during long journeys together to lighten the mood sometimes!

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It’s okay to fight. In fact, it’s normal because you’re out of your comfort zone. We fight on vacation. We firmly believe that it’s *healthy* to do so because just bottling things up in the name of “not fighting” will just make one of you miserable.

Two people sit on a wall overlooking the Dresden cityscape under a stunning sunset sky, with the iconic Frauenkirche and other baroque architecture in the background.

How to Deal With Fights:

Here are 3 tips to help if you do fight:

  1. Avoid Defensiveness: If something causes a fight, try to not get defensive. Instead, ask open-ended questions to understand your partner’s perspective/needs better.
  2. Use “I” Statements: Instead of saying “You always…” or “You never…” express your feelings using “I” statements. For example, “I would appreciate it if…”.
  3. Change Plans: If you’re fighting, it’s best to skip whatever is next on the itinerary and get somewhere you can actually talk it out. Head back to your hotel or a coffee shop if you’re not near your accommodation. 
An intimate moment between a couple in front of the Almudena Cathedral in Madrid at dusk, with the historic structure illuminated, providing a majestic setting for a romantic scene.

4. Plan Ahead (At Least to Start)

On the topic of fights, one of the main reasons we fought when we first started traveling together was because we didn’t plan things, and then we became frustrated with each other when we didn’t know what to do. It also wasted valuable time that we could have spent enjoying the city/country.

Now that Caleb and I have been to 40+ countries, we typically don’t plan TOO much. But, when it’s your first time, a little planning goes A LONG way for, you know, not murdering each other.  With so many travel apps at your fingertips, planning doesn’t have to be hard!

A couple sits back-to-back on the edge of the fountain at the Louvre, with the museum's famed glass pyramid and a clear blue sky at dusk.

5. But Agree To Scrap Plans If Something is Unexpectedly Awesome

Yes, we just told you to plan, but we would STRONGLY urge you to be flexible and willing to BREAK said plan if you are somewhere and are unexpectedly having a FREAKING awesome time.

This is something we always agree to do before we go on a trip. Those experiences are usually way more memorable than whatever you *planned* to do. That’s how we found many of our hidden gem experiences in Madrid!

A joyful couple sitting on the edge of a fountain at Plaza Mayor in Madrid, the iconic red façades of the surrounding buildings framing their relaxed, contented pose.

6. Take Turns Planning

While Caleb and I are lucky that we travel virtually the same (basically, to eat and drink 😅), not every couple is the same. So, if ya’ll like different things, then take turns doing things each other likes or planning days.

For example, maybe one day is all about hanging out in museums (if that is your thing), and the next day is a chill beach day, a food tour, or something adventurous if that is the other’s preference.

A couple walks hand in hand along a tranquil path leading towards the leafless hills near Lake Balaton, a display of serene winter countryside life.

7. Talk About Expectations Beforehand

OOF, this is SO key, and most couples don’t do it. Take it from us. It can be a game-changer for your travels. BEFORE you go on your trip (NOT during), talk about what you each envision the trip to be like. Do you want full days where you’re on the go? How many meals out will you eat per day? Do you want to do paid tours or explore on your own? Etc.

Doing this beforehand, especially if it’s your first trip together, will allow you to make a plan that works for you and avoid fights!

TAYLOR’S TIP:

Make sure you are realistic about expectations. Traveling as a couple is lovely, but it’s not going to be like some romance movie. You’ll be tired, jet-lagged, possibly hungover sometimes, annoyed by other tourists, etc. Make sure you talk about how you’ll handle things that DON’T live up to expectations.

A couple stands admiring a whimsical pink half-timbered house adorned with Christmas decorations in Colmar, with a vibrant carousel and festive tree adding to the holiday spirit.

8. Know each other’s Triggers

Aside from hunger and needing to pee, it’s super helpful to know what other external circumstances trigger each other into being grumpy or argumentative. For example, Caleb isn’t allowed to drink Tequila 😅, and I am a different person when I’m jetlagged. You may not know this if it’s your first couples trip, but keep notes so you can know for the next one!

