These Delta Pilots Have Been Married for 10 Years — Here Are Their Secrets to Traveling As a Couple

They found love at 36,000 feet, and now they're sharing their best tips for traveling as a couple.

Husband and wife Delta Airlines pilots in the airplane cockpit

Courtesy of Delta Air Lines

Brent and Kelly Knoblauch’s relationship started as most office romances do: The two bonded over shared interests, backgrounds, and similar workplace ambitions. However, what made their bond perhaps a little more unique than most is the fact that this budding kinship took place 30,000 feet in the air.

“We met in 2010 as interns at Delta Air Lines. Our relationship quickly soared to new heights as our jobs gave us the ability to take spontaneous trips during our free time, and we were able to bond over experiencing new cultures,” the couple shared with Travel + Leisure. “We got married in 2013, and we credit our strong marriage in part to being able to pursue a shared dream as pilots, in addition to crossing off places on our travel list over the years together.” 

The duo has been to countless destinations together, picking up plenty of pointers for traveling as a couple along the way. Here are 10 tips the Knoblauchs say can make for smoother travels with your better half. 

Allow for spontaneity

According to the couple, it can be a thrill to leave a little space on every trip to just let the universe happen. 

“Don’t plan out your entire trip and see where it can take you,” the Knoblauchs said. “Being spontaneous has been a fun way to bond and figure it out together. Always [understand] that the journey is just as important as the destination.” 

Always pack snacks

This is a simple, but important tip: The pair says it’s key to always have snacks handy on flights, car rides, or even just walking around town. “Staying fueled helps you avoid any added travel tension,” the couple shared. Need guidance on what to bring along? Here are all the foods you can (and can’t) bring through airport security

Learn — and appreciate — each other’s travel style.

Every traveler is different, and in a relationship, it’s a good idea to understand one another’s styles. If your travel styles differ, the couple said it’s a good idea to meet in the middle. For example, the Knoblauchs shared, “Brent is very much the planner and does all the research for the trip, where Kelly adds spontaneity and fun by showing up just ready to go at the airport.” Have an open conversation with your partner about the aspects of travel they feel they are best at, share yours, and divvy up the responsibilities accordingly. 

Discuss how you want to “spend” together

No matter if it’s a staycation in your hometown or traveling across the globe together, traveling is an investment of money and time. So make sure you’re on the same page about costs and where you’d like to splurge or save, as well as where you’d like to spend your time. “Whether it is obsessing over finding the ‘right’ souvenir for everyone at home or queuing for that perfect Instagram photo — you planned, waited, and saved for this trip,” the Knoblauchs said. “Spend your moments wisely.” 

Try a new path every once in a while

Sure, we all have our favorite destinations or popular spots we want to see. But the Knoblauchs are here to also encourage you and your partner to try something new. 

“Although it is always worthwhile to see the major attractions of a given destination, our most lasting travel memories are usually the more authentic, local cultural experiences,” the duo said. Ask around in your destination for local favorites, try searching local blogs, or just walk around and pop into a hole-in-the-wall spot that may just end up being your new favorite. 

Remember to pack fairly

Look, we know it’s tempting when you’re traveling with a partner to overpack. But, the Knoblauchs are begging you to just not be that traveler — for your partner's sake and everyone else's. “Nobody wants to be the person getting off the airplane with an unmanageable load of stuff — don’t overpack.” Need help? Use this travel checklist to ensure you never overpack again. 

Pack a portable sound machine

After a long day of travel, you and your partner may want to get a good night’s rest. To help make that happen, the Knoblauchs suggest bringing a portable sound machine with you wherever you go. “[It] can help mask the thinnest walls and the inevitable late-night emergency vehicle/junior high cheerleading competition in your hotel,” they said. And, perhaps more importantly, it can help mask the sound of your partner’s snoring. 

Make memories by creating a travel game just for you two 

As the couple explained, “On most vacations, we have our own Kodak photo challenge. We buy a single-use camera for a given trip. Sometimes, the limited number of shots helps you to slow down and really appreciate each moment. Plus, the printouts are usually epic.” Copy the couple by doing the same, and learn a few vacation photo tips here

Brent’s top hack: Create a note that lists everything you may have in your wallet

According to Brent, it’s a good idea to have a list somewhere (on your notes app or email will do) detailing everything in your wallet in case it gets misplaced or stolen. This will help both you stay calm and your partner to help if you need to replace things mid-trip. “We also carry a photocopy of each other’s passports and leave non-essentials at home,” he added.

Kelly’s top hack: Pack a nightstand kit 

Kelly shared she likes to keep things simple for her nighttime routine while traveling. She does so by “creating a kit with chapstick, phone charger, hand cream, etc.” This, she said, “will make your time away feel a little more like home.” And makes it easy to share with your partner in case they forgot a few items, too. 

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