Still enjoying solo travel in a relationship: is it possible? Respectful?
The depiction of the solo female traveller is typically a bad-ass independent single woman that doesn’t need a man. This ever-growing demographic is worthy of admiration.
However, you certainly do not have to be young, free, and single to enjoy travelling solo. Solo travel in a relationship is perfectly acceptable too, whatever your age and the level of commitment with your partner.
Often, we start travelling solo because people don’t want to come with us. How many times have you started bouncing around the idea of taking a trip somewhere in your Whatsapp group chat with friends, only to find that one by one, people gradually back out?
Many people don’t prioritize the need to travel, and that’s okay because everyone is different. But it can often feel like if you do not go alone, you will be waiting for someone to go with you forever.
So what happens when you do have a romantic partner? Is it still okay to want time to explore the world alone? What do taken people have to know about solo travel in a relationship?
About Solo Travel in a Relationship
When thinking about solo travel in a relationship, one of the most important things to remember is that your relationship is only the business of you and your partner. That’s a good rule for relationships in general.
People will act as though solo travel in a relationship is some big taboo that you are leaving your partner behind. But then again, people always love to give their perspective on things that don’t concern them.
You will possibly hear comments like “aren’t you concerned he/she will cheat”, or “oh wait, they let you travel by yourself?” (as if you are someone’s possession and not your own independent person).
The only people that need to be comfortable with solo travel in a relationship are you and your partner. That’s it.
Why consider solo travel in a relationship
Solo travel is always markedly different from travelling with someone else. Not in a bad way, it’s just different.
Solo travel in a relationship forces you out of your comfort zone and helps you to learn to better depend on yourself to solve problems, plan schedules, and meet new people. From a social perspective, travelling solo can actually be more enjoyable.
If you travel with a partner or a friend, you probably enjoy their company enough that you don’t feel motivated to go out of your way and meet new people. Whereas if you travel alone, you are perhaps more likely to look up social events, hang out at hostels, or meet fellow travellers via apps, etc.
You don’t need a reason or a justification for wanting to consider solo travel in a relationship, other than the simple fact that you want to. It may be that you want time alone to push yourself, challenge yourself or reflect alone.
You may have travelled solo a lot prior to being in a relationship and you consider that a part of your character that you don’t want to change. Or it may simply be the case that there is somewhere that you desperately want to go and your partner does not share the same level of interest or cannot get the time off work.
For example, if one person works remotely, is self-employed, and has a lot of flexibility in schedule, is it fair to expect them to spend all their time at home twiddling their thumbs bored just because of social taboos about travelling without their partner? No. Solo travel in a relationship should be a viable option if both you and your partner are okay with it.
Time alone is not indicative of relationship problems
In any relationship, it is always healthy to have your own personal life and interests outside of your partner. It is important to still be your own person and not become codependent, which is why solo travel in a relationship should be completely fine.
Furthermore, having outside lives and interests gives you more to talk about when you are together. If you spend all of your time living in each other’s pockets, what are you going to have to talk about? Solo travel in a relationship can give you more things to talk to your partner about.
If you become so dependent on another person that you can’t imagine doing a single activity without them, then how are you going to cope if you suddenly find yourself alone for whatever reason? It is healthy to have your own life and interests and if your alone time involves solo travel in a relationship and hanging out in a different city or country, so be it.
You should not need to worry about infidelity
Cheating seems to be a big concern for a lot of people when you mention the concept of solo travel in a relationship. That should be a big red flag in itself.
If you don’t feel that you can spend a small period alone because maybe they will meet someone at a bar, or maybe they will call Becky from the office when you leave, then your relationship already has problems. These have nothing to do with solo travel in a relationship.
Obviously, trust is something that is earned with time. But any relationship where one or both parties constantly feel the need to check in on the other and know where they are at all times is doomed to fail.
If you don’t trust the person that you are with, then it doesn’t matter if they are 500 miles away, or 5 miles away. Temptations are everywhere you turn.
The biggest compliment? Know that in a world full of options, someone is making the decision to commit to you exclusively.
If someone values the relationship that they have with you, then they are not going to do anything to jeopardize that. It is not worth the risk.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
If you see someone every waking moment of every day, you will never have the opportunity to miss them. You become accustomed to their presence but their time doesn’t become a valuable resource because it is in such great supply.
When you spend time apart, you will find yourself thinking of your partner, what he or she is up to, and things you cannot wait to tell them. You don’t take phone conversations and Skype calls for granted because geographical distances, different schedules, and different time zones mean that you actually have to carve out a time in your day to talk.
Being reunited and spending time together is something you look forward to. Of course, time apart should not be seen as an escape from relationship issues, it really puts things in perspective.
For example, when someone is with you all the time, you may find yourself getting frustrated and irritated by small things. E.g. when he doesn’t put the toilet seat down, when he eats your snacks, etc. Time apart makes you realise what really matters.
You may both have to make some compromises
If one or both of you and your partner travelled a lot prior to getting together, there may be some changes that you need to make in order to make things work. While you should never feel that you are giving up your dreams and ambitions to make a relationship work, you may have to compromise.
For instance, perhaps you were a travel romance but one person is based in one set location and the other was used to working remotely and travelling nomadically. That person may have to take shorter trips, fewer times per year if they want things to work and the other person cannot join them on their travels.
Relationships, where one person has pretty much zero interest in travel, do not have to be a dealbreaker either. The most crucial thing is communication and speaking openly with your partner about how you feel and what you each want to do, which may include solo travel in a relationship.
If you want to set off on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Athens for four months, what is four months if you plan on being together in the long run? Equally, if you expect to keep travelling for long stints multiple times a year, does that work for your partner?
Will the dynamics of your relationship change? Will you open up your relationship? Communication is always key.
A reminder that you don’t need someone else to be happy
Solo travel in a relationship can help bring home the fact that you don’t need someone else in order to be happy. It will make you appreciate your partner more, sure.
But they are an “added extra” in your life that makes you happy. When you pursue solo travel in a relationship and can still enjoy your own company, you remember that you can be just fine alone if the situation ever arises.
The moment that you start referring to someone as being the other half of you, or you depend on that person for your happiness and security, you are telling yourself that you are not enough. You are enough by yourself.
Final Thoughts on solo travel in a relationship
Have you ever travelled alone while in a romantic relationship? How did it go? Do you have any other concerns about solo travel in a relationship?
Is this something that you are hoping to do now and you are not sure how to bring it up with your partner? You may also enjoy this article on dating outside of your culture.
Safe travels, always! Melissa xo