You planned your romantic trip together for so long, build it up in your mind, but now that you’re here it seems like all you can do is fight. Sounds familiar? Apparently, it happens to the best of us. Even though it is supposed to be your time to unwind together, travelling has a lot of stressful moments to it. Add the fact that you and your significant other spend all of your time together – literally 24/7 - and that you may not see eye to eye when it comes to the way you want to spend your days vacationing, and you have a recipe for disaster. How to deal with it? Is there no hope? Fear not, we’ve got you covered.
#1: Be Prepared
Stress is a major factor in your couple fights. When travelling, a lot of things can cause stress: A harsh Jet-Leg, losing your luggage, getting lost, trouble communicating with the locals. The options for things to go bad are endless. That doesn’t mean your dream getaway is doomed. By being organized you can prevent most of the stress. Share the responsibilities and divide the tasks between the two of you. Make sure one of you has a folder with all the itinerary and information printed, color coded and stored tightly in the bag you are taking on board with you. That person can also be in charge over holding the passports, carry the map (or app) and navigate while there. The other can be in charge over the pre-flight preparations: Checking that your passports are valid, that you have all the visas and fees ready for the trip, checking the weather and packing accordingly, etc. Play to your individual strengths when assigning the tasks, and maybe you’ll even learn something new about each other.
#2: Go With the Flow
With that said, you can never be prepared for everything, and some things might still go wrong to no account of your own. Survive the couples test and try not to stress about it. Deal with the issue as well as you can, and if there is nothing to do support each other and move on. Some plans are bound to get cancelled (like visiting a specific museum or exhibition that is closed the only day you had left for the trip), and that’s ok. Find something else to do instead, or indulge the free couple-time you got and just take it easy. Remind each other that this is not the end of the world and that anything is fixable or negligible.
#3: Take Time Outs
When you travel as a couple, all of the sudden you spend all of your time together. There are no jobs, no school, no carpools, no doctor’s appointments. You are literally stuck together, the entire time. For some couple this might work, but the majority of us, this is a cause for breakdowns. You might find out new things that you don’t like about each other, or just get annoyed by the same old habits that you already know and can manage back home (but not when it comes in such doses, like here). You might start fighting over what you want to do next because you want to do different things. Schedule some of your time apart. You can stay at the hotel and take a long bubble bath while he explores the city. You can stay in and sleep late while she goes out on a shopping spree. Some time apart might help you vent, and make you miss each other a little, so you can reunite later and continue from where you left off.
#4: Set Up Expectations
Chances are, you picked your destination together. You each had time to dream and fantasize about your trip and plan what you’ll do. You each build it up in your mind. Before leaving for your dream vacation, sit down and discuss what is it you’re expecting from this trip. How do you see your time together? Are there certain things you really don’t want to skip? Spend some time together and explore the different option and attractions available at your destination, and see what are the things that both of you agree upon. Try and plan your days (what time does the day starts? Do you want to go out and party every night? Do you want to dine in fancy restaurants or is street-food better?). The better you’ll understand each others expectation the easier it will be to handle disagreements while travelling.
There will be times when you’ll get angry. Or disappointed. Or even home-sick. Travelling can be an emotional experience, and when you travel together, you tend to forget that the other does not read your mind. Instead of letting your emotions put a dent in your trip, try to express them out loud. Your partner will better understand what’s going on and will be able to take your feelings into account. If your partner expresses his or her feelings, try to be attentive, listen and be supportive. Think what might help them feel better and then do it.
You’ve prepared, you’ve set your expectations, you communicated your feelings and needs, you’ve tried to stay calm. Yet sometimes the best solution is to simply compromise. Remember, you are not travelling by yourself. And you’re not travelling with some stranger that you don’t care about. This is your significant other, the one you love, the one you want to make happy. No harm will come if you just compromise on certain things. You might not get to see and do all the things you wanted, but that’s ok. You can always come back here. But your partner is the one you live with, the one you’re taking back home with you. Compromise and do thing that the both of you want to do, and come back both happy.
#7: Find Time for Romance
Don’t forget why you’re here. This is a couples vacation, not a buddies vacation. Find time for some romance and make the trip truly memorable.