Life Travel
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Travel just isn’t as special without someone to share the experience with, but hanging out with the same person 24-7 will add a whole new dimension to your relationship. Add to that the stresses of travel (delays, mishaps, language barriers, bad weather, botched plans, and on and on) and your perfect getaway with the perfect companion can quickly disintegrate. Fortunately, travel-related relationship strains are usually temporary, and, in most cases, entirely preventable. Here’s eight of the most aggravating travel situations, and the solutions you’ll need to avoid, um, killing your travel companion.

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THE COMPANION

The guy you met on Tinder six weeks ago.

PROBLEM

There’s nothing wrong with seizing the excitement of a brand new relationship by getting out of Dodge together (with due caution and an extensive Google background check, of course). But five hours into your last-minute Vegas runner, it may become painfully obvious that you really don’t know all that much about this guy, annnd he chews with his mouth open. Great.

SOLUTION

Keep your first trip with a new love interest short—a weekend getaway outside of the city is a lot more manageable than a two-week excursion to the jungles of Costa Rica, especially with someone you’ve just learned is a mouth-breather. In the early days of a new relationship, you’re not usually at risk of getting bored, so keep your travel plans simple and romantic to avoid the stress of trying to see all the sights where no one speaks English. Make that your second trip.

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THE COMPANION

Your ungrateful (but adorable) children.

PROBLEM

You’ve saved up and planned an incredible family vacation to Disney World and your five-year-old has decided to throw a tantrum in every land possible. Excuse me? You JUST had a very detailed one-sided conversation with Minnie Mouse IN PERSON, you little punk. Life is full of f—ing magic.

SOLUTION

Leaving your children behind in a foreign country is frowned upon in most places, so it’s best to avoid the temptation altogether by planning ahead to ensure your kids won’t spend their entire vacation in perma-meltdown mode. While you may want to cram endless excitement into your kids’ March Break, overwhelming them with too much will backfire. Keep your days manageable and try to make sure they get the sleep they’re used to getting at home and eat the same kinds of foods at the same time of day. Your lives will be easier if you plan your family trip around the kids — make sure your resort has kid-friendly amenities and that there will be familiar food options available. It’s a vacation, so have fun, but don’t bend to their every whim!

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THE COMPANION

Your best friend for as long as you can remember.

PROBLEM

You guys have never had a serious argument and you know each other like sisters, so surely travel will be easy, right? Wrong. So often when travelling with people we love,  every little detail can become a “discussion,” especially when differing opinions arise around meal time.

SOLUTION

Being together all day, every day for an extended period can put new strains on even the most solid relationship. First and foremost, understand hanger (hunger-induced anger). Don’t wait until you’re starving to make basic decisions about what to do and where to go. A hangry person is not a fun person—pack some snacks to keep everyone sane and sated. And if you do reach a crossroads where you both aren’t up for the same meal or meal time, just go your separate ways. You’ll appreciate the break, and you won’t be bitter about eating something you don’t want to eat.

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THE COMPANION

Your best friend’s other best friend.

PROBLEM

That whole “three’s a crowd” thing is not just fodder for ’80s sitcoms—it’s a real sociological phenomenon. Groups of three are notoriously unstable because it’s real easy for two people to gang up against the third (even if it’s just around deciding who sits together on the train and who sits solo).

SOLUTION

Have a good chat before you make your voyage, just so everyone understands the group’s expectations for the trip. There is such a thing as over-planning, so work on a flexible plan that allows for compromise. Respect your BFF’s other BFF, and set some ground rules that make it okay for any one of you, or all of you, to head off and do your own thing for a bit if the group dynamic starts to wobble. You’re an adult, so surely you can save the playground drama for the, uh, playground.

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THE COMPANION

The guy you just married last weekend.

PROBLEM

You’re high on the buzz of tying the knot (and the leftover champagne) and now you can finally relax after all the planning and partying with the greatest man you’ve ever met. What could go wrong? Well, that buzz could wear off and you might find yourself far too exhausted to take on the stress of travel—nothing dims the newlywed glow like a flight cancellation or lost luggage.

SOLUTION

Don’t take it out on one another, which is really easy to do when it’s just the two of you. Remind yourself what this trip is all about and repeat your vows in your head over and over again. You’re in this together, and if one of you is having a lousy time, you both are. Hot tip: try to take your honeymoon a couple months after the wedding. There’s no rule saying it has to be the next day or week or month, and you’ll feel nice and rested for the trip.

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THE COMPANION

The Chatty Cathy seated next to you on a long-haul flight.

PROBLEM

There’s probably a direct relationship between the length of your flight and the likelihood that your neighbour will insist on talking your ear off. Even more likely if your flight is overnight. It’s a temporary situation, but 12 hours next to someone like this can feel like an eternity.

SOLUTION

Your best bet is to be polite—have a chat and grin and bear your way through the niceties of getting to know a stranger that you have absolutely no interest in getting to know. In the best-case scenario, your seatmate could actually be an interesting person (read: billionaire who enjoys flying coach because it “feels more genuine” and who has a six-figure-salary opening at her company for someone with your skill set). If that’s not the case, nip your neighbour’s life story in the bud by saying honestly and firmly that you were “really hoping to get a bit of sleep/watch this Anne Hathaway movie for the third time/put these earplugs in and stare into space for the next 11 hours—lovely to meet you but I must be going.” (*slide eyeshade down*)

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THE COMPANION

The couple assigned to sit at your dinner table on a cruise.

PROBLEM

On many cruise lines, you’re seated at a table with the same people each night in the ship’s dining room. If you find yourself with tablemates who commandeer the conversation and attempt to regale you with their life story—or worse, their questionable but strong opinions— night after night, it could put a huge damper on your vacation.

SOLUTION

If it’s abundantly clear upon your first dinner that you just will not get along with your tablemates, make a request for a change immediately and discretely with the maitre d’. Otherwise, do your best to steer the conversation to more tolerable waters, and take the experience as an opportunity to learn about someone or someplace new. Or, drink a lot. Nothing gets you in the dancing mood like a cocktail or two, and it takes two to promenade, not four!

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THE COMPANION

Your bickering parents.

PROBLEM

You and your parents have decided to go for one more family vacation, but everyone’s a bit older now. Your parents may have different ideas about what makes a good family vacation now that you’re all grown up.

SOLUTION

If your parents are old, keep their interests and abilities in mind when you’re planning the trip—if Dad has a bad hip, a day of walking around on cobblestone is probably a recipe for unhappiness all around. Compromise as much as possible and get everyone on board with doing things separately and together, since some activities won’t be ailing papa friendly. One day, you and your mom could head to the spa while dad and your partner head out for some golf. You can all meet up for dinner, giving you the best of both worlds.

So really, when it comes down to navigating any kind of relationship conflict on the road, a little bit of pre-planning, compromise and breathing space will go a long, long way. Besides, murder is messy and illegal, and you shouldn’t be doing that anyway–to a travel companion, or anyone.

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