The “Travel Test”: Before you administer it…

Travel Test: (noun) a trip that is taken fairly early in a relationship and designed to gauge the commitment level and compatibility of the two persons involved

Passing the Travel Test usually leads to a deeper relationship and greater trust. Failing the Travel Test signals the end of the relationship and often results in either one or both parties despising the other.

Whether he liked/knew it or not, every one of my boyfriends has been given the Travel Test. While most of them passed the Test enough for us to continue our relationship, one of them failed the Test so miserably that I had to flee Italy, undergo therapy, and ultimately move away to avoid further contact with him. With that experience alone, I wholeheartedly believe in the Travel Test, but there are some distinctions that need to be made if the Test is to serve as a true relationship gauge. Thus, here are a few tips BEFORE you embark on a journey with the possible yet untested love of your life:

  • The Relationship: Don’t hit the road with your partner unless you feel it’s worth testing. Make sure the relationship is strong and healthy beforehand, as traveling with a loved one always puts a strain on the relationship no matter how solid it is.
  • Timing: The Test should be administered in the early stages of the relationship — around 6-12 months after it started. At this point in the relationship, you should know your partner well enough to plan and prepare accordingly.
  • Location and Length: If this is your first Test or if your partner is not well-traveled, it might be best to go somewhere close by, familiar, or technically “easy” and to travel for no longer than 2 weeks. If you’re both travel pros and want to truly test each other, then go for broke — make the trip exotic and long.
  • Plan ahead for road bumps: It’s always best to have an exit strategy even if you’re certain things will work out while you’re on the road. Come to some sort of agreement before you go as to how you’re going to handle one another if things fall apart while you’re on the trip. This will be one less conversation you will want or need to have later.

I believe avid and frequent travelers must administer the Travel Test upon a loved one as it is an integral part of the relationship process. I know for myself that, at some point, anyone who is interested in me will have to, in addition to tolerating my beloved pug Iris, endure a boot camp-like trip to prove his commitment and compatibility with me. It’s just a hard reality for this particular globetrotter.