I’ve noticed some differences between traveling as a couple and traveling as single, as I did in 1991.
- We are more likely to meet and socialize with other couples who are traveling, rather than singles. We’ve spent time with other male/female couples (either married or dating), but also other pairs of travelers (male or female friends).
- Everything costs more, because we are two people, rather than one. However, most accommodations and some transport are cheaper on a per person basis based on double occupancy.
- Like we do at home, we often share our meals, allowing us to try additional foods. In India, most meals are served ‘family style’, where we eat out of shared serving bowls. The risk of sharing meals is that if one of us gets food poisoning, we’ll both get it.
- I think we’re less likely to be homesick, because we have a companion from home with us.
- We can share the workload of planning, arranging, packing, washing, etc.
- We need to reach consensus on where we go and what we do. This requires communication and compromise. We don’t always agree initially, but we always agree eventually.
- One person can watch the bags, while the other person investigates something, negotiates, etc.
- In certain situations where it is warranted, like on buses or trains where our bags aren’t secure, one person can stay awake and alert, while the other sleeps.
- We are more accepted by single women, whether locals or other travelers. They’re more comfortable to talk with a couple than a single man.
- We are less accepted in situations that are considered appropriate for men only (e.g. mosques, bars).
- In some rare cases, we need to split up, for example — airport security in Jordan where they physically search women in a separate room; at the entrance to the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort in Delhi, where they have different lines for the security checks of men and women; optionally on subways in Cairo and major Indian cities, where women have the option of riding in separate women-only cars; on some boats in Egypt, where women ride at the front and men at the back.
• We look after one another. I’m constantly looking out for Diane — making sure she’s with me and making sure she’s OK. She makes sure that I take my malaria medication, and that I don’t do anything too risky.
- The biggest difference is having a partner to share the experience with, both the rewards and the challenges. Someone to talk to about what we’re seeing, feeling, and learning along the way.