Whether you’re single or committed, you’ll need to consider many things your relationship status once you decide to move abroad — especially if you’re part of a couple traveling. It might be a week long trip to Ghana, a three month summer internship in Italy, a year of teaching English in South Korea, or a complete relocation to be an expat worker abroad, but no matter your travel destination and duration, your significant other, or lack thereof, will have an impact on your time dating abroad.
Here are the main do’s and don’ts that will help you get a handle on what may lie ahead for a couple traveling, whether apart, together, or after you call it quits:
If you’re traveling with your boo:
Nothing is more exciting than going abroad than going abroad with your boo! As a couple traveling, you’ll get to experience beautiful moments together while learning about the culture of a new country. Take care to appreciate each other, as it’s easy to get swept away with challenges sometimes.
DON’T let the exhaustion of traveling, dealing with language barriers, and confusion with navigating affect your moods to a degree that you take out any frustrations on your boo. Think of this time as full of adventurous dates for the both of you.
DO try to work together to overcome obstacles of traveling abroad. Each of you has knowledge that could fill in the gaps — maybe one of you is good with asking locals for directions and the other is good at money matters.
DON’T forget to set aside some time for yourself. Sometimes being with someone 24/7 can be a bit exhausting, so go for a run, read in a cafe, or explore places by yourself every now and then (as long as it’s safe).
DO take tons of pictures together! Sometimes the two of you will get so caught up in the fun that you’re both having, that you’ll forget. You’ll want to capture those #insta moments to look back on over the years.
If your boo is coming to visit:
No more “x’s” left on the calendar, your boo is on the way! You might be frantically cleaning your room for your boo’s visit (what is it with roommates leaving their shoes everywhere?), and you’re overwhelmed with excitement and can’t think straight. Be sure to keep a few things in mind to make sure the visit will be one to always remember.
DON’T forget to inform your boo of the different customs between the two countries. Your boo might make a couple blunders here and there, but sometimes that’s half of the fun of the visit.
DO prepare a list of all the things you want to do and see ahead of time with your boo. As a couple traveling, you’ll want to make every moment count with each other, so do some of the decision making ahead of time.
DON’T assume your boo is checking out the locals in a flirtatious way. Beautiful people are everywhere in the world, and observing their behaviors is usually innocent (and fun).
DO try to make as much time for your boo as you can. You might be busy with volunteering, studying, or teaching, so see if your boo can come along to join you in the action!
When you have a boo back home:
Long-distance relationships are hard, but an international long distance relationship? Dating abroad will be challenging. While you’ll love being in another country, you’ll have moments where you’re homesick for your boo’s love. Just remember that your time abroad will be worth it. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?
DON’T be jealous. If you trust them before you go, there’s probably not a reason not to once you leave.
DO make time to call and say hi. International travel can make communication difficult, from pay-phone operators that speak another language to the frighteningly high phone bill you’d have if you turned on your cell, but taking the time and making the effort to find a way to check in can work wonders.
DON’T rub it in their face. Sure, you’re traveling the world, experiencing new cultures, and having the time of your life, but you don’t have to brag too much.
DO bring back a souvenir. You know you’ll buy yourself something special, so get them something special too.
If you’re single and ready to mingle:
So, you’re in another country, you’re longing to wear your dressy outfits, and you’re ready to dive into dating abroad. Hold up there, partner. Before you take the plunge of dating someone in another country, you’ll need to go in with the right mindset.
DON’T assume that dating works the same in country “X.” Many cultures have different customs and behavior when it comes to dating. Make sure you’re up to speed before you drop your favorite pickup line.
DO protect yourself. It doesn’t matter where in the world you are, you’re still at risk of being taken advantage of or being exposed to unpleasant events (or diseases).
DON’T wear clothes that are too revealing (this one is for girls). It is a common stereotype that American women are promiscuous and showing too much skin accentuates this perception.
DO have fun. While there are cultural differences and the unknown to consider, if you find a great match, don’t be afraid to have a good time!
There you have it. Dating abroad, whether you’re meeting someone new, holding on to whoever you’re leaving at home, or doing the couple-traveling-thing, doesn’t have to be scary. Keep a level head, be observant, and you’ll know what’s right and wrong.