Traveling with your significant other is hands down one of the coolest things you can do together.
Not only is exploring a new place together super exciting on its own, but on a deeper level, you also learn tons about each other and your vibe as a couple along the way. Here are 13 amazing things that happen when you head out into the world with your partner.
1. You strengthen your entire relationship.
I’m gonna start off strong here: Studies have shown that, generally speaking, couples who travel together are happier overall. That’s because novelty — i.e., the act of doing new things together — releases dopamine, which is the brain chemical associated with happiness.
“When you meet someone, fall in love, and start a relationship, it is very exciting. But over time you get used to your partner, and the excitement declines. But if you do something exciting (novel and challenging) with your partner, that excitement gets associated with the partner and relationship,” Arthur Aron, PhD, a psychology research professor at Stony Brook University, tells BuzzFeed Life.
In other words, no matter how long you’ve been dating or married, exploring a new place together will likely lead to a happier relationship. Vacation for the win.
2. And you may have better sex, too.
Vacation sex is real, you guys. Simply put, being in a new bed in a new place is very freeing, so you’re more likely to open your mind and ~experiment~ than you are when you’re wrapped up in your routine.
In fact, a survey from the U.S. Travel Association found that couples who travel together have better “sexual relationships” than those who don’t. And 72% of the 1,100 people surveyed reported that going on an adventure together “inspires” their romance. Which should kind of inspire you to book your next ticket, no?
3. You learn how to be still together.
Chances are, if you live in a big urban area, your dates are often surrounded by people and noise. Even when you have a “quiet night in” to watch a movie, you’re probably still also texting, checking Instagram, and ordering Seamless. But when you’re traveling together, you may not even have access to Wi-Fi, soooo … then what? You learn how you operate as a couple when you have literally no one to talk to but each other.
Maybe you both start singing. Maybe you make up ridiculous road trip games, or look for shapes in clouds. Or maybe you just smile at each other, knowing that you’re both lost in your own thoughts and daydreams and you don’t want to verbalize them at that moment, and that’s totally okay. These are the things you only learn when you don’t have your everyday routine to stand in your way.
4. And you learn — like, really learn — what your partner truly loves to do.
Perhaps your significant other loves nothing more than waking up at the crack of dawn and taking photos of the sunrise (*raises hand*). Or maybe your S.O. is more of a history buff, and really gets into the stories behind all the places you’re seeing.
Yes, you can learn such things when you’re at home. Of course you can. But traveling together 24/7 puts your and your partner’s interests and passions ~directly~ on display. After all, it’s just you guys — no friend dates, no job to go to during the day, no yoga classes at night — so you’re better able to observe him or her in a totally unfiltered, purest-of-the-pure way. This is bae — NO CHASER.
5. You discover each other’s hidden talents.
SERIOUSLY WHO KNEW YOUR PARTNER WAS A PROFESSIONAL FINDER OF THE WORLD’S MOST EPIC SHELLS.
Mind = blown.
6. And you find out where your partner falls on the planning spectrum.
Is your partner a planner in advancer? A wing-it person? Or somewhere in the middle? You will definitely find out. Between all of the booking of things and the Googling and Yelping of places, you will learn ~just~ how much your partner likes to plan, and ~just~ how much he or she likes to fly by the seat of his pants.
7. You learn how your partner handles emergencies — and also how you handle them together.
When you’re adventuring together, crisis situations — think flat tires, food poisoning, and accidental detours — inevitably pop up. The silver lining is that you can actually learn a ton about how you two will handle problems in life based on how you handle these dilemmas.
For example: When I was camping with my boyfriend in Maine, we got a flat tire on our way to the airport — IN THE POURING RAIN. My first instinct was to call Triple AAA, but he calmly said, “Nope, we can do this ourselves.” So he got out there and did the whole thing while it was legit downpouring. We still ended up missing our flight by eight minutes and had to stay an extra day, but I certainly did not miss the bigger point that he remains calm in crisis.
The point here is that, whatever the specifics, going through a crisis helps you learn where each other’s strengths lie, and how you can work together as a team to solve your problems, both now and in the future.
8. You discover how you react as a team when things don’t go your way.
So maybe your Airbnb turned out to be horrifying, or you got a food poisoning and had to skip out on that hike you were going to do (or, in my case, that plane I was going to take home). Do you and/or your partner get all mad and grudgy, or do you get drunk at the airport bar?
(In case it wasn’t clear, drunk at the airport bar = the better choice.)
9. And you learn how you both behave when you’re out of your comfort zones altogether.
Maybe your partner is Ms. Confident when she’s at home with her friends, eating her food, and doing her job. But you won’t really ever know the full her until you’ve seen her outside of her world, in a culture that’s not her own.
Without fail, placing yourselves in a new environment will help you see how accepting your partner is when faced with things he or she may not comprehend. If you want to be sure you are dating someone who is tolerant, not intolerant, of others, this is your moment. Your partner’s True Self — the beautiful and/or the ugly — is most likely to come out when he or she is out in the unknown.
10. You learn about each others’ money habits.
This one’s a biggie. There is no better time to truly get an inside peek into how your partner handles finances than when you’re on the road. After all, you not only see exactly where they’re choosing to place the majority of their vacation budget — food, hostels, booze, shopping, etc. — but you also see how careful they are with the money they do have.
Do they question taxi drivers when it’s clear they’re ripping you off, or let it go? Do they haggle at markets? Do they try to find the best value for the money, or just kind of coast along and not really put too much thought into it? Very often, a person’s view on money is a direct reflection of their view on life, so pay attention. It matters.
11. You smile and laugh and kiss and jump for joy more often than you can possibly imagine.
You will crack up on the dance floor when you try to actually dance, you will smile at each other as you shove street food in your face, and you will try not to laugh at the guy next to you who is hoarding a whole bunch of peanut butter packets from the continental breakfast.
But you will fail, because if there is anything you’ve learned along the way, it’s that you love laughing together, and there is nothing you can or will do to ever change that.
12. You learn that, if you’re with the right person, it doesn’t even matter where you’re going all the time — because you’re actually already there.
When you’re on a trip, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the itinerary, the must-sees, the attractions. But the best part about traveling with your S.O. is that you enjoy being around them so much, you know it’ll be a fun adventure wherever you go — including right there where you are.
13. And you feel confident that all of the lessons you learn on the road together will translate to your everyday life.
Despite, or perhaps because of, all the mishaps and delays and annoying flight attendants and whatever else, you still come out on top — and you feel closer than ever before. And you know that if you can not only get through a trip together, but have an amazing time in the process, you truly can get through anything.