With any vacation you plan, you have to think about where you’re going, how you’re getting there, and how much you’re willing to spend to do it. But when you’re traveling for the first time with your significant other, there’s a whole other layer of factors to consider — if you still want to be dating by the end of the trip, that is. Here’s what to address before you hit the road (or hop on a train or plane).
Your Road-Trip Style
If you’ve never driven a significant distance together before, you have no idea how the other one does in the car. Maybe you’re a get-there-as-fast-as-you-can/rest-stops-be-damned sort of journeyer. That’s fine — unless your co-pilot has a tiny bladder, or a big appetite (and refuses to eat on the go). So set some ground rules beforehand. Just how many stops are you willing to make, how long can you linger at each one, and how far apart should they be?
Your Vacation Activity Goals
Even if you agree on a destination, say, Costa Rica, you can’t assume you want the same things out of the trip. You may want to zipline, hike, and seek adventure in other ways. Your fellow traveler may envision lazy days lounging beachside. Of course, it’s perfectly reasonable to do both, but you’ll want to work this out in advance of the trip, lest you argue on how much time you spend running and doing vs. sitting and doing nothing.
How Much Togetherness Time You Want
Don’t yet share a home? You’ll feel like you do when you travel together. And if you think you’ll need your space during the trip — or you’ll be offended if your mate does — make it known now. Too much time as a twosome (or not enough) can turn even the dreamiest getaway into a nightmare. Speaking of togetherness…
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The Hotel Room Size
Itsy-bitsy accommdations can be romantic — or claustrophobic (usually a bit of both). If either of you thrashes in your sleep or fills an entire suitcase with toiletries, a small space with a small bed and a small bathroom probably won’t do. You may find happiness in splurging on a larger room, even if it means going home a day sooner so you can afford the jaunt.
How Technologically Connected You’ll Be
Does one of you hate when the other whips out a cell phone during dinner? That sentiment may be amplified while you’re away together. It may not feel like much of a vacation if one of you is constantly in communication with the boss (or Facebook friends/Twitter followers). Agree on guidelines, like one e-mail check per day, and stick to them once you’re away.
What You Want — and Are Willing — to Eat
You may be dying to sample the local fare at your destination. Your companion, on the other hand, may only want to dine on what she’s used to. And since food is a pretty big component of any getaway, you’ll want to know what’s on the menu. As with anything, compromise is key, but a meat-and-potatoes devotee shouldn’t be expected to suddenly turn into a sushi fan just because you’re in Japan.
Meredith Bodgas is the blogger behind the wedding, marriage, and baby blog MeritalBliss.com. She’s written about weddings for Glamour.com, pregnancy and kids for WhatToExpect.com, and other sexy subjects for women’s publications like Redbook and WomansDay.com. She’s married to her junior high school sweetheart and lives in her native New York. Follow her on Twitter @mereditor.