How not to break up while backpacking together

Pic courtesy: Jeremy Bishop via Unsplash

You two are all about the practical, the bigger picture, about making sacrifices that are worthy in the long run, so of course travel for you means roughing it out. But what if this takes a toll on your relationship? Not all couples make it happily through a road trip, and a low-budget one risks being even more contentious.

Are you the couple who may have actually fallen in love trying to outdo each other in the frugality department?

When one of you accidentally threw something away that still had a bit left in it, and they quickly rescued it from the trash, did you think that this was so romantic?

Do your friends know better than to spoil you with lavish gifts, as that will only earn them your disapproval?

You guys recycle, compost and are the sustainability poster children of your circles. So why should your vacation plans be anything different?

However, with so much focus on doing good in the world and saving money while at it, the strain of going on a backpacking vacation may turn even the most peace-loving partner into a resentful grumpy person.

These simple tips will help you not just survive this gruelling journey but emerge even stronger and closer as a couple than you were before:

1. Record reminders: It’s going to get tough some days, even hairier on others. Because you keep in mind the planet, ensure you don’t harm other species and of course, try to be respectful of the locals, it is very likely you will snap at each other when you’re tired or hungry. So, go ahead and make some videos, write a couple of digital post-its, record some voice messages that you can send each other during the trip even if you are together. Just to elicit a smile, or create a reason for your partner to walk over and hug you, without saying a word.

2. Plan surprises: Yes, the course is charted and all the budgeting has been carefully pre-planned to avoid wastage, but there’s always space and time for magic, isn’t there? While both of you are packing for the trip, sneak his fave energy bar into his rucksack, or stash a tube of the lip balm she’s addicted to in her toiletry pouch. Maybe reserve a table at the local gastropub ahead of the journey. Or organize a day to go fruit picking at an organic orchard onsite. It’s the little things that count so make sure you sneak a few of them into the trip.

3. Do your own thing: Being so conscious of your responsibility to everything outside of you can easily blind you to your duty of indulging in self-care. Take a break mid-trip and just go off on your own after informing your partner. Visit a quiet spot and just drink it in. Follow your personal passions and take pictures without feeling the need to comment on the view first, or go window shopping without worrying about giving into the temptation to buy your partner a gift. Spending time alone will help you appreciate them more when you get back to base.

Being so conscious of your responsibility to everything outside of you can easily blind you to your duty of indulging in self-care.

4. Comfort each other: There may not exactly be spa appointments or a visit to the hot springs scheduled on this kind of trip but that shouldn’t stop you from being nice to each other. Get your hands on some essential oil-infused massage creams and go be reeeeally nice to each other. Walking for hours to reduce your carbon footprint and save money can be noble but tiring. How about winding down each night recapping the day’s discoveries while simultaneously giving each other a foot rub?

5. Celebrate the simple joys: The travel plans may have been elaborate in all their detailed glory but a lot of wonderful unexpected pleasures pop up where least expected. When they do, pause, reflect and revel in them. Years later, those moments will bring you untold happiness in their recollection.

6. Focus on the bigger picture: At the precise moment when you think you’re going to absolutely kill your partner for being a giant pain or you find yourself in a jam because they messed up on the trip, zoom out. Ponder on the past and remember all the times they’ve let your mistakes slide. Then think ahead to the future and see how insignificant this upset will be in a year or two. Then take a deep breath and decide that you refuse to ruin your holiday because of a temporary setback.

Then take a deep breath and decide that you refuse to ruin your holiday because of a temporary setback.

7. Involve others in your joy: You both are naturally very conscious souls and nothing could give you more joy than including others in your personal journey. Find ways to mingle with the residents or sign up for an activity that gives back to the community you are visiting.

8. Give it away now: What better way to end your trip than knowing you won’t have to unpack on your return? When preparing for your trip, pack in such a way that you will be able to donate all your clothes, extra pairs of shoes, even your books and unused toiletries to a local shelter or charities.

9. Come back empty: Whatever happens on the trip, don’t return with resentment and reminders of who said what, when. Leave all the unpleasantness behind and bring back only happy memories. The reason you two went on this trip at all was to be together with each other in a different place. Don’t come home to the same place with your differences intact.

The reason you two went on this trip at all was to be together with each other in a different place. Don’t come home to the same place with your differences intact.

Because you two place your values above all else, including personal comfort, celebrate that your love was founded in selflessness. Return from this vacation with a renewed sense of togetherness and a strengthened commitment to the ideals that attracted you to each other in the first place.