5 Travel Tips for Couples for a Stress-Free Honeymoon or Vacation
Who wouldn’t want to spend two glorious weeks on a romantic vacation with your one and only? The visions of a nice long vacation or honeymoon with the one you love are so dreamy and I want them to stay that way, which is why I’m sharing my best tips on stress-free traveling with a lover from my recent experience of jet setting for 14 days to Italy with my husband.
Back in the winter of 2016, I was ready for another European vacation. I told Greg my idea and over some months, we had thrown together a rough itinerary of where we wanted to go. Italy was a priority for us since we're both Italian!
The initial stages of planning any vacation are exciting because you let your imagination go wild thinking about leaving your regular life behind for a while and immersing yourself into a boundless way of living. I literally started dreaming of eating pizza, pasta and pastries until my heart’s content the moment we booked our plane tickets!
Then, as the date approaches, you realize that you have to stop imagining and start making actual plans, i.e.: figuring out travel arrangements, booking hotels, putting together a list of must-dos and organizing excursions. So much about stress-free traveling as a couple is about setting expectations beforehand.
Tip #1 - Agree on your vacation budget.
Only you two will know a budget that’s appropriate for you. But whatever it is, agree to it. This will make decision-making so much easier. Once you know what it is, prioritize how you want to allocate your money. Will you lavish in the laps of luxury in 5-star hotels? Do you expect great dining experiences everywhere you go?
Will you pay to see all the sites? What about guided or private tours, are those a priority?
Tip # 2 - Divide and conquer the planning responsibilities.
Greg is a foodie. He won’t even take a restaurant recommendation from me. Ha! So he was super excited to dive into the food scene of each city we visited and have recommendations and even some reservations at the ready. I took the responsibility of booking the hotels and figuring out how to get from point A to point B to point C and so on. Finally, we collaborated on must dos and sees. In Rome, we couldn’t miss going inside the Vatican with a guided tour, but we were ok with not paying the entry to see the inside of the Colosseum.
In the planning phase, it’s really all about communication. The more you can be on the same page about budget and trip organization, the better.
Finally, after what seemed like months upon months of daydreaming about the beautiful places we would see, we finally stepped off the plane.… Exhausted! Jet lag is real, ya’ll! I honestly can’t help much with tips on how to reduce jet lag because it happens to me every. single. time. Ugh! But this time, I pushed myself to stay up all darn day until 9 p.m. the night we arrived so I could readjust my body for European time. It worked for the most part and the best part of it all was we got to start our sightseeing in Florence!
While mostly you are going to revel in enjoying new experiences together and rejuvenation of mind, body and soul, the occasional argument is bound to happen. For Greg and I, it happened while we were in between places trying to get from here to there. Figuring out logistics can make you want to pull out your hair. Should we walk or get a cab? Take the fast train or the local train? When these logistical decisions come up, I’ve found a question that helps make them much easier to answer.
Tip #3 - Ask yourself if you want to save money or save time.
Obviously walking is going to take longer than getting a cab, but it will save much more money. Perhaps you decide on the meet in the middle option - taking public transit. A daily budget is also helpful for these situations. If you want to take a cab, but you are running out of your budget for the day, the decision becomes much easier.
Conflicts can also arise when two people have different ways of doing things. One person could be a free spirit, wanting to roam around with no set plan for hours while the other could like sticking to a schedule and seeing the sights in an organized way.
Tip #4 - Be respectful of each other’s personalities and come up with a game plan.
Maybe one day the two of you take it easy in the morning and sleep in late, but the next day you’re up early visiting a new attraction before the crowds get there. Or one day you’re on a full-day hike and the next, you’re at the beach sipping Pina Coladas.
Greg really wanted to have the experience of going to a soccer (football) match since he LOVES soccer. I would have never thought of it unless he pursued it. It turned out to be one of the most fun parts of our entire trip for two reasons. First, it HAILED during intermission with no warning whatsoever (see our monsoon faces) and second, because the game came down to a penalty kick and it was so exciting being in such a rowdy atmosphere!
While we were at the Vatican, I really wanted to learn about its history. I was eager to take in everything the tour guide had to say. Greg was also interested, but he tired out more quickly than I did. I could tell he wasn’t as into it as I was after several hours. But he didn’t say that he was ready to go, he could tell that I was excited about what I was seeing and allowed me to “do my thing” for as long as it took.
I know it’s hard to do something you don’t really want to do, but use it as an opportunity to learn more about your significant other and allow their individuality to shine. It may even turn into one of the most talked about parts of your trip like the soccer match did for us!
Tip #5 - Create tangible memories.
Deciding on a few things to collect on your trip in addition to all the photos you’re sure to take is a great way to bond over your shared experiences. You will remember and talk about the wonderful time you had on your vacation years even decades after the fact.
In each city Greg and I visit together, we collect magnets with the city name. Now my refrigerator acts as a story of our travels together. Other couples I’ve spoken to collect holiday ornaments and coffee mugs. There are all sorts of ideas for mementos that you can bring home with you to create memory triggers of the once-in-a-lifetime vacations you experienced together!
The day after we got back from our Italian adventure, it was time for Greg to go back to work. Before he left, he said to me, “I”m going to miss you today. It’s going to be weird not being with you every minute of the day.” Traveling together is a relationship booster. It builds intimacy, creates shared experiences and allows the two of you to get out of everyday life and go on a new adventure where you get to know one another on an even deeper level.
We all have our relationship hot buttons that can even be pushed in the most ideal of situations like when taking an exclusive vacation or honeymoon, but I hope my tips have helped give you some ideas on what to do to squash any argument in no time!
Now, it's your turn! Leave a comment below and share any tips you have for stress-free travel while exploring new terrain as a couple. I would love to incorporate some new ideas into my next vacation and I know the Love Notery community would too!