I recently wrote a piece for Fly Duos entitled How to Survive a Vacation Without Your Partner. While solo travel is all some people know, there are others who are used to only traveling with other people, specifically their partner. Having traveled solo, with friends, and with spouses, I’ve learned my likes and dislikes for each type of travel. As I finalized my tips for traveling sans spouse, I realize that some of those same tips were necessary when traveling with a partner as well. I literally thought, yeah, these tips are great when you leave them at home, but even better for when they’re right there with you. The saying that “you will know whether or not your relationship will last after traveling with your spouse” is quite true. I honestly think that if you can last on a vacation, you just may last, period. Here are some tips to help you along the way:
To Plan or Not to Plan, That is the Question
When I travel I prefer to wing it. For me, it’s quite annoying when people want to overplan trips and need an itinerary from the time the plane lands until the time it takes off again. Sure, if I’m going to Paris I know I may stop by the Eiffel Tower, or visit The Louvre, but is having the date and exact time of when I’m going to do it absolutely necessary? I’ve dated people who thought it was. Some people need to plan every step they take, and that’s fine, while others like me just go with the flow. I tend to have a general idea of what I’d like to do and if I get to it, great. If not, it’s not the end of the world.
It’s important for you partner to know what type of planner you are and vice versa. Decide on this very early on and if you’re on opposite sides of the planning committee then come to a compromise. For example, when dating an over planner my compromise is to come up with some things I definitely want to do so that they have an idea. One day can be beach day and another a museum day, but because I like to wing it, their compromise is not needing to plan exactly which day what activity will happen and definitely not what time it’s happening. We can decide the night before or the day of, if at all. Again, that’s just my example. Your compromise can and will be unique to you and your relationship.
Set Aside Time for Yourself
Even though you’re on vacation together it doesn’t mean that you have to be attached at the hip. It’s okay to take a couple hours or an entire day to yourself to do something for you. If you love museums but your partner hates them, you could also use that chance to go alone. Sure, it’d be nice if they toughed it out and did something you love just because they love you, but you may enjoy it even more knowing that somebody isn’t there just because you want them to be. I know that I could roam a museums halls for hours alone and it’s actually a preference. Even when I go with another museum lover, we still may have different tastes in art and want to spend more time with our favorite pieces. It’s actually easier and more enjoyable for me to go by myself. If museums aren’t your thing, then use that time to relax. Schedule a massage or go for that cliched long walk on the beach. It’ll give you a little extra time to focus on you and you’ll get a chance to miss you partner after you’ve been together nonstop for days.
Engage in Group Activities
This isn’t a must and it definitely isn’t for everyone, but I’ve never been on an excursion or group activity and not been surrounded by couples who appear to be happy and having fun. It’s always important to surround yourselves with likeminded people and that doesn’t change when on vacation. You will more often than not come across other couples like yourself who are/have been in your shoes. I usually meet older couples who’ve had a few “couples vacations” under their belt. Not only is there a great time to be had by all, but you could even ask for relationship advice or tips. It’s free and fun therapy if nothing else.
Make Time for Each Other
Yes, I know you’re on vacation together and that should obviously be togetherness time, but it isn’t always. I specifically think it’s important to go out of the way to engage in an activity that the both (or several, for my polyamorous readers) of you enjoy and can do alone. Even if you cohabitate and see each other on a daily basis, you are still living your lives and dealing with work, friends, and family. Those things don’t always allow for you to make time for each other and being together everyday doesn’t mean that you make time for each other. Whether it be a vacation the next town over or on the other side of the world, do it. It can be a full day or just for a few hours, but enjoy being with each other and be present in your relationship.
If you’ve traveled with a partner I’d love to know your thoughts and how you handle it. Was it amazing? Did you hate it? Are you on the fence? Share your stories below or privately email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t wait to hear from you.