As someone who has travelled almost extensively alone, a part of me is nervous about traveling with someone else (and a bigger part of me is excited). Traveling with another means compromise, something that I haven’t quite yet mastered, although I am certainly getting better. While travel is amazing, at times it is hard: Long delays, lack of sleep, jet lag, motion sickness, ruined plans, lost luggage, and exhaustion are just a few of the dangers you might face. It would be so easy for a small problem or disagreement can quickly turn into a full-blown fight under the stress of traveling.  Follow these five tips to make your trip together more enjoyable and memorable—in the good way!

Slow down and relax.

It’s not a race to get the best photographs or see the most stuff.  Slow down and take the time to truly enjoy things together.  Don’t be afraid to sleep in or take a lazy day, and don’t try to fit too many activities into your trip.  A well-rested traveler is a happy traveler, and lack of sleep makes everyone irritable.

If bad things happen—even if it’s completely your partner’s fault—try to stay calm and see the humor in your misfortune.  So what if your partner forgot to book the hotel and now you’re stuck in a dingy dormitory-style hostel with a bunch of drunken, dredlocked backpackers from South America?  The worst situations often make for the best memories.  Relax and roll with the punches together.

Don’t be too selfish.

Everybody has different interests, and you may need to compromise on certain things.  Maybe you don’t share your partner’s love of baroque architecture or local wineries, but that doesn’t mean you should say ‘no way’ to those activities.  If it’s important to your partner, it should be (somewhat) important to you.

By the same token, don’t force your partner to do things he or she strongly objects to.  If your significant other has a paralyzing fear of snakes and spiders, don’t bully them into a week-long trek through the Amazon rainforest.  Try to choose activities that you both can enjoy, even if it means sacrificing something you wanted to do.

Take some alone time.

Whether you want to admit it or not, you and your partner are probably going to get a little sick of each other at times.  Constantly being together can be draining and make you irritable with each other.  Try to spend a little time apart each day.  Go out to buy coffee while letting your partner sleep in.  Go on a solo walk or run.  Eat alone at a restaurant or pub.  Even taking a long hot bath alone can make yesterday’s issues seem small.

Meet new people.

Strangers always have the most interesting stories.  Many people tout bars as the best place to make new friends, but in reality, opportunities to meet new people are everywhere.  Turn around and talk to the family behind you in line.  Introduce yourselves to the couple across from you on the train.  Ask a local for directions and a recommendation of their favorite restaurant.  At worst, you’ll have a funny story to tell.  At best, you’ll make a new friend!

Be romantic.

This isn’t a trip with your parents, your college roommate, or your dog.  You are traveling with your significant other, and you should put a little effort into keeping the romance alive.  Whether you’re visiting Paris or Phnom Penh, remember to make your relationship a priority.   Planning a ‘date night’ is a good idea, but you don’t need a fancy, expensive dinner cruise to show that you care.  Sometimes it’s the small gestures that make someone feel truly special.  Stroll hand-in-hand down the sidewalk, take a dancing class, buy cheesy matching souvenir shirts, share a local dish a la Lady and the Tramp, or visit a tacky tourist attraction.  Have fun, enjoy each other’s company, and don’t let the romance die!

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