Help: my partner doesn’t want to go travelling

Lots of readers write to me for advice and a lot of the time they have some reason why it’s difficult for them to go travelling – and one I get asked quite often is what to do if their husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t share their wanderlust. I bet you can already guess what my answer is: go anyway! But if your partner doesn’t want to go travelling then I do have a few tips on how to manage this so that you can enjoy your trip and your partner doesn’t want to disown you!

What if my partner never wants to go travelling?

I heard recently from a reader who said her husband was actually not at all interested in travelling, but he didn’t object to her going somewhere. But she was pretty concerned about the idea of going alone (and perhaps, reading between the lines, felt a bit guilty about leaving him home alone). (If this sounds like you then I highly recommend reading my superwoman traveller series which should help you feel more inspired about travelling solo.)

My partner doesn't want to come travelling: take a friend instead

On this trip I took a friend instead: Tatiana and I in Cornwall

I’ve never actually had a partner who didn’t want to travel, but sometimes one who couldn’t, and of course, that didn’t stop me! I came up with various solutions. Sometimes I travelled solo, especially if part of my trip involved visiting friends – like a trip to Kiel in northern Germany when I was living in the south. At other times I met up with friends to go travelling, like on a trip to Cornwall with a friend from Slovakia. I don’t think it’s my style but another option, of course, is to join some kind of tour (one day I’ll take one just to check that I truly dislike them – although I think small ones in certain destinations could be OK!).

What if my partner has a job that makes it difficult to go travelling?

The classic example here is a partner who travels so much for work that you either can’t figure out when you could possibly fit in your own trip, plus once they get home they don’t want to set foot on another plane until they absolutely have to! Some of the answers above will help here: go without them, if they don’t mind, for example – but better still would be to figure out a way to combine their travel for work with some travel for fun.

I quite like having my destination somewhat randomly decided – so find some time when your partner is on a trip but could then fit in some time off before returning home, and fly over to meet them, or meet up in a nearby destination if their business trip is somewhere less than exciting.

What if my partner won’t commit to come travelling?

This one’s happened to me a couple of times in recent years, because my husband’s work and study commitments have meant he’s not been sure until the last minute whether or not he can come on a trip that we are planning. If I always waited until he decided yay or nay, then this travel blog would be looking a bit bare.

When it came to our trip to Europe last year, I actually had to plan the trip as if it was just my son and I going – it was a time-sensitive trip because we wanted to visit our friends during their six-month stint on Inis Meain and if I remember rightly, we booked a ticket for my husband knowing that if he wasn’t able to come, it would be because he had just started a new (better paying) job and so it would be worth the cancellation fee – a few weeks before we left he decided he could come so we all went together.

Partner does not want to travel

My husband couldn’t get time off work so my son and I joined friends in Penang without him (sorry!)

On the other hand, we had been talking about going to Penang for a couple of years, to coincide with a time when our friends would be staying there – this time, I booked just for my son and I, with the option to book a last-minute fare if it looked like my husband was able to take time off work, but he wasn’t. (All that turned out for the best: my friend was there alone with her son at that time, so we had lots of mum talk and lots of three-year-old boy playdates!)

What if my partner wants me to stay home?

Hmm. Tough one. I guess for me, travel is such an important part of my life (even if I don’t count the blog aspect) that I wouldn’t want to be with someone who was anti-travel enough that they didn’t want me to travel at all. Travel compatibility is an important relationship factor for me!

What would you do if your partner doesn’t want to go travelling?

Have you had this issue – and how did you resolve it? Travel without your partner, or pick a destination that suits their plans, or stay home? Leave your advice in the comments so all my readers with this question can get the full advice – thanks!

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