If you’re planning a gap year with your partner then be warned – you’re going to know them better than you ever have before – through sickness, health, and dorm room bunk beds. Travel really does ‘make or break’ many couples so, stay on the ‘make’ side by checking out our top tips for relationship survival on a gap year…
The first of the big C’s. Don’t get hung up about compromise – learn to let go of those little things that don’t really matter to you, like sleeping on the left side of the bed or stopping off at that dodgy souvenir shop. On the flip side, it’s also important to hang on to those big things that you were really looking forward to, or you may resent your partner for making you ‘miss out’.
The second of the big C’s – just tell them about it! It seems simple enough, but often travellers don’t tell their partners if something is bothering them because they are afraid of the conflict. But, if you let it all out early you are far less likely to have a screaming row then if you suddenly burst out with “Stop eating my frikkin food!” when you’re half way up the Eiffel tower.
Work as a team
This shouldn’t be ‘his’ gap year or ‘her’ gap year – it should be ‘our’ gap year. If you’ve made the decision to travel together then stick to it – go 50/50 in responsibility, from the initial exciting planning stages to the mundane chores like washing dishes. If you feel as though the trip is ‘shared’ then it’s more likely to bring you together, not drive you apart.
Split your funds
ABBA once sung the following: ”Money, money, money – must be funny in a rich man’s world.” Wise words from the pop masters. Money is a particularly difficult topic when you haven’t got any – which is often the case for backpackers. Avoid arguments by keeping your finances totally separate (no paying for each other!) because you’ll feel more independent, and no one will ever suspect that one of you is sponging off the other.
Travelling couples seem to think that it’s essential they never separate – as if the whole cosmos will come undone if they spend just one day apart. Not true! It can be very healthy to spend some time alone, whether you’re heading off into the sunset for two weeks or just spending a few hours each day with only a good novel for company.
Travelling together is a bit like having a child together - between seeing the sights, catching flights, sleeping in dorm rooms with ten other people, and wild nights out – you may actually begin to forget that you are a couple. Make time to have a ‘date night’ once a week, because who says you can’t go to the cinema and watch a soppy movie in Australia? Also, when you plan your budget, make sure you include the price of private hostel rooms because (trust us) you’re really going to want some privacy after a few months of constantly sharing with others.
If it doesn’t work out
Then it wasn’t meant to be! Sometimes travel doesn’t work out the way you expected – and this includes relationships along the way. If you find yourself suddenly without a travel partner, don’t panic. Solo travel is just as exciting and might be just the thing you need to get over your ex.