Several surveys have been conducted by various entities to assess the impact of traveling and vacationing together on couples’ relationships. Almost all surveys, to some degree, have arrived at the conclusion that couples who go on trips together, bond much better as romantic partners as compared to those who do not.
We have attempted below to identify and discuss at length the takeaway and key points that have emerged from all the surveys conducted in this regard.
According to a U.S. Travel Association survey conducted by Edge Research in 2012 “couples in a romantic relationship report traveling together makes them significantly more likely to be satisfied in their relationships, communicate well with their partners, enjoy more romance, have a better sex life, spend quality time together and share common goals and desires.”
A 1986 research by Lounsbury and Hoopes speaks about the positive changes in both professional and domestic satisfaction following a vacation.
Other empirical studies by Newman and Newman, 2008; Presser, 2000; Holman and Jacquart, 1988; and Hill, 1988 have revealed similar findings that point towards a positive connection between leisure activities and marital satisfaction.
Couples who travel together enjoy a higher level of contentment in their relationships than those who do not, for the simple reason that travel induces positivity in most aspects of a relationship including understanding, communication, romance, intimacy and sexual bliss, to name a few.
Closeness and friendship are key drivers of satisfaction in relationships and surveys have indicated that traveling together brings about that closeness and camaraderie that are so essential for the contentment we all seek in a relationship.
Majority of the couples who have been surveyed are of the opinion that taking trips together has a far more telling effect on romance, in a positive way, of course, than exchanging gifts, big or small. It adds that spark in a relationship that may have been missing before the trip and, more often than not, it goes back home with the couple – to stay.
While many agree that travel does make a difference to relationships there is skepticism, though, about its long-term benefits. Often the question is asked:
“Does travel improve relationships in any meaningful way that lasts after the vacation ends?”
This is how the U.S. Travel Association survey addresses this frequently asked question:
“Yes. The survey asked couples to consider thirteen different aspects that drive satisfaction in a relationship… things like spending quality time together, laughing and having fun, sharing similar goals and desires. Couples who travel together were more likely to identify each of these 13 things as describing their relationship.
Moreover, survey respondents were asked to consider seven negative drivers of satisfaction as describing their relationship… things like failing to resolve differences, avoiding conflicts, and not having enough time to spend with their partners. Couples who travel together were less likely to identify each of these negatives aspects as describing their relationship compared to couples who do not travel together.”
There is a high degree of consensus among researchers about the long-term benefits and positivity of traveling together notwithstanding the duration of the relationship. Be it a fledgling romantic liaison or a long established one, traveling and spending leisure time together will have a positive and lasting effect on the health of the partnership.
New couples often embark on trips together for the sheer joy of sharing “new experiences and adventures” together. The findings revealed that sharing new experiences was the primary reason while adventure was a close second.
Couples who have been in longer relationships often look to travel as a means to break away from the mundane and really let their hair down.
“Longer-term couples see travel as a way to maintain a healthy relationship. According to married couples, the most important reason to spend time alone with a partner on vacation was to relax and take a break from the day-to-day. The second most important reason was to talk and reconnect,’ observes the U.S. Travel Association survey.
Another very important aspect of couples’ lives that is touched by traveling together is their sex-life which, surveys found, were more wholesome and fulfilling compared to the sex-life of couples who did not go on trips together.
Out of the couples surveyed, most were of the opinion that their improved sex-life lasted for months while 40% said the effect was of a permanent nature.
“Vacation experiences are made up of seeking and escaping motives. Some are seeking adventure; others are escaping and want to relax. The dyad has to match up,” says Dr. James Petrick, Professor of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences and co-author of the Texas A&M review. “Outside of your usual environment, you have to process much more and evaluate situations in an in-depth manner. Vacations awaken all your senses. You’re more in tune with each other, with the environment around you.”
Now, that it is an established and accepted fact that traveling together does have positive influences on couples’ lives and relationships, the question that arises is, why? Why does
traveling together impact the lives of couples the way it does?
Here’s how traveling and spending leisure time together strengthens and lengthens your relationship. It will be noted that it is not only the good stuff couples do together on trips that create better bonding – sometimes couples bond equally well in or because of adverse situations.
Traveling together is not only about fun, adventure and quality time. The unforeseen is as much a part of traveling together as the expected. A missed connection, a medical emergency, a dropped wallet, and other unanticipated occurrences are most definitely annoying at the time but putting their heads together to solve the issues confronting them, serves as a team-building exercise that help couples bond better, develop understanding and come closer to each other in a way that promises permanence.
Agree to disagree
One may be a squanderer not believing in budgets while the other may have a more penny-wise approach; one may be all for an afternoon of adventure, the other wants to spend the time watching a movie; one may want to indulge in fine dining while the other may be happy with room service and a quiet, intimate evening, and so on.
These incompatibilities are to be expected as no two humans are alike but the key is not to allow such trivial matters to become irreconcilable. While there are differences and incompatibilities, there are also similarities. It’s all about meeting half way – willing to compromise when it really matters.
Admittedly, it is pretty much exasperating not to be able to do things the way you want to but the same can be said of your partner as well. It is in times like these when a middle-ground approach is the best policy to maintain harmony and take the relationship to another level.
Taking care of each other
Things are bound to go out of kilter when you are traveling especially on long distance trips. One of you may contract a stomach virus, the other may well be down from jet lag, another may lose an ATM card or a wallet or even lose oneself in an unsafe area. It is situations like these that create the opportunity for you to show that you care for your significant half; that the well-being of you partner matters to you.
Trust builds bonds
It is human nature to bond well in situations where one individual has to trust another to watch his/her back. Traveling together involves exactly that – trust. Couples need to have the conviction that their backs are being watched, that they are looking out for each other, taking care of one another, thereby, consciously or subconsciously, building trust and understanding, and a sense of closeness and love that find a way into their domestic lives as well – the improved bonding and trust stays long after the trip is over.
Yes. Fighting does have a way of strengthening bonds and bringing couples emotionally closer. It is almost impossible not to get on each other’s nerves when you are squeezed in that close together 24/7 – it is the universal truth and we all have to contend with it one time or another.
There will be fighting and yelling over the silliest of matters but these will be followed by a period of calm when you will talk things through; when you consciously make an attempt to see eye to eye and come out stronger from the experience. More often than not, couples end up feeling rather overly romantic after such quarrels.
Having said that, there are many who travel alone out of choice and will defend solo travel with equal aplomb and flair – they do have their reasoning and justifications to back it, though.
For more on solo travel, check out our article below.