Latina, I wrote a piece about how to travel with your boyfriend for the first time and during my research for it, I got to chat with Aracely Santos Castellani of travel website 2Backpackers.com. She and her husband, Jason, have traveled around various parts of the world including a year-long trip through Central and South America. Unfortunately, her tips were cut from the final copy, but she had so many good suggestions that I wanted to share them for you to keep in mind - no matter if it's your first or your 100th time heading out with your boo.
1. Discuss Expectations Before Booking
If you’re dreaming of sipping mai tais and having couples massages by the beach while he sees the two of you zipping through the jungle and running with the bulls, you’ll want to get on the same page stat. "It’s really important when someone goes traveling with a partner to be able to agree on the type of travel that you want to do," Aracely says. "Adventure travel is not for everybody so it's important that the two people agree on the types of activities they're going to be doing while traveling."
2. Be Honest About Budget
Are you splitting costs evenly or contributing to a couple’s pot that will pay for travel expenses? Discussing these details will prevent surprises during the trip and arguing over bills once you're back home. "Some people prefer to have a fancy dinner and somebody else might prefer to spend their money on a cool tour," she points out. "Understand each other and have that conversation on how you want to spend your money and what’s important to you.”
3. Handle What You Do Best
Apart from taking care of yourselves with proper rest, food, and comfortable clothes, you can also cut back on the stress by just letting each person handle what he or she does best. Perhaps you're great at handling money while he can work a map (and ask for directions) like a pro. I usually let A. handle schedules while I figure out how to get info if locals only speak Spanish, French, or Italian.
4. Be Aware of Each Other's Pet Peeves
While you should work out any major relationship issues before you even book a flight (and please don't use a vacation as a band-aid for your relationship), things could still irk you during the trip. You're spending 24/7 with someone and when you're missing meals, walking under a blazing sun, or running late, emotions can escalate. Lord knows there have been times when I wanted to book a ticket straight home than a walk another block with the boyfriend. If you do get into a fight, swallow your pride, apologize, and try to fix the problem. “Remind yourselves that you’re in a situation together," Aracely says. "You’re there to help each other, to keep each other safe, to work as a team, and to have a good experience.”
5. Take Time for Yourself
While Santos Castellani and her husband rarely take time apart during their trips, they have met couples that have explored on their own and taken a small breather from each other. Going for a walk in the morning or going off to check the sights he doesn't care to see could be good for the both of you and you'll have something to talk about when you reconvene later in the day. During our trip to Thailand, A. spent the afternoon rock climbing while I set off on a hike with our friend to take in the island from a different view point.
6. Focus on the Relationship
With all the rushing around to see the sights, it's important to remember that you’re traveling with your significant other. Take advantage of that while you're away from your every day routines. Even if you’re going budget most of the way, treat yourselves to a fancy meal or a sweet walk along the beach. “Even though you’re together all the time, every time isn’t necessarily romantic,” Aracely says. “We were on the road for my birthday, his birthday, for Valentine’s Day and we would make it different that day, different and special. We’d make it something that doesn’t just blend into the everyday so it’s more of a special memory.” Jason made their time in South America unforgettable when he popped the question after a harrowing car ride through Chile.
7. Savor the Post-Vacation Bliss
Make the transition back into the real world easier by continuing to do the things that make you happy, Aracely suggests. “Continue to stay around and be around things that you enjoy. Just realize that vacations are to get away and hopefully when you come back you’re refreshed to go back to work. Make sure that when you’re home your daily routine doesn’t necessarily consume you.” Share your stories and photos with loved ones, visit a restaurant that serves the same cuisine you tried during your travels, and then start thinking about your next great adventure.