5 Tips for Traveling with Your Significant Other by Relationship Expert Andrea Syrtash
Andrea Syrtash is a relationship and lifestyle expert, on-air personality and author of a number of books including “He’s Just Not Your Type (And That’s a Good Thing),” “Cheat On Your Husband (With Your Husband)” and “How to Survive Your In-laws.” She’s written for many outlets including Oprah, MSN, and Glamour and is a frequent on-air guest on TV and radio shows across the country. An avid traveler, Andrea has lived in eight cities around the world, including Toronto, Jerusalem, Los Angeles and New York. For more, visit www.andreasyrtash.com or follow @andreasyrtash.
There’s an old expression that if you want to know if you’re a good match with someone, travel together. You’re bound to see how compatible you really are when navigating new experiences and twists and turns on your journey.
Inevitably, couples are going to get outside their comfort zones (and sometimes their time zones) when they travel. This is great for a relationship, as novelty is key to keeping a relationship exciting.
Before you decide to travel with a significant other, it’s important to outline each of your needs, wants and expectations, so you start the trip on the same page — I’ve been on trips with previous lovers where I was not only on a different page, I was in a different book!
Inevitably, you may encounter some travel scenarios that are awkward. Here are a few and how to manage them.
1. You want to book different vacations
You want to relax under an umbrella on a pristine beach, and your partner wants to put on her activewear and get moving.
The good news is that you don’t have to decide between margaritas by the pool and adventure.
Whenever you and your partner can’t decide on the kind of getaway you want to take, consider that there’s usually an option that will satisfy both of you. Meeting in the middle is what partnership is about, after all.
Many destinations have access to a beach and relaxing activities near a city center and/or adventure activities. There is no reason that you can’t enjoy both experiences on your getaway.
2. You don’t know who should pay
If you’re not sharing finances, it can be awkward to figure out who should foot the bill when you travel with your significant other. Should you go Dutch, or should the person who is more financially fit cover the main expenses of the trip? Who should book the tickets and who should cover the meals and travel outings?
In general, a good approach is to put these issues on the table sooner than later. It’s hardly sexy to say, “Honey, can you give me your Visa number since I don’t want to be stuck with the cost of your plane fare?” — but it’s better than the alternative: potentially feeling resentful that one of you is taking care of it.
Communicating about finances is a great habit for your relationship.
Try saying something like, “I assume we’ll pay our own way for this trip, so how should we coordinate the bookings?” Or if you know you have the financial means and want to cover it, you can say, “I’d like to book the tickets and hotel for us because I’m in a position where I can afford it. Cool?”
If you end up on a vacation with someone who has mostly paid your way for airfare and/or hotels, consider picking up meals and other expenses so you can show that you want to contribute.
3. You want romance, but you have kids
Children and romance may seem mutually exclusive; but there are plenty of ways to have a romantic getaway as parents.
Depending on the age of your kid(s), you can opt for a destination with a kids club (where they’re in play dates while you’re in play mode with your partner), or you can book a hotel suite with separate rooms or areas for a little more privacy.
If you’ll be together with the kids most of the time, you can still “date” your partner. Stroll on a beautiful beach holding hands, snuggle on a park bench at sunset or escape to your hotel room balcony when the kids are asleep.
Modeling romance and showing affection is great for your children to see, even if they tell you it’s icky!
4. Your in-laws will be there
There’s a reason so many jokes feature overbearing in-laws. Even if you’re in a situation in which you have a nice relationship with your extended family, you may not find spending time with them the ideal way to have a super relaxing getaway.
What’s normal to you and your family on vacation may be totally different from what your in-laws are familiar with. (My ex’s family made all of us get up at 7 a.m. to start the day. That’s not normal, right?!)
The key with in-laws is to communicate clearly and to set healthy boundaries. You’re all adults, and there’s no reason you have to do something that you are not comfortable with.
If you’re on a trip with the whole family, try to schedule moments away with your significant other. Without any excuses, you can simply say something like, “On Tuesday, Mike and I are going to take an island tour, and we’ll meet you guys for dinner.”
As long as you clearly communicate, there’s no reason that others won’t understand. And if they don’t, encourage your partner to talk to his/her parents or siblings. After all, he knows them better than anyone and may know a better way to approach the situation.
5. You don’t want to be together 24/7
When you travel, you may feel like you’re joined at the hip with your partner. This can be romantic; it can also be exhausting.
In many partnerships, there’s one person who values his/her independence a little more, and this doesn’t mean that this person doesn’t enjoy time together. In fact, in my research, I’ve found that the happiest couples enjoy an active life together and a dynamic life apart.
As you and your partner discuss needs, wants and expectations for your summer travel, it’s worth noting that each of you may participate in a few activities apart.
You may decide to take the afternoon off and meet for drinks at sunset. Trust me, when you come together after time away, your vacation will feel even more exciting.