How to maintain a travel lifestyle when your boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t want to travel

Do you remember a few weeks ago when I asked in my weekly email if you had any travel questions you’d like me to answer on the blog?

One of the first questions to come through was from Nadia and she asked how she can maintain a travel lifestyle when her long term boyfriend wants to ‘settle’?

Nadia was keen to point out that her boyfriend is incredibly supportive of her travels but he doesn’t want to join her in all of her adventures and she wants to find a way to keep on travelling without him.

I had exactly the same dilemma a few years ago as Sam wasn’t as keen as me to give up everything and travel the world. Sam loves travelling but his career isn’t related to travel so it’s not as easy for him to pack up and leave. What’s more is that he enjoys his job and loves his life at home, so why would he give it all up for the unknown?

There are so many travel bloggers out there telling people to ‘quit your soul destroying job, sell all of your possessions and travel the world!’ but if you enjoy your job and your life at home then it really isn’t that simple.

In answer to Nadia’s question, it depends if you want to travel long term (6 months or more) or if you’re taking holidays and short trips?

If you’re taking shorter trips and holidays then I really don’t think you have anything to worry about. Lots of couples go weeks without seeing each other. You just need to learn to be flexible, communicate and make the most of the time you have together.

If you’re planning to travel long term then I think it would be very difficult to maintain a relationship if you’re apart for 6 months or more. Although it’s definitely not impossible, I know lots of couples who have done it.

But, in my opinion, travelling changes you and you’ll come back feeling different about the world. It will probably be the best time of your life so you’ll want to share it with the guy you love, particularly because you’ll be talking about it for the rest of your life.

Sam and I took a big, two-year trip together and it turned out to be the best thing we ever did. Although Sam won’t admit it now, he wasn’t keen on the idea of travelling. I knew I wanted to and it got to a point where I had to say:

“I REALLY want you to come with me, but if you don’t come with me, I AM going alone.”

He knew I was serious and after this discussion we booked our flights.

Once we came home from our big trip I continued to travel and this was often without Sam. I was taking lots of trips for work as well as taking blog/press trips for this blog. A lot of the trips I took were mid-week which meant I was usually home for the weekends and Sam and I would spend our weekends together like any other couple. He pretended to moan but he actually liked having the house to himself, playing computer games with his mates and eating junk food all week. And if I was away all week we’d make more of an effort to do something nice together at the weekend so it worked out really well.

Here are my top tips to maintain a relationship when one person travels.

Don’t assume you aren’t right for each other

It definitely doesn’t mean that you’re not right for each other. It just means you’re different and there’s definitely nothing wrong with that! Opposites attract and you’re lucky to have a guy who is supportive of your travels.

 

Always talk

If you’re travelling without your partner, make the effort to speak to each other every day. Most hotels and cafes have good wifi connections so there’s no excuse not to chat. Use FaceTime or Skype and you’ll never feel too far apart.

 

Find out what their dream is

So it’s your dream to travel the world but what’s their dream? Make sure you’re listening to them because maybe they have a dream they think you don’t want to share in too. Maybe it’s their dream to ski in Canada or learn to cook a real Moroccan tagine. If so, this is travelling!

 

Find out why they don’t want to travel

Some people have an understandable reason for why they don’t want to travel. If he has then don’t try and change him.

But if he’s making excuses or his reasoning comes down to fear or money worries then you can help! Help him save or convince him there’s nothing to be scared of. Maybe he’s a had a bad experience travelling or maybe he’s just never had an amazing, life-changing trip that has triggered his desire to see the world.

 

Take lots of little trips

Long weekends and short holidays are often enough to spark the travel bug in him or satisfy the wanderlust in you.

 

Be the organiser

Take the hassle out of travelling by being the person to do the organisation. Who’s going to turn down an amazing, personalized itinerary that’s put together just for them? Organise his dream trip and I’m sure he’ll want to take more!

 

Have local microadventures

No time for a holiday? Have a microadventure close to home. You’d be surprised at all the amazing things you can do right on your doorstep.

 

Book your trips when your partner would have something planned anyway

If I have the choice, I’ll always travel mid-week when Sam is in work. You don’t miss each other in the same way and you don’t feel guilty when you’re both busy.

 

Don’t be afraid to travel solo

There’s nothing stopping you travelling alone so book some solo adventures. You never know, he might get jealous and decide to join you!

 

Don’t let them stop you from travelling

Whatever happens, don’t let your other half stop you from travelling. You’ll only resent them and hold it against them. You may even hold a grudge without even realizing it.

 

Do you have any experience with a situation where your boyfriend/girlfriend hasn’t wanted to travel? If so, what did you do? 

TheTravelHack

Monica is the founder and editor of The Travel Hack. She began the blog in 2009 when she left the UK to travel around Asia and Australia for two years. She's now a professional blogger and has travelled around the world in search of stylish adventure travel. Monica has recently had her second baby and is determined to prove that travelling with a baby is possible!

SHOWHIDE Comments (10)
  1. Hey Monica,
    This post has been very helpful to me because I’m an outdoor person and my girl friend is not. I have been in so many sticky situations because of the same! I’m really thankful to you, now my girl friend and I can reach a compromising deal and I can enjoy my travels..Ooh lalala!

  2. I’m having this exact problem right now. I will be travelling solo in Japan for 3 months, and my boyfriend isn’t joining me because he has classes. I would admit that the want to travel solo is a pretty selfish act, but I love what you said ‘don’t let anybody stop you’.

  3. Well it is hard and awkard sitution when your gf didnt want to travell and I face a lot of problem because of this situation. Thank you so much for this post and I just hope your post will give a positive result. Keep posting and keep growing.

  4. Thank you so much for this post! Inspired me to rethink my travel plans with my other half. I think the hardest part is that I would always want him to experience what I found to be so amazing but what I love to do may not necessarily be his idea of fun. So thank you for a new perspective!

  5. Thank you for this post! It has helped inspire me to have a good talk with my boyfriend about traveling long-term. He worries about money and about finding a job when we return, but I think you have to make a goal, save money, and go for it.

    1. I agree. Leaving a secure job is really scary but – if it helps – I’ve never met anyone who went travelling and then couldn’t find work when they returned and wish they’d never left. In every single job interview I took for about 5 years after travelling, all we’d talk about was my trip. It didn’t even feel like an interview, people were just so interested in it. I think it helps you to stand out from the crowd and shows you’ve got an adventurous spirit.

  6. Thank you so much for this post! Seriously! I’ve always wanted to travel around the world since I was a little kid. I’m in college, and been planning on going in a long term trip to South Korea (6 to 12 months) for years now. It’s a huge dream of mine. Last year I started dating a girl and I love her, but she has absolutely no interest in asian culture, even though I’m asian descent. She shows no interest in getting to know new places, she is the settled kind of person. I respect that however that ain’t stopping me from actually GOING. We talk a lot about that already and about our dreams and what’s important to us so she’s ready when time comes. I’d regret not going for the rest of my life!

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