Almost Fearless

Convincing Your Loved One to Travel Too: Day 4 of 30w30d

This post is part of 30 Ways in 30 days to Redesign Your Life and Travel the World. This series seeks to give you the practical, real world steps you need to take to get from wherever you are, to exactly where you want to be– traveling the world and living the lifestyle you want.


30 ways in 30 days, relationships, negotiation, travel destinations

Some couples are naturals at sharing their love of travel.  For others, it can be a source of tension when one person can’t wait to go, and the other is perfectly happy to stay.  Even if you both love traveling, you can have very different ideas of what that means.

My husband and I worked through finding a travel balance that works for us, but it takes time and compromise on both sides.  Before you throw in the towel on convincing your wander-averse partner, here are some things to try:

Wet their appetite
In this case, Flickr is your friend.  Often when I’m proposing a new destination, say Cypress, I’ll dig up the best photos I can find.  A photo is often much more powerful in conveying why you should visit than any travel guide. If you can toss in some details about the amazing food or nightlife or sites to be seen, (especially if they are related to your partner’s interests) this can help too.

Give ‘em a taste
Planning a short vacation, traveling in the style you imagine your long term trip to be like, may help your partner better understand and appreciate what you’re proposing.  For my husband and I it was a week riding a vespa around Bermuda.  Unlike our previous trips, we had no plan, no maps, no set destination.  We found hidden beaches, tiny restaurant shacks, met locals and just enjoyed the island breeze as we zipped around.  A really great vacation that illustrates the beauty of spontaneous travel can get them craving more.

Compromise on the mode of travel
After I quit my job, we didn’t just sling on our backpacks and head out the door.  I had an apartment rented and waiting for us in Madrid for the summer.  While I took short trips out to Dublin, Paris, and Lisbon, he stayed behind and enjoyed easing into travel at his own pace.  By the end of the summer, he couldn’t wait to travel more with me.  If your partner is balking at backpacking around, the idea of renting a villa in Italy for the summer might be more palatable.

Be willing to handle all of the details

In the beginning, this meant not only taking care of all the travel plans, but being willing to explain how it will all work.  If your partner is hesitant, they may be feeling some anxiety about everything that could go wrong.  Addressing this proactively will take some of the energy out of the resistance.  The good news is that with travel experience, your partner will become more and more comfortable with the often ambiguous nature of travel– my husband had no problem backpacking last spring with me through Central America with little more than a LP and a vague notion of heading north.

Assuage their fears
Are they concerned about safety?  Getting sick from the water?  The expenses being more than you can afford?  This is where doing the research (with documentable, reliable sources) can help.  Last summer, my husband was worried about me traveling to Croatia, but a couple of US travel advisories (there are no “stay away” warnings for Croatia) eliminated that concern.  Give them the reliable information they need to be convinced.

If they can’t, you still can
Last fall, my husband was helping his dad with his house, so he couldn’t travel.  Instead of sulking around the house, we decided to send me to Central America for Spanish lessons.  If you’re unable to convince your partner, or they just can’t go with you, it is okay to travel alone.  In fact, you’ll find it to be a completely different experience from traveling as a couple– you’ll make tons more friends, locals are more likely to approach you and there’s a value to being able to travel 100% independently.  You’re likely to learn a lot about yourself and return happier and refreshed.

Finally, be patient
It’s a big decision to travel long term.  Some folks take a while to warm up to the idea.  That doesn’t mean they won’t ever travel or that you’ll be doing it solo forever.  If you’re loving it, your partner is bound to want to share that with you, eventually.

Pic: Henry Grey

Christine Gilbert

I’ve been dragging my husband around the world since 2008 always with the promise that, “Yes, Drew there will definitely be hammocks there.”



  • My first relationship started by traveling with my girlfriend. She liked being with me but didn’t like the travel. It didn’t work but it didn’t stop us trying for twenty years. I now have a girlfriend who loves me and travel. Perhaps she thought I was bit strange when inside of 30 minutes I explained my whole traveling life to her.
    The fact is that not everyone likes to travel and even less of those people can spend as many hours as we do every day traveling.Its been 9 years of all over the world travel and its not all been four star Hotels in exotic locales. Sometimes the adversity of travel makes for stronger relationships and sometimes it finishes them.
    Best of luck and safe travels.

    .-= Keith Gill´s last blog ..Flight, Duty, Safety and Profit =-.

  • This is great! There is also something to be said for planting a seed that eventually makes them think it was their idea in the first place (works with my hubby!).
    I actually had the opposite problem with my first traveling boyfriend. We were both already independent travelers when we met, and while we had a great time on the road together, it was really difficult to be stopped together! We inevitably travelled in different directions.
    .-= Emma´s last blog ..A Visit From a Friend =-.

  • It’s really one of my toughest battle when traveling, I want my partner to come with me on my trip but there’s this problem that she wanted to stay. Sad but I will still persist until she come with me.

  • This is a great read. My travel goal for the past year has been to travel Latin America. El Salvador down to Chile, through Argentina then Brazil. Maybe the Guianas also. Along the way I met a great girl and I feel as my travel desires are friction to our relationship. Only being she doesnt know travel beyond the usual places she has been to. We arent going abroad just yet but across the country to Yellowstone together hoping to give her a new perspective of what I love. I laid out my goals last week and was what I expected, hard to take in. The one thing that keeps me in this relationship despite the friction is her desire to see places with me. Her college and car debts and rent are whats holding her back. I live at home paid off my debt and do what i can with two jobs to travel here and there. She wants to most likely live together in a few year, I dont want to in order to continue following my travel dreams. My question is, If you were in my shoes, what would you think, do and say short and long term. 🙁

    • I wouldn’t get serious with someone who wasn’t at least open to my vision of the future. When my husband and I met, neither of us was travelers but we both liked the idea of travel. We both wanted to move out of where we were. We both had similar life goals. It’s hard to keep those things on track even when you start at the same place… people change, they want different things. You should ask her what she wants from life. If she’s saying: buy a house, have kids, host a bbq every sunday, then you guys should talk about about how very different your future goals are… and if there’s no middle ground, maybe you’re not meant to be together.

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