The first trip together is an important milestone in any relationship. Sure, you can get to know a new partner by going on dates and spending time hanging out at home—but you don’t really know them until you’re both lost in unknown territory, the gas tank is empty, and you haven’t seen another soul in the past hour.
Your trip can be the source of lifelong memories and can bring you to a whole new level of closeness. It can, however, also be the source of a really good break up story. Here are some tips for making it out alive!
Learn Your Partner’s Travel Style
While your dream vacation might involve camping and exploring the wilderness, your lover might prefer hitting up every hot spot in a booming metropolis.
Before you plan your trip, get to know each other’s travel style. Ask your partner about their best (and worst!) vacation stories, and share yours to get an idea of what you should plan to do– and avoid.
It’s not glamorous, but it’s necessary to talk money. Since your relationship is in its early stages, chances are that both parties will be splitting the costs. If one partner has their heart set on fine dining excursions while the other is pinching pennies, it’s better to find this out sooner so that you can find ways to accommodate your respective expectations and realities.
Prioritize and Compromise
After going through the first two points, you should have a pretty realistic idea of what your trip is going to look like. Now is the time to talk about your goals for the trip. If you have any particular places you want to check out, or perhaps friends that you’d like to meet up with, talk it through.
To make the most of your time, prioritize your must-dos. Determine a strategy that will let you both accomplish what you’d like to do and see. Be flexible and willing to compromise—it’s usually impossible to get it ALL done, so try to be fair and realistic about your travel plans.
You might decide to plan out an itinerary ahead of time, or you might both agree that you’ll have more fun being spontaneous and flying by the seat of your pants. Regardless of the type of trip you have in mind, you’ll still need to get organized to some degree.
Have all your travel documents in check; check your packing list twice; know how to get to your first hotel/campground/hostel; have important phone numbers readily available; get your currency in order; and so on.
Organization means less stress, and less stress means less fights.
It’s nearly impossible to spend every waking hour with somebody and NOT get just a little sick of them. Agree to spend some time apart, even if it’s just going to pick up some breakfast while letting your partner sleep in.
This is also a great way to do things that your partner has no interest in. For instance, if your partner loves shopping but you get a headache just thinking about it, let them do their thing for an afternoon while you check out a local gallery or park out on a bench with a good book.
Speak Up, or Suck it Up
So you’re on the trip, and it’s going swimmingly. Or is it?
Even the best trips can have their little kinks, so be prepared to speak up or suck it up if something is making you unhappy.
If you’re a little annoyed but know that you’re being unreasonable, or if whatever is bugging you is meaningful to your partner, suck it up. Instead of changing the situation, try changing your attitude. You might surprise yourself and actually learn something new.
If, on the other hand, something is seriously bothering you and preventing you from enjoying your trip, communicate it to your partner. Don’t bottle it up; rather, have a grown-up discussion early on and try to find a resolution that will make you both happy.
Laugh It Off
A little laughter can go a long way in a stressful situation. Whatever comes up, face it with a sense of humor. Take a photo and remember that the best stories sometimes come out of the worst situations. Who knows—maybe that photo will even make it into your wedding slideshow.