My wife and I have had the opportunity to travel more in the past few years than we have over the previous twelve years of our marriage. Blogging, speaking, and writing my book, The 7 Rings of Marriage, has opened up some amazing doors and opportunities to do things we hadn’t done before.
I will be the first to say it hasn’t been without challenges, including the “fun” of traveling together. During one of our first trips, we were holding up the airport ticket line while trying to check our bags. Our suitcase was on the floor wide open, with all of our belongings out in the open for everyone to see— including our underwear!
Not the ideal way to start your trip
You can imagine things weren’t going well for us on that trip. We opened our suitcase and had the suitcase contents out because it was overweight. Like way overweight—25 pounds overweight! In order to get this big ole bag checked, we had to take stuff out and put some of it in our other bags (can you say “newbies”). It was just crazy.
We eventually got it all rearranged to meet the weight limit, but not before it was too late for our bags to be checked on that flight. So, we missed our flight! We were both frustrated, embarrassed, and mad at each other.
You live and you learn
Today we are able to laugh about it. We had only flown together twice before and that was years ago. The bag we packed that trip probably came close to the weight limit even when it was empty.
We’ve learned about choosing the right luggage and packing light since then. And we’ve learned a lot more to make our trips together enjoyable and something we want to do over and over again, instead of something we don’t enjoy and ending in fights and frustration.
Here are 7 things we’ve learned that’ll help you survive traveling with your spouse.
- Plan your wardrobe and be a minimalist. On that first trip we packed everything! Don’t do that. Plan a minimalist wardrobe, bring the basics, and stick to it. It will be enough.
- Choose appropriate and quality bags. As I said, the bag we used to have was huge. We’ve learned how to travel with just carry-on bags for most trips. And after some searching, we found luggage we love, made by TravelPro.
- Arrive at the airport way early. We’ve cut it close too many times. But now we arrive way early and we relax, get a bite to eat or drink, or sometimes take a nap before those early AM flights. The earlier we get to the airport the better.
- Sync up your travel itinerary using Evernote and/or Google Calendar. All of our travel info is loaded into Evernote, Google Calendar, or both. We both have access to it at all times.
- Don’t work while traveling—make it a date. I’ve been guilty of trying to use our flights, layovers, and even car rides as a time to work. That’s okay when traveling alone, but when traveling with your spouse, you are missing out on a great opportunity with your spouse. When we’ve made it a date, it’s been great!
- Go with the flow. Issues happen when you travel. Flights get delayed or canceled, hotel rooms aren’t clean, service isn’t always great. One string of flights, three or four in a row, we had one or both flights (coming and going) delayed or canceled. We began to know the process, became familiar with meal and hotel vouchers, and how to work the phones and the customer lines at the same time. At first, we griped, complained, angry-tweeted the airlines. and more. Then we learned to go with the flow and actually enjoyed it. That was much more fun.
- Schedule a rest day when you return. Whether it is a vacation or work-related, the day after a trip can be challenging. I used to try to jump right back into work-mode and make up for missed time. But I got wise, well actually my mentor suggested I schedule a rest day to regroup from our trips. Such wise words! What a difference that makes when coming back home.
We are still learning the best ways to make our travel together better, but the 7 tips above will help you whether you are seasoned or rookie travelers. My hope is you will practice them so you go from surviving traveling with your spouse to thriving when you travel with your spouse!
Question: What is your best tip for traveling with your spouse? You can leave a comment by clicking here.