This article originally appeared on PopSugar.
If I learned anything from Lena Kaligaris, my favorite character in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, it's that a single trip can majorly change your life. Time and again in my personal experience this has proven true in a tangible way - perhaps most profoundly when it comes to romantic relationships. Travel has a way of bringing out the extremes in people, from the worst parts of their character to the absolute best. For this reason, traveling as a couple can be the ultimate test of a relationship; it helps couples discover the realest aspects of one another. Here are 15 other reasons why traveling as a couple should be a major priority in romantic relationships:
- It puts you both out of your comfort zone: If you're traveling somewhere new to both of you, the experience becomes extremely immersive. Sure, you can learn a lot about a boyfriend when he shows you around his hometown, but the true discoveries about his character will come when you're each out of your element! Whether it's a language barrier that you have to tackle together, a missed train in a foreign country, or a declined credit card when you're trying to make your way home, the challenges you'll experience together will be an amazing bonding experience.
- It gives you the chance to ask tough questions: Long drives in the car, airplane trips, train rides, hikes, and sailing excursions are a wonderful time to have deep discussions. Don't be afraid to ask him about his childhood, future goals, or past girlfriends during these moments!
- It's a great opportunity for compromise: Planning trips can be a polarizing experience; for example, you might discover that your boyfriend has a serious love of history museums that doesn't really allow for your desire to explore every used bookstore in the city. When situations like this arise, it's important that you and your significant other find a compromise that pleases both of you. It might mean skipping the museums and bookstores altogether for a riverboat ride, or perhaps mapping out a couple of bookstores to visit on the walk to the museum he's dying to see.
- It gives you insight into their preparation style: Observing your boyfriend as he plans, packs, and saves money for your trip together can give you a major peek into the way he handles important undertakings. If organizing a trip to the Grand Canyon is enough to make him frantic and irritable, how will he handle a wedding?
- You see them in their least flattering moments: There's nothing quite like the realization that your boyfriend doesn't allow food in his new car, enjoys tuning in to political talk radio on long stretches of road, and gets terrible indigestion after eating Taco Bell.
- You'll see how they really treat others: Ask any flight attendant, and they'll agree: traveling can bring out some people's shocking personality traits. The combination of exhausting jet-setting and culture shock can bring out some deeply hidden character flaws, so pay close attention to how he acts toward waiters, flight attendants, hotel guest service representatives, and other service personnel during your time on the road together.
- New experiences together trump old, tainted ones: You may have visited Tahiti with your ex, but the disastrous breakup definitely spoiled that memory. Traveling with your new significant other is a great way to leave negative experiences in the past and create new memories.
- Financial cooperation is an important lesson: If things are serious with your partner, traveling can be a wonderful way to practice the type of financial cooperation that is necessary for marriage and/or cohabitation. Setting a budget and sticking to it can be quite tough, so let this trip be a practice run for your life together!
- Traveling gets you out of your "couple bubble": It can be easy to get into a regular routine with your significant other, whether it's grabbing takeout every Wednesday or deciding on a Netflix movie every night. This has its benefits, but it's always healthy to break out of such routines every so often! Let travel be the game-changer, allowing you both a break from the everyday monotony that can become stifling at home.
- They might just surprise you: Did you know that your boyfriend speaks conversational Mandarin, or that he is well-versed in Thai folklore? These are the types of fun discoveries that can happen while abroad with your partner, and make traveling that much more exciting.
- It'll help tackle the "kids" question (and other important life decisions): You and your significant other may find that travel is something you deeply enjoy, and that you want to do more of it together. If that's the case, it is important to discuss life decisions that may hinder your travel goals, such as having kids or adopting a fourth cat.
- You'll probably argue, and that's not a bad thing: As awesome is traveling with a companion can be, it also has the potential to drive you crazy. You and your significant other may find yourselves griping during the trip, but you can use it as practice in problem-solving, communication, apologizing, and giving personal space!
- It's fun: The very best part of traveling with your partner is, of course, the incredible amounts of fun that you can have together. Seeing the world as a couple is an indescribable experience that can bond you unlike anything else, which is one of the most important reasons for you to travel with your significant other.