Some of the closest relationships are rooted in shared travel. It’s incredibly rewarding to find a great travel partner—someone with whom you’re comfortable relaxing, exploring, negotiating payments and trying new things. But in order to find that someone, you have to make it through your first trip together, which can be full of challenges. Consider these suggestions to ensure your travel adventure is the first of many as a team.
1. Be honest early on
Sometimes new travel plans come out of nowhere. You may be having dinner with neighbors, attending a family reunion or having drinks with work colleagues. Suddenly, the suggestion of an amazing journey is made, travel apps are consulted and bookings are made.
This is the time to speak up. If you’re worried about your motion sickness on that deep-sea fishing outing or you’d prefer a luxury resort to camping, get that out there before confirmations are on their way to your inbox. There’s a finite window in which certain travel plans can be changed.
2. Set itinerary expectations
There’s a wealth of information about your destination online. Punctuate the build up to your getaway with regular conversations about what you’ve discovered and what interests you. If you’re enthralled by the historic buildings in the place you are traveling to, but your travel companion is only sending you links to local nightclubs, take the time to set your itinerary expectations. This preparation period is a great opportunity to get to know your travel buddy better.
3. Make a budget
Some people on your trip may have drastically different budgets set aside for activities or entertainment. They may not have to stick to a budget at all. That doesn’t mean you need to miss out, but you don’t want to overspend trying to keep up. Discuss how much you intend to spend on food, outings and other expenses each day, as well as how you’ll pay. Will you split every bill down the middle, or order on separate tabs?
4. Plan for self-care
Everyone recharges differently. After a long journey, you may need some peaceful time to relax before setting out to explore everything your travel destination has to offer. Don’t put extra pressure on your burgeoning travel relationship by trying to keep up with someone else’s pace. If you need an hour to unwind, let your partner know and take it. And if your partner is the one needing to take care of themselves, graciously agree to give them space.
5. Get your schedules in sync
One of the most fundamental elements of mutual happiness when traveling is figuring out what time everyone prefers to wake up, eat, explore and sleep. Don’t be afraid to explain how you want to plan your day, but be flexible enough to bring your schedules together so you can share your vacation time in the best possible way.
6. Go solo sometimes
Just because you’re traveling together does not mean you are required to be alongside each other the entire time. If you’re into museums but your partner isn’t, go on your own excursion one afternoon. You’ll have plenty to talk about when you meet up later.
7. Share decision making
There are so many decisions to be made while traveling—where to eat, how long to stay, what to do next, etc. Divide and conquer these decisions so no one person is overwhelmed or feels left out. Establish who is responsible for which decisions ahead of time to avoid any unnecessary misunderstandings further down the line.
8. Balance out traveling styles
When it comes to travel, there are planners and there are explorers—and some travelers are loathe to vacation in any way but their own. If you are committed to one philosophy or the other, make sure your travel buddy agrees. If not, find aspects of the trip on which you may be able to compromise. Perhaps you’ll let your friend plan all your meals, as long as you get to meander when sightseeing.
9. Speak up in the moment
A new best friend or romantic partner can make your vacation the best you’ve ever taken. But if the trip isn’t panning out the way you were hoping, be determined to identify the problem and fix it right away. It may be that a good night’s sleep, a change of plans or an excursion to the top local attraction can make the rest of the getaway just as amazing as you’d imagined.