Vacations can stress new couples out as easily as they bring them closer together. To make sure you get the latter experience instead of the former, try heeding these tips as you embark on your first vacation together. These tips share communication as a major factor in their success. (All personal experiences described are gleaned from my own first vacation with my boyfriend – a road trip across America.)
1. Decide what you’re going to do! Getting together and having a discussion is as important for relationships in general as it is for vacationing. How much do your tastes differ? What new sights/attractions do you want to see? How much are you willing to spend? Maybe he wants to go to the tried-and-true Disney World, while you want to explore an exotic new country. (In our case, I wanted to spend time traveling around Europe, while he wanted to visit Yellowstone. We got the best of both worlds by agreeing on a road trip in the late summer – I would get to see a lot of stunning new sights in a short amount of time, while he would get to see the national park.) Make sure you do lots of research on the places you do end up visiting – whether through Google or tour books – so neither of you ends up unpleasantly surprised or just wandering around. To that end, investing in a daily planner will also save huge headaches.
2. Set aside time each day for some financial finagling. Who’s paying for what? What’s the limit of your budget? Estimate the amount you can comfortably spend in a day, and then try to stay beneath that amount for the duration of the trip. (My boyfriend and I had the following arrangement: I paid for the food and souvenirs, he paid for the park admissions, lodging and gas.) If you’ve got a Smartphone, Expense Manager is a very handy app for recording expenses. Money arguments are a romance killer, so making these decisions before and during your getaway is doubly important.
3. Remember to get in some R&R! After all, it’s why you’re vacationing! While my boyfriend and I did “rough it” on quite a few occasions – camping at the base of the Grand Teton and climbing Guadalupe Peak – we also carved out some time to just laze about doing nothing in a nice hotel for a few days. Vacations aren’t about cramming as many “to do” items in your itinerary as possible, and remembering that will certainly help head off any rising fatigue-related tensions between you and your partner.