How to Travel With Your Significant Other Without Killing Them

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Disclaimer: This post is supposed to be funny and informative. Having been in a relationship for almost 5 years I feel like I have done enough research and traveling to write this post. The plan is to explain how we have built up to these 3 week European vacations loving each other almost every step of the way.  

Traveling with your significant other can always and will be stressful at one point or another. Even when your going to a relaxing spa resort for your anniversary. I know of course your just so madly in love that nothing bad could ever happen between you guys. You never fight..
Guess what? Things happen.
Obviously we don't really glamorize our issues but I know it happens to everyone. Flights get cancelled, itineraries get confused, your lost in a foreign country, after a few drinks and no sleep there's no one left to take your frustrations out on. I wanted to write about how Jay and I build up to some of these issues to make our traveling much less stressful. Because I know we are not alone. Practice makes perfect the more time you spend nearly 24/7 with someone the easier it will be for you to learn how to avoid arguments, when to pick your battles, and how to pull the other person out of a funk.

Step 1: Start Small
This is especially important for couples who haven't been together for a long time or couples who don't live together. Traveling is a great opportunity for you to feel what it would be like living with your spouse and a chance to test the waters. The only problem is that it could either go really well or really really bad!! The reason why I say start small is because you don't want to spend $6000 a person on a 3 week trek through Europe only to discover that you actually can't stand each other. What seemed to be so romantic and luxurious actually turns into a miserable hell that you can't escape because you invested all this $ into the trip and your hours away from an airport. In the end it will be a waste of time and money. You'll end up needing a vacation from your vacation and each other!!
The first trip I took with Jay was a road trip to Tennessee. We just drove on the highway until it got dark and got a hotel room. We had a great time and really got to know each other outside of our daily grind. We made a bucket list as a couple and went to a blue grass bar for dinner. The next day we drove back and looking back it definitely made our relationship stronger. A month or so later we drove up to Cleveland one night for a wedding that also went really well so we took it a step further and went to Disney World for a few days and had a great time.
Our first $200 dinner in West Palm Beach, Florida at the Station House. 

-Start out with weekend road trips, weekend flights less than 2 hours, or take an hour flight with your spouse for a fancy overnight getaway.
-Don't drink more than the other person. (this is an important tip)
-If you have any notable bad habits (we all do) bring them out one by one. Don't start out running around naked clipping your toe nails on the bed while chain smoking drinking wine out of the bottle or something crazy like that! haha
-Don't set any expectations. Go into it with an open mind.
-Let the man plan the trip. A girl deserves to be wined and dined especially in the beginning of a relationship.

Step 2: Plan a Week Long Get Away!
After you start to feel comfortable with the small trips. Go ahead and upgrade yourselves!! Your doing well together and it's time for a treat. A week long Mexican or Jamaican luxury resort is just the ticket! ( I can make some great recommendations just comment below) Probably 4-6 hour flights. However it requires a lot more work and planning from both parties. If your like me when your spouse works 24/7 this can be difficult. Just remember this is where the team work comes into play. Even if you spend more time planning than the other person it still has to be an experience that will be enjoyable for both of you. Try to pick a few things that you both with enjoy together, then make some compromises, maybe I want a spa day and he wants to ride horses by the beach. If there isn't time to do both I would side with the horses because I could go to a spa anywhere. Or if I was really feeling anti-horses I would go to the spa by myself and let him ride the horses. If you do this be sure to not have hard feelings later. I'm noticing the longer we have been together the more I enjoy a few hours to myself on a trip. Especially if you have kids it's good to take a little personal time by yourself. Remember your in a relationship not joined at the hip it's perfectly fine to want some alone time. Enjoy yourself and give each other a little time to miss each other. Especially if there's tension from underlying travel misshaps.

Our first international trip together was to a resort on the Rivera Maya called Valentin. We have since gone back and it's not quite up to par as the first time for your information. I thought it was a dream there in 2010 it was my first trip out of the country. I had to get my passport especially for the trip. I cried when we left it was so amazing. Jay and I connected on another level, being in another country it makes you feel even closer to your spouse. Those resorts along the Maya are so quiet and relaxing it's easy to sit on the beach by the tiki bar and have deep conversations.
Our first international trip together! We loved Cancun! 

A non-international option if you like wine is Napa Valley or anything Trans-Atlantic. I have a blog post on Napa under my wine tab. It's since one of our favorite places to travel to in the USA. So romantic.The best time to go is in the Fall when they are about to crush the grapes! There's lots of crush events and what not. Jay and I like to go during off season because hotels are typically cheaper and we get to spend more time talking with the employees at the wineries. I'd have to say it's hard to not fall in love all over again in Napa. The scenery is just beautiful and you can have a lot of fun conversation with a little wine buzz.
Napa Valley is such a dream to visit!! No other place like it! 

