How hard can it be to plan a trip with your loved one? With your boyfriend or your BFF? In this podcast, we talk about travel planning for couples – from dreaming to getting ready to budget.
Note: The main ideas for this podcast were taken from our new book, the Art of Couples’ Travel.
The first phase of travel planning for couples is what I like to call “constructive dreaming”. Now’s the time to talk together, find out what excites and motivates you about potential destinations, what experiences you want to have, what people you might meet or parties you might take part in.
There’s something special about sharing a lazy Sunday afternoon with each other, a bottle of wine, some coffee-table travel books and a few magazines and guides from the library, with a laptop handy for a bit of extra research. You might have some scribbled notes from a friend’s recent trip or the travel podcast you’ve been listening to as you commute to work.
Part of the dreaming process is about avoiding disappointment down the road. It’s important to find out what excites and motivates you, and your partner. By figuring that out now, you can help make sure both of you have a much better trip.
If you’re imagining backpacking South East Asia while your partner doesn’t want to go near a squat toilet … you’ve got a good chance to hear your partners fears and start working together on a compromise.
Making a plan
From our creative dream, there’s four steps to actually having a trip plan:
This one’s simple … how much time do you have available? This will influence how far you want to travel, or how deeply you want to integrate into the places you visit. If time is really short, limit your destinations and do multiple trips over multiple years.
Non-negotiable events and destinations
These are the places that really excite and motivate you to travel. You don’t see any point in doing the trip if you can’t visit them. Each of you should really have stakes in one or two places or events that you really want to do — this way, you can make sure that each of you are getting what you want out of the trip.
After your non-negotiables are on the map (or in the diary if they are events), then you can plot the other interesting places you’d like to go. We tend to leave these pretty loose, as we like to follow our nose, get lost, and take on advice as we travel.
Counting the cost
The last stage is creating a travel budget … which is too big a topic for one podcast! We recommend a cash budgeting system, which we discuss in our new book the Art of Couples’ Travel in some detail.
This post is part of the Indie Travel Podcast Couples’ Week 2011, celebrating the launch of our new book, the Art of Couples’ Travel.