Traveling with a partner can be a romantic and relationship-defining venture, but it can also be the kiss of death for couples that are not used to vacationing together. Read on for tips to make your trip with your sweetheart fun, memorable, and fight-free.
What Is Your Vacation Vision?
Part of the reason why couples fight while traveling is because they have completely different ideas of what they would like their vacation to be. Talk about it before you even start to plan the logistics of your vacation. Don’t end up in a situation where Partner A envisioned getting serious powder for twelve hours a day on your Colorado ski trip while Partner B had wanted toasty lodges and snuggling by the fire. Be honest about what you want from your trip and plan accordingly to accommodate the needs of both.
Top reason for couples to fight on trips: Money. Partner A says Partner B never pays for anything. Partner B says that’s because Partner A’s tastes are too expensive. On and on we go until someone cries, storms away, or declares they will never travel with their sweetheart again. Instead, hammer out a division of funds that both think is fair. Again, be honest. Sour feelings toward your partner can kill a vacation faster blackout dates.
Try setting up a vacation fund bank account. This is the place where you put all the money you intend to spend on vacation. This isn’t souvenir money—that’s your business, not your partner’s—but it is a place to put the cash you need for your travel, accommodation, excursions, entertainment, food, etc. For every dollar your partner deposits, you do too. When it comes time to start paying for things the funds are already divided fairly and ready to be put to good use.
That Wasn’t My Job!
Avoid finger-pointing. You’re on vacation to enjoy each other’s company in a fresh setting, not assign blame. Designate travel jobs for each other while on the trip and in the planning stages. If you’re best at planning entertainment then that should be your job. While on your trip if you know that you have a poor sense of direction don’t insist on calling the shots navigating. Or if your partner never remembers to grab the room key make that your job. Be aware of what your sweetheart’s strengths and weaknesses are as well as your own.
Keep Calm and Feed the Monster
Hunger and exhaustion can turn a perfectly happy couple to ex’s before they reach their accommodation. Little spats due to general discomfort compound and spiral out of control until you can’t remember what started the argument only that this person can now travel by themselves thank you very much. You’ll stew for days before you realize that if you had just let your partner catch a nap or given them a snack you could have avoided the whole thing. Remember that travel makes people lose track of their basic needs and can turn a perfectly reasonable person into a cranky nightmare just because they missed a meal or are sleepy.
Figure Out Your Personal Schedules
Growing up, family vacations used to drive me nuts because my father liked to sleep in and my mom and I were always awake and ready to go at the crack of dawn. We would be frustrated with each other before we even left our hotel because my father would feel like he had been rushed while my mom and I only saw the wasted time he spent on sleeping when he could have done that at home. Don’t let this be a problem for you. Nothing says that you can’t let your partner sleep while you take advantage of some of the amenities. If your hotel has a pool or is beachfront go for a morning swim. Or if you like to meander and people-watch go exploring until your partner is ready to get up for the day.
Give Yourself Space
Even the steadiest couples need some “me time.” As much as you love your sweetheart the saying is true that absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Solo time is great if you have something that you want to do that your partner could skip. Maybe you’d like to take a dive class, but your partner is more interested in walking tours. Part company for a little while and designate a place to meet later. When you see each other again you’ll have plenty of new stories to share and will be thrilled to see each other.
Some of the best friends I’ve made I met while traveling. Impromptu conversations on a plane or at the hotel bar can lead to friendships that last a lifetime. The same rule applies to couples who always seem to be long for other couples to hang out with. Make friends with fellow travelers while on your trip. You’ll find that the pressure you feel to entertain your partner will fritter away leaving only good memories and a stronger relationship to come home with.