Travel can be an incredibly stressful time for a couple, no longer how long you have been together. It can reveal both strengths and weaknesses in your union. You can reignite a flame of passion, or show you shadow aspects of each other such as treatment of staff, how they handle stress, or connection with money. Even prior to the trip itself, you can see aspects like power dynamics, what each other considers important or budget setting. Notice how you both talk with each other during each phase of the trip from planning to transit to enjoyment to getting back home. Are you being realistic and flexible? As you work on your communication, the chances are you will set the stage for a smoother trip than if you hold your feelings to yourself.
Helpful travel tips
- Discuss and set a budget early: Money talk is definitely not sexy, but its important to have to avoid undue stress. Plan line items for airfare, lodging, meals out, excursions, and gifts. Understand how finances will be split can set the stage for better understanding your financial patterns as a couple when you get back home.
- Understand the goals of the trip: Make sure you are on the same page with the purpose of the trip. One of you might want to relax by the pool, while the other is looking for reconnection time during a tour. If this isn’t talked about early, there will be some major disagreements in a new space during a time that should be fun. By aligning your goals and being willing to compromise you both can relax and enjoy this new adventure together. Remember, its ok for you both not to spend every moment together on the trip.
- Turn off to tune in! It might be unreasonable to leave all of your phones, tablets and laptops at home. But remember a reason for this trip is to spend time together and not in front of a screen! Have a discussion about tech and accessibility conversation well before you leave for the trip to make sure you stay on the same page.
- Be flexible: Both of you must be willing to bend or adjust for the other as situations may change. When you attempt something new, the brain releases dopamine which can elevate our happiness and help a couple bond. Remember not every moment of the trip will be easy. At times things will annoy you either about the experience or about each other. No matter what arises treasure these learning moments about one another, as this trip can serve as a laboratory for future interactions as your relationships evolves. Sometimes this can even mean that you aren’t working well as a couple. This is ok, and its better to notice this red flags now so you can choose to work on the issues or part ways with minimal hurt feelings.