A marriage is the beginning of a shared life together. You’ll share a closet, a bathroom, and a kitchen, but most important, you’ll share a lifetime of wonderful experiences. And one of the best ways couples can create lasting memories is through travel.
Getting away from normal life and sharing powerful experiences can bond you together in a way that can’t happen at home. It sparks unique conversations and reveals your true selves, fostering both emotional and physical intimacy. Couples who travel together tend to share more trust and patience. Imagine how you would depend on each other if you got lost in a foreign country.
If you love to travel, you may already have a thoroughly built-out bucket list, and just because you got married doesn’t mean you have to give that up. However, a healthy union does require factoring in someone else’s desires, and your spouse may have her own bucket list to consider.
Here are five things that will help you plan for travel together to fulfill both your dreams.
1 – Communicate your motivation.
Try not to hold assumptions about how your partner would react to certain suggestions. The only way to know what she’s truly thinking is to talk about it.
Share what traveling—either generally or to a specific destination—means to you. If you’ve always wanted to see the Egyptian pyramids, explain why you think that would make a positive impact on your life together. Listen closely to your partner’s dreams, too. Both of your desires are equally important.
2 – Alternate preferences.
Compromise is at the foundation of marriage. To ensure you can both cross items off your list, alternate preferred destinations. Go where she wants to go this year, and next year, you can check something off your list. Your travel experiences will be richer when you share them with the person you love most. When she picks the destination, remember that surprises make travel more exciting. Embrace the unknown, and try to see things through her eyes.
3 – Pick your style before your location.
If you love to feel adrenaline coursing through your veins but your wife is afraid of heights, skydiving might not be in your future, but you might be able to do some whitewater rafting or mountain hiking.
When planning a trip, establish what kind of experience you’re hoping for first. Remember, Colorado offers both extreme sports and cozy cabins. Talk about how physically active you want to be, what your priorities are, what you refuse to do, and what can be done alone. It’s OK to split up for an afternoon—just make sure your main objectives are aligned.
4 – Don’t go broke on your first trip.
Be realistic about what you can afford, and save ahead of time. If you put everything on your credit card, your trip can end up costing a lot more with interest.
Remember, compromise when needed. If one of you is fine hopping between hostels and the other had hopes of five-star hotels, balance it out. Consider taking the subway most of the time, but plan at least one night of luxury. If you don’t share finances, determine ahead of time who’s paying for what.
5 – Plan away stressors.
Once you’ve settled on a destination, plan thoroughly to make the journey as smooth as possible. This is especially important if one of you is significantly more excited about the trip. Try to travel at the best time of the year, taking into account prices and climate. You don’t want to accidentally travel during monsoon season or when it’s too hot to leave your hotel room.
Do your research on visa requirements; be sure to get any needed vaccines, and stay up-to-date on current events so you don’t wander into danger. Cultural surprises are part of what makes travel fun, but logistical ones can ruin a trip.
When you travel, you’re focused on the wonder, peace, and excitement of the moment. You don’t worry about the future, who is doing the dishes, or what went wrong at work last week. You’re fully present in that place and with the people around you. Sharing this kind of experience with your spouse will make your marriage even stronger for years to come.
Adam Francis is the director of brand marketing brand director at Expedia Canada, a travel-bookings platform for more than 10,000 partners, including airlines and hotels, consumer brands, and high-traffic websites.