I hate to be the one to have to tell you this, but if you go on a trip with your significant other, you're probably going to get into an argument at some point. Largely, my husband and I travel well together. But he's a planner who thrives on following itineraries, while I'm more into spontaneity and daily two-hour naps. We do a lot of traveling, and at least once a trip, we butt heads. It's natural, and it's pretty much inevitable. Rather than hoping you won't fight, it's better to know how to solve common vacation fights with your partner so that if they do happen, you know how to deal.
I spoke to online dating coach Andi Forness, and she believes the best way to avoid vacation conflict with an SO is to find middle ground. That being said, Forness also points out that you and your partner should never be afraid to do your own thing either, because you two are not always going to want the same thing. Here are some common vacation conundrums you might encounter with a partner, as well as some strategies for dealing with them without major fallout. Vacation is about relaxing, after all, and there's nothing relaxing about fighting with an SO.
One Wakes Up Early And The Other Wants To Sleep In
Perhaps you both want to get your day started as early as possible, or maybe you both like to sleep in until noon. My husband usually likes to set an early alarm so we don't waste a minute of time that could be spent exploring. I go along with it, but sometimes, I wouldn't mind catching a few extra Zs. How do you deal if you and your partner have different ideas about how early or how late to start your day?
"If one wakes up early and the other wants to sleep in, the early-bird partner can sneak out quietly to go for a walk, go read the paper, grab a coffee, work out, and they can agree to meet for breakfast together," Forness suggests. "Separate or adjoining rooms or a two-bedroom suite could be an answer for the hardcore wanting-to-sleep-in person as well."
When you set the alarm the night before, it doesn't necessarily need to be set for both of you. It's tempting to accuse a partner who wants to sleep in of being lazy or an early-bird partner of being overeager. However, you should instead try to respect how much or how little sleep they plan on getting rather than letting it alter the way you shape your day.
One Likes Activity And The Other Wants To Chill
Vacation means something different to everyone. For my husband, it means back-to-back activities from sun-up to sun-down. I'm all for making the most of a trip, but I also don't mind a leisurely lunch or time spent lounging poolside. You and your partner may not agree on how much activity you want to pack into your days, and that can cause some conflict. So what do you do if your partner has a little bit too much energy (or not enough energy) for your liking?
"Just because you are on vacation, you do not have to be together 24/7," says Forness. "One can go scuba diving while the other one sits by the pools and reads. It can make it more exciting to each spend some time apart and report back at happy hour how the other person day unfolded. You might even 'miss them' a bit in a good way!"
Traveling together doesn't mean you have to be attached at the hip. A little alone time never hurt anyone, and you shouldn't feel guilty for wanting to do something different than what your partner wants to do. Encourage them to go hiking if that's what they want, and don't tag along simply because you feel obligated. Though compromising is important on vacation, that doesn't mean either partner should be forced to partake (or prohibited from partaking) in any activity.
One Wants To Be Frugal And The Other Has No Budget
I'm cheap, and I'm not afraid to admit it. I like creating budgets and sticking to them, whereas my husband believes that no expense is too great when it comes to having a good time. While I agree that money is better spent on experiences than things, I also have a hard time understanding how a $100 bottle of wine at dinner is a worthwhile investment. If one of you tends to be thrifty on trips and the other person wants to go all out, how do you decide what's worth the cost?
"People invest a lot of emotion and money on vacations," Forness points out, "and it is important that each person gets to have 'their type' of vacation so they can come back recharged and inspired." Whether you share your expenses or not, nearly every facet of a vacation is determined by how much your willing to spend, from your hotel to your restaurants and activities. Therefore, determining a budget (or deciding to have a budget) can be one of the toughest conversations for a couple on vacation to have.
Empathize with your partner and try to understand their needs. If they want to be conservative with meals and spend more on activities, respect that rather than choosing a pricy restaurant every night. If they want to go all out on meals, choose cheaper entrees for yourself. Neither you nor your partner should be forced to spend more than you're comfortable with, but one partner's spending limitations should also not hold back a person who's looking to treat themselves.
Because vacations can entail a lot of stress, expenses, and unexpected challenges, being attuned to your partner's needs is imperative. It's understandable that you want to make the most of your vacation, but you should make sure that your partner is getting the experience they want as well. As Fornes says, "It is definitely important to have the conversations during the vacation planning as to how each of you is planning to spend your days and evenings." Planning ahead can help you avoid vacation drama, but when you're in the moment, just be sure to listen, understand, and — if necessary — just do your own thing.