I know what you’re thinking as you peruse that glossy new guidebook: sunset strolls by the Seine, slow motion high-fives on Machu Picchu, steamy lovemaking on a secluded beach in Thailand where the sand doesn’t get in the way.
What you’re leaving out: non-existent street signs, less-than-aromatic local public transit and disappearing reservations. And — oh God — that hellish reservoir of sweat that develops between your back and a knapsack on a hot day. Blech.
The thing is, real travel is much more like The Amazing Race than a Sandals ad. Between jet lag fatigue, gnawing hunger and incomprehensible shower dials, there are so many frustrations that you just never encounter in your everyday life. And whose fault is it that the little out-of-the-way gelateria you just spent two hours trying to find is closed for renovations? Your partner’s, of course! Don’t believe what lawyers tell you: The map is the original divorce paper.
The good news is that travelling as a twosome isn’t completely impossible. You can curtail the squabbles if you lower your expectations, only fly first class (yeah, right) and consider the tips below.
- Blowin’ in the wind means relationship turbulence. There is nothing romantic about wasting tragic amounts of time searching for basics like hotels and food. Book as much as you can in advance.
- That said, leave lots of gaps within that structure for spur-of-the-moment activities. Do not make a minute-by-minute itinerary and take on the role of drill sergeant. (Unless it’s a sexy drill sergeant.)
- You might have Google Maps installed on your iPhone, but if your partner (wrongly) insists that “it’s that way,” shut up and enjoy the scenic route.
- The Parisian “cigarette and coffee” breakfast? Mon dieu, non! When blood sugar drops, so does the sweetness between you and your beloved. Eat regular meals and acquaint yourself with the entire tasty line of PowerBars.
- Of course you love him dearly. It’s all bliss and joy and snuggles. But he’s driving you effing nuts, right? Since most couples don’t spend 24-7 together, it’s natural to want some space. Don’t feel guilty about sending him to a sporting event while you go shopping.
- Constant sightseeing yields total travel burnout. On long trips, take a vacation from the vacation by having an average date and concentrating on each other — get a room with a kitchen and cook dinner or see a movie.
- It’s okay to think museums are boring. Who wants to look at ancient ceramics in glass cases every day? Nobody. Who wants to sleep in and have some dirty vacation sex instead? Everybody. Maybe you can even find that secluded beach after all.