Rome visit, June 2008 - 57
Photo Credit:  By Ed Yourdon
I believe that traveling with someone is the ultimate relationship test.

Part 1 of 2

No matter how long you’ve known them, you don’t truly know them until you’ve traveled with them. How do they react when you’ve missed the last bus out of town? Do they throw a b*tch fit just because they can't understand a word that the ticketing agent is saying? Can you rely on them to wake up early just so you don’t miss your flight?

Traveling solo is looking pretty good right now, isn't it?

That's exactly why Amazing Race is addicting. Admit it: You follow the series because you're half expecting one of tag teams to have an emotional meltdown. I've seen episodes where couples have broken up in the middle of the race. On worldwide TV!

Image from: http://realitytvmagazine.sheknows.com/
There's a high risk of going bonkers while traveling with someone. Take the toll of being around each other 24/7, combine it with the pressure of constant travel, then sprinkle two people's idiosyncrasies. What do you have? A recipe for disaster!

Chichi and I have traveled on several occasions together and we have learned a lot about each other along the way. I have also been on several trips with a partner and those have been learning experiences. Talking to many couples on long term backpacking trips have also given me insight. Now I’m sharing everything I’ve learned with you.

We've compiled 10 ways to keep yourself from going gaga while traveling with someone, be it a best friend, lover, colleague or random-stranger-you’ve-just-met-on-the- train-and-decided-to-travel-with (ala Before Sunrise).

1. Don’t play the blame game

On a recent trip from Manila to Bohol, Hutch and I got to the airport 15 minutes after they made the last boarding call. We didn't have a choice but to pay the extra 6,000PHP ($133 USD) to catch the next flight. The sad part is that we got the initial tickets on a promo and now we had to pay more than double the price just for one way tickets. Sounds familiar, Sole Sister Chichi?

We could have argued about who caused the delay and who had to pay for the penalties and new tickets. But what good will that bring us?

Guide to Keeping Sane While Traveling in Twos

Solution: Get over it and just laugh at the silliness of the situation. Humor can definitely save the day. (And Hutch paid, sweet guy)

2. Remember the 'Pack, and ye shall Find Rule'

Day 29/365 - Packing
Photo Credit: wallywallywoo
I didn't catch on to this at first when an ex-boyfriend asked me to 'pack for two'. How romantic!, I thought. We were going on a weekend getaway with just one piece of luggage.

What I didn't realize later on, was that the 'packer' had to be the 'finder' as well.

I had to answer to 'Where are my socks?' and 'Where did you pack my Ipod?' every day for the duration of the trip. What can make this even more difficult is when you bring a backpack and need to take your stuff out before they get to their stuff.

Solution: Next time girls, just save yourself the headache and pack separately.

Coffee! 
3. Code Red

Ever been caught in a sticky situation while traveling? Need your partner's help but don't want to cause a scene or catch other people's attention? Let's say you need to get rid of a pesky hawker or you notice someone is following you, how do you let them know you need help?

Solution: Create a secret language or use codes. My friend Pam and I use the word 'coffee' when we feel threatened. So when we were at Zuzuni in Boracay and a guy was trying to pick me up, I gave Pam this helpless look and said: I really need to get some coffee!

 Sole Sister Chichi and I plan to speak in Cebuano (dialect in the Visayas region of the Philippines) when we finally get to travel abroad together. That may just get us out of trouble!

4. Share-a-wallet 
Tiny Meat Wallet
Photo Credit: keainanhai
  
 A common problem shared by traveling couples (even when they're not traveling) is money. Who pays the bill? The problem with paying separately most of the time is keeping track of who paid last.

Solution: Besides your individual purses, keep a 'joint wallet'. Start by putting equal amounts in the wallet. Then you can pay for tickets, accommodations and meals from there. You can even take turns holding on to the wallet. It's quicker to get a hold of cash and somehow it's safer because your money will be in several places.


5. Spending some alone time.


Being with each other 24/7 can sometimes be stressful, right Chichi? (wink wink) I remember meeting backpackers Rich and Anna in Palawan who were on an RTW trip. They told me they had probably gotten divorced and gotten back together 7 times. And they were just halfway across the world!

