As any former study abroad student or contestant on The Bachelor can likely tell you, vacations have the capacity to make or break a relationship. There are usually two ways a trip with your SO will go. You'll either be clinking margaritas on the beach while watching the sunset in a state of pure bliss. Or jet lag will have you both feeling like zombie creatures, your partner's hair will clog the hotel shower drain, and you may or may not flee into the woods just to avoid having to spend another minute with them. So, how do you know when you're ready to travel with your partner (without, you know, retreating into the wilderness just to catch a break)?
That is the question, my friends. Now, as someone who's got a penchant for traveling with strangers, I thought it best to turn to the experts on this one. I asked a few dating and life coaches which signs, milestones, and red flags you should look for before you pull the trigger and click "book" on a getaway with your boyfriend or girlfriend.
Here are four signs that you two are ready to take the plunge and explore the world together — à la Aladdin and Jasmine — according to the pros.
1. You've Made It Through A Day Trip Without Killing Each Other
"Testing the waters before committing to a big trip is key," Jess Hopkins, a millennial life coach, told Elite Daily earlier this month. "Plan a few smaller, lower stakes excursions that could emulate some of the challenges that could crop up on vacation. For example, go on a long hike or plan a full day of local museums to see how your partner fares when they start feeling 'over it.'"
Basically, take baby steps. If you two have gone on a handful of mini adventures with each other, and are great at passing large chunks of time together outside of your usual routines, it's a good indicator that you're ready to jet off on a longer, more exotic trip.
2. You've Been Together For At Least A Few Months
"I'd suggest you date for at least three months before even considering [taking a trip together], then schedule it for a few months after that," says dating coach and relationship expert James Preece. "Take things slowly — there's no rush!"
Despacito, guys. Patience is a virtue. If you rush into a trip before you've really had the chance to see your SO on good days and bad, the odds that you two will have a rocky road trip together are, unfortunately, way higher.
3. You're On The Same Page Financially
"Be aware of [your partner's] financial situation, and don't expect them to spend more than they can afford," explains Preece.
This is something I never would have thought of, but it's top-notch advice. Even on trips with friends, I've been stuck in situations where people had budgets that were completely out of line with my own (like, I'm not about sleeping at the airport, y'all, but I'm also not going to splurge on million-dollar cocktails just because "we're on vacation").
Make sure you and your SO are on the same page about the type of vacation you'll be taking, and maybe even map out your budget ahead of time to avoid any conflicts or confusion during your trip.
4. You've Already Slept Together
Every relationship is different, of course, but if you plan on having sex with this person at one point or another, it's probably best not to save your first time for a vacation — romantic as that may seem.
Preece suggests you sleep with your partner before even asking to go away on holiday, "as that could add extra pressure if they aren't ready." Planning a trip together is anxiety-inducing enough, so try not to add any extra sexual tension to the mix, if you can.
Now, if you and your SO have checked off all of these boxes, then pack your bags! You're ready to travel together and take on the world. Bon voyage.
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