This vacation planning article is inspired by and dedicated to my wonderful friends Tony Amos and Rita Cristoph who have traveled to over 27 countries together and counting. It’s a blessing to see their pictures and smiling faces, and they encourage me every day to get out and explore the road less traveled.
‘Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” – Anonymous
In my opinion there is nothing more fun then taking a trip with your love. It’s you and them against the world, exploring new frontiers, learning about each other, building a bond and creating new memories. Like anything worthwhile in life is does take hard work and patience, but if you follow these tips and keep an open mind, your can use your vacation time to build a stronger bond with your partner, and improve your overall relationship for the better!
- ORGANIZE FINANCES BEFOREHAND
Urgh the ugly subject of money. It’s embarrassing to bring up but it has to be done. When vacation planning, discuss who is paying for what and when and stick to it. You might choose to split the costs evenly, pay proportionately to your means/income, or simply divide costs. One person pays for tickets, and the other for hotels for example. Make sure that you are both saving towards the vacation or have money put aside for it and talk about the financial needs often. Money is a subject that causes many arguments, so plan ahead to avoid the stress!
- BE IN A SECURE RELATIONSHIP
Most people don’t think about this, but going on vacation can make or break a new relationship. It’s important to know someone well before agreeing to go anywhere with them. You are going to be around this person in close quarters for days on end. This includes sleeping, going to the bathroom, showering and eating. If you haven’t done all of these around your partner yet, a vacation is not the time to introduce them to your toilet habits, or ability to make small children cry with your snoring!
- EXPLORE SOMEWHERE NEW
While it’s fun to bring your partner back to your hometown and introduce them to your 50 aunts, uncles and cousins, save this for the holidays. Pick a vacation destination that you both really want to go to and haven’t been before. Half the fun is exploring somewhere new, being out of your element and enjoying the unfamiliar together, If one partner is familiar with an area and the other is not, it can cause different expectations and an uneven travel experience.
- BOOK ADEQUATE ACCOMMODATION
In my romantic youth I used to think that as long as you are with someone you really like, you can sleep on the floor and be happy. Umm NO. Having a little bit of luxury and adequate sleep, is the key to having an enjoyable vacation. Sure, some couples are quite happy to go camping, or slum it in a backpackers, but in my experience, the more comfortable you are and the less stress you have physically and mentally, the better. This is your vacation, enjoy it and have a little bit of what you don’t get everyday at home.
- CONSIDER TAKING A CRUISE
Cruises are a great idea for people looking for some time away together. They offer different lengths and destinations, can be relatively cheap, include food, you have your own room and privacy and offer day stops at exotic destinations. All the stress of finding accommodation and restaurants everyday is taken out and you are free to relax and enjoy each others company. Bare in mind that some cruise companies will take one credit card for use while on the boat so make sure you discuss extra expenses ahead of time.
- PACK LIGHTLY AND BE LOW MAINTENANCE
A vacation together with your significant other is no time to be a diva or a divo and pack your entire collection of Mac cosmetics or colognes. Keep essentials to a minimum and resolve to the fact that this person will see you without make-up or a shower, looking wretched, sweating, possibly drunk and enjoying life. This is especially true if you will be carrying your luggage with you a lot and going from place to place. No it’s not cool to ask him to carry your stuff. Pack light, have an appropriate carry bag and handle it yourself.
- PLAN TO DO SOME THINGS ALONE
For some reason I always hook up with guys that need or want to take naps. No they aren’t old men, that are men in their prime who believe that a vacation time is sleep time. Now there is nothing wrong with that per se, if that’s what you like, but it’s not for me and it drives me mental. When I’m on vacation I want to experience everything and it’s go go go! I always bring a bathing suit and workout shorts with me and when this happens, I go and amuse myself for a few hours and burn some calories.
- USE THIS TIME TO OBSERVE YOURSELF AND YOUR PARTNER
It’s so true that travel can make or break a relationship, and it’s also true that a lot of couples use a vacation as a marriage test run. Travel puts us in all kinds of situations that not only test our comping skills, but also how we deal with problems and interact with others as a whole. You can tell a lot about a persons character by how they deal with stress or disappointment and we can also learn a lot about ourselves. Maturity and entitlement have a lot to do with how we cope. Use this time to look at your relationship and decide if this person has qualities you really seek in a partner.
- LEARN TO HAVE PATIENCE
As any good wife will tell you, picking your battles is key to mutual respect and a happy partnership. As mentioned above, travel is stressful and fear of the unknown and inadequate sleep can cause us all to lash out and overreact. Sure if something your partner does really irritates you then speak out and say something in a constructive manner, but avoid being snappy, blowing up and taking your frustrations out on your partner. Understand that they are people too and are probably also stressed or tired.
- HAVE YOUR OWN MONEY AND A PLAN B
I know I say this all the time but it’s so true. Money is security, food and a bed for the night, especially when you are traveling. Take it from me, I know how important this is first hand. I have traveled with others before and felt uncomfortable or been involved in conflict and have had to step out and get my own hotel room and transportation home. I wish it never happens but it does. Hope for the best but plan for the worst. Accidents also happen on the road and it’s wise to have alternative options available. Just plan for everything.
So there you are! I hope these tips help you and your partner to plan and enjoy a wonderful vacation filled with fun, romance and adventure. Go create some memories together!