Thinking of tackling your next big adventure and walking the Camino de Santiago with your partner? Before you head out on the trails together, here are a few tips for walking the Camino as a couple.
1/ Agree What You Both Hope to Achieve from walking the Camino as a couple
Walking the Camino de Santiago is a life-affirming experience for some. For others, it might just be a physical challenge or a bit of fun. We all have a personal reason for choosing to walk the Camino de Santiago.
When you walk together as a couple, it’s important to understand each other’s individual motivation as well as knowing what you both want to achieve together. Knowing this, means that you can check in with each other to ensure you’re getting what you need and want.
2/ Discuss Accommodation Options for couples on the Camino
On the Camino de Santiago there are multiple accommodation options. Some legs of the journey have both Municipal Albergues, and Private Albergues. Municipal tend to be more basic than the private, but both options are essentially a bunk bed in a dormitory and shared space. Then there are Pensions, which have private rooms and are mostly still fairly basic. All the way up to, private hotels.
For couples, staying only in dormitories for a month can be a challenge. For me, personal space was important, so we agreed in advance to stay in dorm rooms about 70% of the time and private rooms for 30%. But at various points throughout the month, this balance changed. But every day, we discussed it and made sure we were both happy with the choice.
3/ Set a Budget
This is important for anyone walking the Camino de Santiago. You want to be able to enjoy each day without stressing that you are spending too much money. As a couple, even more so.
Check in advance that you have a similar idea of how much money you are willing to spend. But also, how you want to spend that money. Is it more important to eat out every day? Or spend money on better accommodation?
4/ Understand How Much You Both Want To Socialise
Particularly if one of you is more introverted than the other, it can be a good idea to set expectations. Consider whether you want to walk with other Pilgrims during the day or just socialise in the evening? Do you want to go with the flow? Or do you own thing? One of you might one to read in the evening, whilst the other spends all night chatting to others.
5/ Understand That Your Experience Might be Different to Solo Travellers
Walking together is really special. But, there might be times when you feel a pang of jealously that you perhaps aren’t as free to take your own path, as solo travellers. That said, you also have a companion with you every step of the way acting as your number one cheerleader.
If you want to know what to expect from the Camino – check out this article on types of people, you’ll meet.
6/ Find A Walking Pace To Suit You Both as a couple on the Camino
This one is pretty important! Make sure you both have a rough idea of how much ground you want to cover each day – if one of you is used to walking 30km a day and other has never walked more than 5km, then you need to find a middle ground. If one partner is taller, or fitter, then the pace you naturally walk will be different.
To avoid injury, frustration or arguments, consider how you’ll manage one of you walking quicker than the other. Will the faster walker drop back to the slower pace? Or if somebody is less fit, do they need to put in more training before you go?
7/ Or, Consider Walking Separately Sometimes
This might sound dramatic, but you could consider walking separately some of the time. This might be particularly helpful if one of you is much quicker than the other. We walk at a similar pace, so tended to stick together, but I met other couples who sometimes walked a few hours separately and met up for lunch.
8/ Give Each Other Time to Reflect
All couples may not need this, but it’s something that we found really positive. We gave each other a little time during the day to listen to a Podcast, or audio book. We also found time separately in the evening to reflect on our days in our own ways – writing a journal for me!
9/ Understand Your Argument Trigger Points as a couple on the Camino
Ooof, this is big! When you’re walking the Camino, sometimes (often) you will be hungry and tired! We had some almighty arguments, mostly driven by me being HANGRY. Once I’d realised this was the cause, things got better.
You might be one of those couples who argues very little, but I feel like even the most sedate pairs will argue at least once during the Camino.
10/Embrace the Adventure and Have Fun
Being together and walking 24 7? Utter madness. But also, utterly fun! And it may not be something you ever get to do again. Embrace it!
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