Couples travel tips: How to deal with arguments while traveling

In this ‘Romantic Travel’ series, we’ve interviewed leading bloggers to uncover their tips for traveling as a couple. We’ve heard their advice on rekindling romance and dealing with different vacation agendas.

But what should a couple do when an argument breaks out on the road?

The key is communication, taking time to cool off and understanding one another’s strengths, according to these travel experts. Read on for advice on keeping sane while traveling with a loved one.

>> This post is part of our “Romantic Travel” series. Click here to read additional posts!

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Erica and Shaun of "Over Yonderlust" are currently traveling together around the world.

Communicate with one another

Erica Kuschel, Over Yonderlust: Honestly I would say NOT to avoid fighting. In a relationship, it is perfectly healthy to disagree. There have been too many moments where both of us finally explode because we had been avoiding subjects entirely. Traveling as a couple is already stressful enough. Make sure you guys are constantly on the same page.

Jason Castellani, 2 Backpackers: Our best advice is to consider your travel preferences before you depart on a couples trip. Arguments often stem from different preferences for food, adventure and locations. If you prefer to relax on the beach and your partner prefers overnight treks up a volcano, there will be issues. Discuss your desires ahead of time and make sure the trip can work for both of you.

Keep things in perspective

Jake Semmel, Downtown Traveler: It can be tough to avoid arguments because you are both spending nearly 24 hours a day together, for weeks or months at a time. When frustrations are building we both just try to remind ourselves that no matter what’s going wrong it beats being in an office, and to remember this is a vacation so to just slow down and don’t try to go full speed all of the time trying to fit as many activities as possible into our schedule.

Jake of "Downtown Traveler" finds it helpful to remember that a vacation is less stressful than being at work.

Take time to cool off

Mei, Cumi & Ciki: Time out is important. It’s impossible not to get into an argument, especially since we are both pretty stubborn and hard headed. So if you feel yourself starting down that path, just give each other some space and just refuse to be confrontational. Once you’ve had time to cool down, it’s fine again.

Kelly Dunning, Global Goose: It’s easy to get fed up with a person if you are with them 24/7, no matter how much you love each other. It’s not really reasonable to expect that you will never have arguments, because you will. You most definitely will. As long as those arguments just come out of tiredness, stress, or those little irritating ticks in the other person’s personality and not out of any serious issue you will be fine. Just stay calm, listen to what the other person is saying, and be willing to compromise. Sometimes you just really need some time to cool down. When we were flying to Rome we had a huge fight in the Manchester airport, I don’t even remember what it was about but we were really annoyed with each other. Lee just said, “Fine, I’ll meet you at the gate” and stormed off. We had about 45 minutes before we had to be at our gate so we both wandered around the airport alone for a while to cool down. Later when we met to board our plane we apologized and made up. Then we had an amazing romantic week in Rome together! I think my advice would be to expect that sometimes you are going to want your partner just to go away when you are frustrated and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Of course, if the issue is more serious make sure that you talk about it so that it doesn’t fester and build up.

Find ‘me’ time

Charu Suri, Butterfly Diary: Take separate devices and gadgets (e.g. Kindles, iPods) and fill them with your personal favorites so there’s no “sharing” because those gadgets become your escape and personal time and space. Schedule personal time and space on the road–go ahead and go for that morning walk or run alone! There’s no reason to do EVERYTHING together. Chances are you’ll have a lot more notes to share when that’s the case.

Be considerate of your partner

Juno Kim, Runaway Juno: Thankfully, we don’t argue much. When it happens, don’t focus on disagreement; find the way to compromise as soon as possible. Don’t linger with the negative feelings and remember why you are good for each other.

Stephen Bugno, Bohemian Traveler: I don’t think it’s much different being on the road. If you argue at home, that’s going to carry over to arguing while you’re on the road. Being argument-free is just a matter of making a commitment to yourself not to argue and not to raise your voice. It may be tough, but it’s possible.

Cam of "Traveling Canucks" advises traveling couples to understand their strengths.

Know your strengths

Cameron Wears, Traveling Canucks: The best advice we can give to others is to expect that things will not go your way. Things will go wrong and arguments will happen, so plan for it. Traveling can be stressful, especially if you don’t speak the language and you’re sleep deprived after several hours on a train or bus. Don’t try to be the hero, ask for help when you need it and cut your partner some slack when things get heated. Most importantly, know what your strengths are and split up the “travel duties”. Nicole is great at researching deals and booking travel arrangements, whereas I am great at talking to taxi drivers and using maps to navigate through cities. By understanding what we are each good at, we’ve learned to trust each other completely and automatically default to our roles when we are on the road.

How do you deal with arguments while traveling?

Share your experience with others by leaving a comment below.

>> Click here to read the other posts in this “Romantic Travel” series!

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About Leslie Koch

I'm a New Yorker with a passion for travel and art. I founded DowntownTraveler.com after returning from a year-long backpacking trip around the world. Find me on Twitter at @leslietravel.