If You’re Not in the Driver’s Seat, Abdicate Control
I learned this lesson in Italy. I’m somewhat of a backseat driver when my husband is at the wheel, but when we rented an Alfa Romeo to drive around Tuscany, I was so glad I wasn’t driving (driving in a foreign land is just not my thing) I simply stayed quiet even when things looked a little dubious. This helped to create harmony on a dream vacation.
Spend a Little Time Apart Every Day
This may seem counterintuitive, yet I have found that it helps. You and your traveling partner(s) are not usually together 24 hours a day at home, so why should you be on holiday? Nothing can create tension like never separating even for just a few minutes.
Let the Person Who is the Most Organized Take Care of Most of the Travel Details
Normally the person who is the most organized prefers to take care of details in nearly every situation. It will save the person who is less organized the opportunity to relax more on holiday (too many details can give me a headache), and everyone is happier.
As In Any Relationship, Compromise!
We hear it all the time—compromise is the key in any relationship; this is especially true of traveling companions. If you are locked in a disagreement about where to visit, suggest a compromise such as spending a little less time in a particular museum and using the extra time to relax in a café.
If Your Traveling Companion Doesn’t Want to Participate in an Activity, Go Yourself and Don’t be Angry
This sounds easier than it is, yet choosing not to be angry when your traveling companion does not participate in an activity will only add to your enjoyment. Do you really want to be angry while visiting The Louvre or The Acropolis?
If You Are Headed toward an Unknown Destination, Get as Clear An Idea as Possible Where You are Going
“John, you said you knew where you were going; we are nowhere near where we need to be!”
“We’ll find it.”
“Why can’t you ever stop and ask for directions? Why are you so stubborn?”
“Oh give it a rest, Phyllis.”
Does this sound familiar to anyone? For some reason getting lost encourages fighting the way a fine wine encourages relaxation.
To prevent this from happening, why not ask the concierge for detailed directions, or let the person who is better at reading the map read the map? When I studied abroad in Germany, we traveled with a great map reader, and when someone complained that the map reader was always the one in charge and thought he was “omnipotent,” our trusty leader abdicated control; chaos ensued and let’s just say that the best map reader became the best map reader again.
If Things Don’t Go as Planned, Have a Plan B or Be Spontaneous
This is one of the most important things people can do on vacation. Nothing is worse than someone being miserable because things didn’t go as planned and subsequently making other traveling companions miserable. I have found that to plan both indoor and outdoor activities to match the weather has been very helpful in making things go more smoothly.
If One Person Likes to Go, Go, Go, and Another Likes to Relax, That’s Okay
I have traveled with some who like to be on the go constantly and others who like to take it easy. I have found that to try and change the nature of the other leads to trouble. Normally, the person who likes to relax is more than happy to have a nice margarita by the pool while others go out and discover the city.
Let Those Pesky, Recurring Issues Go
Vacations can sometimes amplify any existing issues in a relationship. I have learned to try and let most issues go while on holiday. My husband and I had our worst anniversary (the armpit of anniversaries) overseas when I brought up a problem. How I wish now that I hadn’t!
Remember, a Vacation is an Investment!
My guess is there are more people who have been disappointed on vacation because of arguing than those who have not. One great thing to remember is that a vacation is an investment—financially, emotionally, and an investment of your time. Try to get the most out of your time—arguing only cheapens your investment.
Making the Most of Your Investment
Want to make the most out of your travel investment? Turn to International Vacation Home Exchange. Their travel consultants can help find the perfect luxury home exchange while you and your traveling companion(s) are out seeing the world. See how this works.
Photo thank you to Michael Baird