Planning A Trip As A Couple
Since our engagement last month, The Fiance and I have thrown ourselves full-force into the honeymoon planning stages. Of course, being that it’s still winter here, our sights are set on tropical places. I’ve bought bathing suits and we’ve pooled together our airline miles to bring a trip onto the horizon.
Aside from doing the cutesy fun stuff that comes with travel planning, like looking at photos and reading blog posts, we are now getting into the nitty-gritty of things. We’ve sat down and asked ourselves a lot of questions recently, like:
Which country would best suit our personalities?
Which country would be easiest on our skinny wallets?
Which country can we afford to have our own apartment in?
Which country will be easiest for friends and family to travel to?
Which country will best suit his passion for French fries and pizza?
Which country will best suit my passion for adventure and fun?
This is something that I love about travel. When we go about our daily lives, it can be easy to become stuck in certain habits, and there’s not much of a reason to stop and assess who you are. But when you are planning a trip, everything about you, the good, the bad, and the ugly gets drudged up.
This is the first time that we, as a couple, have sat down and done this together. It’s been good for us, but it’s also caused us to realize some truths about each other. Like the fact that I have a tendency to throw myself into the deep end, dragging him along kicking and screaming, while he has a tendency to need some safety before he takes that plunge.
Once we realized these things, we began to strike compromises, to make decisions where both of us could be happy and excited. I’m sure that we are not the only traveling couple that has had to deal with this, and we won’t be the last.
I think sometimes the early stages of planning can be the hardest, because at the point the entire world is literally your oyster. It takes a lot of conversation to narrow things down, to get things on track, and to figure out if travel is even something that can be done together without ruining the relationship.
Thankfully, we came out the other side unscathed. Here are some tips for planning your trip with your significant other.
1: Don’t Judge
It can be tempting to push your point of view onto your SO, especially if you’re the more adventurous one, but all that that is going to do is shut them down. Worse yet, it may make them more fearful about the world, or worried about their future with you if they don’t give in. This is a dangerous path to head down, and it should be avoided at all costs.
Instead, try to find a middle ground. The Fiance and I both love the idea of Europe, Jamaica, and the Bahamas, for instance. Common ground! If we plan right, we can hit the “safer” tourist trail for him while also getting off the beaten path for me, without either of us compromising our wants and needs. But if we start to lose sight of that middle ground, the whole thing could fall apart.
2. Accept The Non-Negotiables
India has always and will always be on my list for must-see destinations. There is nothing on God’s green earth that could keep me from going there one day, and I do mean nothing.
The Fiance does not feel the same way.
And that’s totally cool. I used to be afraid that if he didn’t go with me, I’d never go. And then I realized that that was a stupid thought because I am not attached to him at the hip, and I can go wherever the Hell I want all on my own. He has never tried to hold me back on anything else, and I know that he won’t on this issue.
Maybe you’ve dreamed about a romantic Paris vacation with your SO for so long that you can’t even remember when it started. Maybe fate has paired you up with someone who could not be less interested in Paris. This is life, and stuff like that happens. Come up with a plan as to how you can live your dream without the other person there (or with them there, but not excited about it).
I have accepted that India is a solid Yes for me, and a solid No for him. This is a non-negotiable, and we will use our adult reasoning skills to find ways to work around it.
3. Be Ready For Things To Change…A Lot
So you and your SO have come up with the perfect trip, free of disagreement, free of fighting. Good job!
Then, one Friday night, your better half decides to watch a horrific documentary about the military regime/corrupt government/human trafficking in your chosen destination and no longer feels comfortable going.
Or, perhaps you have read up on the country and found that it doesn’t really suit your tastes right now, or another country has caught your attention and you want to change plans. Again, this is life, and this happens. The question is, what are you going to do about it?
The best advice I can give is to not go running to your SO every time you get a little inkling of a new plan, because this will confuse and overwhelm them. If you start getting the feeling that you want to ditch Paris and head for Berlin instead, let it marinate for at least a week before approaching your partner about it. This will allow you time to think through your reasoning and to come up with a game plan.
Conversely, don’t freak out if/when your partner brings up a change in plans to you, even if they do this often. Just take what they say and accept it in the moment, knowing that it, too, could change again in the future. If it looks like this new idea is around to stay, then you can have the larger conversation of what to do about it. Until then, freaking out will only encourage less communication.
These are my three pieces of advice for anyone else going through this right now. I hope that all the couples of the world are peacefully planning trips that they are excited about, though I know that travel was never meant to be peaceful. It was meant to be challenging, and nerve-wracking, and a little bit nuts.
Until next time, keep planning.