Travel can make or break a relationship. Here’s how to have the perfect holiday with your partner.
Travelling with your partner can be a minefield, especially if it’s your first trip together. These tips will help make sure it all goes smoothly so you’ll have fond memories for years to come.
1. Find out your travel style
Do you like to plan out a detailed itinerary down to the half hour mark, but your partner prefers to take things as they come? Or would they rather check off a list of sights to see while you just want to relax and wander aimlessly?
Opposites attract, but if you’re at polar ends of the travel spectrum it can make for a challenging trip. Visualise your dream vacation and talk about what that looks like. If you find you have different travel styles, compromise. Diehard planners can allow for spontaneity by including open blocks of time in the schedule. Use those hours to laze about or go where the impulse strikes.
2. Have the money chat
Finances are a point of friction for many couples, so don't let it interfere with your trip. Agree in advance on how much to spend, and when – and to what extent – it’s acceptable to indulge.
The easiest way is to set a budget. Make a simple spreadsheet and share it with your partner. You can input costs for lodging, food, transportation and entertainment and even some extra funds for splurges. Bring your budget with you using a free app like Trail Wallet or Trabee Pocket.
3. Don’t be afraid to do your own thing
If they fancy a museum, but you'd rather explore downtown, it’s OK to split up for the day. Part of the fun of travelling together is getting the best of both worlds: the pleasure of having someone to share it with and the freedom to do what you want sometimes on your own.
Pick a time to meet back up and share about your solo adventure. Reliving the experience is half the fun of travel, and it’ll give you plenty to talk about over dinner.
4. Share what you’re celebrating
You don’t need to be on your honeymoon to get extra perks. If it’s the two-year anniversary of your first date or you hit a relationship milestone earlier in the year, that counts. There are plenty of places that will ask if you’re celebrating something, so don’t be shy.
Benefits vary. It can be anything from getting called on stage during a show or a round of applause in your honour. At restaurants and hotels, dropping a word in your host’s ear could score you flowers, wine or a complimentary gift or upgrade. (This can earn you points with your partner, too.)
5. Plan ahead for the actual travelling
Getting from A to B seems pretty straightforward, but travelling as a couple puts a different spin on things. How do you feel about asking for directions? What about getting to the bus stop just in time versus 15 minutes early? Discuss how you’ll handle navigation, and consider downloading Google Maps or another navigation app that you're both comfortable using.
Don’t forget the entertainment, too. It might not be until you’re cooped up in a car or plane that you realise you can only make conversation for so long. Or worse, your significant other sleeps blissfully on the train while you find yourself wishing you had something – anything – to stave off boredom. Use a site like Discover Pods or Podchaser to find new podcasts, and download your favourites from the app store.
6. Take more than just selfies
When it comes to taking photos together, the occasional couple selfie can be cute, but you want more than just close ups of your faces smooshed together. Feature your new surroundings as a backdrop.
First, invest in a tripod. For larger professional cameras, there are plenty of lightweight options under £20. Smartphone tripods cost even less, and most let you rotate the phone for portrait or landscape. Second, learn how to frame the photo. Take a test shot with one person, and then set the timer delay on your camera to pose together.
7. Do something new together
Whether you've been together for a few weeks or a few decades, new experiences are the stuff memories are made of. Think of this trip as a chapter in your story, and plan at least one activity that's new to both of you.
It could be trying your first opera in Italy or hang gliding off the Cornish coast, but it doesn’t have to be extravagant. Maybe you've never done karaoke, gone bowling or danced in a public park. Try it together in a new place, and you'll be surprised how much you learn about each other.
8. Don’t expect non-stop romance
No matter how romantic the destination, you won’t go weak-kneed every time your eyes meet. You may be exhausted from playing tourist or you might just want to relax. That’s OK.
Understanding that every moment won’t be magical – after all, you’re still the same people you were at home – takes the pressure off and makes a more pleasant vacation. Just enjoy each other's company and the new space you're in and don't stress over creating fireworks.
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