-Book tour/dinner things ahead of time. This is one of those trips where you should probably plan ahead. You'll get a better deal online than you will through the concierge and you'll have a chance to really do some research to see what is available beyond what the hotel offers. Do check in with the concierge as they might have a coupon you could use towards something you've already booked a discounted rate!  Ching Ching!!
-Before you book the trip talk about who is going to do what and how you are going to keep in communication to stay on the same page. Jay and I like to use email so we each have a hard copy of everything we booked. If your really organized you could probably type out a whole itinerary but we never seem to get that far!
-There is a fun app we use called Trip It and it kind of binds together all of your plans and emails me updates when Jay makes changes. Sometimes one of us is tired and aggravated or someone's phone is dead. This is why it's important to make print outs save emails for both people. If you can't print try using screen shots.
-Buying small upgrades can really make a difference in your overall experience. For example: Economy comfort seats on Delta, Ask for a room upgrade at the resort/hotel for a discounted rate, get the next level up on your rent a car, pay the concierge ahead of time to have a sparkling wine chilling in your room, or book a car service to pick you up from the airport as opposed to a taxi.

We sort of break it down like this:
Jay's responsibilities are: Booking the resort/hotel, booking the flights, booking a rent-a-car or car service, choosing a few things he is interested in at our destination for me to choose from. He would run this by me then forward me copies of everything via email.
My responsibilities are: Researching and booking all of the tours, sights, restaurants. I would run this by Jay first. Then book everything and keep in contact directly with tour guides in case times or places needed to be changed. Or worst case we get lost (happens quite often in Europe!) Most tours in Mexico and Jamaica will have a private car service for all of your tours. We have found that the buses tend to be more stressful. They run on a strict time schedule and cram as many people as they can into each bus (not very romantic.)

Step 3- Plan a Three Week Expedition 
If you are comfortable with your honey for a week long without any friends, internet, or other travel stresses then you are ready for the next step! This is like the big dog trip. I would say this would be very telling if you are really going to be able to make it as a couple. If you are social people maybe look into a group trip. A lot of times you can get a good deal on them and everything is planned ahead of time. Obviously for 3 weeks you aren't going to be staying in the same hotel, or city. Chances are you'll be lucky to be in the same hotel for 4 nights in a row. That is if you really want to travel and explore the world which I'm assuming you do or you wouldn't even be on this website! This trip will probably cost more money than the other ones. While you are spending time saving you can also be planning. Get your flights booked and go from there.
I say this is when you go big or go home!
There are 2 ways you can go about this:
-You could spend a lot of $$ and find a tour company that will book your trip from A-Z all you will have to do is show up. This is probably the least stressful option because when things mess up you will have someone to turn to. The 2 we have used and are happy with are---->
  • Italy-
  • Israel-
Could you save a lot of money by doing your own research and booking your own things? Sure!  You are taking your chances with the quality of your tour guides because you just get put with whoever is working that day. The food might not be as good as trip advisor reviews explain it and the hotel that won the 5 star award might be from 7 years ago when it WAS a 5 star hotel. We normally take this route if we are doing a week or less and I book things one at a time.

We have done quite a few of these trips in the last year. We went to Greece for 12 days, Italy for 3 and a half weeks, Paris for a week, and Hawaii for 10 days. They all went well except by the end of the Italy trip I was just ready to go home. There's not much you can do about being home sick other than keeping busy and sucking it up unfortunately. In Paris I was a little disappointed in the exchange rate and I couldn't afford much but that was due to my lack of research.
Paris is such a dream!

-When your actually taking one of these trips my biggest 2 pieces of advice would be to pack (moderately) light and stay organized!! Read about some of my packing tips here --->How to Pack for a Greece Sight Seeing and Beach Vacation
-The #1 thing you can do on one of these kinds of trips is to stay organized. Let your other take care of their responsibilities (the things he/she planned) and you keep track of yours. If there is a problem with the rent a car I would supply the papers I had, but I am not going to get in the middle of it with Jay and the car lady. He knows what was paid and what we should get so it will only create an argument if I get involved and don't know the whole story. Same with the flights. I rarely ever deal with issues we have on flights other than listening to the classical music while we are on hold. Jay is the flight guy so rather than create an issue and get in the middle I just let him handle it. I will do the same for our tours it's up to me to know what time we need to be where and how we are getting there. Obviously if you would have chose the first option I mentioned a lot of these things would never come up.
-When you get lost make a decision on who really knows where they are going. Don't argue about it and don't kid yourself if your clueless. Sometimes even asking a bystander or local doesn't help much and can lead you in the wrong direction. Try calling the tour guide themselves or back tracking to a known destination on a map and starting over. At least the tour guide has a better chance of finding you at a known destination like a monument or museum than a random alley way.
-If you do get into an argument and need some time to yourself do not leave the hotel alone in a foreign country (especially for the ladies!!) This is why I recommended step #2 first because those resorts are like little cities and they are safe. Normally I would go to the lobby or hotel bar have a drink.. ok.. an expensive drink on the room tab and get some fresh air. Jay would go out on the patio or pool and read his book. When one of us is feeling apologetic (usually me!!) then it's over and it's not ruined the vacation. We have been in a situation where neither of us could leave the hotel room because we were both so tired. I just took a quiet relaxing bath and felt much better.
-Download the Trip Advisor City Guides app. This app lets you download a guide to the city you are in ahead of time so you can get directions to a restaurant in Paris without paying roaming data fees. It is amazing. We use it all the time in Paris.

Hopefully this has been an enjoyable read for you! I truly think if you follow these steps and listen to my tips you will travel happily! Travelling prepared and organized is the number one rule! Remember paradise is just a few clicks away but can be miserable if you don't take the necessary precautions.

Happy traveling!!


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