Sometimes people are surprised when I say I’ve only ever really travelled with my Husband. It’s almost as if it’s disappointing that I’ve not run off ‘travelling’ on my own and mingled with other single twenty-somethings on a beach getting wasted.
I recently stumbled across a blog post with the title “14 Breathtaking Countries to See Before Settling Down” and it made me wonder whether there is a general consensus that travelling (and other fun things in life) need to be done before you ‘settle down’.
Is there even really a need to ‘settle down’ totally? What does that mean? When I got married two years ago it marked the start of a new adventure rather than the end of a life I loved and wouldn’t ever see again! If settling down isn’t to do with marriage, is it houses? I was a homeowner 10 days before graduation, so I don’t feel like I have impending mortgage doom looming on the horizon either.
Perhaps then, it is children? I don’t have children but if I do, then they’ll be coming on holiday with me, even if it’s a budget stay-cation to a random place in the UK that we’ve never laid eyes upon before.
I’m of the opinion that settling down need not be the prison sentence people think it is. In fact, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have wanted to travel with anyone other than the very person I’m settled down with – and here’s why:
When in the company of your partner, you know you can completely switch off. I don’t need to worry whether we’re doing something they want to be doing, or secretly wondering whether he’s having a good time because if he wasn’t, you know damned well they would have said so.
‘Extra’ space on the plane
You can almost guarantee that on a long haul flight, at some point I will have a claustrophobia related hissy fit. Queue husband offering for me to sprawl out into his personal space and get some shut-eye. He’s a good ‘un.
There Need Not Be Toilet Shame
Travelling brings out the worst in everyone’s gut, no matter how hardy you are. At least if the person you’re sharing your hotel room with is your husband then the chances are he’s seen it all (or smelt it all) before.
You can relax and try that local delicacy (whatever the hell it is) without having to concern yourself with seeking out Immodium later.
How very attractive.
There’s Always Someone to Hit the Ball Back
How would I play ping pong or table hockey on my own? If I was travelling with friends, they might not want to play, and there’s much less chance (and reason) for a friend to compromise than the other half!
Travelling with a partner can mean you occasionally have to compromise, but you know that when it comes to doing something only you want to do later – that same person with have your back!
You Already Know You Can Live With Them
I love my friends – of course I do – but I simply do not know whether we could travel together for three weeks. It’s unchartered territory.
Fuses can be short when you’re jet-lagged. When you’re having an adult tantrum in the isle of a plane because you’ve been sat still for 10 hours and you still can’t sleep, you need to know you’re with the one person in the world who can call you on your sh*t.
You Don’t Have to Narrow Down Food Choices (as Much)
It’s nice to be able to go halfsies on a hotel or to split the bill when you go out for your evening meal, but I imagine you could do that with a friend anyway.
The couple benefit is thus:
You order a meal each (on agreement of the other party) then mid way through, you switch. We went through most of the USA feeling like we’d had 6 courses for dinner rather than 3 because we applied this couples-eating logic, even to things you bite and not cut.
I’m sure some friends would be willing to do this, but it’s much less likely that you’ll get them to agree to ordering something you both like. We’re a couple who both eat anything and everything (except peas), so choosing two meals off a large menu is easy-peasy!
Ahem. Shared Experiences and Stuff.
It’s sort of soppy, but it’s actually quite nice to hop around the world making joint memories, right?!
You Can Still See Other People!
Not like that.
Just because you’re traveling as a couple doesn’t mean you’re excluded from being able to socialise like a human being. You are not mute or invisible due to your settled down status.
You might even find that you make friends, like our San Diego jacuzzi friends. We started chatting about beer, and 2 hours later we were still putting the world to rights (which somewhat oddly included a long conversation about the implications of fracking in Tulsa, Oklahoma)!
Other than the fact that you (hopefully) get on pretty well with your partner, there are benefits to travelling together and I’d like to think they outweigh the chance that I’m missing out on solo travel experiences. Besides, as ‘the group’ slowly couple off and settle down as well, there’s a whole raft of stag and hen parties to look forward to where I’m quite sure we’ll get our fill of travelling separately!