What better scope for bonding than in the thrill of exploring new horizons? Or so you would ask yourself. It stops being a rhetorical question when you think that the water flows both ways. The prospect of a an adventurous foray will bring you and your better half even closer, true, but it will also test your resolve at times. Planning a travel can induce stress (doesn’t planning ANYTHING induce as much stress as it does excitement?). But the actual journey puts a greater emotional bearing on you, as statistical reports from an US survey conducted in 2014 shows. The other side of the flight-anxiety coin is the strange rush that you feel, even if momentarily, before your departing flight swoops down on your home airport, and vice versa. This exhibits only a part of the more general travel-anxiety. So here’s an essential guide to make couple travel holiday memorable. Logically, elimination of the negatives is a good way to start. We will try and address the four predominant factors of travel-anxiety as listed by the statistics first. Let us look at some of the travel tips for couples.
(1) Getting to, from, and through a departing and arriving airport:
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This issue pretty much resolves itself. That aforementioned rush of emotions is inevitable – unless you know how to meditate anywhere and anytime, or coping with stress is just a personality quirk you have. Remember that the folks back at the flight company have a much bigger obligation, and incentive, to ensure that your experience is at least satisfactory. Yes, flights do get cancelled, but then you would be informed beforehand – hours prior to the here and now. If you are susceptible to in-flight motion sickness, then sadly there are no cures as such. But you can help minimize it by keeping your eyes still, not turning your head, and taking deep breaths.
(2) Deciding on a location:
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You would be surprised to find just how many couples never get along on things, especially their choice for the ideal travel destination. The usual suspects like mountains vs. coast are a breeze (plenty of archipelago that have ample share of both), however some binaries like the tranquil lake district vs. the sprawling metropolis can have no defined middle ground without defeating the point. In these cases, one of you has to come to a compromise. That might sound bad on face value, but compromises are the building blocks of a lasting, long relationship. The fact that your preferences don’t align well can also be a good thing – you and your partner don’t enable each other, and motivate each other to explore alternative experiences. It will seem out of your comfort zone, even, but that is what relationships ultimately do. You make each other complete because you complement each other by being different. They keynote here is to see coming to a compromise not in a pejorative light, but as a good thing. The same goes for your choice of traveling styles. Your partner may like a very compact, planned and structured travelling route and order, while you like absorbing a place by immersing yourself into it and getting lost in the alleyways behind and away from the landmarks. You can tune it down a little to come to a reasonable middle ground, like remembering not to stray too far away, or always backtracking at the right time without necessarily sacrificing your wanton quirks and pet peeves. Who said diplomacy is not for lovebirds?
(3) Developing an itinerary of fun and unique experiences:
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Reality TV has its way of charming you into pursuing its idealism. Put some trust in us, and yourselves, when we tell you to lose that grand narrative of perfection. Yes, your ride will not be the fairytale chariot. But then look at The Darjeeling Limited, or The Hangover, or Little Miss Sunshine. Things will go south in your travails. Not every day will be the perfect harmony of a thrilling view, great weather, a successful risk in trying out foreign cuisine, and the perfect romantic dinner with its perfect culmination. But know that perfection happens only in films and TV. Real life is not perfect, but it is much better than perfect – it will grow you as a person, and then as a better couple. Travelling WILL entail stress, that much is indisputable. But you don’t have to let stress win and defeat your strong bond with your soulmate. About the romantic dinner bit – you have been a couple for a while and you know that there are things you two find romantic that films and couples travel vlogs will never show. You truly love each other because you accept each other’s imperfections with open arms.
(4) Finding family friendly accommodations:
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This is a particularly difficult hurdle that you should, optimally, watch out for before you are packed, stacked, and ready to run on track. Prevention is the best cure. Take precautionary measures by, firstly, recognizing advertisers who overhype their packages and/or destinations. If you haven’t hired a travel agency and like independent exploration, the precautionary tab goes twice as thick. Make sure your recommendation sources are reliable. Take local recommendation from authentic residents, or from friends and colleagues who have already been there, and whom you trust. When webcrawling to learn more options, be picky about your sources and prioritize sites like Like A Local. Of course, these are all BEFORE you embark on your quest. When you are already on the trail and find it especially bumpy, remember the first and foremost rule – do NOT lose your cool. Rides get bumpy. Your reserved hotel may in all likelihood turn out to be a disappointment. The view to the sea might be a simulation (a view to an aquarium). The room may not be as soundproof as advertised. The place may not be as beautiful as you saw in all those photos. When these happen, be realistic and realize that you have to make the best of the situation. It’s the dynamics between you two that will form the memories, not the backdrop.
With that out of the way, here are some things you should take note of.
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- Be communicative. We cannot stress this enough. This is what prevents misunderstandings. Even if it’s something that you think may sound unfavourable to your partner, if it’s important, express yourself. If you let it build up like a bubble, it will make itself apparent in much more unsavoury ways. That said, self-expression does not justify impoliteness.
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- Understand that not everything will be romantic according to what your standards of being romantic are. Don’t be obsessed with idealism, or you will miss out on everything. ‘Everything’ is the little things. Don’t draw upon your momentary disappointments and live in the present.
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- This will sound very counterintuitive, but you need some time alone with yourself every day. Travels always connote moments of contemplation – moments of self-discovery before something sublime. But, not to cut Wordsworth short, the bigger reason is that relationships thrive on a mutually understood demarcation and allowance of private space. If you and your partner do not talk 24×7 with the flow of freestyling, it does not have to mean that there is something wrong with your relationship.
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- Be understanding. Both you and your partner will be in an alien environment with unfamiliar faces. It is imperative that you become the bridge over troubled water for each other, so when the going gets tough, ditch the blame games and the almost-cursory ripostes.
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- Of course, arguments will happen eventually. But arguments in a vacation are just like arguments at home. Couples do it all the time. It is a very common phenomenon. So don’t bear its emotional ramifications on for too long and let bygones be bygones when it happens.