So here it is... you met that magical person wherever it is you're lying about meeting them (that was absolutely NOT a dating app) and things are going well. And now, it’s time to put your new relationship to that time-honored test of romantic compatibility: the couple's vacation. Nothing brings out the best in people like air travel and eating in unfamiliar restaurants.
Of course, unless you’re doing something crazy like taking a complete stranger to Mexico, you probably know a little about what makes your partner tick. But there's a big difference between handling that for a night or two, and for an entire week in Milwaukee. Just watch an episode of The Amazing Race. So, to find out the tricks of traveling as a couple, we talked to a bunch who have been doing it for decades. And this is the advice they offered.
Plan your activities in advance... and COMPROMISE
Talk about every aspect of the trip before you go, and each pick one thing you MUST do. Then, list some other things you'd like to do, and make compromises. Say, "I'll go on that hike/raft trip/base jump with you if you come to eight fly-fishing shops/museums with me."
Take a cab/Uber to the airport
Nothing starts off a couple's vacation better than a traffic jam peppered with comments like, "I TOLD you to take the toll road. Why are you so cheap?" Knowing that a driver is arriving at a set time holds you both accountable to a strict deadline; and more importantly, you have a third party to blame when you're late.
Don't watch each other pack
You'll go nuts trying to figure out why someone packs the way they do, so unless your partner is planning to smuggle black tar heroin, don't concern yourself with what's in his or her suitcase.
Check bags. Or don't. But never mix the two.
Either you both are carrying your bags on the plane, or you're both waiting at the baggage carousel. That way, you're in the same boat and there's no passive-aggressive resentment should a delayed bag eat into your beach time. If you're dating someone who has an irrational hatred of roller bags, this is an easy compromise.
Always get GPS. Always.
Theoretically, it'll keep you from getting lost. But when you find yourself in a neighborhood you're pretty sure you saw on The First 48, you can blame the "$%*&$^ GPS" instead of fighting with each other.
Play to each other's strengths
Perhaps you're great at time management but not so good at dealing with people, and your partner is a great planner but can't pick between Subway and Taco Bell at a freeway offramp. Let one person make all the logistical arrangements while the other decides where to eat. Or, one handles hotel check-ins and phone calls, while the other does all the driving.
Go to bars
Not just to drink delicious local beers (although, do that too), but to meet interesting locals. Not only will your new friends give you ideas of things to do in town (no, we're not talking about swinging), but more importantly, they'll give you both something new to talk about (still not swinging).
But don't drink too much
This isn't spring break 2005. Vacations might be an excuse to let go, but they're not an excuse to do five tequila shots in an hour, cry for absolutely no reason, and then make inappropriate intoxicated phone calls to your kids.
Don't be afraid to do your own thing
Even if you've traded a visit to the Bowling Hall of Fame for a tour of yarn shops, that doesn't mean you need 24/7 togetherness. If you've each got a must-do item that's right below income taxes on your partner's list of fun ideas, just do them separately.
Never travel hungry
Add Betty White-playing-football levels of hangriness to the stress of travel, and it's a catalyst for in-flight blowouts over whose turn it is to read SkyMall. Make a point to eat breakfast before you leave, or at the very least, pack a box of granola bars.
Know what kind of traveler your partner is
Do you like adventure and can roll with unexpected problems, or are you better off on a tour with a guide? Does she like to hit the touristy destinations or "go native"? This all needs to be discussed (and worked out) during the trip's planning phase.
Alone-time activities don’t have to involve solo zip-lining over alligator pits. They can be as simple as reading books on the beach and essentially "escaping" to your own world. Then, much like with meeting people in a bar, you’ll have interesting stories to discuss later.
Only allow one person to freak out at a time
Nothing is more embarrassing than standing next to a partner who's berating a gate agent for a weather delay. Except two people irrationally berating a gate agent for a weather delay. Then you just look like a couple of maniacs who absolutely deserve each other.
Figure out who requires patience, and when
Your partner might be one of those people who needs to be told you're leaving an hour earlier than, well, you're actually leaving. But you may require an hour to get ready for dinner. You both have times you'll need the other to be patient with you, and once you establish those, everything else will run smoother.
Above all else, let the small stuff go
Just like in daily life, but even more so when you're away. You have to let the small shit go without comment or pouting. It's that simple -- just let it go.
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