Why you should never bring a reluctant partner on holiday

Travelling with someone is the quickest way to get to know them. You see them at their best, at their worst and you see how they react under pressure. Now throw in the fact that you are on a hiking holiday and watch the drama unfold.

That’s what I am currently finding on my guided hiking tours. That one person is mad keen on hiking and drags along their husband/wife who isn’t so keen. After a few days when the blisters can no longer be ignored, the beach sections seem so long you think you’re walking the circumference of Australia and the idea of walking for another 3 days seems impossible the cracks in the relationship start to appear.

If you like hiking then chances are you know about blister management, you embrace the changing terrain and unpredictable weather as part of the walk and you appreciate the fauna and flora you pass through. So why drag along someone who doesn’t? I have a few theories on this –

Theory 1 –

True Love. What other reason could there possibly be for a husband/wife to accompany their partner on an 8 day hike when they have absolutely no interest. Sure they have been married for 20yrs and no longer need to impress each other but the fact they agreed to join the tour, train for the walk and then finish it – that’s love right there.

Theory 2 –

They are possessive and codependent. On the other end of the spectrum you have people doing it for the wrong reasons. They agree to do it because they don’t trust their husband/wife to go on tour without them and behave themselves. That makes for a long and exhausting 135km walk for everyone involved with that kind of negative energy.

Theory 3 –

FOMO. It affects people of all ages and not just the Gen Z kids. With thoughts like – “What if they have a good time?” and “What if this is the best trip ever?!” how could you not go with them.

Now don’t get me wrong, I see plenty of couples and friends on this walk who both share an interest for hiking and the outdoors in general. They are the ones who are ok with not walking together the entire time, are ok with talking to other people in the group but always come to dinner arm in arm and are generally a lot of fun to be around. They seem to bond over the experience and be better off as individuals and as a couple for it.

Then you have the still married husbands and wives who leave their spouse at home to do this trip. These people I find the most fascinating. As someone who is not married I can’t help but wonder – is their marriage so healthy, stable and secure that they can have seperate holidays or is it unhealthy and dysfunctional which is why they are now doing seperate holidays? The suspense…..

More often than not it sounds like their marriage is just fine. While I would never be so bold to actually ask, these people are usually quiet open about the fact their husband/wife likes to do other things or just plain doesn’t like hiking which is why they are here themselves. From what I have seen the dysfunctional marriages don’t do seperate holidays, they wait until they are divorced then start traveling and doing all the things they couldn’t do when married. Strange how that occurs but seems very common.

So back to the people dragging along their reluctant partner on holiday. Does either of them seem to enjoy the hiking holiday? From what I have seen, no. They spend their entire time pandering to their reluctant partner, removing themselves from the group environment or getting in trouble if they don’t and generally being resentful towards their spouse for all sorts of reasons.

I’m in no position to be handing out relationship advice and know there are all sorts of reasons to go on holiday with someone but having seen this a few times now – why?! Why would you do it to yourself and ruin a perfectly good hiking holiday by bringing someone who doesn’t want to be there? Before investing all that time and money – maybe choose something you are both interested in and save the hiking holidays for when you get a leave pass to go on your own.


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So have you ever agreed to go on a trip you weren’t that interested in? What was your reason for going? Let me know in the comments below.

Carry On,


I’m Anna Kernohan, an Adventure Consultant. I use my 17 years of travel experience and my background in Paramedics and Safety to provide professional advice and travel companion services to those wanting to travel but not in a tour group or alone. You’ll never have to worry about being alone in a foreign country again.

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