The Steele Maiden: Travel Tips for Couples

We’ve all seen it (or been the ones ourselves) – the couple fighting at baggage claim or pulled off to the side of the road looking angrily at a map. What is it about travel that can bring out the worst in a couple? Adam and I don’t claim to never ever fight while traveling, but after 6+ years and countless trips together I like to think we’ve hit our stride. And since I often share the perfectly posed ‘after’ photos of our vacations.. I thought I’d share a more personal look at how we travel together in the hopes that it may save you from being the one in that baggage claim fight next time. Below, our best advice:

GETTING THERE IS HALF THE FUN –

Okay, okay, so your 12 hour flight to Hawaii probably isn’t going to be as fun as laying on the beach with a daiquiri in hand.. but if you go into it dreading the actual ‘travel’ part of the trip I promise you’re going to be way more likely to be in a bad mood and probably end up picking a fight. Or just being a lame travel partner. Plus, in the case of our 2 cross country road trips, getting there really was the fun. So just embrace it and choose to start your vacation the minute you walk out your front door.

We’ve still got bottle rockets in our trunk from that detour to South of the Border and cry laughing thinking of the time we nearly missed our connection in Prague and got a lecture from the flight attendant about being late. Your favorite memories may just end up being in the ‘getting there’.

The Steele Maiden: Travel Tips for Couples

ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES –

Despite your best laid plans.. I promise you, things are going to go wrong. You’re going to actually miss a flight connection, get a flat tire, arrive to the hotel only to end up hating the property, The photo on the beach at the beginning of this post? Our camera fell off the tripod minutes later and the lens broke. On our last trip to Los Angeles I spent a night in the Emergency Room hooked up to an IV (after catching a terrible stomach bug) with Adam curled up in a tiny chair beside me. Our king sized bed and hotel room only a few miles away.

It’s all in how you deal with it. And for Adam and I that means as a team. Even if frustrations are high, we try not to take it out on each other (easier said than done if either of us is ‘hangry’) and come up with the best/quickest/cheapest/whatever solution. Then get back to the fun stuff. Do you really want to spend your entire vacation sulking over the fact that your baggage was delayed for a day?

The Steele Maiden: Travel Tips for Couples

WHO YOU ARE AT HOME IS WHO YOU ARE ON VACATION –

I’ve heard this more than once with couples I know – they go on vacation and all of a sudden one partner thinks that the other would want to go white water rafting or zip lining or shopping at luxury boutiques  all day. And, because the other is not at all the type of person who would ever want to actually do this, they begrudgingly go along with it and it ends in a fight (or in my sister’s case, tears on her honeymoon – what my brother in law was thinking with that hike when all she had packed was flip-flops – and hates hiking – I’ll never know…).

For example – Adam loves cars, so it would silly for me to get frustrated when we’re in a foreign country and he’s stopping every 10 feet to take photos of rare cars he’s never seen before. Likewise, I love laying on the beach but it’s not really Adam’s thing. So he’ll let me get extra time on the beach by being the one that leaves to go pick up lunch or run back to the hotel for a change of clothes. Sure, we’re traveling, but we are who we are – and you have to just respect that.

The Steele Maiden: Travel Tips for Couples

ALLOW TIME TO CONNECT –

Travel can be stressful and often feels like ‘high stakes’ – you spent $xxx on this vacation so you have to pack every moment full of sight-seeing and Instagram-worthy adventures. But we’ve found that as a couple, travel works best when it’s a balance of relaxing time spent really connecting and time spent exploring. So we’ll leave ourselves a morning or two to wake up slowly and hang out in the hotel room, or skip a night of checking out local bars for a bubble bath and movies in a king-sized bed (since we don’t have a bathtub or a big bed at home) instead. Then the next day hit the ground running.

The Steele Maiden: Travel Tips for Couples

BE GRATEFUL –

Honestly I think one of reasons that Adam and I have such a great time traveling together is because we never forget how grateful we are to do it. There were years in our early twenties when we were way too broke to travel (although even then we managed to pack picnic lunches and take day trips) so now that we have the opportunity to see the world together we feel lucky to do so. I hope I’m never standing next to this person that I love in the midst of a beautiful far-flung city bickering about some silly thing. What a waste of a gift.

And lastly, just for fun – a few travel selfies:

1st row (L): In Amsterdam, after a few cheap beers (R): En route to Montreal, sleepy

2nd row (L): In Miami, slightly sunburnt (R): In Charleston, swatting away mosquitos

3rd row (L): In Copenhagen, jet lagged (R): In Maine, battling the wind

The Steele Maiden: Travel Tips for Couples