Traveling with your spouse or partner isn’t always smooth
sailing cycling. But traveling with that special person in your life can make for beautiful experiences and memories to last a lifetime. As we like to say, those who travel together, stay together.
Here is a round-up of tips from our staff who love to travel with their significant others.
- When planning your trip, consider the other person. Take in both ability and interest levels, and consider your goals to make sure they align.
- Be flexible and go with the flow. This is a given for any traveler, but it’s especially important when you’re with your partner.
- Be positive. Attitude is contagious and couples can feed off each other in very positive or negative ways.
- Laugh a lot. Having a partner that makes you laugh is certainly a successful ingredient to any relationship. But, being able to laugh at yourself is golden.
- Take time for you. Be sure to take quiet time for yourself while traveling. Go for a walk through the city. Center your chi. And take a moment to appreciate how glorious it is to have someone with whom you can share all the special memories.
- Communicate often and well. If you feel uncomfortable, say it. If you feel happy, say it. Let your partner know how you’re doing, and be sure to check in with them, too. Keep open lines of communication. The last thing you want is an angry-silent bike ride through a once-in-a-lifetime destination.
- Be kind. It is the antidote to most arguments.
- Take turns. Let one person choose one activity or meal, and the other person choose the next. This is truly one of the best things about traveling with others. You get to try things you normally wouldn’t pick. Embrace the diversity.
Featured tips from our team
Speaking of special memories and tips, here are a few from several BikeTours.com staff (past and present) and their partners:
“Here we are checking out one of my favorite temples in Yeosu, South Korea. I think my husband was mostly annoyed at my selfies but he was taking it out on my somewhat ugly shirt. Remember the importance of laughing at yourself and it’s guaranteed the whole situation will become funny, even years later. (Yeah, yeah. He was right about the shirt. But I won’t give him that.)”
“When you’re on a group tour, be sure to steal some time away for just the two of you. Give yourselves the space to focus on one another away from the (albeit usually very fun) group dynamic. It’s easy to get caught up in socializing with new friends, but it’s the one you came with who you’ll share a lifetime of memories from a trip.
My girlfriend, Emily, and I made a conscious effort during a bike and boat tour in Croatia last year to savor quiet moments on the deck, watching the coastal towns and sea slide by — just the two of us.”
“Decide if you are on a mission or an adventure. Sarah and I were on a tour together for 100 days, covering 3,700 miles. And we had very different approaches to touring.
Mission: Wake up, get through the miles as quickly as possible, go to sleep. Repeat. Adventure: Wake up early, tour slowly, stop at the local café, donut shop, brewery. Check out the towns you cycle through. Don’t stress out about making the miles.
These two approaches don’t always blend easily. We compromised the best we knew how, but I recommend that you address your goals before leaving home to ensure you’re on the same page.”
“Remember that it’s not about the bike. Focusing on the “touring” instead of the bike means experiencing and exploring a new place is the goal, and the bicycle is the vehicle to absorb it all at your pace. You won’t remember your average speed or record mileage when looking back on a bike tour.
But you’ll remember an extended break to sit in the grass and enjoy a scenic overlook. And hydrating with a straw in a coconut from a beachside stand. And the unplanned detour to a microbrewery with a killer Belgian wheat. And laughing hysterically when one of you loses a crown chewing a gel block (see photo above). Those things don’t happen if you treat traveling by bike like a race or a century ride. Relax, stop often, take pictures, and savor a shared experience.”
“Know your partner’s weakness. For example, I’m a hangry person: when I get hungry, I get angry. And I get hungry often, especially on tours. I’m ALWAYS eating. Jordan now wisely carries Snickers or other snacks so he can help quell the hanger.
On the other hand, Jordan needs sleep. A LOT. I now plan something to do in the mornings by myself so I don’t feel like I’m wasting time. I learned to play the guitar during our 100-day tour while he slept away the morning hours.”
“Give your partner space when needed. You don’t get a lot of personal time when traveling together. And if it’s a cycling trip that’s physically challenging, mental and emotional strain may not be far behind, so you may need to give the other person more room than usual.
When Natalie and I were bike touring in Brazil, we were ascending a steep dirt road on a miserably hot day. She was getting irritated with the heat and the climb, so I slowed down to pace her and start a conversation. But what she apparently really needed was to be in her own zone to push through that challenge. I’ve learned to let her tackle physical, and related mental, obstacles on her own terms, which sometimes means focus and solitude. We’ll always catch back up at the top of the hill!”
“Be flexible with your plans. Have a general outline of the mileage you and yours want to do a day, but be willing and ready to bend that in one way or another because you or your partner may be having an off day for any number of reasons.
For example, my partner, Sarah, and I were on a self-supported trip along the C&O Canal when we had a very rough day that made us stop 20 miles shorter than planned. That made the following day’s ride over 100 miles on gravel road, chasing the setting sun for the last 18 miles. Literal blood, sweat, and tears were spilled by both of us at some point that day. We learned to assess our expectations, wants, and needs every few miles to keep it together on that incredibly challenging day.”
“Encouragement, laughter, and 100% honesty. Brittany and I trust one another enough to be able to admit when we need to rest, and we try to be aware of sensing when the other needs a break or a little encouragement.
Oh, and lots of baby powder, lots of chamois butter.”