Negotiation: The Art of Traveling with Your Loved One

Debra Corbeil from Canada's Adventure Couple

Continuing on from our post, Why the Journey is Better When You Have Someone to Share it With, Debra Corbeil shares tips on perfecting the art of negotiation.


Zebras. Photo by Hayden Carlyon.

As a couple that has been traveling together for over 10 years, we have certainly mastered the art of negotiation. We can’t both love the same things all of the time in life.  But if you take a chance and actually try something that your partner wants to do – even if you don’t want to – you may discover that you like it.

Chances are, you fell in love with each other because you admire your spouse’s qualities.  Compatible couples tend to compliment each other’s personalities and bring out the best in one another. The same is true for activities: If your partner likes something and you are willing to give it a try, it will most likely bring out a love for a new hobby or adventure that you didn’t even know was inside of you.

You have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone for each other to truly enjoy traveling for long periods of time together.

When we first started traveling, I didn’t want to spend all of my time trekking through the jungle. Dave, on the other hand, didn’t want to spend all of his time shopping at the local market. But through our travels, we learned to plan and discuss what each person wants to do, and then we compromise: “I will do this if you will do that.”  In other words, we learned the art of negotiation.

Now, after several years of being on the road together, we both love it all.  I can’t wait to climb my next mountain, and Dave loves making a perfect deal while bartering in the markets.

Have an Open Mind

The key is to have an open mind.  It won’t work if you automatically shoot down each other’s ideas.  That will only put a strain on the relationship and you may end up never traveling together again.  You have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone for each other to truly enjoy traveling for long periods of time together.

But as long as each of you is willing to give and take, traveling as a couple can be the most fulfilling experience of your life. 

When we were in Bali, Dave really wanted to climb Gunung Batur, an active volcano. For some reason, I was terribly afraid of the unpredictability of being on a mountain that could explode, and didn’t want to go.  He said that if at any point I was uncomfortable, we would stop, turn around and go back together – but that I should at least give it a try.  I ended up loving it and would have really missed out if I didn’t go. 

Communication is Critical

Communication and understanding is important however.  Dave could have said: “Fine I will go without you”. And I could easily have stayed in town.  But by talking it out and keeping our goal of experiencing life as a couple, we both ended up having an incredible time that strengthened our relationship.

After our climb up the volcano, we went to the spa together the next day and had a massage and hot floral bath.  I negotiated with Dave that if I did something that he really wanted to do, then he should do something that I really like. Even if it was something completely out of character.  He ended up loving the pampering and he felt great afterwards.

That is the great thing is about traveling with the opposite sex.  We are made up completely different from one another.  To travel with someone that has your exact interests would be boring.  You wouldn’t be inspired to try anything new.

By keeping our minds open to each other’s suggestions, we end up exploring things that we never would have tried in the first place. And we end up liking things that we never thought possible.

Travel can profoundly change a person, and to have the chance to change and grow with your spouse, can only strengthen the relationship and create an unshakable bond that will last forever. 

About the author:

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are an adventure travel couple from Canada. Together they have traveled to over 30 countries on 5 continents. Follow their journeys at Adventure Travel Couple as they hike, bike, dive, trek and climb their way around the globe. They will be leaving at the end of this year for another epic adventure through Central Asia. You can also follow them on Twitter.

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Discussion »

  • #1Messi

    While people may have different views still good things should always be appreciated. Yours is a nice blog. Liked it!!!

  • #2cheap hotel dublin

    Simply superbbbb post.Want to go out with my pair anywhere….

  • #3Bruce C Ziebarth

    Debra – I have been married for a little less than a year. You are completely right – the journey is better when you share it with someone. Your post brings out some great advice for traveling with you significant other. Communications is critical whether you are traveling or in everyday life.

  • #4Meggy

    I love this article. It touches on the deeper side of traveling with your significant other which we so very often overlook. Many times I’ve traveled alone to avoid all the squabbles and inconveniences of having to argue about what to do, where to go next, where to dine, etc. But after reading your piece here, I’m more inspired than ever to give traveling with my loved one a another shot. Thanks, Debra!

