Is going on a trip with a partner for the first time a monumental turning point in a relationship? I think so. After all, you are both consciously choosing to forgo your once- or twice-a-week dates for a string of days together practically nonstop, and that says a lot about how much you two enjoy each other’s company. Planning your first trip together can be exciting (I mean, think of all the cute pics you’re going to get), but it doesn’t come without the added pressure of experiencing another first in your relationship.
Will you realize you don’t know your partner as well as you originally thought or will it bring you closer together? Hopefully, it’s the latter, but the most important thing to remember, aside from the travel tips I have to offer, is this: You’re going with the purpose of having fun together, not to test your relationship.
Between confirming travel logistics to planning what you’re going to do together each day and figuring out what travel essentials to pack so you feel extra confident, it’s no doubt you’re feeling the pressure. Not to worry: Here are six travel tips that will help take some of that pressure off so you can feel excited about your first trip together.
1. Manage Your Expectations
My best advice? Go in with low expectations. This applies to every detail of your trip, from the restaurants you choose to the place you are staying at all the way down to the conversations and bonding experiences you expect to have. For example, if you expect to have a total blast on an excursion you choose to do together because the pictures online were *so good* and you both end up not being very impressed, you’ll be underwhelmed by it instead of enjoying it for what it is.
I hate to admit it, but I am telling you this from experience. I have (and have talked to many others who do the same) a bad habit of picturing in my head how magical a certain place or day is going to be and then ruining it for myself when it doesn’t live up to this unattainable (and, let’s face it, imaginary) standard I have dreamt up in my head. So don’t be like me. You’ll end up disappointed by something that might have actually been great if your expectations weren’t so high.
2. Make a Flexible Plan for Each Day
Planning is great. We love a plan, but over-planning and stressing out about said plan not going exactly right is a recipe for a not-so-great time. Instead, make a flexible plan with your partner about what you two will do each day. A good rule of thumb is picking one activity and one restaurant you would like to hit for lunch or dinner. Avoid strict times for anything if possible because you’ll end up feeling distracted and rushed by a timeline. This way, you can welcome whatever else happens throughout the day. Odds are, you’ll stumble upon something great that you didn’t expect—which you would have totally missed out on if you didn’t have a flexible plan.
3. Plan to Try Something New
Whether it’s a new activity, type of food or drink, or something else entirely, try something new that you both haven’t done before. When you’re on a trip, there are always going to be things that you can’t do at home or wouldn’t do if you weren’t in vacay mode. Take advantage of that! This is a fun opportunity for you two to bond over something completely different and make memories. Plus, no matter if it goes terribly or you end up loving it—it will make for a good story to tell and reminisce about together when you get home.
This is especially important if either (or both) of you have been to where you are going before. You don’t want to relive the same vacation you’ve already had and end up talking about the good ol’ days the whole time. Sure, that’s fine for some things, but try to focus on making brand-new memories with your partner.
4. Carve Out Time for Romance
We all know how important date nights are to keeping the spark alive in a relationship, and even though you’re together for a few days and it might feel like one big, long date, I recommend intentionally carving out time for romance. This can be as simple as going on long walks at night after dinner or it can be as official as choosing a specific night on your trip to be date night. No matter what you choose, prioritize time for your relationship. It can be easy to end up in “buddy-buddy” mode for a lot of your trip (which is good for a little while!), but you are ultimately there as a couple. Not only will this give you both something to look forward to, but it might also bring back some of those first-date butterflies. Plus, if it goes really well, it could end in some intimacy later on. Trust me, these moments will go a long way when you get home.
5. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Want to know a surefire way to ruin a trip? Sweating the small stuff and letting the effects of an argument linger far longer than they need to. Being with someone all day every day isn’t easy—it doesn’t matter if it’s your best friend or your partner. Getting annoyed is, unfortunately, something that happens to the best of us, but we can make the conscious choice to not let it ruin the mood. If something bothers you, take a few moments to yourself and decide if it’s worth hashing out at all. If it is, decide if it’s worth talking about on your trip or if it can wait until you get home. Just remember, your trip together is not the place to get into a fight that could be detrimental to your relationship.
6. Be Open-Minded
Your idea of a vacation might be very different from your partner’s idea of one, and you might not realize this until you’re halfway through planning your trip. Are you getting the sense that they want to sightsee all day every day when you’re more interested in relaxing by the pool? This is the time to remember one very important thing about relationships: They require compromise. Be open-minded about the things that they want to do or the way that they want to do things that you wouldn’t otherwise choose yourself. And remember, the point isn’t to pretend to like something for the sake of the other person. The point is showing your partner that you are willing to compromise for their benefit, and in turn, you will (hopefully) receive the same.