One of my favorite things about traveling is going with my partner. Exploring new places, hiking mountains, laughing on long flights, sharing desserts, experiencing culture shock…. these are some of my favorite things. (Cue Julie Andrews). There’s nothing like coming home and reminiscing with someone who was right there with you when you experienced something for the first time.
It also means you can do a lot more sharing. Sharing food and a room, of course, but also sharing packing, planning and transportation duties. We like to divvy up some of the responsibilities on the planning side, and also share some of the things we do while we travel (aka you can carry this extremely heavy guidebook, and I’ll take the chapstick!) We also like to keep in mind what things we don’t need two of, so we can share. This means lighter carry-ons!
1. Share the planning responsibilities. Divvying up responsibilities ensures that one person doesn’t have to do everything, and both of you are in sync for the trip. For example, I typically book the flights and hotel rooms, and hand him the itinerary. He can then work on the public transportation, car rental and mapping things out. This is also when you find out if you’ve made any grave errors, by having someone else check your work. ie: “Are you sure you want to drive 8 hours after 23 hours of flights?” We both select things we want to see, hikes we want to take, etc., and share with each other. That way each person is invested and gets to have a say in what they’re doing, and no one becomes the trip dictator.
2. Pack more efficiently by sharing items, and not bringing two of everything. Packing with each other in mind gives new meaning to the word share. Not only can you save space in your suitcase, but you can create a more versatile wardrobe with unisex items to mix and match. As part of the writing team for Travel Fashion Girl, I was asked to write a piece on packing tips for traveling as a couple. (The full article can be read here.) There are a lot of ways to save space in your carry-on by sharing electronic devices, mixing and matching accessories and sharing toiletries. Did you know Coconut oil makes a great beard moisturizer and make-up remover? I’m sure you did… what can’t you use coconut oil for?
There is no need to bring two laptops, two cameras, two day-packs, etc. There are many ways to consolidate. If it’s just a weekend trip, you can share a carry on and each use one packing cube. [If this sounds insane, read up on some of my clothing tips on the blog (links on the FAQ page) so you can see you most definitely should be able to fit all of your clothing in one cube for three days.]
3. Trade books. We like to read books on long plane rides (which, I know we could get a Kindle, so if you have one of those, just ignore this). Instead of bringing two each, we each bring one that the other person also wants to read. When we finish, we can trade.
4. Save money and share meals. We like to share meals at restaurants for a number of reasons. One, portion sizes these days are outrageous. Sometimes, what you have received should feed a family of four. Two, eating out can be pricey. So, we can share a meal, and each get a salad. Not only does this save money, but also helps reduce what I like to call “vacation bloating.” If you packed right, you only brought a few pairs of pants and they may not accommodate the larger waistline. If we’re wanting to try new things, we can each order a dish that we want to try and share.
5. Share a day-pack. Instead of each carrying a day-pack filled with water, guidebooks, etc. You can bring one and share it throughout the day so no one becomes the pack mule.
6. Share the camera. We usually one camera, because we each also have our phones. But one thing we try to do is trade the camera back and forth so there are pictures from both of us. Not only does this make the photographs even (aka it’s not just pictures of me squinting) but you get to see from the other person’s viewpoint. Everyone has a eye for different things (lighting, movement, etc.) so having a variety of the creative eye of each other is awesome.
Hopefully these tips get the ball rolling in thinking how many other things you can share besides just a room.
Check out some of these other articles that will give you more tips and advice for traveling as a couple, with other couples, getting the best photos as a couple, picking out a destination together and having some fun with travel games!