If you ever were in a long-distance relationship, you probably know how challenging that can be. Not being able to enjoy the presence of your loved one every day, being surrounded by people constantly telling you how your relationship is not leading anywhere and devoting the time and effort to keep in touch with a person thousands of miles away can be really frustrating. On top of that, it’s really difficult from a financial aspect, to meet your partner regularly, especially if they live on another continent.
However, sometimes it’s the lack of someone that’s more powerful than anyone else’s presence. And when you feel that, you know that tackling all obstacles that you’ll come across in your long-distance relationship are worth the effort. This article is about perhaps the most difficult obstacle: the financial aspect of a long-distance relationship. I will share a few things I learned from my personal experience and try to give an answer to the question “How can you afford the costs of a long-distance relationship”?
1. Plan Way Ahead
It’s a well-known fact that planning a trip ahead of time can save you both, time and money. You need to start by choosing a time that suits both of your schedules and start looking for flight deals around 30-40 days in advance. Of course, avoid flying on the weekends or for international holidays because there are more people flying those days and ticket fares get more costly. Planning ahead and booking in advance is important from a financial point of view but it’s also mentally rewarding because there are days when you just feel disappointed thinking that you’ll never see your partner again.
However, if you have everything arranged, you will have a clear date in your mind to remind you that you will see your loved one in x days. You can also emphasize this by sending a countdown gift to your partner. For example, last time I sent a jar with 40 jelly beans to my girlfriend when there were 40 days remaining before our next meeting. These small gestures build anticipation for your next meeting and are there to remind you that you will meet your other half very soon.
2. Coordinate Your Paid Leaves
If the first step required a planning of 2 months in advance, this one requires planning a whole year in advance. Make sure to coordinate your paid annual leave days throughout the year around the same time. This way you will both be getting paid while going for a vacation with your partner. This isn’t always simple to do because there are other employees in your company that have plans too and they want to use their paid leave during a specific time period.
That’s why you should choose which days you want to use for your paid leave as soon as you can. Additionally, if you’re planning to take a flight home during the weekend, calculate whether it would be more feasible to take a couple of more days of unpaid leave or pay extra for a weekend flight ticket.
3. Share Expenses and Don’t Avoid Talking About Money
This one is a no-brainer: sharing the expenses makes traveling more feasible for the both of you. However, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Vicious arguments can occur after money-related misunderstandings. That’s why it’s important to keep the communication regarding finances open and honest.
If you’re not feeling comfortable covering most of the expenses, let your partner know in advance. If there are some things which you know you can’t afford or you feel like you are footing the bill much more often than you should, be honest with your partner and tell them about it before it becomes a bigger issue.
Related: How to have a luxury on a budget
4. Get Those Free Miles
I can talk about many things but getting the free miles is the number one way to save money by traveling. If you’re in a long distance relationship, you will probably travel often to meet your partner and like you probably know already, getting an airline credit card allows you to earn miles with every purchased ticket.
If you are planning to share the expenses with your partner, you can use the credit card for purchasing the tickets for the both of you and let the other person know what their share of the bill is. I have been using my credit card for almost three years and got 3 free international flights with it. In case you’re wondering, I’m getting roughly $300 with every 40,000 miles. While we’re at it, you can also check out my article about things about long-term travel no one is telling you.
5. Should You Meet Halfway There?
Many people believe that if you’re both living on opposite sides of the world, most often meeting halfway in between is the most budget-friendly option for the both of you. However, from my personal experience, I can say that this is just not true. The most budget-friendly option is for one of you to visit the other. This way, only one of you has to fly, you don’t have to eat out every day, and you save on accommodation too.
Meeting halfway there is also a great experience and something you should definitely do whenever you get the chance but keep in mind that visiting your partner is always going to be the more financially viable option.
Finally, I have to advice all long-distance couples to talk about their future and assess the extent of the financial commitment that’s required in order to continue the relationship. This way, you will be able to see the effort and money spent as an investment for a better future and not an endless waste of money.