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One of the best things about summertime is taking vacations. Getting away from the daily hustle and bustle, relaxing by the pool or exploring new and exotic places… but vacations aren’t all fun in the sun. Traveling with a significant other- especially for the first time- can be a source of stress and tension. Here are five tips to make sure you both get the most of your time away together.
- Involve him or her in the planning. Even if he/she doesn’t care to sit down and browse hotel properties with you, discuss how you envision spending your time once you’re there. If she wants to sit by the pool all week, your hotel better have one. And if you plan to spend the entire week in London sight-seeing, be sure she isn’t planning to party all night and sleep all day. A “vacation” means different things to different people, so don’t just assume that your idea of a fantasy trip is the same as your partner’s.
- Discuss a budget before you leave. Flights, fancy dinners, cocktails, surf lessons, parasailing, spas, shopping… vacations add up fast. If one of you is tighter with the purse strings, it could cause trouble in paradise. Managing expectations early helps prevent disappointment later, especially if you’re planning to split it all 50/50 but one person has a lot more to spend.
- Avoid known triggers. We all have them- little things that set us off and make us irrationally angry. Knowing your partner’s and your own is the first step to avoiding them. Does she grow Devil horns when she gets really hungry? Remind her to throw a granola bar in her purse. Do you become unhinged when a certain topic comes up in conversation? Agree not to discuss it until you’re home.
- Be a little adventurous and willing to compromise. Vacation is the time to get out of your rut- even if it’s warm and cozy there. Try a restaurant you wouldn’t usually choose, or join your mate on something he/she enjoys. You might be surprised at the fun you have, and if nothing else, you can expect your partner to tag along on something you’ll enjoy later.
- Don’t blame each other for things that go wrong. No matter how well you plan, shit will go wrong. Maybe you get a flat tire on the way to the airport and miss your flight, or maybe the hotel loses your reservations and you have to settle for less than expected. Accept that these things happen and try not to take your anger and frustration out on each other. Remember you’re in it together!
Vacationing together will probably teach you a lot about each other, since you rarely spend a full week side by side. But the good news is that if the week goes well, you can consider it a good sign of things to come.