You’ve reached the several-month anniversary mark. At this point, you know what she likes her coffee with a touch of milk or that anything is better with peanut butter in his opinion. Through hit and miss, you have discovered your favorite restaurants and what not to wear ice skating. The two of you enjoy hockey nights in, even if you don’t favor the same team.
As we roll into the holiday season, a test of each others true colors lies not in the amount of time spent together, but in an exhilarating but potentially make-or-break travel season.
As the saying goes, you don’t really know people until you travel with them. It’s not until you’ve braved unfamiliar destinations, negotiated bathroom breaks, or endured long layovers in the smallest airport in all of Canada or dealt with yet another cancelled flight that you’ve put yourself (and the relationship) on trial.
Newly dating? You’ll want to start off slow. If you’re traveling for the first time together, here are some tips to make your holiday voyage hitch-free.
Start Off Right
A first trip (and the planning of it) is symbolic of things to come. How do you want to spend the holidays? Flying? Taking your time by driving? How you work out the holiday sets the tone for the trip and gives you a glimpse into how you will deal with compromise and challenges in the future.
Okay, this isn’t sexy but it is important to do it before the trip. What is your budget? Who is paying for what? There’s nothing worse than arguing about dollars and cents when you’re supposed to be sipping eggnog by the fireplace.
Imagine the Worst Case Scenarios
Nobody likes to be a Negative Nelly, but there is something to be said about being prepared with a backup plan. What if you get food poisoning (or worse)? Or your flight is delayed? Or get into an accident with the rental car? Unexpected incidents can only be expected when traveling, but they can also be stressors on a budding romance. Check into travel insurance plans, write down emergency phone numbers, and draw up a contingency plan for anything you think could possibly go wrong.
Surprise Each Other
Travel is about discovery. In this case, it’s just as much about people (in other words, each other) as it is about place. Plan, but leave some room for spontaneity. Why not pick up some hot cocoa and drive around to look at the house decorated for the holiday? And if you get lost, you may stumble upon a gem of a bistro when you’re navigating your way back together.
Remember, a relationship is like any long-term investment: it requires a great deal of effort, time and devotion to blossom into something fantastic. Couples come and go, but real relationships are those that can survive whatever life throws at them. The twosome goes through it together and emerges closer than before. Even if that challenge is traveling during the holidays.