It was Valentine’s Day. And while most boyfriends get their girlfriends the branded bag she’s always wanted and a huge bouquet of flowers, mine got a single envelope. In it, however, was a pair of tickets to Taiwan. Despite being a slightly unconventional gift, I believe that the trip made our relationship as strong as it is today.

In the past year, my girlfriend and I have gone on a holiday together every two months. Through these holidays, we have learnt and grown so much together and can safely say that we know each other better than couples who have been together for years. Here are 5 reasons why travelling together made us an unbreakable couple:

Travelling Together as a Couple

1. You disconnect from the world and start connecting with each other

Selfie holding hands on a mountain

We live in such a fast-paced, career-centred society in Singapore that it’s truly hard to set out some time for yourself. You may be out on a lovely date but there’s usually a torrent of deadlines nagging at the back of your mind. How often do we see couples who seem more engaged with their phones than with each other?

Travelling together on romantic holidays breaks that routine. Being away from the internet helps us to actually connect and know each other better.

2. You both have a common goal

Together by the pool

We’re heading to Greece this February for a Valentine’s Day holiday, my girlfriend and I. While it’s scheduled for February, we’ve been looking forward to it since booking the trip last year. Since then, we’ve also gotten together to discuss the plans for accommodations, what we want to do, and went out to shop for clothes.

Travelling together is more than the trip itself: it encompasses the months of preparation prior to the trip. We plan our itinerary together, encourage each other to save more and give feedback to each other on what we can wear during the trip. Planning romantic breaks gives the couple a common goal to work towards.

3. You learn to compromise when travelling together

Messing around together on holiday

When we went to Australia, I wanted to get cheap accommodations. I felt that we were going to reach our place of accommodation really late and leave really early the day after, so there wasn’t any point in getting someplace more expensive. However, my girlfriend wanted to have a nicer accommodation for security and to ensure that we had a well-rested night of sleep. We ended up staying at a nice hotel during the last few days of our time in Perth, then booked motels when we drove out to Margaret River.

When you travel together, you learn to understand that the trip is neither yours nor hers alone, but for the both of you. You can’t just do what you want. You have to learn to see the bigger picture and find the sweet spot where both parties can enjoy the trip equally.

4. They spur you to go out of your comfort zone

Selfie together in front of the sea

In my opinion, the best experiences occur beyond our comfort zone. And because we are usually only in a country for a short while, we really only have that many chances to “seize the day”. When I went to Hong Kong before with my family, we visited the typical touristy attractions; Disneyland and Ocean Park. But I often hear of friends who go trekking in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do it when I travelled there with my family as my old parents couldn’t handle the slopes. So when I went over with my girlfriend, I suggested we trek the famous Dragon Back. She was more than game, and till today, Dragon Back is still one of the many things we look back on and smile.

Travelling together means you’ll always have someone to go beyond your comfort zone with. From skydiving expeditions to dressing up in Disneyland, it’s always nice to have a partner to do everything with you. It’s an encouraging hand on your shoulder in scenarios you would’ve avoided had you been travelling alone.

5. Building memories of a lifetime

Having a hug on the beach

I could describe to my girlfriend in vivid detail how steep the slope of Frenchman Peak was. I could tell her what it was like to drive 3 hours in pitch black darkness in Perth after sunset. How clear the water was at Lucky Bay, or how soft the sand felt on my feet. But the truth is, I can only tell her so much. Because unless she was there to experience it on her own, there’s no way for her to feel what I had felt. Travelling together allows you to make precious memories that both of you will look back on for many years.

In my own experiences, trips have given me happiness way past their expiration date. You feel happy the months before the trip, during the trip, and years after the trip. Let your significant other know how much you care about them this Valentine’s Day, and why not buy a pair of plane tickets to secretly slip into their card? Years from now, you might tell your children about the time their parents got lost in a foreign land and how they got out of it.