This traveller discovers how group travel can help couples connect

written by Barry Hoy October 31, 2023

Can a group trip ever be romantic? Barry Hoy heads to Jordan with his partner to find out whether a small group adventure with Intrepid can bring couples closer. 

From sleeping under the stars in the Wadi Rum to candlelit walks in Petra, every landmark and landscape in Jordan feels like a love letter to travellers.

I recently took a trip with Intrepid to this enchanting country with my partner. While Teraj and I were excited to visit Jordan, we also had doubts about group travel as a couple. On vacation, we like to connect with each other and a group scenario didn’t sound like the ideal setting for a couple looking for that kind of experience.

However, our time with Intrepid changed that perception. It showed us that group travel can be a romantic and LGBTQ-friendly adventure for couples. Weaving together love, adventure and unexpected connections, our journey through Jordan was just what we needed. We discovered a country filled with beauty and history, and our shared moments deepened our bond.

Travelling as an LGBTQ couple in Jordan

One of our initial concerns was how we would be received in Jordan since it’s still considered a conservative country with limited LGBTQ protections. However, our fears were quickly dispelled as we discovered a surprisingly welcoming and inclusive environment. Our fellow travellers, a diverse group from around the world, embraced our presence without hesitation. 

Our Intrepid guide, Mohammad, assured us of Jordan’s commitment to providing a safe environment for all travellers and actively demonstrated this throughout our journey. ‘Humans are humans,’ he told us. ‘Jordanians are open-minded and everyone is welcome in Jordan, wherever they are from, whatever their background, history, religion [is].’

Having an expert local like Mohammad, who welcomed us with open arms, allowed us to delve deeper into Jordan’s culture and history. Mohammad’s insights and hospitality made us feel like we were exploring with a friend.

An Intrepid trip leader in front of Petra's treasury

While our experience was generally positive, Jordan is still a conservative country, and public displays of affection for all couples should be avoided to ensure you’re being respectful of the local customs. Being discreet and considerate goes a long way towards fostering a positive experience for everyone. As Teraj and I travel around the world, we make sure we always find a balance between being ourselves and being mindful of the local culture.

Travelling as a couple with a group 

Our group had six other fellow travellers, making a nice-sized group of eight. There were four single women travellers, another couple and myself and Teraj. 

On our first night, we were in Amman and visited a local restaurant serving traditional Jordanian food. Getting to know everyone over a family-style meal was the perfect icebreaker and the best way to kick off our travels. The diversity of the group and our shared love of travel made the trip special. 

a group of travellers in the desert

The sense of camaraderie with fellow travellers added an element of community and connection we could never have anticipated. There’s always the worry that you’ll be stuck with a group that isn’t interested in socialising with those outside their immediate party, but luckily, that was far from our experience.

Teraj and I made friends from the USA, South Africa and Australia. These new-found relationships added something extra to our couple’s trip to Jordan. On our final night of the trip, we had free time to do whatever we wanted, but the group opted to stay together for our last supper. 

Tailor-made couple activities in Jordan 

Our Intrepid trip had so many activities that allowed Teraj and I to connect.  

The culinary highlight of our trip was the class with Chef Wafaa at The Jordanian Kitchen in Amman. Teraj and I love cooking together back home in New York, so this was a real treat for us. I love maqlubeh, but this was my first time making it from scratch. Chef Wafaa made sure we all engaged and helped throughout the process.

Petra was one of my favourite places in Jordan. Don’t miss the night tour. Walking through the candlelit Siq to the Treasury was nothing short of enchanting. It was so romantic, and I still remember the chills I felt from the moment we first came up to the Treasury – a large, elaborate tomb cut into a rock face. Teraj and I appreciated having a whole extra day in Petra all to ourselves. We explored other buildings and tombs. We trekked to the far side of the city to visit a monastery that was even more spectacular than the Treasury.   

We also went camping in the Wadi Rum. Some of the world’s favourite movies – Dune, The Martian and Aladdin – have been filmed here. Gazing at the stars from our tent’s porch, we were reminded of the vastness of the universe and the small, precious moments we have with our loved ones in this lifetime. This tranquil desert is one of the most incredible destinations for stargazing and the backdrop for an experience you’ll never forget witnessing with your significant other. 

Barry travelled as a guest of Intrepid on the Premium Jordan trip. Follow his adventures on Instagram at @asianmapleleaf.

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