Your first holiday as a couple can be a daunting thing. Between arguing over who pays the bill and struggling with luggage on a long-haul flight, couples holidays can be fraught with tension.

But there are things you can do to prepare yourself (and your partner) before departure. Read on for 5 tips for handling your first holiday together as a couple.

Dip a toe in before jumping into the deep end

Your first holiday as a couple can be a taxing one. Long, tedious train journeys, getting on each other’s nerves waiting for a delayed flight, snapping at each other when you take the wrong direction — there are lots of opportunities for conflict.

So before you take that month-long trek through India, why not start off small first? A city mini-break in Europe, a quiet weekend in a countryside B&B, a couple of days camping — these make for relatively stress-free holidays which let you test the waters first.

Of course, arguments happen — fact. But starting off small with a short, close holiday gives you less time to fall out and makes it easier to head home if it all gets too much.

Be prepared to compromise

Compromise is the foundation of any good relationship. The ability to meet your partner halfway and find a solution that meets both of your needs is a useful thing to have in a relationship. As the therapist Jonathan Shippey describes:

“The need for compromise is built into the very essence of being in a relationship. We know that couples will always have conflict, and compromise is one of the most effective ways for couples to manage their conflict in order to increase trust and understanding with each other.”

And this is especially true for your first holiday. Every decision you make on your trip should be made together, from where you’re actually visiting, to which cafe you’re going to for breakfast.

You shouldn’t expect to get your own way all the time (and neither should your partner!) — discuss your holiday in advance and agree that you should make decisions that both of you are happy with.

Avoid distractions and be present with each other

In this digital age, we’re easily distracted by our phones. Checking the news, replying to work emails, scrolling through Facebook — our phones hold a lot of distractions. And while it’s easily done at home, on holiday it’s a big no-no.

Holidays should be about spending time with each other. They’re about getting to know each other better and enjoying each other’s company.

And when you’re on holiday, your relationship is under the spotlight. Spending so much time together puts every action under the spotlight, and tensions can run high if one person thinks the other isn’t fully present. As Orion Talmay of Orion’s Method writes:

“[Not using your phone] will show your partner that they have your undivided attention. Everyone needs to feel needed in relationships. By setting aside time for just the two of you, you’re proving that they’re more important than your phone.”

Turn off your internet and put your phone in your bag or pocket. Be present with your partner and ask the same of them. This will keep your holiday calm and stress-free, as well as bringing a new level of intimacy between the two of you too.

Make a plan (but don’t stick to it)

If you’re going somewhere for the first time, it’s worth making a plan.

Make a list of restaurants, pubs, cafes, hotels, tourist attractions, and so on well in advance. This makes good sense for any holiday of course, but especially so for couples. It ensures that you can find activities you will both enjoy, rather than one person having all the fun.

But your plan should also include a budget too. For some people, holidays are a chance to splurge, spending freely on drinks, meals, and entertainment. But others prefer a more frugal approach to holidays, watching their pennies and sticking to a budget.

Making a plan in advance helps you both find activities you both want to do. It also lets you create a budget that means you can both enjoy your holiday. You don’t need to stick to your plan rigidly, but it’s a good framework that eases the pressure off both of you.

Expect a lot of weird firsts

When you spend every moment of every day with your partner on holiday, there’s no hiding. All the embarrassing habits or weird behaviours that we usually keep hidden behind closed doors are on full display — and that applies to both of you.

Maybe one of you sings while you shower. Or perhaps one of you insists on making the bed every morning, while the other is happy to leave it for housekeeping to do. Or maybe you’re a chronic burper after certain kinds of food.

You can both expect to see a lot of firsts from each other on your holiday. Some might disgust you, while some might be endearing. Whatever the habit, be prepared — it’s not a relationship-ender, but our weird habits can certainly be an eye-opener.

Your first holiday with your partner shouldn’t be stressful — it should be enjoyable and relaxing, a chance for both of you to unwind and enjoy each other’s presence. Follow the tips above and start looking forward to your first holiday together as a couple.

Words : Hollie Jones

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