Travelling as a couple is one of those huge relationship challenges that can go either way.
Being taken out of your comfort zone, thrown into busy sightseeing and touring schedules and coupled together for 24 hours a day can be a revealing experience to say the least.
Obviously, we’re not talking about your standard “romantic-weekend-at-a-bed-and breakfast” kind of travelling.
Anyone can keep their guard up for an overnighter in the country when all you’re doing is getting massages and sampling the local produce.
It’s a little harder once you spend a week or two together, battling jetlag and trying to get through everything on your crammed itinerary while your body adjusts to the local cuisine and you struggle your way through a foreign language.
(And that’s if it’s all going swimmingly. If it’s going badly, you’ll find yourself with Delhi-belly and your partner will be the only one around to hold your hair back for you. Romantic.)
Firstly, you should know: You’re probably going to have at least one fight, which is always crushingly depressing when you’re on holiday because the pressure is on to enjoy yourselves and make the most of being in an exotic location. (Are we having fun yet? What about now?)
Wasting an afternoon in Paris on a silly domestic? It happens.
My friend H walked right out of the first floor of the Eiffel Tower after a spat with his wife – they’d waited in line for over two hours and he never even got to the top because of the fight. C’est la vie.
An ex-boyfriend of mine left our trip altogether and flew home after a particularly awful argument. He booked the flight and packed in the heat of the moment, then called later to apologise.
Too late, there were already several thousand kilometres between us and the holiday was ruined.
Every little thing will be magnified while you’re away, spending 24 hours a day in each other’s pockets.
Try to move on quickly if you can from fights, resolving them fast means you can get back to enjoying your holiday together without wasting too much valuable time.
And remember that in your daily lives you have your own space and while the urge to do absolutely everything together while you’re away is strong, try and resist at least a little bit each day, for your own sanity.
Sit by the pool by yourself and read a book, go to a nearby café and grab a coffee on your own.
It doesn’t mean anything bad that you need space – just that you’re human!
But of course do as much as you can do together.
The great thing about travelling together is that experiences are more fun when you can share them with someone. It makes for years of regaling friends with stories, of heightened connectedness through amazing experiences.
The other wonderful thing about travelling together is that you’ll inevitably try things you otherwise wouldn’t.
Compromise is the key to all successful relationships, including in-transit ones. Agree to try some things out with your partner, even if it’s not something you’d usually do and before you know it your horizons will be wide as the plains of Africa.
Got a horror travel story for me? Or your own tips to share for “how to not strangle each other” abroad?
This ‘How Was It For You?’ column was originally published on the Flirt Page of mX Newspaper on 8 October 2010. Emma writes a weekly column for the paper. You can see the back-catalogue here.