12 Challenges Of Traveling With Your Partner For The First Time & How To Overcome Them
Going away with your partner for the very first time can be quite the adventure. Regardless of whether you're newly dating or have been together for quite some time, you can never really guess how your first trip together as a couple will actually turn out. With all the fun, you can expect there to be challenges. Luckily, many of those challenges are fairly common and can be overcome.
"Traveling together can be extremely revealing," Dating Coach and Resident Sex Expert for My First Blush, Laurel House, tells Bustle. Deciding when you should travel together for the first time really depends on you and how comfortable you are with the idea. Some people like getting it out of the way early on in what House calls a "Make-or-Break Vacation Date."
Basically that's what happens when you've just started dating someone and are in a place where you're ready to find that one you want to be with forever. "You aren’t interested in playing games or wasting time," she says. "You found someone who you think has real potential, and you’re ready to see the reality of who they are."
When you go away with someone you will definitely learn a lot about them like their habits, how they treat people, how they are in the mornings, etc. Traveling has a way of expediting the getting-to-know-you process.
"Traveling together creates an environment that encourages transparency," House says. "Unlike Friday night dates, it isn't about being 'on' all the time. Instead, it's about being real."
Ideally, your first trip as a couple will be memorable for all the right reasons. However, there will be challenges along the way. So here are some common challenges couples tend to face on their first getaway together and ways to overcome it.
1. Getting Overwhelmed By Travel Stress
Traveling is fun, but the logistics can make it stressful. "Some people simply do not travel well," Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. It's not hard to see why. Between flights, long car rides, forgetting to pack things and other factors, there's a lot of things that can go wrong on a trip and a lot of opportunity for stress.
To overcome travel stress, Backe suggests keeping things in perspective. "You're on vacation with your partner," he says. "Even if something goes wrong, appreciate the bigger picture and take solace in it. Remain calm and your partner will feed off of your positive vibes as strongly as they will if you project stress."
2. Finding That You May Not Like All Of The Same Activities
"On one of our first trips, Tim expected we'd visit a theme park," Jennifer Dombrowski, one half of the couple behind the award-winning travel blog Luxe Adventure Traveler, tells Bustle. "But I get motion sickness on roller coasters and I was really nervous about getting sick in front of my new boyfriend." In the end, he was disappointed they didn't go to the theme park and she felt horrible that he was disappointed.
The reality is, you're not going to like every single thing your partner wants to do. They're not either. You just can't expect that from each other. That's why Dombrowski says planning together is essential. "Setting expectations of what you'd both like to see and do on the trip will avoid those little arguments that can ruin your trip," she says.
Once you're on the trip, compromise is key. Sometimes you'll get to your destination and find out they have this really cool new attraction that you want to try. If your partner doesn't, that can have a way of bumming you out. But don't let it. According to Backe, you can find ways to compromise. For instance, you tell your partner that you'll go with them to something they want to do that didn't make your original itinerary if they do that new activity with you.
3. Finding Out You're Really Not That Compatible At All
One of the best ways to see just how compatible you and your partner are is to take a trip together. The more time you spend with someone, the better of a chance you get to see how you two really mesh. When you're a pretty new couple, the amount of time you probably spent together isn't a lot. To limit the disappointment you may have after going on a trip with someone and finding out that you're really not that compatible, Dombrowski suggests planning for a first trip that's local.
"You don't want to jet off somewhere halfway around the world and find out that you really aren't compatible after all," she says. "Travel, especially foreign travel, can test a lot in a relationship." For instance, you may encounter challenges you won't face at home in your own familiar environment like language barriers, getting lost and a bunch of other things. If you haven't spent a ton of time together, these challenges can bring out a side of your partner you may never have seen before. Sometimes, you won't like it. So it's better to test it out a bit and do a short weekend getaway before committing to anything too big.
4. Expecting Too Much From Yourself
"In the beginning of a new relationship it's easy to want to step up and go above and beyond," Bethany Ricciardi, sex educator and relationship expert with Too Timid “The Romance Company” tells Bustle. But if you're going on a long road trip and you offer to drive the entire trip, you can "bury yourself really quick on your vacation." So make sure to split the driving if you're on a road trip and make sure to split responsibilities in general. According to Ricciardi, by sharing the responsibilities of getting there safely, it will show how well you can work together as a team. "Splitting responsibilities throughout your trip will ensure you both enjoy your time away," she says. "It should never just be one of you doing everything."
