There’s no question that retreats or small group travel attracts more women than men and couples are not necessarily the norm.
I understand the dilemmas for couples….. there’s the fear of being outnumbered by singles, the men are terrified they’ll be the token male, whilst women, ever the peace makers, are concerned that bringing along their partner ‘will change the group dynamic’. Over thinking every possibility goes on.
But I’m always surprised when this question turns up in my inbox, that people feel the need to ask permission.
What gets lost in the overthinking is that regardless of single/couple/group status there will be like-minded people from around the world and that’s what makes small group travel so interesting. New people in your world.
‘It’s the friends you meet on the path that make the journey worthwhile.’
Lynda & Chris joined us on a Sharing Timor-Leste trip. Whilst they are very well travelled, it was their first group trip as a couple. I can assure you their “couple status” did not upset the group dynamic. Here’s their thoughts….
Does it bother you possibly being the only couple on a trip full of singles?
Not at all. We/I are comfortable to mix in with the group, and are very attracted to active holidays. Love the hiking and new friendships that are developed.
Why do you think guys are typically outnumbered on group trips/retreats.
The unknown of traveling on your own and if you can do it! Advertising is often targeted at “women groups”. Also limited opportunities to travel alone when there are other commitments competing with “holiday or non work time” eg. families, work, sport etc.
Does travelling as a couple require daily negotiation such as … “if you do the mountain climb with me, I’ll give yoga a go with you”.
Not for us! I felt very comfortable heading off to a yoga session on the beach as Chris lay in the hammock! No need for negotiating.
Do you have a ‘no way, I’m not doing that’ list when looking at trips with Chris?
Yes, not at all keen on strict itineraries that do not allow for “self explore” time eg. time out or just simply enjoying the surroundings. Anything involving a cruise is a no way! Unreasonable costs that are associated with overly luxurious accommodation and food. Happy to eat what the locals eat and enjoy simple clean accommodation.
What do you love most about travelling as a couple on a group program?
Enjoying the wow moments together, like climbing to the top of the mountain, trekking through the island on paths that the locals wonder on, and of course watching the sunrise with goats looking at you!
Do you also do girls only trips/retreats? If so, why?
Only team sport related activities, I’m more attracted to people of either sex that have similar interests.
What advice would you give to your girlfriends who can’t get their guys to travel with them on a group trip/retreat?
Go on the retreat and embrace the experience. No phone / internet contact is up there with the best of the detoxes!
Typically it’s not easy to get guys to join a group trip/retreat. What do you look for before committing?
Sharing Timor-Leste was the first group trip I had been on and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Was pleased to go along knowing it was going to be an active trip filled with new experiences and was because of this I was keen to join.
Does it bother you possibly being outnumbered by women? What are the pros and cons?
Not bothered by being outnumbered by women. Have become very used to it in my working life. Having said that though it was nice having other men on the trip. I don’t think I would want to be the only male.
Do you expect everyone to be at the same level of fitness/strength as yourself? How do you handle it if the pace is way slower than your capability?
Being an active holiday I think most attending would have reasonable level of fitness and willingness to give the various activities a go. I don’t mind a slower pace as it gives more time to take in a new environment.
Do you have to deal with guilt or pressure from your mates about the amount of time you take out for yourself? What do they say?
I haven’t experienced any guilt/pressure from mates, most are very interested to hear of our adventures! I do need a bit of balance sometimes though and really enjoy time away with my mates. Generally don’t venture more than a few hours from home.
My big tip for couples….. Imagine relinquishing the roles of parent, taxi, cleaner, boss, negotiator, cook, calendar chief etc. The daily details are taken care of so you get to slip back into the role of being friends.
I believe every group comes together for a reason… singles, couples, family, friends, strangers, it doesn’t matter. Everyone has a story. Everyone counts.
I hope this helps stop the over thinking….
Join the next Sharing Timor-Leste trip, experience it for yourself.