Traveling together can be either a wonderful bonding experience or a stress-filled disappointment. How can you ensure that your trip to paradise does not turn into a nightmare? Here’s some advice to help you chart your course. If you navigate well, then your getaway will create wonderful memories and years of pleasure, as you revisit your journey.
Plan Well in Advance
Granted, there’s a lot to be said for spontaneity. However, when it comes to travel that involves significant chunks of time and money, it’s important that you honestly discuss your needs and expectations. Basic issues to talk about are the type of trip that you want to have (e.g., relaxing on a secluded beach or touring ancient ruins, a road trip or a cruise) and the accommodations (e.g., a B&B or an all-inclusive resort). Above all, are the areas that you want to visit safe and welcoming? It pays to do your research on LGBT-friendly locales, especially if you wish to be open!
Communicate and Compromise
Just as planning a wedding or preparing for the birth or adoption of a baby can be a fantastic experience, these activities also entail a great deal of stress. And, with travel, the planning of the trip can be more fulfilling than the getaway! Why? You have total control over your fantasies, but, alas, not over reality. Dealing with airport security, delayed flights, and bad weather can lead to unfulfilled expectations, as well as feelings of disappointment and resentment. These, in turn, can cause irritation and conflict within your relationship.
You and your partner or spouse must work together to create a memorable and fun experience. Here’s an exercise that we have found useful: Create individual lists of potential sources of conflict or situations that might arise. By jotting down possible problem areas even prior to boarding the plane or loading your vehicle, you can discuss your individual concerns and resolve any issues. The following are some topics to consider:
- Will we be together 24/7? How much “me-time” will each of us have?
- How will we compromise when we don’t agree?
- If we are cranky or irritable, what might we need from one another?
- How comfortable might we feel being affectionate in public?
- Should we try to meet other couples during our trip?
- Will we post travel updates on Facebook while we’re away?
- Will either or both of us need to check in with our employer (or others)?
- Will we sleep in or get up early?
- How important is it that we connect sexually on this trip?
- If our trip involves driving, who will be at the wheel?
- Brainstorm! Come up with your own lists—the more specific, the better. You will find that your discussions prior to the trip will bring you closer together and add to your emotional intimacy.
And, one final tip: Pack a journal. At the end of each day, write down all that you remember doing and seeing. In future years, you’ll be glad you did. Bon voyage!