To be honest, I never thought travelling without your partner was an unusual thing to do.
That was until I posted about it on TikTok.
The post blew up and not only did it catch the attention of curious Tik-Tokkers but it even caught the eye of the UK tabloid press (who of course twisted the story a little bit 😅).
And, not only that, I was even invited to speak on a local BBC radio station to talk about the subject.
It was then I realised, that maybe this isn’t something that is considered to be ‘normal’ as I once previously thought.
From the general public on TikTok to a BBC radio host, I got a whole bunch of curious questions about how I go travelling without my partner.
Questions such as how we cope when we’re apart, if is there ever any guilt or jealousy involved and I even got asked if we were in an open relationship (to confirm, we’re not 😅).
If you’re thinking of doing some solo travel whilst in a relationship, and need some guidance and tips on how to go travelling without your partner, then you’ve come to the right place.
Whether you just want to go on a couple of short solo trips or backpacking for a few months I’ve got the tips and advice to see you through.
Now I need to preface this post by saying I’m not a therapist or relationship counsellor, just a 30-something-year-old woman who’s spent most of her 5-year relationship travelling without her partner.
So, what are my top tips and best bits of advice for travelling alone in a relationship? Read on below to find out!
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Now I thought I’d give you a bit of insight and context into my story and how this came about before diving into my tips and advice.
If you’re not interested in this bit I won’t be offended if you skip past this section and head straight for the advice.
For myself and my partner, this was something that happened pretty organically.
When we first met in January 2019, I had already pre-booked the majority of my trips for the year before our first date.
One of these included a month-long trip through South America.
I’d pretty much set the scene as to what to expect from me and my travelling from the very start of our relationship, and that didn’t phase him at all.
He loved that I had a hobby that I was so passionate about, and throughout the years has actively encouraged me to pursue it and all of my other dreams.
Of the 30+ countries I’ve travelled to in the last 5 years, I’ve only been to 8 with my boyfriend.
I also want to point out that it’s not that we don’t want to travel together, or that I just love solo travel so much I never want him to come with me 😅
Since the pandemic, I have been lucky enough to work fully remotely, whilst my boyfriend who is a teacher, has to go in to work every day.
He also only gets holidays and very specific times of the year.
For us, it’s always been to do with our careers and personal circumstances.
If you’re sitting there wondering “Is it ok to travel alone when in a relationship”… the answer is yes 🧡
Top tips and advice for travelling without your partner
Trusting each other
Trust is the most important component to think about when travelling alone while in a relationship.
I strongly believe that if your relationship isn’t built on solid foundations of trust then this set-up is not going to work very well.
I don’t think there is anything worse than worrying about what your partner might be doing when you are not at home, especially when you miles apart from each other.
If you, as the partner travelling, are the one worried about what your partner at home might be up to, this will also have a huge impact on the overall enjoyment of your trip.
If your relationship has some trust issues to work on, I would recommend getting to the root of these issues first before going on your trip away.
Bringing up the subject
I realise for many people this subject won’t be something that comes up organically within their relationship so here are a few of my pointers for proposing the question.
Don’t be afraid to ask
It’s simply a case of If you don’t ask, you don’t get. So don’t be afraid to bring up the subject.
Tailor the conversation specific to your relationship.
Is this something that would be met better if you bring it up in a more casual situation?
Or would it be better received in a more formal situation such as over a romantic dinner?
Get clear on your reasons
Get clear on the reasons that you want to travel without your partner.
Is it because you want a bit of ‘me’ time or because your partner is not able to come with you?
Speak to your partner about your reasoning and go from there.
Explaining these reasons to your partner will allow them to understand things from your perspective and get greater clarity on your goals and desires.
Being met with a ‘no’
As I mentioned earlier I’m not a relationship expert so I don’t feel qualified to talk about how to handle the situation if you’re met with a no from your partner but there might be a few things to consider.
Is this ‘no’ coming from the fact they will miss you and are scared to be apart?
Or is it coming from a place of distrust and/or control and then going from there?
Perhaps there a things you might need to work on in your relationship before doing this.
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Be prepared to compromise
Compromise is most likely going to be a big component when travelling without your partner.
You may have big plans to be away for 6 months, but your partner may ask if you could shorten it down to 4.
Alternatively, they may ask to join you for a portion of your trip. So it’s important to give thought to how you can fit them into your plans.
The key here is to consider not just your feelings, but your partners too, to ensure that both of your needs are getting met.
Communication is key
Whilst you are travelling it is super important to communicate regularly to ensure that you stay connected and in the loop about what’s going on in each other’s lives.
It might be worth setting up a communication schedule based on the time timezones you are both going to be in.
This could look like WhatsApp conversations during the week and a Facetime at the weekend or even a quick phone call every other day.
Decide what works best for both of you and your schedules.
Also, if it looks like you’re going to miss a call or a Facetime, make sure you let your partner know in advance as possible to avoid disappointment.
❤️💬 Consider your love languages how can you incorporate these whilst you are apart to show your partner you’re thinking of them?
Dealing with negative comments and opinions
Like with anything that goes against the norm chances are you may face some judgment, even from those closest to you.
When my TikTok blew up I got a lot of comments about whether I was in an open relationship, and rude comments suggesting that my boyfriend and I were both cheating on each other whilst we were apart (both totally untrue).
Remember, people’s negative reactions are often just projections of their own insecurities and jealousy.
Alternatively, it could be coming from a place of ignorance, especially from older generations where things like this just “weren’t done in their day”.
And, unfortunately, as far as we have come with female equality, there is a good chance that if you’re a woman going travelling whilst leaving her boyfriend at home, you may be met with even more judgement than if it was the other way round.
