Navigating your first romantic getaway

14 February, 2024|Travel and relationships|
Navigating your first romantic getaway The Travel Psychologist

Dr Jill Dunbar, Clinical Psychologist & Regular Contributor

In a romantic relationship, taking a trip together is such a fantastic opportunity for having fun, trying new things, making great memories, and learning more about each other. However, let us also remember that travel is inherently stressful! Aspects of travelling such as planning, organising, timekeeping, being in unfamiliar surroundings, problem solving – there are so many elements that can add stress and strain to the experience and put your communication to the test!

Of course, that is not to say that we should worry about taking a trip or avoid doing so, but it can be helpful to consider in advance the things that may become challenging along the way and have a bit of an action plan to help minimise the strain. If you are thinking of booking a romantic getaway with your partner, or have one coming up soon, here are some things to think about that will hopefully help to reduce some of the stress and lead to a fun and enjoyable experience for both of you!

Things to consider prior to your romantic trip

Talk finances early on!

Money can often be a source of discomfort – a lot of people do not like talking about money. However, having an idea of a budget for a vacation is so important, especially when it is the first time travelling jointly and these conversations may not have come up before. When travelling, there are often many unexpected additional costs and surprises, and possibilities to add experiences and stretch that budget.

Discuss an overall budget for the necessities – transport costs and accommodation, break down expected costs for daily expenses including food and drink and planned activities, and think of a general daily budget which will also allow for flexibility and spontaneity. This can also involve discussion of personal budget and hopes and expectations for types of activities. Ensure you are true to yourself and honest about what you are able to and happy to spend. Over stretching yourself may lead to resentment further down the line.

Communication and compromise are key

Be willing to compromise. There are so many decisions to be made when travelling and it is highly unlikely that you will agree on absolutely everything. It is impossible for two separate people to have the exact same opinions on all things, so remember this is normal and should be expected. Be open to conversations about differing opinions and make sure that you both respect and listen to the other’s preferences and suggestions.

Have a conversation with each other about past travel experiences and what you both have learned about yourselves through travel. What do you enjoy and what do you struggle with? Having a clearer idea about each other’s preferences and dislikes prior to the trip will help you plan a getaway that considers both of your needs and preferences. However, try not to over-plan the trip. Leave room for flexibility and spontaneity. This comes in handy when things don’t go quite to plan, and provides the opportunity for casual decision making and spontaneous fun.


Stress management

This may be the first time you are spending an extended period of time together, which means that you will be in each other’s presence for, pretty much, the full life experience! This can be an intimate, and sometimes vulnerable, experience. Be aware that, while this is a terrific way to get to know each other more, it can be quite intense and may stir up some unexpected feelings. Consider each other’s routines – for example how do you tend to handle mornings? Are you an early riser, or do you need some time with total quiet and a coffee before you can face the world? Are your morning routines similar, or will there be a need for some compromise? Often, it is better to have an idea in advance, but also be open to having these conversations along the way!

Humans are typically creatures of habit, and when we are taken away from our usual routines and comfort zones, we can be more prone to stress. Also, having fun and new experiences can be tiring, so be mindful of you and your partner’s basic needs too! Remember that it is common for energy levels and mood to fluctuate when travelling, so leave room for this and try to buffer yourself from preventable stress reactions. Be open to having some alone time. Some people need some space and time alone for various reasons, and perhaps you and/or your partner do too. Try to discuss this beforehand so that the expectations are set in advance.

Fun, not perfection

Most importantly for navigating any trip – don’t aim for perfection! Perfection is impossible in any situation, and travelling is no different. In fact, the beauty of travel is that it can be messy, unpredictable, and is about having a break from the norm and having fun. When all is said and done, remember to have fun! Enjoy each other’s company, be open and curious about your surroundings and each other.


If you liked this article check out Travelling together as a couple: advice from a psychologist