The DOs and DONTs of Traveling as a Married Couple

by Bert Maxwell /
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Apr 21, 2012 / 1 comments

The DOs and DONTs of Traveling as a Married Couple
By Ryan O'Reilly

I’m in my 30s, have done solo adventure travel all my adult life and…I got married last summer.  I have only now opened up my world of adventure to my partner. With so many exciting adventures under my belt alone, it's only been recently that I've become comfortable and satisfied with the process of traveling and adventuring with her.  Probably because my travel is a little off the beaten path.


That being said, I think of married travel this way. What you do alone on an adventure, you should be able to do with your spouse along. Otherwise, are you sure you’re married to the right person?


As with all aspects of married life, travel involves a little compromise. You should do what your spouse wants to do sometimes, and other times, they should do what you want. But in my mind, adventure has little to do with specific destinations. For us, adventuring is the act of transit from one place to another. The destination is but a way station, and as long as you both embrace that wide-eyed sense of possibility, your trip will yield you stories, experiences, and plenty of shared beers.  To keep things harmonious, here are my 5 dos and don'ts for married adventure: 


1. JUST DO IT.  If you don’t refresh your relationship through adventure, it’ll become stagnant. If you have a good travel dynamic with your significant other – my wife and I make an incredible team when we’re travelling – then you can do wonders for your relationship. Sort of the “Extreme Home Makeover” for couples.

So plan, but don't plan too much.  More important than charting out your exact destination, your exact stopping points, etc., just pick a date on the calendar and stick to it.  On this day: You two are setting forth.  No excuses (barring deathly illness).


2. BE OPEN. At the end of the day, for my wife and I, it sometimes boils down to throwing darts at a map, then stopping wherever we want along the way. You don’t want a pre-packaged, book online outing. That’s not really an adventure in my book.

I would recommend going somewhere you’ve never been to before. Don’t make an itinerary. Don’t bring friends. Find the nearest wine shop for supplies. Then head out with map in hand. You can fly somewhere and rent a car, but if time or money is a factor, just head out from home. Take your newly purchased supplies, your spouse, and a duffel bag and see what you can find.


3. PREPARE FOR KIDS. Let's face it – sometimes, it can't be just you two and the open road.  Sometimes, kids are coming, and the key to this arrangement is giving everyone a chance to try something they want during your adventure.

So: Would your kids rather look at alien stuffed animals in Roswell, while you'd rather go on a hike?  Let them.  Make it clear that they'll get to do something fun. 

NOTE: My wife and I are expecting our first child this Spring. We are heartily preparing to pop the baby into a carrier backpack and hit the road as soon as we’re able.


4. MAKE TIME TO HEAD OUT SOLO. Though I'm now one half of a married whole, I still take a solo adventure every 12 months so I can process the year and get perspective.

We’re so used to being entertained 24/7 either by technology or the incessant chattering of friends and comrades. Being alone for a stretch of time, though scary to some, puts all of that on hold and allows you and your mind to reboot. It’s better and cheaper than any therapy I know of.


5. HAVE FUN. This might be the most important rule…
It sounds easy enough, right? Make sure both you and your other half use the vacation time to break free of normal routines, and have a good time!


Ryan O'Reilly



Ryan O'Reilly is the author of novels “To Nourish and Consume” and “Snapshot”.  He is currently working on a memoir about floating the entire Missouri River alone.  Visit

Comments (1)

  • Lisa Niver

    12 years 1 month ago


    Both George and I traveled solo for many years before we got married, I think you have some great tips! I look forward to reading your book!

    Lisa Niver Rajna

    We Said Go Travel (

    Passport to a Global Community: Travel, Education, Inspiration

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