  • #5Mich

    I agree, and travelling with a partner can help you decide how compatible both are. Be it agreements, compromises or squabbles, its the beauty of being able to still say “there is no one better” at the end of it. I enjoyed the article very much, thanks Debra!

  • #6lift surfer - the ride share guy

    Great blog entry! I’ll have to get my girlfriend to read it! We just hasd a holiday from hell….. :-)

  • #7Dave and Deb

    Hey Lift Surfer. Dave and I have certainly had our share of fights on the road. Good to see you can still smile about the holiday from hell:) That is half of the battle.
    Thanks Mich! Well put. That is all that counts, I would rather squabble with Dave than travel without him.

  • #8Dave and Deb

    Meggy,I am so happy that you inspired to give travel with a loved one another shot. It can be very rewarding as long as you go into it with your eyes open. Yes there will be fights, yes there will be frustrations, but wow there are going to be some incredible times that you will remember together forever. Have a great trip!

  • #9Dave and Deb

    Bruce, congratulations on your new marriage. Thanks for your comments and I hope that you enjoy many happy travels in the future. Cheers!

  • #10Dave and Deb

    Messi and Cheap Hotel Dublin, thank you very much for your comments. I agree with you Messi, we should all appreciate everyone’s different points of view. For me traveling with Dave is what I love, but for others traveling Solo is definitely for them. It is all about what each person prefers and that is what life is all about.

  • #11gregor

    Great article. When traveling as a couple and not part of a larger group any ‘differences’ need to be resolved quickly as you are very dependent on each other. Possibly your partner is the only person around that even talks the same language as you.

  • #12capetowntravel

    Life is short and the more time you can spend travelling with your partner the better for your marriage. Nothing better than planning and sharing the whole travel experience with my best friend and life partner.

  • #13Travelers Community

    I had an incredible experience traveling for nine weeks with my girlfriend (now my wife) and am looking forward to many more long-term trips in the future.
    in my experience, it’s important to remember that you are a team and to work with each other, not against.

  • #14Milton Wongso

    When you are out in a foreign land, it is good to know there is someone who can care for you i.e. in case you get sick or lost.

  • #15Frugal Expat in Abu Dhabi

    Your post is very interesting and inspiring. I will get married next year and I wish to share my passion to travel with my partner in life..


  • #16James L. Moore

    My wife and I spent 6 months on three separate converted-bus adventures in Central America — driving from Seattle each time, sharing the bus, typically, with 7 to 8 companions/adventurers/friends — and I wholeheartedly concur with your insights.

    In addition, since we are traveling in a group, we set one, maybe two objectives max for each trip and then let serendipity decide the rest. It has worked perfectly so far…

  • #17Outrigger

    Love the perspective on travel. Much less common topic in travel. Great to read. Thanks for posting.

  • #18Laurie

    Great insight! I just finished a year long trip with my husband. We learned a lot about each other and in turn learned a lot about ourselves. It was definitely an experience I would never give up.

  • #19Jo

    Great article. It really is about compromise and communication. Luckily my husband and I travel really well together. I do the planning since I used to be a travel agent but I always include things that I know he will really enjoy.

  • #20Emma

    Lovely blog. But I have the opposite story. I am currently travelling around the world with my husband. The first month went very well. Then the cracks began to show. Now we are in the second month and I am ready to leave him! It`s been a nightmare. He is suffering from profound culture shock and doesn`t want to do anything. I am trying to be understanding but realise we only have 2 months left and many places to see. Looks like we`ll be going home early though…! Our relationship works best at home… anywhere else and disaster strikes! I envy people who find travelling brings them closer together. Wish I was one of them!

  • #21Christian Rene Friborg

    I agree with this article. Me and my wife also travel a lot and communication, compromise and negotiation are really important so that we could both enjoy our trip together. I get to do what I want to, and so does she. It’s a good deal. :)

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