My best advice would be to just simply ignore any rude comments and carry on as you plan.
However, If some of these comments and questions are coming from those closest to you then I would suggest to give them a simple explanation and leave it at that.
They don’t need to understand.
As long as you and your partner have an understanding that is the only thing that matters at the end of the day.
Pros and cons of solo travelling without your partner
Getting to know yourself
Having alone time is super important and travelling solo is such a great opportunity to get to know yourself and what you are capable of at a deeper level.
Having this space and time apart will also allow your partner to have some well-deserved “me-time” too, and hopefully enable them to get to know themselves a bit better as well.
Relationship expert, Dr Patrick Wanis suggests that “Discovering your interests and encouraging your partner to explore theirs is essential for nurturing a thriving and enduring relationship”
Essentially, travelling without your partner won’t just benefit you, but also your relationship in the long run.
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For some people, when they get into a relationship it can become part of their whole identity (something that is easily done, especially when you start living together).
It can be easy to forget that you were a whole human before your partner walked into your life.
If that sounds a little bit like you and your relationship then going solo travelling is a surefire way to regain your independence and challenge yourself.
On the flipside, if you’re someone who has held on to their independence in their relationship, this will be another method in which you can strengthen that independent feeling within yourself.
Honouring different tastes
If you’re anything like me and my boyfriend you’ll have slightly different tastes when it comes to travelling.
He loves the mountains and I love the beach.
I also love staying in more social places (such as grabbing a private room in a nice hostel).
He prefers the quieter and more chilled-out option.
Travelling without your partner will allow you to cater to your specific travel tastes without worrying about whether your partner is enjoying themselves.
It also means your partner won’t resent spending money on something they might not actually want to do.
If you’ve been in a relationship for some time, then the honeymoon stage where you can’t keep your hands off each other might feel like forever-ago.
My tried and tested method for keeping the honeymoon stage alive (or reigniting the excitement and passion in a relationship), is to go travelling without your partner.
As cliche as it sounds absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
The reunion when you get to see each other again, after weeks and months apart is just so special.
The butterflies, excitement and magic return in full force.
Greater appreciation for your partner
A little time apart from your partner can lead to a greater appreciation for them and all the things they do for you.
Going on a solo trip to discover more about yourself, and figure things out on your own does make you really thankful for the support your partner gives you.
When you’re alone, you realise how important it is to share experiences with someone special, and it makes you miss the emotional connection you have with your partner.
Facing certain travel challenges alone will also make you more thankful for all those times your partner has been there to lean on.
Not only that you’ll meet many a unique person whilst travelling, some who will really get on your nerves.
Meeting these annoying characters will make you appreciate your partner (and friends and family) even more.
Every time I am away from my partner I always miss how thoughtful, patient and laidback he is.
It’s no surprise that the biggest con for travelling without your partner is the feeling of missing them.
I think missing someone so deeply it’s just a true testament to how much you love them.
Believe me when I say there have been multiple times on my travels when I’ve missed my partner so much that I’ve considered coming home a little earlier than planned.
However, I’ve stopped myself in my tracks and reminded myself of the reasons I’m doing this trip in the first place.
When you’re travelling and having fun the time really does fly.
Whilst that might be negative in regards to your trip, it does mean that you’ll be seeing your partner again in no time.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, communication is key when you are apart.
If you’re going through a period of intensely missing your partner then I would suggest upping the communication (especially phone calls and Facetimes).
It’s also important to mention that you also do run this risk of not missing them, and realising certain things about your relationship.
Either way, I see it as a good thing.
Your time on this earth is precious and you need to make sure you’re investing it in the right people, places and things!
Galavanting around the world, seeing new things and having amazing experiences whilst your partner is at home going to work can leave you feeling quite guilty.
Personally, whilst I never feel guilty for travelling solo and pursuing my dreams, I sometimes feel guilty when I’m doing something I just know my boyfriend would love to do:
Whenever I experience feelings of guilt, I always come back to a few things:
- I remember that my partner is supporting me all the way
- I need to do things for myself and my personal growth
- Alone time is important
- I’m making my dreams come true (and my partner would never want to stop that)
On the other hand, you might not feel guilty at all and that’s ok too.
Make sure you don’t end up feeling guilty about not feeling guilty.
A lot of us have grown up as people-pleasers, so it’s important to remind ourselves that there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing something for ourselves (relationship or no relationship).
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve turned to my partner to say “Do you remember when” and then stopped myself in my tracks with an “Oh no you weren’t there that time”.
Unfortunately, it’s a given that if you are travelling alone while in a relationship you’ll miss out on some amazing experiences together.
BUT it will make everything that you do end up experiencing together all the more special.
This point goes back to having a greater appreciation for your partner, the things they do and the time you get to spend together.
Happy travelling (without your partner)
In wrapping up this post I want to emphasise that everyone’s journey is unique, and what has worked for me may be different to what works for you.
The experiences shared here are a reflection of my personal adventures and the lessons I have learned along the way.
It’s important to recognise that relationships come in various forms, and what matters most is the understanding between you and your partner.
If you’re thinking about solo travelling while in a relationship, the tips and advice provided are trips based on my personal experience (and not absolute rules).
Trust, communication, and compromise are crucial components when embarking on this journey.
- solo travel without your partner is not about escaping or neglecting the relationship but rather a journey of self-discovery and fulfilment.
- A truly supportive partner will understand your aspirations and encourage you to pursue your dreams.
I hope that this post has resonated with you, whether you are considering or currently navigating solo travel in a relationship.
If you have any more questions on this subject please feel free to reach out.