Active Travel, Road Trips, Travel Narrative

Just the Two of Us: Defining DINK Travel

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When I write about travel, I have a favorite word (in fact, I’ve used it three times so far).  That word: I.  I write about my travels, things that I do, my experiences.  To quote the Beatles, this site has been very I, I, me, me, mine.  This site could really be called: The Suitcase Scholar–A Personal Pronoun Travel Blog.

But, unbeknownst to many readers, I have a husband.  And while I mostly travel without him, sometimes I travel with him.  And by ‘sometimes’ I mean ‘maybe four times a year’.  Which, when you think about it, is more than most people travel with their significant others.

I’ve excluded my husband from most of my posts because I did not want the inclusion of said husband to alienate anyone.  Perhaps you are traveling solo (if so, hurray!  Solo travel is great!)  Perhaps you are traveling with your family, either immediate or extended.  I don’t want this to be a couples travel blog–because, well, it isn’t.

But what is it, then?

This is what a child-free marriage looks like.  Oh the horror.

This is what a child-free marriage looks like. Oh the horror.

Lately, I’ve been feeling a little lost.  I do not fit comfortably in a demographic, and this becomes all the more clear when attempting to plan a trip–a legitimate vacation–with my husband.  You see, we are too old for the backpacker party scene (I need my own bathroom and, well, my hangovers are more painful than they once were).  We are too young for the guided tour groups.  And (here’s the rub) we don’t have children, so we aren’t spending our summers at the Jersey Shore and we aren’t saving up for a big Disney World trip (though, um, I do really like Disney World and, um, we are going there in a couple months.  Do you know what makes going to Disney cheaper?  Not having kids.) 

We are not parents, we are not retirees, and we are not pre- or just-post-college students.  But we are something: we are DINKs.

What is a DINK, you ask?  Well, it is what we are.  The acronym stands for ‘dual income, no kids’, though the connotation also implies that said dual income couple is of the age where their friends have small children, but they don’t.   I assure you, that is fully what we are.  Huzzah–I finally have a group to which I can belong!  At least in theory (if anyone knows any other DINKs in the northeast, please introduce us.  Because the one thing DINKs do poorly is organize.  No play dates to unite us, after all).

So–what does a DINK trip look like?  Well, that’s easy–it looks like every trip we’ve ever taken together.  DINK travels often include some (or all) of the following:

  • Middle of the road lodging–funky motels and bargain boutique ‘splurges’–that are clean, well-located, and budget-friendly-ish (more expensive than a campsite or a hostel, but not the Ritz, either.  Unless your dual incomes are higher than ours are.  Which may not be difficult to achieve!)
  • Multiple destinations per trip.  Without kids, being in the car is more of a pleasure than a pain.  Are we there yet?  Who cares!
  • A mix of outdoor activities and modern comforts.  Say, a nice dinner on a restaurant patio after a day of hiking.  See also: Bar Harbor.
  • A lot of brewery and winery visits–note our location in the header photo, above. (ok, maybe that’s just us…)
  • Extended time spent taking photos (ok, maybe that’s just me…)
  • A few historical or artistic sites thrown in for good measure.  Bonus points if they are also in beautiful natural settings and/or are photogenic.
  • A focus on time spent together.  Because we both work, when we get away together, we are getting away to be together.  Can I get an ‘awwww’?

So–that’s my definition of a DINK trip.  And our next DINK trip starts…right now!  As I write this, we are in two very different parts of the same plane flying to Denver (sorry, dear–I got upgraded and you did not.  I’ll wave to you while you pass by on your way to seat 27D–no, wait, I’ll raise my glass of wine!)

Our next great adventure–which really is starting right now–is a two-week trip through a whole lot of Colorado and a little bit of Utah.  I’ll be documenting the trip on Instagram as well as here on The Suitcase Scholar–sixteen days, five national parks, and one 30-something couple (ok, well my husband is 40.  But I’ll make him 30 something because 30- and 40-something is too long of a phrase.  And I don’t want to be dragged into his decade just yet!)  What does a life without children (but with lots of travel) look like?  Tune it to find out.  I’m thinking there will be a lot of photos of mountains and likely far too much beer.  I can’t wait!

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