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ADV PreppingPros and Cons of Traveling the World as a Couple

Pros and Cons of Traveling the World as a Couple

 What you should know before setting out to ride the world with your partner.

Published on 03.26.2018

The idea of traveling the world as a couple sounds both amazingly romantic and incredibly intimidating at the same time. Is the journey going to break you or make you? Can you cope with being together 24/7? What if you find out your goals are different?

Having done both — ridden solo for 18 months and with a partner, for two years now — I believe that setting out on a round the world motorcycle journey with your significant other is a fantastic experience. If you’re doing it with the right person, riding RTW together enhances the journey, strengthens the connection, and builds intimacy and trust. On the other hand, it isn’t for everyone, so here is a list of pros and cons for traveling the world as a couple. First, let’s take a look at some of the cons:

CONS


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1. Compromise: If you’re set in your ways and prefer to stick to your own routes, schedules, meals and other choices, riding around the world with a significant other can quickly turn sour. Being able to compromise is a big part of traveling together, and if you’re not willing to, the going can get tough for both of you.

traveling the world as a couple Adventure Motorcycle

2. Space: When you’re traveling with your partner on motorcycles, you have very little space both literally and figuratively. You’re sharing hotel rooms and your tent; you are constantly together. If you have helmet intercoms, all of a sudden, your quiet “me time” is even more dramatically reduced. If you enjoy having alone time, this can be a challenge!

3. Improvisation: When you’re traveling alone, you’re free to give in to whimsy: stop riding whenever you want or keep going, wild-camp or splurge for a hotel room, beer or water… You can make choices as you go along, change your mind as you please, and improvise on just about everything. Riding with your partner, you need to stick to mutual agreements and decisions – and for some, it can be tough to adjust.

4. Communication: If you love meeting local people, traveling alone is the best recipe to make friends: solo, you’re simply more approachable. Sure, you’ll still meet people if you choose to travel with your partner, but probably significantly less. If immersing in local culture is important to you, talk about it with your partner before you leave.

traveling the world as a couple Adventure Motorcycle

5. Soul-Searching: Some people set out on a round the world journey for personal growth reasons. If you’re one of those riders who set out to find themselves, going with a significant other can be counter-productive and dishonest: what if mid-way, you realize you want to stay in Ecuador and farm shrimp while your partner wishes to go back to a 9-5 office job in LA once the journey is over?

Although these are some serious points to consider, the benefits of traveling the world as a couple can outweigh them all — at least that has been my experience!

So here is a list of reasons why you shouldn’t hit the road alone:

Pros

1. Safety: Although I’d never recommend partnering up with someone just for security reasons (unless you’re simply buddying up with other riders for particularly remote or dangerous stretches), traveling with your significant other feels a lot safer. One of you can go get the coffee, customs stamps or the hotel room key while the other is watching the bikes; if one of you gets sick or is injured, the other can get help; traveling as a duo, you deter petty criminals more than a solo traveler would and have double the power to negotiate with shady police, military or border officials.

traveling the world as a couple Adventure Motorcycle

2. Money: Traveling together means you’ll be spending less. That’s right, love is good for your budget: splitting hotel, shipping, meal and camping expenses with your partner means you both pay less. A double room costs about 35% less than two singles, sharing a shipping container can get 40% or more off the price, campsites charge less for one tent – the benefits are plentiful!

3. Mad skills: On your own, you might be a naïve linguistic nerd with a passion for sautéed nopal leaves and kombucha…but together, you’re an unstoppable power! Paul is a brilliant mechanic and navigator, I know languages and love healthy cooking. Paul is better at finding AirBnB places, I can haggle at local markets. Pooling your skills as a couple makes you a super-RTW traveler!

4. Bike Swap: This may not apply to all, but if you’re riding RTW on the same make and model bikes, your life gets a lot easier: you can swap parts, diagnose problems easily, and stick to the same maintenance schedule. Added bonus? You can share the weight of tools and spare parts between your two bikes!

Traveling RTW as a couple Adventure Motorcycle

5. Love: Yes, love! The world is simply a prettier place when you’re sharing it with someone you love. Riding RTW as a couple enhances the journey in so many ways, strengthens your relationship, and builds respect and trust.

Did I miss anything? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Photos courtesy of @RTWPaul

Author: Egle Gerulaityte

Riding around the world extra slowly and not taking it too seriously, Egle is always on the lookout for interesting stories. Editor of the Women ADV Riders magazine, she focuses on ordinary people doing extraordinary things and hopes to bring travel inspiration to all two-wheeled maniacs out there.

Author: Egle Gerulaityte
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2 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Traveling the World as a Couple

  1. Spending 8 months traveling is a great way to challenge a relationship with your partner – it’s like life on hard mode! Your “Pro” about love is totally true; we were strengthened by our adventures. That said, we had never been more stressed out nor had worse arguments than on our journey.

    A few more pros and cons:
    Con: Traveling styles will differ. My partner likes to move fast and pack it all in, whereas I appreciate taking things a bit slower. I was comfortable with more risk, and she liked to play it safe. Of course there was compromise, but next big trip we’re going to try each others travel styles out more.
    Con: Visa annoyances. My partner and I are from different countries and hold different passports. This meant a lot of confused looks and anxiety at border crossings.
    Pro: Warmth! The tail end of our trip involved a lot of ill-prepared camping in cold weather. It’s likely the last month of nights would have been much less comfortable without someone to keep the sleeping bag warm.

    • Patrick, what a spot on comment! We too have to compromise on our traveling styles, and have different passports. And totally agree on the warmth pro 😀