Women and the art of travel planning

Rhea Claire Madarang

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A study shows that among traveling couples, women call the shots

WOMEN TAKE CHARGE. When it comes to travel planning, women are more meticulous

MANILA, Philippines – When it comes to traveling as a couple, the woman naturally takes the lead in planning.

A study conducted by global flight comparison site Skyscanner among 1,000 international travelers revealed that 91% of the women did most of the research. One-third of the men claimed their partner was better at travel planning and found better deals. One in 10, meanwhile, admitted it was because they were too lazy to do their own research.

Both the men (95%) and women (97%) were perfectly happy with this travel planning setup. Only 24% of the women felt confident letting their partner make all trip decisions.

She says, he says

WOMAN IN CHARGE, BUT MAN HAS SAY. While Liz Argulla does most of the travel planning, she asks for her boyfriend Evan Asuncion’s feedback. Photo courtesy of Liz Argulla

While not all Filipino couples would say the study’s findings apply to them, there are those who can relate, like traveler Liz Argulla. Liz says she is more particular with travel planning details than her boyfriend, Evan Asuncion. She researches on their destination, draws up the itinerary and comes up with backup plans in case of mishaps.

But Evan is not totally left in the dark, either. “His inputs are also considered and what I do should always be approved by him, too,” Liz explains to Rappler. When she is too busy to research, however, she asks Evan to do it, but she “reviews it and does the final touches.”

Liz admits to being meticulous on other trip planning aspects as well. “I always, always have a checklist of things to pack,” she says pointedly. “And I’m the one who always brings the small stuff like the medicines and the first aid kit.”

Equality in travel

EQUAL GROUND. Mountaineers and rock climbers Sheilamei Abellanoza and Gian Carlo Jubela divide the planning tasks for their outdoor and backpacking adventures. Photo courtesy of Gian Carlo Jubela

There are couples like Sheilamei Abellanoza and Gian Carlo Jubela who are equally involved in travel planning. Both are seasoned outdoor adventurers who have come up with an efficient division of trip planning tasks. 

For mountaineering adventures, it is Gian who does majority of the research and pre-climb preparations, and Sheilamei just reviews the plan for any possible problems or concerns.

For backpacking adventures, their roles reverse, with Sheilamei at the helm and Gian reviewing the travel plans.

The couple also uses their schedules to their advantage. Since Sheilamei works at night, she is the one who looks out for airline seat sale promos, which are usually launched during midnight.

SWEET SPOT. Long-term travelers Gay and Shervin Emami have found the travel planning setup that works for them. Photo courtesy of Gay Mitra-Emami

Traveling long-term also helps equalize the tasks, as one partner may not be able to do the planning all the time.

Gay Mitra-Emami, who traveled around the world for over 9 months with her husband Shervin and their then 9-month-old daughter Luna, says that when it comes to trip planning, it is her husband who researches on transportation options while she researches on places to visit and accommodation options.

Then they share their research with each other and come up with a plan.

Gay does more research than Shervin “by a very slim margin.” She says she has more time to do so as she is a freelancer while her husband has a full-time job.

Couple travel tips 

To ensure a hassle-free travel planning and travel experience, the couples above advise the following:

1. Communicate and agree on the itinerary and other details

Whether only one or both of you do the travel planning, it is important that you agree on trip details, especially on budget. In the same study among international travelers, one in every 10 respondents admitted that they argue over trip budget.

2. Compromise

Evan wanted to go whitewater rafting in Davao, but at P2,000, Liz found it too expensive.

Liz suggested they go river tubing instead. At only P450, the couple was still able to have a fun water adventure without exceeding their budget.

3. Draft an itinerary of activities you will both enjoy 

While Gay’s husband Shervin prefers the outdoors, Gay likes exploring a balance between the outdoors and man-made historical sights. “So sometimes one of us could be a drag in one of the tours,” she relates.

She says that ideally, when traveling together, couples should do activities they both enjoy. If not, a close compromise is that they try each other’s preferred activity.  

You may also choose to have some time apart during your travels to each do your own thing, as what this traveling couple does:  


Lady sitting on the beach photo from Shutterstock

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Rhea Claire Madarang

Claire Madarang is a traveler, writer, biodiversity communications practitioner, and facilitator of nature play activities. Follow her adventures, travel tips, and reflections on her blog Traveling Light and on her Instagram