This Valentine’s Day, some of you will be travelling with your boyfriend or girlfriend. For some of you, it will be the first time; and if you’re not careful, it will also be the last. Travelling with your Significant Other (SO) is like travelling with a close friend – you may not realise how annoying they can be until you’re handcuffed for trying to push them out the plane’s emergency door. So take these precautions:
#1 You Should Not “Just be Spontaneous”
Couples who have been together a long time, and already know each other’s quirks, can wing it. But if this is your first time travelling with your SO, the only thing spontaneous will be the insults after the third day.
You see, you may have entirely different expectations from your SO. You may think it’s great to visit museums and art galleries, or stare in awe at the natural beauty of Ayer’s Rock or something. But your partner may think it’s better to spend seven days in a succession of shopping malls, or getting wasted in seven different clubs.
This causes a bit of friction (“you got to do what you want yesterday, why can’t we do what I want today?”) So as far as possible, plan the itinerary. Make sure both sides get to do the things they’re interested in.
#2 If You Want to Make New Friends…
It’s harder to make friends — and be invited to things — when you travel with a partner. When you’re alone, you can strike up conversations and be invited to social gatherings. Do the whole “getting to know strangers” bit. But when you have a partner with you, it forms a social bubble.
People assume you want to be alone with your partner, so they don’t approach you. They’re also less inclined to invite you to, say, head down to the pub with them; you two lovebirds probably planned your own things to do.
If you’re the sort who needs to meet and greet new people when you travel, your partner can become an unintentional barrier. So get ready to be more gregarious, and assert that you’re both looking for things to do.
#3 Don’t Plan to be Together All the Time
You both need to set aside time to do your own thing. If five hours talking to the same person on the plane can bore you, imagine five days of that.
Besides, going in different directions means covering more of your holiday destination. When one of you finds something interesting, you can rope your partner in for a second visit. It also helps because you don’t need to compromise on certain things. You won’t have to go on her 173rd shopping trip to Macy’s, and she won’t have to spend two hours staring at old ammunition in the war museum (or whatever you two are into).
You’ll also save money. If he doesn’t want to watch a show but you do, then good; pay for just one ticket.
#4 And if Something Goes Wrong…
At some point, an accident could happen. Maybe your partner cancelled an Airbnb booking without reading the “non-refundable deposit” clause. Or maybe one of you woke up late, and your only way home is to accept an 11-hour stopover, or get really good at long distance swimming.
Hey, it happens. What matters is that, when it does, you two focus on finding a solution. When you get into teamwork mode, you’re less likely to point out how your SO snored like a strangled horse all night, thus causing you to wake up late.
It can even make a disaster kind of fun. Finding a last-minute solution is cause for a high-five.
#5 Be Sensitive to Bedroom Habits
Find out what your SO can’t stand in the bedroom, before you go on your trip together. Some people hate being talked to in a moist gust of morning breath. Some people feel 32 degrees is “chilly”, and insist on no air-conditioning. Some people just hate it when you turn on the toilet light at night (why is it necessary?!)
Whatever the case, be sure to prepare for it. This will make everybody’s trip more comfortable.
#6 Learn to Get Over it
Got a disagreement? Change the topic, fast.
This is especially important when travelling together because see point 3 – you’re spending an excessive amount of time together. Quarrelling at the same time is the prelude to a break-up — or a Crimewatch episode.
Whatever goes wrong, just don’t harp on it.
#7 Be Prepared to Restaurant-Hop
Some people are adventurous eaters. Some people think the curly fries at McDonald’s are too much of a risk; they’ve had the straight ones since they were kids, and that’s the kind they’ll eat till they die.
You get the idea: your partner may not share your enthusiasm for the local cuisine. And when you’re eating three meals a day together for a week, that can cause friction. So here’s the solution:
You eat whatever chow you want, while your partner follows and just has a drink. Later, you have a drink while your partner grabs a bite elsewhere. It sounds impractical right now, but don’t knock it. Try it and you’ll both be happier.