I don’t know about you, but I think there’s something special about taking off on a getaway with your significant other.
Maybe it’s the teamwork of it all or the hyper-focused attention you can give to each other that comes from being out of the everyday routine. But when I get the chance to go on an adventure with my husband, I feel like we connect in a way that simply isn’t possible elsewhere. Over the last ten years, we’ve hiked mountains, swam in oceans, road-tripped scenic highways and byways and navigated countries where the only words we knew in the native language were “please” and “thank you.” It wasn’t always smooth sailing, but over the years I’ve learned a lot about planning for a couples’ trip that really delivers.
- Choose a destination you both want to visit. And if you can’t agree on just one, pick a destination each, and figure out how to make it work. For a recent trip to Europe, I picked my dream destination (Nice, France), my husband picked his dream destination (Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland), and we built a 12-day road trip that encompassed both – plus several incredible cities in Italy.
- Collaborate on choosing the activities, restaurants, and lodging. For me, half the fun of travel is planning. I love the dreaming and imagining that happens leading up to a trip as I discover new locations, hikes, views, breweries, museums and more. But if I do it all myself, my S.O. doesn’t get as excited about the trip because he hasn’t had a hand in designing the experience. It’s always better when we’re planning together.
- Play to your strengths. Okay, confession time. My name is Bridget, and I am directionally challenged. What I mean by that is, I have absolutely ZERO sense of direction. If given the power of making a directional decision without a working GPS program, you can be certain I will lead you in the exact opposite direction of where you wanted to go. Seriously, ask anyone who knows me even a little bit. My husband, though? He can find his way into or out of anything just by guesswork and the angle of the sun, or something. It’s pretty impressive, even if it annoys me at times that he’s ALWAYS right about which way to go. When we travel, and especially when we take long road trips, he drives. It’s an asset for times when the GPS will only speak to you in German or the map blows out the car window. But, in the face of a problem or travel crisis, like, when you get on a bus going in the wrong direction and ride it out for two hours (see above for how something like that might happen), I’m pretty calm under pressure. So when our plans veer off the tracks, I’m the go-to person for reorganizing our itinerary to allow for delays, picking a new restaurant when the reservations fall through, or staying positive when flight times get pushed by 12 hours.
- Take time to smell the roses. And take the pictures. And drink the wine. I’m one of the biggest offenders when it comes to overscheduling during travel, because the world is beautiful and I want to see all of it. But, especially when you’re traveling as a couple, it’s so important to allow yourselves the time to enjoy each experience. Taking just a moment to sit down together, and talk about what you’re looking at, can make all the difference between a whirlwind of cities you can hardly discern from one another and a lifetime of memorable experiences you’ll be talking about together for years to come. One of our favorite traditions when traveling is to pack a picnic, beer or wine included, whenever we hike in the mountains. When we get to the top, we find a place to sit down, and we take in the view while enjoying our lunch. It forces us to slow down and appreciate the journey as well as the destination. Trust me, you’ll never regret the hour you spent basking in the sunshine, sharing a bottle of rose while you stared into the valley in the Alps. I know I don’t!