“Let’s go on a trip!” Those five words have the power to send shivers down any partner’s spine. A couple’s first vacation can make or break the relationship; away from home and the comfort of routine, the couple must work together to plan activities both partners enjoy — and each partner must resist the pressure to go insane while spending every waking moment with a single other person.
There are hundreds of posts around the web that give tips and tricks to help with the latter issue, but the former — planning a trip that is fun for everyone — is less often discussed. The problem is that just as no two people are completely alike, no two couples enjoy romance the same way. Yet, couples-targeted vacations almost always peddle the same types of activities. To avoid the stress and frustration that comes with a one-size-fits-all romantic vacation, here is how any couple can find the trip that is just right.
Step 1: Communicate
Communication is a critical element of a relationship’s foundation, so it is wise to talk when you face any challenge together, not just your impending trip. Yet, so many couples regularly forget the importance of frank discussion that you could probably use a reminder. Psychologists and other researchers who study romantic relationships regularly find that couples who communicate honestly and positively in good times and bad are more likely to be happy and healthy together for decades. Thus, in times of stress (like while planning a couple’s trip) you must strive to be open and caring with your speech at all times.
For your romantic vacation to succeed, you must collaborate to generate a list of preferences and opinions regarding important features of the trip. Different aspects of travel are weightier to different people, but here are four qualities you absolutely must discuss and set boundaries on:
- Where. Destinations are almost never one-size-fits-all
- What. Maybe she loves to relax and nap, while he wants to go for walks; activity preferences can vary widely
- When. Certain times of year are busier for different professions
- How much. Trips are expensive, and both partners may not be equally capable of paying
Step 2: Forget the Overrated
In an effort to skip the first step for speed and convenience, many partners simply cobble together a romantic vacation out of tropes and clichés. Unfortunately, just like a wedding with expected elements (white dress, tiered cake, bad DJ) doesn’t necessarily succeed; a romantic trip with overly familiar features isn’t guaranteed to be happy and fun. In fact, you’ll likely find more satisfaction with your partner by exploring brand-new places and activities.
- Over the top – Just because every couple does it doesn’t mean you should. These couple’s activities are over-hyped: gratuitous amounts of rose petals, chocolate-covered fruit, and couple’s massage.
- Just right – Then again, some couple’s clichés are quintessential, like: oysters on the half-shell, flickering candles, red wine, and generous showers.
Most all-inclusive couple’s packages strictly offer only the most common, touristy activities, but some allow for more flexibility while providing a noteworthy discount, like this one in Niagara Falls. Thus, it is worth investigating vacation packages, but you should know what you are getting (compared to what you both want) before you sign up.
Step 3: Compromise
With a list of potential plans, you can work together to compare and contrast your various vacations. Again, this is an undertaking that is best completed cooperatively. You both should research your favorite destinations and return with concrete information regarding travel duration, cost, potential activities, and other qualities you deem appropriate. Then, you can regroup and share.
To make your couple’s trip successful, you and your partner must make concessions. Of course, it is preferable to fill your days with activities you both love, but that is a nearly impossible task. Instead, you should work to balance your itinerary with an equal number of preferred activities. You may not be terribly interested in a hike, but your partner will adore your company on the trails; you can leverage your compromise on outdoorsy activities to squeeze in something you are dying to do.
Some couples have to travel together many times before they find the right trip. Hopefully you and your partner won’t have to endure years of vacations to find the one that suits you best. With some planning and consideration, you should be able to get your first romantic vacation just right.