Division of Labor – Who Does What When You Travel as a Couple?

Kathryn and I are trying to figure out our division of labor now that we’re embarking on life as digital nomads.

Asking around, it seems like other traveling couples either

(1) have one person that does all the trip research/planning/organization, or

(2) each partner has responsibilities they take care of, and these stay the same each time the couple take a trip.

Prior to embarking on a life of travel, I’ve been the one who has made all our travel arrangements and Kathryn has picked up the slack in other areas of our lives together (and takes care of washing my dirty undies in hotel bathrooms while we’re on the road, lol!).

Now that we’re going to be traveling more frequently, it makes sense that we both figure out our strengths when it comes to trip prep and staying organized on the road.

Here are a few things we’ve decided on so far. If you travel with a partner, I’d love to know what you’ve figured out that works for you? Please tell us your tips in the comments! (or your complaints about what your partner doesn’t do!)

What’s Kathryn is good at –

– Keeping track of income and expenses.

– When we need to find an apartment, monitoring craigslist and making a short list.

– Keeping the apartment neat and clean.

– Keeping track of travel documents and itinerary e.g., sending flight and car rental confirmations to Trip It.

– Packing.

– Washing.

– Keeping our money secure.

What Kate is good at -

– Processing the apartment short list and taking it from there (interviewing with the owner/lease holder via Skype and negotiating).

– Researching what a good value apartment costs in a particular location and deciding on a budget for each destination.

– Figuring out SIM card options and taking care of this.

– Finding the cheapest flights.

– Researching the best transport options for a location e.g., getting from the airport, public transport, car rentals.

What’s your division of labor when you’re planning a trip and when you’re on the road?

24 Responses to Division of Labor – Who Does What When You Travel as a Couple?

  1. I do everything, he agrees haha… Or presses the button cause I get nervous lol

  2. i think it’s important when each person works to their strengths!

  3. we do what we’re each best at – for me, flights, planning. on the ground, my husband is great at logistics.

  4. I usually travel alone so really can’t comment except to say, I’m not washing anyone elses undies. LOL

  5. I might need to start thinking about this a little more in depth. So far, I’ve been the dreamer and the doer behind our travels… planning, researching, booking etc. On past shorter vacations, my boyfriend has been the one that makes sure my head is one straight (and that I’ve remembered all my belongings) when I get too excited. He was also the one to stay calm and deal with airport officials when I got food poisoning and offloaded from our flight home from Bangkok.

    Be interesting to see what our roles are once we’re on the road! All part of the adventure, hey! :)

  6. I’m happy with our division of labour. I keep the money, documents, luggage and us safe, whilst figure out what we’re looking at. H takes the amazing pictures and drives far better than me!

  7. Well my husband loves the thrill of finding the best flight deal so he takes care of bookings. I usually do the planning of where to go, what to see, where to stay etc. But we’re both more than capable of doing all the different aspects ourselves, so it’s nice to have two heads to figure stuff out rather than just one – especially when we’re jetlagged and exhausted!

  8. We like to both have input on everything and share decisions as much as possible. Two heads are better than one!

  9. It’s a shame I don’t get to travel with my partner more often. I’m good with the airline searching, hotel or apartment finding and all of the general research (he knows I love it and leaves it all to me!), whereas he is a great navigator and always remembers to find me some ice cream or sweets – that’s the only piece of research he contributes! He’s also very level-headed and conscious of what we’re spending.

  10. I handle lodging and my husband does transportation, which as Jessie Voigts pointed out, is definitely going with our strengths. Doesn’t work so well when we switch ;)

  11. I handle lodging and my husband does transportation.

  12. Reena Ganga – i agree – it makes things less likely to be forgotten!

  13. Larissa Milne – i love that.

  14. It sounds like you’ve figured out a pretty good system – each of you do what you’re best at!

  15. Like Beth Whitman said, sounds like you two have already got this figured out. Good for you!

  16. sounds like you make a good traveling combo. i traveled for 30 days with Leah in the fall of 2012. we definitely had a bit of a divide and conquer strategy even if it was sort of unplanned. beforehand, i made a list of things i wanted to do in the places we were visiting. i reached out to various contacts & made arrangements. while traveling, Leah took over communications. meanwhile, i was our laundress & transport booker while on the go. she handled a lot of our joint FB page updates. it all worked out pretty good. we just paid for things down the middle.

  17. It sounds like you’ve got everything covered — and amicably!

  18. We’ve definitely found that splitting tasks up as we travel is the way to go. It makes decision making a heck of a lot easier when the “who does what” is pre-determined.

  19. BEFORE DEPARTURE:

    – My wife researches apartments (we tend to stay in apartments rather than hotels).

    – I research transportation, buy tickets, and make any hotel or apartment reservations that may be needed.

    WHILE TRAVELING:

    – I do most of the note-taking, writing, and editing.

    – My wife takes most of the photos.

    – We’re mostly responsible for our own laundry.

    – I buy baked goods, my wife buys produce.

    – Any other tasks get divvied up in the same way as they would at home.

  20. Our usual system is… I do all the planning, researching, booking, transport, erm, everything really, but I love it that way.
    My partner earns the dollars so we can do it, does pretty much all the cooking – home or away, most of the washing, and keeps me grounded – so we’re not a bad team, really.

  21. Jenna Francisco

    My husband and I do this easily, which is great because it causes few freakouts, even when traveling with our kids. definitely something to consider, though, for any couple before hitting the road.

  22. My husband and I fell into this sort of division of labor. I do all the planning until we get there. Then he takes over with his little guidebook in hand and tells me all about the places we are visiting. After we head kids he walks with them while I run around like made trying to get photos of everyone and everything. I think he actually likes traveling with kids more. It gives him an excuse to slow down and leave me to my madness ;-)

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