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Vacation tips for couples

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The most common challenges that couples face during vacation

  • Logistics. Each family member has their own needs, so it can be hard to balance the desires of each person in the couple - and it’s even harder if you have teenagers, younger children or both!

  • Unreasonable expectations. We tend to postpone fun things, and end up thinking that all the great things should happen on vacation - including having lots of sex. The risk is that we will be deeply disappointed by reality.

  • FOMO - Fear of Missing Out. We are sometimes guided by external expectations of what a vacation should include. Things like extravagant trips (if the pandemic allows), care-free BBQs down by the water, and endless activities so we’re never doing nothing. This can create an inner stress that prevents us from realizing what we actually need as individuals and as a couple.

10 tips for couples planning a vacation

  1. Make a plan. Studies show that people gain just as much - if not more - happiness from planning a vacation as they do actually taking it. Make sure your plan includes a budget. If you know in advance how much you want to spend, you won’t need to worry about it when you’re actually there.

  2. Identify everyone’s needs. Map out your and your family's individual needs and identify goals you have in common. Do you each want to relax, explore, reconnect, ignite passion, learn new things, or reminisce? See if you can get on the same page, or make space for each person’s goals.

  3. Determine boundaries for non-vacation things. What will your rules be for work, social media, talking to people who aren’t there with you, and anything else.

  4. Make sure you have downtime. Think RECOVERY; even if you want a wild and adventurous vacation, there should still be time for restorative rest from your daily life. What does recovery mean to you?

  5. Have reasonable and realistic expectations. We can only feel disappointed if we have expectations that aren’t met. Have hope that things will go well, without getting attached to a specific outcome. That way, you can be flexible and optimistic while avoiding frequent disappointment.

  6. Start having sex early. Instead of waiting to have sex on vacation and feeling pressure for it to be amazing, have sex before the vacation starts. That way, you’re already in the swing of things to have more sex - with less pressure - during the vacation.

  7. Treat yourself and your partner. Enjoy luxuries that you don’t usually have time for in daily life - things like sleeping in or having breakfast in bed instead of waking up early and getting straight to work.

  8. Have a conflict resolution plan. Your problems and annoying habits go on vacation with you too. You might fight, but that’s okay. Have a plan for how to navigate conflict, with boundaries around time (“we’ll talk about this for 20 minutes and then pause to enjoy the afternoon”), or start any discussion by naming things you love about each other. Speak up about things that don’t feel good even if it brings on an argument; it’s better to work through conflict together than hold it all inside on your own.

  9. Take the opportunity to develop your relationship. Talk about how your relationship can grow on this vacation. Try something new together. Do things you can’t do at home. Set shared goals as a couple. You can visit somewhere new, have sex outside, take a class in something you haven’t tried before, or lie in a hammock all day without doing anything. Your goals don’t have to be huge; instead, make them small and achievable.

  10. Be curious. Curiosity is a key to a strong relationship. Ask your partner questions and let them know you want to learn more about them, no matter how long you’ve been together. Do something romantic each day, and express affection. Remind each other why you love each other, and create memories together that you can keep forever.

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