Long-wedded couples make marriage look easy, but every pair of spouses will tell you that what they know they learned while they were newlyweds. It may be called the honeymoon period, but the first few years after marriage are supposedly the most difficult to survive. While you may continue to spend lazy weekend afternoons simply gazing into other’s eyes, it’s likely your fights will be explosive — drastically more intense than you’ve ever experienced.
Still, each make-up is another milestone on your road to a happy marriage, and there is no more exciting milestone than your first big vacation as a married couple. Any trip could be a major source of conflict for the unprepared, but armed with your newlywed spirit (and a few tips and tricks) you can survive and start planning your travels for years to come.
Plan, Plan, Plan
For some travelers, mapping out destinations and making preparations is half the fun of a vacation, while for others, the adventure and excitement of spontaneity is what makes a trip worthwhile. In this case, the planners have it. Couples who hop on a flight without an itinerary will encounter conflict quicker and more frequently, which dramatically increases the chances of a big blowout.
Take time with your new spouse to brainstorm ideal destinations and sketch out a schedule. For impulsive travelers, the itinerary can be rough and flexible, but it is crucial that a list of activities and accommodations be assembled beforehand. You might join together to peruse a list of typical newlywed destinations or discuss locations each of you have always wanted to visit. No matter how it gets done, you cannot neglect this crucial step in a stress-free first vacation.
This doesn’t mean your suitcases should be the same color; rather, you should be packing comparable items so your luggage weighs roughly the same. Some guys have a habit of throwing a toothbrush in with a bag of socks and being ready for six months of travel, while some ladies worry about lacking the perfect outfit and end up bringing eight pairs of shoes. When she has to provide him with backup sundries and he has to carry her one-ton bag across a continent, there are bound to be hostilities.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re traveling for a weekend or three months — you both should do your best to pack light. Make sure you have similar styles of clothing so one of you won’t be out-of-place in any joint social activity, and besides the essentials (including all hygiene products) you should have enough to last you a trip of any duration.
Eat in Moderation
A major part of travel, alone or with a partner, is experiencing another culture’s culinary style. Unfortunately, food can be a significant point of tension for many individuals, and the frequency and quantity of meals can spark disagreements during even the most romantic and serene of vacations.
The fact is that the act of eating can be both bonding and alienating, depending on the circumstances. Whenever one of you develops a hankering for a snack, the other should never feel pressured to indulge as well. Still, be open and sharing with food so you can make dining a community affair.
Understand the Budget
Newlyweds are known for lacking excess funds, which can make travel much more difficult. When every little penny has been allocated to meals, lodgings, and activities, there is little room for one partner to experiment with money on an unplanned expense. If one spouse is using more than his or her fair share of the budget, tempers will surely flare.
Before you leave, talk about your financial situation, and make a list of priorities for your expenses during your trip. By having expectations about how the two of you are going to spend funds, you shouldn’t have any surprises from your bank account when you get back home.
Be Patient and Compromise
If you’ve survived your relationship long enough to make it to marriage, you know that a successful coupling is all about the give and take. One spouse simply cannot overrule the other’s thoughts and opinions, in anything, but especially during travel, without creating resentment and sparking dispute. As long as you remember your mutual love and respect even through the challenging times, you should have the best vacation of your lives — until the next one, that is.