How to Travel Better With Your Partner
Traveling with a partner can be a game of Russian roulette for stress. Eject anyone from their natural habitat and routine, and some super-fun new personality discoveries can arise. If you're taking a trip with your ride-or-die, follow our top tried-and-true tricks for keeping everything chill. Keep scrolling to hear our go-to tips.
Travel budgets are a prime source of conflict. On top of accounting in advance for your fixed costs (such as accommodations, dining, and activities), agree on how you want to spend your dollars on the trip overall. If you'd rather shop for souvenirs than throw down on an extravagant meal, make sure your plus-one is on the same page. The most important thing is to be in agreement when it comes to where to splurge and where to save.
They will come. You may need to change a flight, shell out for cell phone overages, or stumble upon a hefty bar tab. Have a contingency fund to draw from in the event that you need the extra money. If at the end of the trip you still have your backup plan savings, you can go on an extravagant last adventure or keep it in the bank. Either way, congrats on nailing it.
I once traveled with a partner who experienced more anxiety over having a plan rather than not having a plan. Rolling into dinner without a reservation positively undoes me. I solved this difference in opinion by creating a web of options: I made a few different dinner reservations each night and let him choose. Instead of stressing over not having a plan, it turned into a choose-your-own-adventure map for every day. Note: It took some time for me to disclose this is what I was doing. For the first year we dated, my boyfriend was convinced I magically got a table anywhere we went.
Are you a diehard planner? Or do you crave fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants spontaneity? Fall somewhere in between? Get real and have a conversation about your expectations for the trip. Disclose your must-do list of activities, sites, foods, and daily routines. If you need a day with nothing on your schedule, negotiate. Trading days where you each choose the agenda is always a good system.
Everything is cumulative. Little stresses over the course of a long journey can lead tensions to gradually mount. Start your trip off on the right foot. Pack a few days in advance. Give yourself plenty of time, and arrive early to the airport. It's far more fun to have a celebratory toast in the lounge than be rushing to your gate. An entirely hitch-free vacation is rare. Launching the trip on a relaxed, even keel will provide a foundation to cope with any bumps or hassles that arise with poise and grace.
As a bona fide planner, I often take on the role of research maven for any given trip. Make sure your significant other is on the same page as you when it comes to what to bring. Google the weather. Make a checklist of anything extra you'll need for activities. Packing should be an every-man-for-himself endeavor. Consider it an exercise in self-reliance. If you are both checking bags, consolidate a change of clothes each and any musts into a carry-on in case there is a lost-luggage drama. Bottom line: Make sure you have everything you need. Borrowing his jacket at dinner is way less cute when he's living out of a suitcase. Trust.
Have a tip for traveling with a significant other? Tell us in the comments below.