Summer is quickly approaching and for many couples, this means planning some type of trip with either their families or together as a couple. I want to share some helpful tips for overcoming some traveling stressors and communication tips you and your partner can utilize when planning your next vacation.
What are traveling stressors?
I know, traveling is “supposed” to be super fun and exciting; however, for many people, the reality is that it can be stressful. This can start from the beginning of trying to plan the trip, trying to find the best deal, feeling anxious about making the right choice of when to book a flight, where to get a hotel, and making reservations for all the places you want to visit. I get it, it can be a lot! And for couples, this practice of traveling involves a lot of healthy communication skills, compromising, and decision making together. So what are some common travel stressors that can come up? Here are a few and some suggestions to try::
Anxiety with flying. Either because you haven’t flown in some time or because you are the analytical person who is running all the stats in your head of how you are going to get to your destination safely.
What you can try is engaging in some deep breathing and grounding techniques. You can also share with your partner that you need some comfort before and during the flight (i.e. hand holding, going to sleep, listening to music).
Leaving your kids behind. You can be worried about who is caring for them and if they will do it “correctly,” or maybe it’s the first time traveling without your kids.
What you can try is scheduling time with your babysitter to do a video call with your kids or asking them to send you pictures of your kids having fun. You can also give your babysitter emergency phone numbers if in the case you are worried about not hearing their call (i.e. phone to your hotel or excursion director)
You may be worried about leaving your house for extended periods of time.
What you can try is getting in contact with someone to check on your house and do minor things like check your mail, take out the trash, flush the toilets, etc.
Worried about safety when being in a new place.
What you can try is asking for recommendations from friends or family of places to visit before going to a new city or country. Maybe it’s checking out a new restaurant or hangout area.
Tips to travel well together
Another stressor (but one that deserves its own section) is to have at least one conversation about your expectations for the trip. This will definitely help in having things run smoothly and to possibly prevent an argument from happening, when you are trying to just relax.
Discuss your goals for traveling. Some questions to ask each other are:
What are you looking forward to on this trip?
Is there something that you want to see while we are in this new city?
Is there any food you are wanting to try?
What kind of activities do you want to do?
Are we planning to dress up and go somewhere nice?
Knowing the responses to these questions can definitely help in knowing what you are each expecting out of the trip. I have heard couples share how they were looking forward to visiting a new country but that they had an argument because one partner wanted to lay by the pool while the other partner wanted to tour museums. This type of situation can be avoided and compromises and understanding can be made way before the trip begins.
If you find that there are differences in your responses, then find a way to compromise on this. Some tips may be that one day you lay by the pool, and the next day you go out and try to see as much as you can. The key to compromising is to verbalize your needs, listen to understand, and find a way to meet in the middle by still respecting each other.
How to make it special
So you finally acknowledged the stressors and have a general idea of what you are expecting from your upcoming trip. Now, it’s time to incorporate some traditions for your trip. Traditions are a way to make relationships unique and special and finding a way to incorporate something into your travels can definitely be a way to celebrate your relationship. Here are some ways to do that:
Taking a picture with the same pose at every place you visit. Maybe it’s a kiss, holding each other, being carried, laughing together or just a selfie. Regardless of what it is, it’s a moment in time you are capturing together.
Collecting a type of souvenir that you can then display at home. It can be something easy like a magnet or a collection of postcards that you then turned into a book.
Enjoying a local bottle of wine and then saving the cork to remember where you were at.
Bringing home a local ingredient to use when you cook at home.
If you are in another country, learn to say “I love you” in that country’s native language.
The options are endless, but it’s up to you to incorporate a small way to celebrate your relationship during this time.
If you and your partner have had issues with communicating about your individual wants and needs when traveling or just in general, our clinicians at Modern Wellness Counseling can help you by seeing you virtually for online counseling. You can call our office at (210) 706-0392 to schedule an appointment so that you can learn more about your own mental health.
Priscilla specializes in working with couples and individuals who have experienced issues with communication and who are looking to find healthy ways to reconnect with their partner. Priscilla utilizes research based techniques to help clients implement healthy coping skills and communication skills. Learn more on how you can enhance your relationship today.
Priscilla specializes in working with couples and individuals who want to strengthen their relationship with themselves and with others. Priscilla utilizes research based techniques to help clients implement healthy coping skills and communication skills. Learn more on how you can enhance your relationship today.
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