Holiday Romance…. I’m sure most of you have done this or contemplated this at least once in your life. Meeting someone exotic from another country, or just someone in another state can be a wonderful and exciting experience, but if you are not prepared for all the possible scenarios, it can lead to a very disappointing and stressful situation. Let’s face it, romance always makes life more fun. Having your eye on someone can make mundane work and school so much more enjoyable and exciting. It’s a basic human instinct that we all have, but what separates us from the animals, is our ability to plan and prepare for all possible outcomes. If you have decided to go and meet somebody for the first time, follow these basic steps to ensure your vacation is fun, safe, carefree and enjoyable.
Who Pays?: If you are going over there to meet someone, many relationship experts agree that the other party should be paying for your ticket and expenses. I don’t agree with this at all, especially when going overseas. This automatically puts a dollar amount on you and people have expectations and agendas no matter how nice. You don’t want to be owing anyone or guilted into doing anything you don’t want to do. Play it safe and be independent and responsible for yourself and your own finances.
Get some face time before you leave: With the advent of the internet, long distance relations happen more than ever, but who really knows who’s on the other side of your phone or computer. People can manifest themselves into anything, lie about everything and behave like anyone. It’s not uncommon for people to go to the expense of traveling and meet a completely different person who has been untruthful about everything. The good thing about technology is we now have programs like skype and FaceTime that allow you to at least have a real first-hand interaction with someone to validate their claims. Now this won’t prove everything (such as if they are already married or lying about their career or living arrangement), but it does at least allow you to see their face and interact personally. Take advantage of it.
Always book accommodation and travel from and to the airport! I can’t stress that enough and believe it or not, people get left at the airport ALL the time. it’s happened to me twice. The first time it was a medical emergency and he asked a friend to come and pick me up who showed up 2 hours late! The second guy decided he would rather go out with his friends that night and then tried to come over the next morning with flowers, jewelry and his tail between his legs. Yea…No thanks!
You need to book at least 2 nights at a hotel even if it’s just a cheap hostel, especially if you are arriving at night or during peak season. You have to have a back up plan and a way to get to and from the airport so you don’t stand there for hours like a fool wondering if someone is going to come and get you. Put the power in your own hands and don’t rely on anyone because at the end of the day, the only one who really cares about you is you. I wish I could be more positive about it but but people can be cruel and thoughtless.
Do what you want to do regardless: Remember this is YOUR vacation, you paid for it and you have the right to enjoy it. Who knows if you’ll ever have the opportunity to come back. A lot of locals don’t want to go and do the whole tourist thing, and some even live around local attractions and never visit. Don’t let your host stop you from doing and seeing everything. If they don’t want to accompany you, leave them for the day and go do what you want to do. If they are a worthwhile person they will understand.
Keep your eyes open: Remember that during the honeymoon period, especially when traveling, everything seems so wonderful and fun and everyone is on their best behavior. Remember that this is not how the person normally is and you must distance yourself from the fantasy and observe closely. See if you can spot any inconsistencies, lies, poor behavior, look at how they treat others and deal with stressful situations. I always intentionally start a minor disagreement, and see how they handle the argument and if they can get their point across and defend themselves without name calling or overly-aggressive behavior. It might seem like game playing, but I want a real first-hand account of their conflict resolution skills.
Be aware of cultural differences: As mentioned in my previous post about traveling alone, every region has it’s own customs and traditions when it comes to gender roles within a society. Before you leave, read up extensively on the culture and inter-personal relationships between the sexes and be informed. While you are there observe how men and women interact in the streets and if you have the opportunity to meet your love’s family, see how their parents and siblings interact. Family connections are tight in most areas of the world and chances are if you get involved with this person, you will be expected to act accordingly. Make sure you are prepared and educated so there are no surprises later on.
Don’t have any expectations: Traveling to meet someone puts a lot of pressure on everyone involved. You are going over to somebody’s area or country, and you have to find out as much about them as possible in a very short amount of time. This is also why I suggest making your own plans and accommodation. You now have 2 options instead of just one and this takes an enormous amount of pressure off. Now you know that if things don’t work out, you can still go off and have your own vacation and you are free to enjoy your life and maybe even meet someone else….life goes on.
Join sites like Couchsurfing. You don’t have to accept the offer to stay at someones house but it’s an excellent way to meet friendly locals if you need a breather or just someone to hang out with. A lot of people have had great experiences and been invited to local weddings and even camping trips and festivals. Check it out and do what you are comfortable with.
What to do Next: So if things go well for you (and i really hope that they do), what happens next? Most people aren’t satisfied with a long term relationship and there will be a point in time when one party is going to have to move. Before you even go I suggest looking into the legalities and requirements. Unless you can find employment over there it is going to almost always require marriage. Are you prepared to marry this person? are they the one? Can you even live in this country or city? There are so many questions you need to answer before considering. This is something that will change your life forever and it should not be taken lightly.
Also remember that some people are just after a green card. Please make sure that this person is in love with you and not pushing the immigration issue. If you can help it don’t tell anyone what citizenship’s you have or anything personal about finances. You need to make sure that this person wants you (if you are unsure look at these tips here) and keep yourself safe from frauds and users.
Put yourself and your own safety and enjoyment first, do the things that you want to do, don’t have any expectations of the other person and your vacation will be a fun and memorable one. Relax and enjoy it either way 🙂