On February 14, 2001, Carrie came to a Valentine’s Day party at my house. I was in college at the time.
I had finally gotten over a bad break-up (from nearly 2 years earlier), and was hosting a party for everyone who didn’t have anything to do on Valentine’s Day.
Carrie and I had met three days earlier at a German club meeting (at our college). Carrie sort of invited herself to my party (because she thought I was cute).
The party ended up being 8 young women and me. They were (apparently) there because they wanted to spend Valentine’s Day with me .
That’s how Carrie tells the story.
I’m generally pretty oblivious to advances and I still think they just came for the party.
At the end of the party, Carrie had outstayed everyone else, and we spent Valentine’s evening just talking and laughing (okay, we kissed for the first time on Valentine’s Day too).
It’s amazing to think that was 10 years ago, but then I think about all that we have done together in those years. We’ve traveled together on 6 continents, using every mode of transportation possible (except spaceship, camel, and hot air balloon).
And now, we are glad to be able to use our 10 year anniversary to share some things we have learned in our travels together.
When Carrie and I first started dating, we had some things to learn about each other. This is true with all relationships. However, it’s especially true when you travel together in close spaces. This is why we recommend our first tip:
1. Start small
You may dream about traveling the world together. (We just completed a 2-year travel around the world, and it is possible.) However, we recommend you start with a small trip. Take a weekend in Vegas, in the mountains, or at the beach. If that 3-4 day adventure goes well, then plan a week away together. If that works well, then figure out how to travel together for 2 weeks.
Road trips are great adventures to explore how you will get along in close quarters for 1 or 2 weeks. Shorter trips will help you learn each other’s preferences and how to accommodate for them. Whether your travel is short or long however, tip #2 is really important for bringing you closer together.
2. Make time and plan for surprises
You likely have an idea of what’s special and important to your travel partner. Take something small along with you as a nice surprise because it will make your time together extra special. As an example, Carrie and I lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina (in 2008) for 6 weeks. Our first weekend there was Easter weekend, and we ended up in a dirty, loud, mold-infested apartment. Because it was Easter weekend, there really was no one to call or email to negotiate and get out of the situation. In the midst of this trying situation on our first weekend in a foreign country, Carrie had a surprise for me.
Before we left, she thought it would be nice to bring some chocolate eggs with her from the states, because it would be a nice way to be able to celebrate Easter. She didn’t know we would end up in the situation we were in, but those chocolate eggs became our rallying point for having some good smiles and laughs in what was an unpleasant situation. For you, the surprise you take could be his or her favorite food, a new skimpy outfit for the bedroom, or something else you know your partner likes.
3. When it comes to destinations, decide ‘what’ before ‘where’
Many people like to decide where they will go based on what destinations are currently on sale. But even more important than where you go is what you want to do. You may like to lay on the beach when you travel, while your partner likes to climb mountains. We’re both good about going with the flow and being up for anything, but it was funny (3 weeks before we were set to leave on our 6-week summer 2006 travel) to discover a miscommunication Carrie and I had. It turns out that Carrie dislikes multi-day camping.
But we ended up spending 8 days sleeping in a tent on the side of the tallest mountain in Africa. It was absolutely one of the most amazing experiences of our lives, and is where we got engaged. But from this experience, we learned to talk thoroughly before booking. If you’re thinking about a luxury room at the Hilton, but she wants to sleep under the stars in the middle of the Mojave Desert, you should communicate about what you want.
Thank-you for giving us the opportunity to share these three tips with you, and may all your travels bring you the surprise you hoped for, in the way you least expected.
Carrie and Jonathan Kraft have been traveling the world together for 8 years and have been to more than 40 countries together. For great travel ideas and tips on how to save money on travel, visit http://www.CarrieAndJonathan.com