You and your partner may be the world's greatest couple; however, there's a big difference between hanging out in your hometown and frequenting the places you both love, and traveling to a foreign destination for a fixed amount of time. People begin to act differently, for better or for worse. You learn things about each other, both good and bad. Each of you has certain wants and needs - not to mention ideas of privacy and space that are suddenly challenged.
That's not to say you can't have a fantastic trip with your significant other that brings you closer than ever before. It's just important to keep a few tips in mind. To help, here is a guide on how to travel with your significant other (and not break up).
Just because you think you and your partner make a great couple does not mean you're going to have the same travel style. Will you both want to see the popular sites, or is one of you a more off-the-beaten-path kind of traveler? Budget or luxury? Slow or fast? Guidebook or get lost? Talk before you leave about how you envision the trip going, and any specific goals you have. This can help you realize where you need to compromise, and what experiences you'll both enjoy.
Also make sure you're both actively taking part in the planning process. Many times, one half of the pair takes the reigns of the travel planning, leaving the other half out of the decisions.
While compromise is important, so is remembering it's your trip, too. Nobody should be completely missing out on what they want to do solely because they're trying to make the other happy. There's nothing wrong with splitting up sometimes during the trip, as long as you both make it clear to the other that you're not doing it out of anger. Keep the lines of communication open and there shouldn't be a problem.
Think about what you're really trying to get out of both the trip and the relationship by going away together. If you're hoping that every moment will be chocolate, roses, and sunrises, you'll likely be disappointed. Additionally, if you've convinced yourself that the trip would be the perfect time for your significant other to offer some kind of declaration of love - to move in together, a marriage proposal, a stronger commitment - make sure you won't be disappointed if it doesn't happen.
Of course, you should want a great trip that bonds you and your sweetheart; but, having too high of expectations is only setting yourself up for disappointment.
One of the biggest reasons couples fight is money. In fact, regularly occurring money fights early can predict divorce rates. Don't just assume everything will work out. Talk about the budget beforehand. If one of you earns twice as much money as the other, how will this affect how things are paid for? Will you each pay a percentage of the total trip cost or split it evenly? How will you keep track of spending?
Is vacation really the time to pick a fight about how he leaves the toilet seat up, or about how she doesn't clean her hair out of the drain? While choosing your battles is a great relationship tip in general, it's especially pertinent while traveling. When the other person starts to annoy you, take a deep breath and try to imagine what the outcome of picking the fight will actually be. Is what you're angry about really ruining your trip or disrespecting you in some way, or is it just a behavior that annoys you because you're not used to it? If you need some space, tell your partner you're craving a 10-minute walk on your own to relax and clear your mind.
Remember, you're on vacation with the person you love. Not everyone gets such a wonderful opportunity. Don't let petty fights ruin it.
Giving yourselves a mission for the trip can help bring you closer together. Maybe you both love Mexican food so you try to find the destination's best tacos. Perhaps you're both into photography so you plan a mini photo scavenger hunt, with the prize being lunch. Creating something together - a collection of Vine videos, a home movie, a scrapbook, a photo album of jumping photos - can also be a fun way to bond.
Being malnourished, overtired, dehydrated, and sick will not only put a damper on your trip, but can make you irritable enough to pick fights with your other half. Eat healthy, get adequate sleep, and drink plenty of fluids (check beforehand to see if your destinations tap water is okay to drink). Also be sure to take out the appropriate travel insurance before you leave home, taking away the stress from any unfortunate occurrences.
Make sure to also take time to re-charge. Travel fatigue can ruin your trip if you're not careful. If you're starting to get sick of being on the road, try these six remedies for travel fatigue.
Keep in mind that things will not always go according to plan. Many times, whether a trip is a success or goes sour is based on your mindset. Missed a train connection? Instead of letting it ruin the journey, keep a sense of humor and make the best of the situation. Turn mishaps into opportunities to have adventures and create stories that you'll tell your friends back home. While setbacks are inevitable, how you handle them is up to you. And when your partner sees that you can tackle a challenge like a rock star, he/she is sure to admire you even more than they already do.
How do you handle challenges when traveling with your significant other?
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
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Jessica Festa is a full-time travel writer who is always up for an adventure. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia and doing orphanage work in Ghana. You can follow her adventures on her travel websites, Epicure & Culture and Jessie On A Journey. You can also connect with Jessica directly on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, or follow her epicurean adventures on Facebook and Twitter.
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