When the US Travel Association interviewed over 1,000 couples to determine how travel affects romantic relationships, they probably didn’t know that they’d spark a question that’s still pertinent years later: how soon is too soon for a couple’s vacation?
There are basically two types of people; the ones who dream up romantic couple beach holidays to the Maldives or watching a sunrise over the temples in Bagan, and the ones who over-analyse a situation and arrive at an error 404 in their heads when the person they’ve been seeing on and off for a few months suggest a mini staycation just two hours out of town.
Regardless of which one you are, the survey by the US Travel Association shows that an overwhelming 68 per cent of couples say that leisure travel is necessary to maintaining a healthy relationship and 84 per cent of those who have travelled with their partners made it to the five-year relationship mark.
Clearly, couples who travel together stay together, but if you’ve already started planning a Christmas holiday extraordinaire for you and the person you’ve had drinks with once and dinner with twice, you should probably know that psychologists, relationship coaches and travel experts all have differing opinions on when ‘too soon’ is.
Speaking to The Telegraph, behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings suggests the 1:1 ratio approach. That is, a night away for every month of your dating. Relationship coach Jo Barnett on the other hand, recommends a weekend getaway after you’ve had five to seven dates under your belt while travel expert Gilbert Ott stands behind the ‘sooner-the-better’ mantra. After all, the 2013 Journal of Travel Research did find that partners who travel together experience improved communication, even after the vacation.
Now, if you’re the second type of person, a little skittish and a lot unsure about this whole couple’s vacation thing, take heart in thinking of it like a crash test. You’ll either return from the trip hating every fibre of your partner’s being, or you’ll be convinced this person is the fabled one you hear others fawning about.
As for when the topic is likely to come up, it’s important to note that in a separate study of 1,000 adults by Hilton Hotels & Resorts, six in 10 people think it’s a good idea to go away with someone after give or take three months. As a matter of fact, this 60 per cent believe it’s never too soon to travel together. It’s unclear if the other four in 10 have had bad travel experiences with a new partner or if they’re just erring on the side of caution, but Holiday Autos did reveal in a recent survey that a quarter of couples would butt heads within the first day of a holiday.
Evidently, there are multiple dynamics at play as to when exactly a couple should take their first holiday together. But we feel a general rule of thumb comes from the immortal words of Ernest Hemingway, “Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.”
How about you? Do you have a rulebook you play by when it comes to the couple vacay?