How to Plan Your First Adventure Together Getting out of your comfort zone can be a little stressful, but it has also been shown to benefit couples for numerous reasons. Here's what to know. BY SUSAN FINCH
Before you and your spouse step out for your adventure, benefit from a little planning.
“ When picking a destination throws you for a loop, come up with a dream compromise that satisfies both you and your partner.”
According to a survey from the U.S. Travel Association, couples who travel together have happier, healthier relationships compared to those who tend to stay local. The survey also found that couples who enjoy joint vacations ultimately feel more satisfied and romantic, communicate better, and even enjoy greater intimacy.
While traveling can propel your relationship forward, planning your next adventure comes with its caveats and stressors. Determining the best destination to visit, how to plan and what to expect can all create bumps in the road to your journey. Nonetheless, take your vacation planning in stride and tackle one detail at a time to work toward planning your first adventure together. Here’s how to get started.
Find a Dream Compromise
While your idea of an adventure might be a trip to the wilderness, your partner may be thinking about trekking through a big city's urban jungle. When picking a destination throws you for a loop, come up with a dream compromise that satisfies both you and your partner.
For example, a trip to New York City could include a few stops in the heart of Manhattan, along with a weekend getaway to the Catskills for hiking and camping. Factor in plenty of time for each of you to savor what you enjoy most, and make a commitment to appreciate and learn from what your partner wants to do and achieve on your adventure.
Do Your Homework Before Jetting Off
No matter how hard we plan, all of us are bound to neglect some of the finer details with regard to flights and hotel policies. To reduce your stress before taking off for your adventure, look at the cancellation and refund policies of your hotel accommodations, flights or car rental and decide if you need travel insurance to protect your investment.
For adventures requiring a flight, make sure you have a backup plan in mind if your plans are delayed or cancelled. In these cases, it may be worth spending the extra money to protect your trip against unexpected illness, injury or other unforeseen issues.
In addition to those obligations, remember to consider stocking up on extra provisions—from granola bars, trail mix and energy bars to water, juice and soda—if you're camping away from the city. You should also have a mechanic conduct a thorough checkup of your vehicle, which may include investing in new, durable tires if you to go off-roading.
TireRack.com serves as one option to secure the delivery and installation of your tires, parts and accessories by your mechanic. But you can also turn to a popular supplier like TireBuyer.com, which offers ongoing sales with a larger inventory of tires, and comes with free delivery.
Create a Strict Budget
Your romantic adventure away will require you to budget to stay on track and avoid any arguments over how much to spend. Talk through where to save on your adventure, whether that means downgrading any accommodations or trimming a day off your travels.
However, planning your romantic getaway shouldn't mean watching every dollar you spend. Come up with a plan on where to splurge, from activities like skydiving and sailing to a romantic dinner out. It's also wise to earmark enough money for emergencies in case you need to find new accommodations, face an injury and need medical assistance, or get an unexpected flat tire.
Set Realistic Expectations
According to Bustle, couples who set realistic expectations before and during their getaway are more likely to be happier, feel more in love, and have better overall relationships. Set the tone of your adventure together by talking through expectations and coming up with contingency plans.
For example, you may want to read a book by the beach and decompress with a tropical cocktail while your partner just wants to soak up every bit of adventure. Talk through compromises on what to do together—and what to do apart. It’s also smart to decide how you will handle a heated argument while on the road.
While talking through a situation is typically the best answer, sometimes that's not always possible. When those events arise, perhaps one partner can go for a meditative walk or grab a bite at a local cafe, while the other takes a dip in the pool before regrouping for a calmer and happier experience together.
Keep it Flexible
Even with the best planning—and a contingency plan in place for every mishap—chances are your couple's adventure may not go as planned. Plus, part of the adventure is not knowing exactly how things are going to unfold. Create room for flexibility by creating a framework for your trip, while leaving plenty of opportunities for the unexpected.
Staying flexible can leave room for spontaneous walks and discovering a hidden beach side bar, hopping on a tour to a volcano hike you've never heard about, or heading out for a day of scuba diving on an island the locals told you about. The more flexible you leave your trip, the more room you leave open for true adventure.
Susan Finch is a freelance writer living in Atlanta, and loves helping businesses improve their bottom line with compelling copy that sparks action. When she's not writing, she's traveling with her family and plotting her next creative pursuit.