Flight of Fancy podcast: How to survive travelling with your partner

The secret to a successful holiday with your significant other – your boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife, or whatever you like to call this person – is a little counter-intuitive.

The journey you're about to embark upon might be a deeply bonding experience, a shared adventure in which your every quirk and foible is laid bare, where shared thrills and challenges bring you closer than ever before. But the trick is that you don't have to spend every waking moment together.

In fact, the secret to the success of a shared journey might just be plenty of time apart.

"This is the only way I manage this," admits travel writer Flip Byrnes, speaking on Traveller's Flight of Fancy podcast. "So, just before my next family trip starts, I will be taking a solo trip for three days. To somewhere near where the family trip is going.

"As someone who is naturally either an empath or an introvert, I know that to fill my cup, to get my soul juice, I need time alone. So, if I go into that family trip with my three or four days alone done, I'm up for anything. I'm there for it."

Of course, not everyone is going to have the time – or maybe the ambition – to go on an entire solo holiday before setting off on a journey with their partner. Mostly, the idea is just to carve out a small amount of time each day to spend by yourself, doing what you want to do.

Plan the romantic moments, by all means. Share experiences. Tackle difficulties together. But have time for yourself, too.

This week's episode of Flight of Fancy looks at how to travel with your partner and survive the experience, how to jump into a fully immersive journey with your significant other and come out the other side with an even stronger relationship.

It isn't always easy, and Traveller writer Belinda Jackson admits that it doesn't always work out well.

Advertisement

"There's nothing to hide when you travel together," she laughs. "Absolutely nothing. There are no secrets, especially how you react in an awful situation, say when the Russian army is raiding your tent, or the fact you don't have any food or drinking water. All of that hardship builds up and you think, 'We can do this, we're lifers'. But you get home and… you're not."

There's more to it than just spending a bit of time alone on your travels. A successful trip with a significant other is also about communication, and that means right from the start, from the planning phase of the holiday, even though one person might naturally do more of this work than the other.

"I think you need to agree on the basics of what country you're going to visit and the general outline of the trip," Jackson advises. "And then I will usually start digging around and doing the research [for both of us]. But to begin with you have to have that conversation: 'What is it that you really want to do on this trip?' And that way you've both got a bit of ownership over it."

You'll learn a lot about your partner when you travel with them, for better or worse. You'll see how they react under pressure. You'll see how open they are to new experiences. You'll see what their personal hygiene routine is like.

And, according to Byrnes at least, you'll find out that some things are best done alone. The key to doing that, she says, is to talk about it.

"It can be really difficult to say, 'Hey look, I'm going to go and do my own thing this morning'," she says. "And then someone goes, 'Oh you're going to those markets? That sounds great, I'll come with you'. And you have to say, 'No, I'm actually going by myself'. That can really offend someone.

"But communication is everything."

To find out more – and to ensure your next trip away with a partner avoids major disaster – listen in to the episode.

To listen or subscribe to the Traveller.com.au podcast Flight of Fancy on iTunes, click here. To listen on Spotify, click here. Or access through your podcast app.

Join the Flight of Fancy community on Facebook