Whether you’re jetting off to a dream honeymoon, taking a well-deserved empty nesters’ vacation, or embarking on a long-term multi-country journey with your significant other, traveling as a couple comes with its own set of challenges.
Know your own travel style
Everyone has their own style of travel. When traveling with a partner, it’s important you understand each other’s preferences. But it’s hard to understand someone else’s travel style, if you’re unclear on your own. From the moment you start planning your trip, devote some brain space to what kind of traveling you’d like to do. Do you like to plan detailed itineraries, or go with the flow? Are you an early bird or would you rather sleep in? This is especially important if you haven’t traveled much in the past.
Talk about your expectations
Once you know what you expect from your trip, tell your partner! Your travel style may not be the same as theirs, so to avoid frustrations on the road, it is critical you have an open, honest conversation before departure about both of your expectations about the trip. What do you think your destination will be like? Where do you and your partner differ in your wants and needs? Work on your plans together and be prepared to compromise.
Be clear about your budget
Money is one of the biggest sources of conflict for couples, and that doesn’t go away just because you’ve left home. Before leaving, talk with your partner about the finances of your trip. Make sure you are both clear on what your budget is, particularly if one of you has more of a taste for luxury than the other. If you don’t have a joint checking account, it also helps to agree in advance on who will pay for what.
Pack lots of snacks
Travel inevitably puts stress on your nerves and disagreements can get out of hand fast when one or both parties are hungry. Hold that irritation at bay by keeping plenty of snacks at your fingertips. Hangry doesn’t look good on anybody. You can also pick up light bites at a local market, but it can be very comforting to have familiar snacks from home at hand.
Spend some time apart
No matter how much you love each other, being with the same person 24/7 can wear on your nerves fast. Don’t be afraid to take a little time apart to enjoy your destination separately. If your spouse hates museums, and you can’t wait to explore the Louvre, you don’t have to drag them in your wake. If there are sights the two of you don’t agree on, just split up for the afternoon. You can reconvene over a romantic dinner and have fun discussing your different experiences.
Pick your battles
Just like at home, on the road, there are bound to be things your partner does that drive you up the wall. Maybe you think they haggle too hard at the local market, or they take so many pictures along the street that it takes longer to get from point A to point B. Be prepared to let some of these little things roll off your back. If you make a mountain of every molehill, you’ll wind up ruining a once-in-a-lifetime experience.