So you’ve gotten through the several-month anniversary mark, through the initial period of uncertainty of does he (or she) like me? By now, you know that she likes no milk in her coffee and that he’s allergic to shellfish; and together you’ve uncovered your favorite restaurants, walks in the park, and intimate evenings out. But a test of each other’s true colors lies not in the amount of time spent together, but in an exhilarating but potentially make-or-break activity that we at It’s Just Lunch love: travel. As the saying goes, you don’t really know people until you travel with them. And it’s not until you’ve braved unfamiliar destinations, negotiated bathroom breaks, or endured long layovers and cancelled flights that you’ve put yourself (and the relationship) on trial.
Newly dating? You’ll want to start off slow. If you’re traveling for the first time together, here are some tips to make your voyage hitch-free.
* Start off right. A first trip (and the planning of it) is symbolic of things to come. How do you want to set the tone? Mutually agree upon a destination and type of trip. If you’re into mountain climbing and she’s not, maybe you’ll want to save that adventure trek for another time. Have different interests? Pick a place that has a little bit of everything: beaches, shopping, culture, nature. Rio de Janeiro or Vancouver are good examples.
* Talk money. Sort out the financial details before your trip. What is your budget? Who’s going to pay for what? There’s nothing worse than arguing about dollars and cents when you’re supposed to be sipping mojitos at sunset.
* Imagine worse case scenarios. What if you get food poisoning (or worse)? Or your flight is delayed? Or get into an accident with the rental car? Unexpected incidents can only be expected when traveling, but they can also be stressors on a budding romance. Check into travel insurance plans, write down emergency phone numbers, and draw up a contingency plan for anything you think could possibly go wrong.
* Surprise each other. Travel is about discovery. In this case, it’s just as much about people (in other words, each other) as it is about place. Plan, but leave some room for spontaneity. Why not wander down a side street instead of the main avenue? And if you get lost, you may stumble upon a gem of a bistro when you’re navigating your way back together. Or what about an impromptu serenade under a bridge? Build your trip from your own experience (and don’t worry too much about the guidebooks.)