By JoAnn Hill
If love makes the world go round – and it’s so desperately needed – then why not explore this wondrous world with the one you love? The one who’s not only the love of your life but also your very best friend. The one who challenges you to step outside your comfort zone and tackle new challenges that you may have never thought possible. The one who remains by your side even when life becomes uncertain, complicated and downright hard.
Isn’t that what life is all about? Embracing the unknown, taking risks and discovering beautiful, sometimes scary, possibilities? Relationships are complex; they’re not intended to be stagnant. Numerous factors are involved in growing and building strong ones. In order for relationships to thrive and evolve, partners need to be open to the idea of encountering new experiences, even if that sometimes means confronting the uncomfortable.
Traveling with a loved one provides so many of these things, and its benefits can be transformative and enlightening.
According to research authorized by the U.S. Travel Association, couples who travel together are significantly more satisfied with their relationships and enjoy improved romance well after the trip ends. Edge Research surveyed 1,100 adults and found that couples who travel together at least once a year report happier, healthier relationships than those who do not travel as a couple. Nearly 80 percent of couples surveyed believe traveling together has had a positive effect on their relationship, and 63 percent feel travel promotes longer-lasting relationships. The survey also revealed that divorce rates are lower among couples who travel together.
Exploring this beautiful globe with a significant other creates lifelong memories that partners will likely cherish forever. My husband, Thalamus, and I have been married for nearly 12 years and began dating almost 22 years ago. Together we have traveled to over 40 countries and our relationship is stronger because of it. We love reminiscing about both the good and the bad travel moments. (And let’s face it, not all travel consists of sunsets and wine tasting.)
We’ve experienced adventurous whitewater rafting in Bali, bungee jumping and “primal swinging” in British Columbia, ice caving in Iceland, to exploring iconic sites like Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal and the Pyramids of Giza.
Sharing these types of life-changing experiences has been invaluable to our relationship. Many of our most meaningful memories are from our travels. These memories are unique to us and have greatly contributed to how we define ourselves as a couple.
Embarking on new endeavors together strengthens our connection to one another. It’s as if we’re saying, “we’re in this together, and there’s no one else I’d rather experience this with than you.” When we travel together, we leave behind our day-to-day routines and busy lifestyles. Work, smartphones, laptops and Netflix get pushed to the side, and we devote more time, energy and attention to one another. We are truly present without distraction.
Our connections become deeper and more profound because we find ourselves in more vulnerable situations. Sharing common interests and hobbies brings people together and allows them to engage in distinct and stimulating ways. Our conversations become richer, and our interactions become more invigorating. We learn more about each other, our world and ourselves through our journeys.
Like all facets of a relationship, traveling with your significant other forces you to compromise. Thalamus and I are lucky in that we have many similar interests and usually see eye-to-eye on things, including travel preferences and priorities.
Heights is one area where we differ. One Valentine’s Day we went for a hot air balloon ride. My husband was terrified and vowed never to do it again. Fast forward to our trip to Turkey in 2015. It was recommended that we see the Cappadocia region from a hot air balloon, but knowing my husband’s fears, I felt empathy, and we walked the region instead.
Exploring the region by foot with my husband ended up being a wonderful way to experience Cappadocia. Compromising while traveling lends itself to many other facets of our life together, where we consistently work as a team, even when one of us doesn’t get exactly what we want.
You certainly don’t need to be in a relationship to travel. In fact, traveling independently and with friends can be equally rewarding. But there is something special and unbelievably satisfying about seeing this glorious planet with the one you love by your side.
If you and your partner are looking for a way to make the most of your time together, take that trip you’ve been talking about. When we open ourselves to the many gifts that travel has to offer, we not only gain a better appreciation for the world we live in – the cultures, the languages, the sites – but for each other as well.
When traveling abroad, it's important that you are healthy, have all your prescriptions filled and you get all the appropriate vaccinations. See your primary care provider before you go to prepare. Don't have a primary care doctor? Find one near you.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for destinations, you can find highlights from our travels here.