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International Travel Tips to Build Your Marriage

International Marriage Travel in Morocco

We love to travel. Recently we returned from an overseas trip to Morocco. It was the 58th country we’ve traveled to together. (We have a goal to visit 80 countries by the time we’re 80 years old and refer to it as “80 by 80!”) It was a marvelous time experiencing a new country and making memories together. We were building our marriage. Travel is something we enjoy. It’s a fulfilling adventure whether we are doing it as a vacation or as marriage conference speakers.

Have you ever thought about going on an international trip as a couple? It really could be a great way to build your marriage. In an article by Conde Nast Traveler they wrote that “A 2012 survey by the U.S. Travel Association revealed that couples that took regular trips reported higher levels of satisfaction with their relationships, and considered their vacations an important venue for romance. Similarly, a 2013 Journal of Travel Research article by experts at Texas A&M found that partners who traveled together experienced improved communication, and that connectivity extended into their life back home—with one important caveat. For a couple to reap such benefits, they must want the same thing out of the vacation, and that experience must include shared activities that nurture the relationship.”

So what are five things you need to know before you travel overseas?

1. Research your destination thoroughly. 

Go somewhere that you will both enjoy. Talk and dream together. Where would you like to go together? What do you want to see and experience? Do you know the local customs? What’s the climate like? Do you need any vaccines to travel there? Do you need a visa and if so, what’s the process and cost? What currency does the country use? Before traveling we always call our credit card company to let them know the dates and the countries we will be visiting.  (Some credit card companies don’t require this but it’s always good to call just in case.)  If possible, we try to get a small amount of local currency from our bank before we leave the United States. 

2. Pack wisely. 

Our rule is we take one outfit for weather much cooler than we anticipate and one outfit for weather much warmer than we expect.  That way we’re prepared for a heat or cool wave. Several years ago we traveled and I (Heidi) didn’t do this.  I ended up having to purchase a winter coat in Romania – fortunately, it was only $20 USD. Now we take a packable coat and/or down vest that we can layer. Also remember to pack cold and diarrhea medicine along with some Tylenol. If we are traveling to a place where we can’t drink the water we use Larq water bottles since they purify your water using UV-C to remove 99.9% of harmful bacteria. When traveling overseas another consideration is the electricity usage in the country you’re visiting. You may need to purchase electronics with worldwide voltage and use an adapter or use a converter. When purchasing adapters we like the ones with the plug type or country clearly listed on the adapter.

3. Stay in a hotel that serves breakfast. 

Most European hotels offer a huge breakfast with cheese, meat, cereal, fruit, eggs, salad, rolls, juice, etc. We’ll eat a hearty breakfast before heading out. By doing this you may be able to go light on lunch or skip it altogether. Then eat a big dinner after sightseeing all day. We love to go to local groceries and buy snacks (or chocolate). Sometimes we may get something from the grocery’s deli and eat dinner in our hotel room. It’s relaxing and we have saved a lot of money.

4. Think outside the box.

You will get a better deal on your trip if your dates are flexible.  Also try to travel in the off season when prices are lower. Check the websites of different airlines, Expedia (or a similar company), and even group tours. One tip – let’s say you want to go to Brussels, Belgium, and the tickets are very expensive. Consider flying into Paris and then taking a train to Brussels. Creative planning like that may save you a ton of money. Often tickets are much less expensive from one European city to another European destination than from the US to your final destination in Europe.

5. Save for your trip

We know couples who have gone into debt to take a trip. In the end this may cost them 30-50% more than the cost of the original trip plus they are making payments for months after their vacation is over! Save for your trip, pay cash, and return home without the stress of debt from your vacation.  (If we use a credit card on our trip we pay the balance off as soon as we return home.) If you’d like some additional ideas to save money traveling, including in the United States, check our article here. Then start saving for your next overseas adventure as you build your marriage.