When you’re travelling with your partner, things can either go really well… or they can lead to meltdowns and have you wanting to kill them in the streets. A stressless trip with your boyfriend or girlfriend is what we all hope and aim for, but sometimes you just need some extra tips to nail it and make sure your adventure leaves you with the good kind of memories!
Traveling with your boo should be a wonderful experience, but I’ve learnt from past trips with my boyfriend that we really need to be aware of our differences to make it work. On a recent city break to Amsterdam, a few things went down which got me thinking that I actually have some good advice to bestow to other travelling couples… Check out my top tips on how to keep the stress levels low when on the road with your partner, so you can return erm… still together…
5 tips for a stressless trip with your boyfriend or girlfriend
1. Know your budgets
There’s nothing worse than travelling with your boyfriend or girlfriend and suddenly realising you’re on completely different financial frames of mind. One may be looking for a budget trip or water and crusts of bread… while the other is looking to splurge on decadent brunches with mimosas galore. Everyone travels differently but being surprised by different budgets can be stressful and awkward.
Have a light chat before planning the trip so you know exactly where each other stands (which we didn’t do). If it helps, figure out a ballpark figure of how much you want to spend while away and look to compromise on the adventure. You can make it work like we did by getting an AirBNB and having a few meals together in your cosy home away from home, or hiring bicycles to save on taxis.
2. Go somewhere you’ve been before if they don’t want to do heaps of sightseeing
My boyfriend is the kinda guy who doesn’t like to venture down the traditional sightseeing routes. This is great because I’d hate to be with someone who is keen to join endless queues and naff tour buses… but it can be frustrating if I want to do something touristy and he scoffs at everyone around us.
So the perfect way to enjoy a city break was to hit up a city that I’d visited before: Amsterdam. I’d done all the touristy stuff (and more!) before and could gently guide us to my favourite parts of Amsterdam which I knew he’d also enjoy. He gets the fast track lane to the good shit, thanks to my preliminary trips that allowed me to scope the place out… and I don’t get massive FOMO and feel like I’ve missed out on what the city has to offer.
3. Exercise that pesky thing called Patience
Yeah, you may love your significant other, but it doesn’t mean that you’re perfectly compatible in every single way. And let’s face it, that would be boring. A trip away will always highlight any aspects of your personalities that clash or differ, so in order to have a stressless trip with your boyfriend or girlfriend you have to exercise patience. Eugh, that along with compromise are the two things in relationships that have to exist… both home and away.
He can take a lifetime in a second-hand book store, only to leave with nothing at all in hand. I can spend too long running through aisles of a vintage store or marketplace, and leave with bags of goodies. The fantastic thing about Amsterdam is that there are vintage stores, market places and books everywhere. Especially in the gorgeous neighbourhood of De Pijp.
Whenever each of us got distracted by these things which leave the other twiddling their thumbs, just have some patience and wander along. I often take photographs and people watch as I wait – it’s actually quite nice to have a pause and soak up the surroundings.
4. At all measures, avoid HANGER
The Google Maps App should have a medal for saving relationships. Firstly, the Google Maps App (download it – it’s not the map app that comes with your iPhone) allows you to look up places to eat and drink, and drop pins on your map. It will collate all your places in a list and then you can quickly pop your app open to find somewhere to eat or drink when you feel energy levels are low.
Similar to most folk out there, when my boyfriend goes quiet and/or grumpy, it means he either needs: A) a nap B) some food. Avoid the angry hunger and beeline straight to a great place you’ve already looked up – sit, chill, feed and hit restart. All systems GO!
5. Always remember where you’ve parked…
So this was a small thing that nearly sparked an argument. In Amsterdam, we were rolling around the streets on hired bicycles that look identical to everyone else’s. And if you’ve ever been, you’d know that bicycles are locked everywhere in Amsterdam. It’s like looking out on a sea of metal and handlebars when you go to lock your bike somewhere central, especially around the Red Light District.
After we’d zipped our way through the crowds and trams, and decided to lock our bikes for a wander by foot, our little tiff kicked off. I took a picture and secretly dropped a pin on Google Maps. The app allows you to drop a pin called ‘where I parked’ and save it for about 6 hours – VERY HANDY WHEN EVERYWHERE’S A PARKING SPACE. I also took a photograph which is ALSO VERY HANDY WHEN ALL BIKES LOOK THE SAME. Although my boyfriend was adamant that he could find our way back without technology, this ‘wild man’ had no idea where they were when the time came. So God bless Google Maps or I may have pushed a certain someone in the canal.
Let me know if any of these tips are handy and if they work on your next trip. And if you have any top tips on how you make travelling with your boyfriend or girlfriend work seamlessly and beautifully, share below!
All photographs by Sophie Saint