Who doesn’t look forward to a break from the daily grind? There’s a lot riding on that vacation—two weeks is scant time to de-stress, detach and dive undistracted in to new experiences. And it can be particularly difficult if you and your partner don’t see eye-to-eye on what constitutes a great getaway. If your partner wants to work on a tan while you would rather prowl the local scene to find the perfect sopa de lima, don’t despair. A little compromise goes a long way in keeping your long-awaited vacation the refreshing getaway you hope it will be.
“When people travel together and they’re not used to being together 24 hours a day, it can cause friction,” says Kimberly Moffit, Ph.D, a Toronto-based relationship expert. And Corinne McDermott, founder of Have Baby Will Travel, a travel advice website for families, says that trouble is born out of differing expectations. “Even if you live together, traveling is a very different animal. Before you go, decide if this is going to be an active trip or a relaxing trip. Is one of you going to get their nose out of joint if someone wants to go off and do something on their own? Discuss those things before you leave to avoid friction on the road.” McDermott says it’s important to accept that travel can, and most likely will be, stressful. “You need to psych yourself up for that so it doesn’t ruin things.”
Yes, travel incompatibility can be a red flag that signals trouble ahead in the relationship, but no, Moffit says it doesn’t have to be the end of the road. “Everybody needs something different from a vacation, and there’s a lot of room to compromise.” Here are five tips to keep your vacation paths from diverging.
Don’t travel too early in a relationship. Do you really want to discover on vacation that your partner sings Rigoletto arias while gargling? Moffit suggests getting to know each other in everyday life before committing to being cooped up together for a week or two. It will be easier, she says, to put up with little annoyances once you can weigh them against all the qualities you’ve come to know and love about your partner.
Be organized. A well-planned vacation minimizes the hiccups that can be a source of major stress to a couple, says McDermott. Plus, when you’ve organized everything ahead of time, you’re free to indulge your wild side because you’re not spending all your time frantically trying to find a place to stay tonight.