Solution: You can plan to travel separately for some parts of the trip. Then rendezvous later at another destination. Or you may spend some days doing separate things then meet for dinner afterwards and share your new experiences.

Have you ever gone on an adventure with another traveler? Do you prefer it to traveling solo? How did you manage to keep you sanity? Share your stories with the Sole Sisters!

We're Tagging:
Ron & Monette of Fliptravels
Ridingouttheeconomy Boys Tony & Cengiz
Ashley and Aron of Hither and Thither

This is just the first part of The Sole Sisters’ Guide to Keeping Your Sanity While Traveling in Twos. We'll be sharing tips #6-10 on part 2 of this series.

Sole Sister Lois

15 Responses so far.

  1. when jay and i travel together, we always buffer our time for everything (he hates the feeling of being rushed) and allocate a budget cash where we get everything from and an equal amount of emergency cash ü travelling in two is really a make or break. So far I have realized that coordination and communacation is essential to void arguments and make the travel worthwhile ü

  2. Ron says:

    just a thought... what if we join TARA team sole sisters and team fliptravels? RIOT!!!!

    hahaha

  3. Ced says:

    Hehe. That's why I sometimes don't like traveling with other people. Mahirap minsan mag-set ng sched. Or there are other things I'd rather do kesa sa plano nila. But yeah, may advantages nga at times when you're traveling with others. :D

  4. Josiah says:

    I remember one of my acquaintances during a beach camping trip had his stuff packed by his girlfriend and when he opened it up, it was all floral boxer shorts. haha
    Great idea on Share-a-wallet. :)

  5. Lois says:

    Hey pilyamaldita, it looks like 'the kaladkarin couple' is always prepared huh? Chichi and I are learning about the coordination and communication part. But we'll have lots of opportunities (and challenges) to practice that in 2011. Thanks for dropping by!

  6. Lois says:

    Hey Ron! What a great idea! pwede pa ba sumali? I'm sure it's gonna be craazee! We're serious about meeting up with you ok?

  7. Lois says:

    Hi Ced, true true. Sometimes it's hard to coordinate schedules, budgets, pati narin nuances. Haha. But when you hit the jackpot, and meet people you genuinely like and click with, that makes the journey really worthwhile!

  8. Lois says:

    Josiah, natawa naman ako dun! Floral talaga? Hahaha.. I'm sure he was really embarassed!

  9. Brenna says:

    This is a great post! I normally travel solo but it's so important to set out ground rules when travelling with someone else. I once went on a short holiday with a friend and she kept expecting me to cover her if she ran out of cash (she would pay me back later, but it was still annoying). Once we had to pay 45 euros each at a border crossing, and she not only didn't have any cash, but her bank card was in her backpack that was stored under the bus! There were so many things wrong with that situation and I finally had to tell her that I wouldn't pay for her anymore. Other than that, we were great travel buddies!

  10. Lois says:

    I agree Brenna. Setting ground rules at the start of a trip is a must. And yes, I've been in your situation many times, it can be annoying. It was great my friend Tanya gave me this tip. Just have a 'joint wallet'! Problem solved.

    Maybe you can also share a few tips with us? I'm drafting Part 2 right now.

    Thanks for closely following our adventure as we follow yours!

  11. Lois says:

    I agree Brenna. Setting ground rules at the start of a trip is a must. And yes, I've been in your situation many times, it can be annoying. It was great my friend Tanya gave me this tip. Just have a 'joint wallet'! Problem solved.

    Maybe you can also share a few tips with us? I'm drafting Part 2 right now.

    Thanks for closely following our adventure as we follow yours!

  12. Josiah says:

    I remember one of my acquaintances during a beach camping trip had his stuff packed by his girlfriend and when he opened it up, it was all floral boxer shorts. haha
    Great idea on Share-a-wallet. :)

  13. Ron says:

    just a thought... what if we join TARA team sole sisters and team fliptravels? RIOT!!!!

    hahaha

  14. sharing this intelligently written post! thanks!!

  15. Lois says:

    Thanks for sharing this James! It was nice to meet you and the rest of the PTB peeps at the party last week! Hoping to join more meet ups with the group.

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