Most of you know that Ricky and I met while we were teaching English in China, and have been pretty much inseparable since. We planned our travels for months before we actually left, working on the details of what to pack, what route to take, how much to spend, all that jazz.
|Ricky and I when we first met.|
And now we’re out, traveling around, having a blast. Now, it’s not all a bed of roses, but it’s definitely an amazing and eye-opening experience. So here’s a list of why traveling as a couple is awesome.
7. It’s cheaper
Everything is cheaper when you travel with someone else because you share a lot more. Food is cheaper, hostels are cheaper. It’s also handy to have someone there to keep you in line with the budget you’ve set. Of course, there are those times when you both want to splurge on something, but that’s ok, as long as you’re both aware of how it will affect the budget.
It’s also wonderful to have someone with you when shopping at markets. Haggling is a must, and it’s fun to play the good customer/bad customer card. Sellers offer you a “special price,” which of course is far too high. One of you thinks it might be ok (which of course it isn’t), and then the other puts on a grumpy face and refuses the price until it’s lowered (which of course it will be). It’s team haggling!
|On a tea-boat in the river, Chongqing, China.|
6. Less shopping pressure
Like I said, markets can be an intimidating place to shop. Fun, and exciting, but intimidating. People are shouting at you from every direction. And it’s impossible to browse. As soon as you show a tiny bit of interest in something, they are there in your face, showing you how much it costs, what it’s made of, etc. When you have someone with you, you can just talk to them and avoid the hassle of trying to communicate in a language you don’t speak when you’re not in the mood for it.
|So excited to have visitor passes for the International Financial Center in Hong Kong.|
5. Better packing
There are a lot of things that we need to carry with us. We have a first aid kit, complete with medications we may need for everything from headaches to bowel problems, flashlights, rope, guidebooks, a laptop, lots of hand sanitizer, and so much more. All of the stuff that isn’t our personal clothing we split up between us so our weight is more even. I can’t imagine trying to cram all of that into just one bag, and having to carry it all myself. When you travel as a couple, you pretty much share everything you take with you, which lowers the weight that one person has to carry.
|Time to dye our hair blue!|
4. More Food!
Yep, we like food. A lot. We like trying new things at interesting places. When there’s more than one of you, you can order 2 or 3 dishes you want to try without having leftovers you can’t take home. And then there’s always someone to eat the stuff off your plate that you don’t like. (I usually end up with an excess of mushrooms.)
3. More adventures
I’m sure you know that Ricky and I are doing a motorbike tour through Laos now. Before two weeks ago, I’d never driven a motorbike, and was somewhat less than steady on the two-wheeled beast. But now, here I am, having driven on upwards of 200 kilometers through the jungle. I never would have done this if it weren’t for Ricky and his ideas of adventure. And I’m loving it! I can’t believe how much I would have missed out on if I had been traveling alone, and I don’t know if Ricky would do it either.
|Time to get on the road!|
|Outside the war museum in Beijing|
Yes, this is kind of obvious, and perchance a tad mushy. My apologies. But yes, when traveling you need companionship. Well, maybe you don’t, but I do. There are days when we’re tired or worn out or stressed or annoyed and we just need to stop and relax. It’s times like that when I’m especially glad that I have someone. We can stay in the hostel all day, watching reruns of Parks and Rec or Top Gear, playing spider solitaire together despite the fact that it is “solitaire,” only leaving for food.
And it’s nice to have someone there to bring you a sandwich, make sure you have enough water, and spend the day reading without a complaint instead of exploring the town while you’re sick in bed.
1. Someone to share with
I don’t just mean food here. I mean a deeper kind of sharing, the kind of sharing that can only be done standing on top of a hill looking down on an amazingly lit skyline, or looking in wonder at giant pandas, or swimming at beautiful waterfalls, or exploring massive caves.
|Amazed by the giant Buddha in LeShan|
But there’s also someone to commiserate with during the times that aren’t so great. There’s someone there to share the times when you’re both suffering on a crowded hard-seat train for 20 hours, and when you’re lost somewhere in a huge city.
|After swimming at the Kuang Si waterfalls in Luang Prabang, Laos.|
It’s the kind of sharing that makes traveling—and life—better.
Like I said, traveling together isn’t all smiles and happy-go-lucky skipping through fields of flowers. Sometimes it’s hard—really hard. But the good times outweigh the bad, and I can honestly say that there’s no one else I’d rather live this experience with.
|Hong Kong skyline.|