Avoid these 5 Vacation-Killer Mistakes
There’s nothing I love more than hopping on a plane – or jumping in the car – and escaping somewhere with my lover. I have a constant craving for all kinds of travel – solo, business, press trips – but my partner and I travel happiest when we’re side by side. Both of us love adventuring together, honoring whims and wants while paying homage to the art of compromise.
But the truth is, as much as we love getting lost together, we’ve also hit our fair share of landmines while on the road together. Traveling with a partner comes with high hopes – expectations – that, if left unchecked, can transform a bad day into an ugly, unrecognizable beast.
If you’re planning a trip with your partner, feel free to steal from my couples-travel-playbook to help ensure a happy, cohesive adventure with your partner.
Plan your vacation together
A “good” vacation begins at home, understanding your individual – and mutual – expectations.
Imagine you’re planning a Mediterranean cruise for you and your partner. You plan the flights, cabin booking and all your excursions, which may play out swimmingly if you know your partner’s preferences and understand how to satisfy them. But if you choose a mediocre excursion on a day that you missed your wake-up call and almost missed the departure. Oh, and it’s also raining and unseasonably cold and you only packed shorts for this full day adventure. Outside. There’s no denying the day will be challenging but if one person did all the planning without input from the other, there’s a good chance you’ll be playing the blame-game by dinner that night.
If you thought the day was frustrating, try finding a wine that pairs well with resentment and frustration.
Give each other permission to explore alone
My partner and I travel joined at the hip, mostly because we truly enjoy each other’s company and have very similar interests. But there are times when I want to explore a village market or do something creative like visit a perfume factory to make my own customized scent. And he might want to parasail or something equally foolish, which I would never do because I want to live to 100.
When our interests reach an impasse, we give each other permission to indulge in some individual wanderlust, no guilt allowed. And then we agree on a meet-up time and look forward to the sharing of stories at dinner that evening. Trust me on this, it’s much easier to pair a wine with contentment.
Check in with your expectations
Expectations are a big thing when it comes to travel happiness. If you’re not honest about – or don’t discuss – expectations before leaving home, you may unknowingly book a non-stop flight to disappointment.
A few years ago, we booked a week in the Florida Keys and low-balled our hotel, expecting to be so busy exploring that we wouldn’t miss a resort on the beach. It rained the entire time and not only did we struggle to keep busy during the day, we spent our evenings cramped in our little hotel room without even a balcony from which to watch the storms roll in. While the weather was beyond our control, we should have been honest on the must-have’s when we’re hungry for a feed-my-every-want-vacation.
Talk about money
Money can be a massive source of frustration for couples who travel together – especially if they haven’t clearly set out a budget and a plan to stick to it beforehand. And, of course, that leads us back to expectations. Do you both have the same expectations of the overall costs of your trip as well as individual components of it? Do you have a cap on what you expect to spend for meals, alcohol, shopping and extra adventures? If one of you likes to gamble, do you have limits of how much is taken to the gaming tables? Same goes for shopping expeditions.
When my husband and I travel together, we try to plan as much as we can but we’re also prepared to wiggle if needed. After all, it’s a vacation and if that one extra spa treatment is going to put you in an over-the-moon-happy-mood…
Communicate – better
When it comes to matters of the heart – and travel – talking is the biggest turn on. When my partner and I plan a vacation together, we talk about every detail, like kids who can’t wait for Christmas morning. We dream, hope, explore expectations and do a whole lot of what-iffing. And you know what? Those conversations have been our saving grace on days when everything seemed to go wrong. And on days that go blissfully, unbelievably right, well, being beside your best friend to enjoy it all is just that much sweeter.