A man and woman share a toast with drinks in ice glasses, surrounded by the glowing purple ambiance of an ice bar

9. Have Some Patience 

This is the hardest one for me to remember, but as cheesy and obvious as it sounds, being patient with each other goes a long way. You’ll fight less and be able to go with the flow a lot easier.

A couple sitting peacefully at dusk by the Templo de Debod, an ancient Egyptian temple in the heart of Madrid.

10. Set Budget Before (And Decide on Saves and Splurges)

Money is one of the most fought-about things in a relationship, and the same goes for your trip together. You will save a lot of arguments if you simply decide on a budget for the trip! You can set an overall budget or a budget for specific things like what you’ll spend on food, accommodations, activities, etc.

TAYLOR’S TIP:

Caleb and I always talk about what we’re okay splurging on (usually food and unique experiences) and where we want to save to make up for those splurges (hotel rooms since we’re rarely there.) Deciding on this in advance will help you plan your budget and prioritize the things most important to you!

A smiling couple, holding mulled wine in festive cups, enjoys the Christmas market in Wroclaw, with the colorful facades of the town's historic buildings and a dusting of snow in the background

11. Put That Phone Away

Yes, you should absolutely take photos to make memories but don’t get SO sidetracked staying “in the loop” or trying to post to your Instagram feed that you’re not in the moment. You have plenty of time for that when you’re home, but you can’t re-do the trip.

Make sure you’re enjoying the trip itself AND each other as a couple without distractions.  If you want to take it to the next level, use some of our get-to-know-you couples questions during downtime!

A smiling couple stands in the snow at night, with the illuminated Gothic architecture of Wroclaw’s Cathedral reflecting in the Oder River behind them

12. Set a Meet Up Place

We learned this the hard way when we got separated in a sea of people in Colmar during the Christmas markets. We were lost for about an hour, and it was really scary! When you are going somewhere busy, choose a spot to meet so that you avoid this experience.

You might think you can just call each other, but we’ve been places SO BUSY that cell towers go down, and we couldn’t do so, even with our Google Fi service. So, setting a physical “meet spot” is super key!

Two people relax inside a cozy igloo with a transparent dome, sipping warm drinks and looking out at a snowy forest landscape

13. Share Food

This may only apply if you like the same things we do, but Caleb and I ALWAYS split entrees when we travel. This lets us try more kinds of food without having to spend more money! This is even easier to do if you’re somewhere like Spain, where tapas are the norm and are meant to be shared.

TAYLOR’S TIP:

so you don’t look like weirdo tourists scraping half your food onto the others’ plate, we recommend each just eating half a plate and then swapping plates across the table. You run the risk of ending up on a meal that you didn’t like as much as the first, but #firstworldproblems, right?

A couple sits by the canal in Copenhagen, facing the row of brightly colored buildings, enjoying the view despite the overcast sky.

14. Check In With Each Other

When you’re out and about, it’s easy to just keep going with the flow. A simple “Are you having fun?” or “I would like to make sure we squeeze X in” can go a long way to making sure each other is feeling heard and having a good time!

A joyful couple experiences dog sledding, with one steering the sled and the other seated comfortably, as they travel through a snowy winter wonderland.

15. Remember, Unless Someone Is Bleeding Or Injured, Nothing Is An Emergency, So HAVE FUN.

Ultimately, taking a trip as a couple can (and should!) have SO MUCH FUN! Remember that it’s *highly* likely that nothing is an emergency unless you’re bleeding or injured, so enjoy it! Yes, some things will *feel* like an emergency, but trust us, they’re not. You can’t go back in time (yet…still waiting on that. COME ON, SCIENCE), so enjoy this trip without making everything a massive deal, okay?

How we can help next

Once you know how to travel, you gotta know where to go! We think Europe is the best place for couples (hello food, wine, and gorgeous, romantic towns!), and we have an ultimate guide on where to go as a couple based on your travel style!

So, which tip do you need to remember? 

Romantic Trip Planning Ideas:

Get Our Best Travel Tips

We’ll show you how to plan an epic vacay, have amazing experiences, eat the best food and save some $$!
A couple embraces while watching the sunset behind the Crystal Palace in Madrid's Retiro Park, a moment of romance and tranquility by the reflective waters.

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