5. Running Out Of Things To Talk About
If you're newly dating you shouldn't have to worry about this since there's still so much to learn about each other. But if you do, House suggests having the “36 Questions” to fall in love handy. You can print them out, have it on your phone, or buy the card deck from Amazon. "The questions are designed to get couples talking about real topics beyond daily life or surface subjects," she says. "If you let your partner know that you thought it would be fun to get to know each other by asking some thought-provoking questions, then you both will be on the same page and feel comfortable pulling out the questions during moments of momentary silence."
If you're on a road trip and you're just done talking for some time, dating and relationship coach, Carla Romo, tells Bustle, creating a fun playlist that you can enjoy together can be helpful. As she says, "The songs will always remind you of your trip."
6. Finding Out You Have Different Motives For Wanting To Go Away
Why did you decide to go on the trip? Are you both escaping from work stress? Is it for a holiday or celebration? As Jeannie Assimos, eharmony's Chief of Advice tells Bustle, "It's important to make sure you are both on the same page." For instance, if your partner thinks your trip will be filled with skydiving and hiking, but you thought you would be taking cooking classes and going to museums, this can cause some disconnect and frustration. That's why she says it's important to discuss what the trip is for and what you both want to accomplish on it, so you can have the same expectations.
7. Running Over Budget
Both you and your significant other will likely open your wallets on vacation but talking about money in the moment can be super awkward. "Have the money talk well in advance, before you even choose a destination," Heather Ebert, relationship expert at dating site, MissTravel.com, tells Bustle. That means determine whether you are embarking on a luxurious trip, a frugal getaway, or something in between. "Another consideration to make is who will pay for what," she says. Will it be 50/50 or is one person footing the bill? "Discussing a budget early on will help set expectations and leave less room for disappointment or confusion later," Ebert says.
8. Wanting To Document Every Single Moment Of Your Trip
If you're going on vacation with your partner, it's very well expeced that you're going to want to document it. But you shouldn't be spending your entire trip doing things for the 'Gram. "Cell phones put the world at our fingertips and because of that it’s almost essential to use on vacation, whether you need access to online banking, GPS or of course, a camera," Ebert says. "But for your first trip with your partner, you have to unplug, even if it’s just at dinner. Engage with your surroundings." Furthermore, don’t let text messages, social media or news updates interrupt your together time.
9. Failing To Plan Ahead And Having A Huge Argument Because Of It
Planning a trip can be fun, but it's also important to get the logistics out of the way. It's especially essential if you're doing a road trip. "Having a car breakdown is a drag and will shift the mood of the entire trip," Larry Mihalko, Global Vehicle Performance Manager for Buick tells Bustle. So know your car and its condition. If it's new, you're probably OK to just get in and go after checking fluid levels. "Anything with higher miles (80,000-plus), I would make sure the scheduled maintenance is done," he says. "It’s also important to check your tires, too."
When you run into issues during your trip, the tendency is to stay quiet and keep it all in. After all, you don't want to kill the mood with an argument. But that's actually the wrong way to go about it. As Irina Baechle, LCSW, Relationship Therapist and Dating Coach, tells Bustle, "Make sure you communicate your thoughts and concerns right away — do not wait until the end of the trip. Otherwise, it will bottle up really fast and might manifest itself in a much bigger and unnecessary argument later on."
10. Needing Some Alone Time
Another common challenge you might face is the expectation that you're supposed to spend every waking, breathing, moving, moment with your partner on this vacation, Ricciardi says. But that's not necessarily true. You don't have to be together 24/7. At different times you might be on different levels and one of you might want to stay on the beach while the other wants to explore the area. "Stay and enjoy your moment and let them go enjoy theirs," she says. "Don't separate for hours, but check back in after 30 minutes and see what mood you're both in." In short, alone time is OK even when you're on a trip together.
11. Letting Those Not-So-Great Moment Ruin Your Entire Trip
Embarrassing things can happen, you might argue, or just about anything and everything that you hope will go smoothly might end up going wrong. That can have a way or ruining your first trip together. But as Kelly Hayes-Raitt, travel expert and author, tells Bustle, you shouldn't let it. "Focus on creating shared memories," she says. "Even the 'bad' stuff can be something to laugh about when you get home." There's always a positive hidden in every negative situation.
12. Having Really High Expectations For How It's Going To Go
"The best travel tip I have would be to lower your expectations," Ricciardi says. "You dream of what this vacation might look like, but traveling can be as stressful as it can be fun, so don't let yourself down by imagining a picture perfect trip." After all, it's less about the trip itself and more about building a strong connection in your relationship.
A recent survey of over 3,000 18 to 35-year-olds conducted by millennial travel company, Contiki, found that 63 percent of people who travel with their partners say traveling has actually helped their ability to problem solve, overcome obstacles, and push through any relationship ruts. So don't let any potential issues that may come up on a trip prevent you from actually going on one. You may find your relationship is much stronger because of it.