Travel SOS: Travelling with someone new

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Q. David
I entered a new relationship during the pandemic which is going really well. Now the border restrictions are easing, we are planning our first trip together. I’m excited but nervous about travelling with a new partner for the first time. What should we do to make sure it all goes to plan?

A. Travelling with someone for the first time is exciting, especially if it signals a step forward in your relationship. But being together in close quarters or stressful situations can reveal hidden sides of your companion.

Travel can expose things about each other that you hadn’t previously seen, such as hygiene habits, spending differences, tidiness or messiness, sleep issues and eating habits.

Although enjoyable, travel often creates stress, especially when plans go awry. Experiences such as delayed flights, lost luggage or bad weather can all test a person and reveal their true colours.

Read: Are you a good travel companion?

So, keep these things in mind before you jet off.

Talk about money
Everyone has different budgets and things they want to spend money on. While you may be happy with an Airbnb, your partner may insist on a four-star hotel. In terms of food, you may want to search out the best restaurants and eateries while they’re happy grabbing street food on the go.

You also want to discuss exactly how each of you will pitch in for expenses such as petrol, hotels, restaurants, and so on. The answer may seem as simple as “split it down the middle”, but if your partner has expensive tastes or a tighter budget – it might put a strain on the relationship.

Discuss what you want to get from the trip
Broadly speaking, there are two main types when it comes to travelling; those who want to hit the ground running and see as much as possible and those who are more interested in returning rejuvenated and treating the trip as a proper break or holiday.

It’s best to start on the same page by discussing what you each want to get out of the trip.

Read: Why planning a trip is good for your mental health

Sneak in some me-time
Spending 24 hours a day with someone can be tough, especially if you don’t necessarily know them inside out.

So find some ways to sneak in a bit of me-time without it seeming like you want to escape your partner. Go for a morning walk while they’re still snoozing. Wander the upstairs of a boutique while they’re downstairs. Agree to part ways for a few hours and meet back up to discuss your solo adventures over dinner.

Make a plan
There’s nothing worse than wandering around with no sense of direction – even more so if you’re hungry. Make sure you’ve done some research on your destination and what you’d like to do there.

Start by coming up with a list of activities you each want to fit in and rank them by priority. When you’ve each written down three to four sites you have to see, schedule them into your itinerary. If there’s extra time, you can squeeze in some low-priority activities from each list.

Have a chat each morning and make a rough plan for the day that includes things that both of you want to do.

Choose who will be the navigator
Decide who is best equipped to take on this task and stick with it. Decide whether you’ll purchase a sim card for one phone, so maps are always accessible. Or whether you’ll download maps using the hotel wifi each morning. Keep in mind it’s easy to get lost while on holiday, but it’s often part of the fun.

Read: How to travel as a couple

At the end of the day, remember that it’s exciting to have a new relationship and someone to travel with. While you may have a few more tiffs than usual, that’s part and parcel of getting to know someone better. Focus on the bigger picture and the positives, and don’t forget to go with the flow and have fun.

Have you formed a new relationship during the pandemic? Will you be travelling together soon? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Written by Ellie Baxter

Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.

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