My longtime beau, Andy, and I will be celebrating our ten-year anniversary next week.

We spent our first anniversary in Paris. Since then, we’ve taken a pickup truck across Texas, a train across Europe, and a plane to the Middle East. Travel has been the backdrop of our decade together.

Having visited 15 countries and almost two thirds of the States, we joke that we could win The Amazing Racethe reality show where pairs compete to be the first around the world.

At home in New York our schedules overlap far less than we’d like, with both of our jobs taking us to far-flung places at times. And while we’re happy to explore the world solo, each trip we take on our own reminds us of how much better it is to travel together. It’s not perfect, of course. Because travel forces you out of your comfort zone, it can bring unexpected challenges as well as unexpected joy. But I have to say that having my “pack mule” along — this wonderful man who won’t let me carry my own luggage — is my favorite way to travel.

Here’s what we’ve learned from a decade of travel together, from both sides:

Find Your Niche

Andy: Annie is the master of knowing all the possibilities for each location and how to squeeze the most into every day. When we first started traveling together, I would “tag along” more than help plan. But now, I have things I like to plan, like hunting down local beers that can’t be found anywhere else.

Annie: Restaurant reservations are my favorite thing to book, especially if it’s a big city like L.A., London, or Paris. But I also love figuring out tours, museums, events, guides, hotels, and pretty much everything else. And sometimes I do give Andy an “assignment” or two…

Challenge Yourselves

Andy: Within the first year of us being together, we realized we both prefer experiences to “things.”

Annie: No matter what, it is so important to leave your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be overseas or a long trip away. But do day trips, or find a great B&B nearby to stay at for a night. Memories that are based on experience last longer than any gift.

Go Back to Places You Love

Andy: When you find a place that you love, don’t worry about wanting to go back instead of exploring somewhere new. The air of familiarity about a place makes it feel like home on the road, and sometimes that is exactly what you need, comfortable but different.

Annie: I love when we visit familiar haunts like L.A., Long Island, and my home state of Arizona. The more exotic places we go, the more I appreciate places we know inside out — where neither of us cares about checking things off a list.

Enjoy the Ride

Annie: I can’t say that I love when something unexpected happens. But because of the nature of travel, we have to roll with Plan B, Plan C, and sometimes Plan D. I call Andy a content traveler. Nothing seems to faze him, from weather to delays. Our personalities complement each other.

Find Time to Be an Individual

Andy: At least once or twice each trip, we’ll head out on our own. Sometimes it is golf for me or an early workout for Annie, or I head out to find coffee while Annie sleeps in. Whatever the break is, there is something to be said for having the chance to have a little bit of space so that the break doesn’t come when you both realize you really need it.

Annie: I admit I need alone time more than Andy. But we both need it and make sure we get it.

Remember That You’re a Team

Andy: The best advice I can give to couples who are traveling together is to remember that you’re on the same team. No matter what happens in the wild world of travel — whether she loses her luggage or he gets ripped off on currency conversion — it’s you two versus the world. When it’s all said and done, that rude waiter and crazy taxi driver are staying where you found them. Your partner is coming home with you.

Don’t Talk About Work

Annie: We are trying this on a short trip next week. Four days of no talking about work. I’ll let you know how it goes!

How do you find travel bliss when you’re traveling as a couple? Leave a comment to share your thoughts with the Intelligent Travel community.

Comments

  1. Christina
    June 14, 2013, 6:44 pm

    When traveling as a couple it’s easier if u allocate little jobs to each other.. Like he always has the keys, she always has the tickets .. That way u know what u should have with u and trust that the other person has done their job too, it also saves lots of repetitive q’s like do u have the keys? Where are the tickets ? Every time u go somewhere… new hotels rooms, cities , countries!!

  2. CancunSteve
    Mexico
    June 15, 2013, 12:51 pm

    good points. share everything. have good holidays. if it rains lemons make lemonaide to paraphrase what Annie says. read this before you go to Mexico http://www.cancunsteve.com/cancunblog/index.html

  3. Bob Hobson
    June 15, 2013, 3:51 pm

    Great tips, I agree that you need to enjoy the ride. I would like to add one more general travel tip that saved my last trip to Rome from total disaster. I lost my passport during the day but had no idea it was missing. Fortunately, I had a tracker tag on it. A waiter where I ate lunch found it and entered my tracker number on the website and I was sent a text message (and an email) before I ever even knew my passport was missing. Lucky for me because I was leaving in the morning for Germany and getting a new passport would have been impossible. I found these tags at mystufflostandfound.com. It saved my trip and I now have tags on almost everything that goes with me on a trip.

  4. Roberto Serrano L
    San Salvador
    June 17, 2013, 1:02 pm

    to Bob Hobson, please tell me more about those “tracker tags”
    how do they work? what website?

  5. Kate
    London
    June 19, 2013, 10:24 am

    Good grief, could this article be any more smug.

  6. Nora Walsh
    United States
    June 20, 2013, 4:50 pm

    When my man and I took our first international trip it was a disaster! I like to see and do things and he likes to lounge like a local relaxing on the weekend. – Over five years we managed to mesh our two styles into something enjoyable for both, which took patience and compromise. I realized that we finally hit our stride when we eloped on vacation and it all went impeccably.

  7. Harpreet Acharya
    Nairobi
    June 22, 2013, 7:32 am

    The tips are fantastic! My husband and I love to travel too and have shared our journeys on http://www.harpreetswanderlust.com and our photos on http://www.maheshacharyaphotography.com

  8. lauren Harris
    New York City
    June 23, 2013, 2:07 pm

    Wow, so true about couple tips! travelling has to be the most beautiful experience with your lover, still make it unique!
    I had a real beautiful experience with my man in Paris , it’s such a romantic city
    We had a great time sharing a walking tour with a native guide,he told us so many secrets about his town!! There is tradition of love locks on the main bridges in Paris, remember to throw the key in the river and the legend says that your love will last forever!
    I warmly recommend to you this tip supported tour . www. discoverwalks.com

  9. Annie Fitzsimmons
    July 2, 2013, 1:58 pm

    I would like you to know that, like I said in the piece, we recently went on a trip and didn’t talk about work for four days. And it was amazing. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

  10. Tiffany McCormick
    July 23, 2013, 10:53 am

    My husband & I traveled the world together this past year. We were together 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for several months straight. See our perpsectives on our blog at mrandmrstravel.com.

  11. Tom Anderson
    July 28, 2013, 7:53 pm

    im agree about your last point “Don’t Talk About Work”. because when we talk about work when we are travelling, we actually talk about boring story.

    Nice sharing ;)

  12. Lisbon Day Trips
    Lisbon, PT
    August 26, 2013, 10:25 am

    Cute Couple…..

  13. Debbie Napier
    Keizer, Oregon USA
    September 12, 2013, 10:16 am

    Thanks Annie! We’re going on vacation soon and I’m going to talk to him about the ban on work talk. Problem is both of us are/were IT people so we see users everywhere! :-)

    Also, to Roberto Serrano L: Check out the Victorinox Luggage tags, they delivery your luggage to you free of charge when it’s found! But it is only for luggage, not electronics.

    • Annie Fitzsimmons
      September 14, 2013, 12:33 am

      I highly recommend the ban on work talk for a few days! Let me know how it goes :) Good tip on the luggage tags too.