For all the joys that vacations bring, they also carry some degree of stress. Which can be either easier or more challenging to manage, if you’re traveling as a couple.
All those weeks spent planning – and daydreaming – only for your joint holiday to explode into a series of niggles, sulks or full-blown arguments. In fact, according to one study, almost 50% of couples squabble on holiday; and one in every ten split up as a result.
Here are five tips on stress-free travel for couples.
Planning the perfect break – for both of you
Make sure that you find a combination of destination, timing, accommodation and activities that suits you both. If one of you “packs” even the smallest amount of resentment and disappointment, the chances are it will bubble to the surface at some point.
You may have the best of intentions when booking that surprise Yukon dog sledding holiday or a day trip white water rafting, but your partner may not agree that this is a treat for them. Developing the holiday itinerary together can be part of the fun.
Use technology to book, then switch off
Arranging holidays can be wonderfully stress-free, thanks to online information and booking, accessible around the clock on your smartphone.
In fact, it’s now so easy to sort your holiday plans on mobile devices, 48% of US smartphone users report they’re happy to arrange the whole trip that way.
However, if you then spend the whole vacation with your phone in your hand, your partner’s stress levels may soar. Having an electronic detox on holiday can help you to reconnect and soak up all that the trip offers.
Talk things through in advance
This covers a huge range of other topics, not just the holiday.
It’s a great idea to clear the air in the days leading to a holiday. That way, you don’t face bombshell announcements or bones of contention when you’re flying at altitude or sitting on a beach hundreds of miles away from home.
If you have to agree to disagree on certain things, make sure that subject is closed at the same time as your holiday suitcases. If any of your poolside chats start with “And another thing……”, chances are an argument is about to break out.
Pack and arrive early
If there’s one thing that can get a holiday off to a stressful start, is getting to the airport in a rush, or finding you’ve forgotten something crucial.
It pays to prepare. This means getting all your packing ready in advance, to make sure everything is present and correct. Then, leave ample travel time before your flight, adding extra wiggle room for last-minute traffic issues.
You may be sat in the airport lounge longer, but at least you won’t have stress-filled silence.
The little touches matter
Holidays are a great time for a few little surprises for your travel companion – though nothing like dog sledding or white water rafting, remember.
For example, a care package for the flight could include pocket-sized moisturiser, chapstick and ear buds to make your partner feel cared for and relaxed.
You could find a small gift before you travel . Or, simply save and offer to take your travel companion out for a fabulously expensive meal on your last night – having a date, even on holiday, is highly recommended.
Sometimes, it’s the little things on holiday that make the best memories; as well as managing the double-trouble of couple’s stress.