A week ago I returned from my first overseas vacay in 10 years and my first adventure abroad with another person – my boyfriend. We had been together for a year and since things were going so smoothly, we decided to pry ourselves off the couch, away from Netflix and on to a plane to spend two weeks exploring Portugal. *Cue excited squealing*
This would be the first time that we would spend every waking minute in each other’s presence and because we love each other SO much we thought it would be a breeze. But, as wonderful as it was, this trip was not without its challenges. Here’s what I learnt – and what you should know – before travelling with your partner.
1. It Probably Won’t be 50 / 50
I was the one who spearheaded our holiday. This doesn’t mean that my significant other didn’t want to go, or didn’t show the appropriate levels of enthusiasm, but when it came to the planning I definitely did most of the work. It felt exhausting at times, but I knew that he would be eternally grateful for my efforts. He was. Get your partner more involved by having them be responsible for finding things they love to do when you are there. Whether it’s sport, music or adrenaline rushes, get them to find something that piques their interest and it will take one more activity off your planning plate.
2. Your Space is Important
Since we don’t live together I have plenty of time away from my boyfriend in which to pine for him. I thought that going away together and being together ALL the time would be sunshine and roses. Those little squabbles people warn you about? It could NEVER happen to us. I was wrong. The fact that you are on a holiday together can make you feel as though you have to DO everything together, but a little solo mission could be exactly what you both need to reconnect with yourself. And you’ll probably both be all the better for it.
3. You are Going to Learn a LOT About Each Other…
This can at times feel like a bad thing (who knew that your other half was THAT grumpy after a long-haul flight?) but, in the long run, it’s good. And it can either bring you closer together, like us, or help you to do some serious re-evaluating of your relationship. You will learn about how they deal with mishaps, like losing your wallet on day one or one of you catching flu halfway through your trip (both these things happened). You will learn whether or not you are able to deal with these things maturely and walk out the other side unscathed (or not). It’ll test your relationship in the most necessary way.
4. … And You’ll Learn a Lot About Yourself, Too
I admit that I am one *highly strung* individual, but I somehow thought that being away from real life and on holiday would turn me into a carefree spirit that nothing could rattle. I was wrong again. I had a panic attack in a very busy restaurant and found myself missing the comforts on home on more than one occasion. This, in turn, made me ratty and not the most pleasant person to be around at times. Maybe I’m not cut out for the ‘wanderlust’ life after all. Despite this, my boyfriend is still very much by my side which means that even if I don’t venture far he’ll probably be next to me on the couch. And that’s a nice thought.
5. Picking Your Battles is ALSO Important
You might feel as though you are one with your partner – two annoyingly cute peas in a pod – but believe it or not you are actually two individuals who will have different ways of dealing with things. While it is good to talk about your feelings so as to not let things fester, not EVERY disagreement needs to escalate into a full-scale argument. This can lead to longer periods of sulking and unpleasantness which, quite frankly, is not welcome on an expensive overseas trip. Sometimes a discreet eye-roll will suffice. You’ll thank me later.
6. It Will Probably Be Okay. Amazing, Even
There were a number of ups and downs on my holiday, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. This is because that even the seemingly bad times will soon be forgotten, or even laughed about, and the good stuff will be remembered. Because that’s how our brains work. The key is to not over-plan or over-think and to roll with the punches, not just because you’ve forked out a lot of money for this trip, dammit, but because it gives you the opportunity to see how you might cope with other things, both big and small, that life will inevitably throw at you. Enjoy and grow!