My guess is you’re probably here because you’re anxious about taking that first trip with your significant other–and I totally understand. I remember the first time travelling with my partner and how we fought about directions.

In the heat of the moment, it almost felt like a make-or-break situation, but in hindsight, it was such a silly little matter. Now, you can learn from my mistakes and prepare better for your vacation ahead!

The first obvious advice that’s always given would be to communicate, but the real advice is HOW to do that. Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years through therapy and personal experience.

Arguments will happen

Arguments will happen
Image by Andrik Langfield.

Yes, expect arguments. You will disagree and have different opinions during your travels, and that is completely normal. It is how you resolve these arguments together that matters.

Agree on how to disagree

If you’ve been in your relationship for a while, you’ve probably both learnt each other’s disagreement thresholds. Hopefully, you’ve already had time to get to know both your likes and dislikes and how to move forward when you disagree on something.

If you haven’t, and this trip will be testing the waters of your bond, my advice would be to get curious.

Get curious

Get curious
Image by Samson Katt.

Ultimately and ideally, this is how I’d like to approach most of my relationships, whether with romantic partners or friends. I find that by entering conversations with curiosity and not judgment, your empathy for each other helps strengthen the relationship.

Try your best to be objective and ask questions to understand their point of view. Communicate how you can be each other’s safe space so that questions are seen as an effort to get to know each other rather than an attack.

Be open to admitting your mistakes

Like in my argument about directions with my partner, in hindsight, saying a quick “Oh no, I’m sorry I took us the wrong way.” would have breezily solved the issue. We would then move on to doing fun things instead of wasting time away being sulky towards each other.

Getting curious and being open to being wrong (which is okay and normal) makes for a secure environment where both parties can be themselves and thrive.

There is no losing team

There is no losing team
Image by Levi Meir Clancy.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from my years of being in a long-term relationship, it’s that you’ve got to learn how to fight. And I don’t mean fighting to win. During arguments, it’s important to remember there is no winning or losing team. You ARE a team.

Losing is when ego dominates the conversation, and the effort to communicate on both sides becomes futile.

Alone time

Now, no one’s perfect, and sometimes our egos do win. These are times when you’ve got to learn to give each other space. Come up with a signal or a way to mutually understand that you need some time alone.

Take time away from each other by visiting different stores for a while, going to the loo, or getting yourself another drink. However long you need or how you take this time is up to you, but remember to always come back to each other once you’ve cleared your mind.

Find out each other’s travel styles

Find out each other’s travel styles
Image by Ajay Donga.

Before going on your trip, have a sit down together to discuss the fun things you’re going to do on your vacay! See if your travel styles align in terms of what you enjoy on a holiday. Is it culture, entertainment, food, or shopping-based?

Play around with doing a bit of each of your interests, and come to a compromise where you’ll both get what you want from the trip. Remember, you’ll likely also enjoy any experience as long as you’re with your significant other!

Send them these tips before your trip

You may think: “This isn’t a tip.” However, sharing resources with each other is helpful before your trip. You’ll both be in the same headspace and foundation when you begin your romantic holiday.

Things may go wrong, but if you’re prepared, you’ll be there for each other through your trip(s). All the best, and safe travels!