Traveling with someone for the first time is equal parts exciting and frightening. There’s a chance that the relationship will flourish…..or it could completely fall in the gutter. There’s rarely a middle ground. So how can you have the best travel experience with a new loved one and what should you do if it doesn’t work out to ensure it’s not a complete disaster?
In my opinion, there’s a simple formula you can follow:
- Set expectations
- Organize some getting to know one another activities
- Allow for “time-outs”
- Have unplanned time and check-ins
Firstly, it’s important that you set expectations and a budget you both want to follow beforehand. Sit down and discuss what each of you would like to do and how you’d like to operate on a day-to-day basis.
Disagreements over how to allocate time are often the biggest arguments that travel companions have. If someone wants to get some reading time in and the other wants to go-go-go, would you both be willing to compromise and/or split up for a few hours so you can do your own thing?
Determining how you both feel about this is a good indicator of how well you’ll travel together. It’s rare that two people will always want to do exactly the same thing, so how will you handle these situations with respect for one another?
Next, organize some activities or excursions so that you can gain a better understanding of what it would be like to travel with that person. Perhaps visit a museum together or discuss the history of a destination – you might be surprised by what this brings up. Try and select things that challenge both of you and give you the opportunity to adapt to one another. A combination of outdoor and mental activities is ideal.
Also, take into consideration that you will spend a lot of time eating together, so finding someone who’s on your page in terms of what and where you eat is a good idea. If one wants to eat street food and the other only wants to dine at upmarket tourist restaurants, you might find it difficult to compromise at meal times. What about shopping locally and cooking? Again, its a different experience and these options should be discussed.
We all need a break and some “me” time, no matter how well we get along with the other person. The first time your travel with someone, you will need a break – trust me! So discuss a “time-out” strategy that you can bring into play when one or the other needs some space. It’s important that this is a mutual agreement and can be called by either person, without resulting in hurt feelings.
Lastly, if you plan the entire trip with a packed day-to-day schedule, you won’t leave room to be spontaneous or to reflect on what you’re experiencing. Having unplanned time gives you the opportunity to share what you are learning and check-in on one another regarding how things are going.
Ultimately, you won’t agree on everything or always like doing the same things. By setting expectations upfront and understanding that needing time alone is completely normal, you’ll ensure you’re on