Planning a Couple’s Retreat: Five Tips to Make It Stress-Free

It’s one thing to travel solo, but how do you map out a couple’s retreat? Making travel plans can be stressful, and everyone has their own strategies and expectations. If you and your partner have different approaches to trip organization, budgeting and sightseeing, how do you set up your trip for success?

What happens when you disagree on something as basic as your trip’s agenda? It’ll certainly make for some interesting travel discussions, but it could ruin your couple’s retreat. Here’s how to travel as a duo, taking into account what might matter to both you and your partner.

1. Prevent Arguments

Being in transit 24/7 with anyone, even your significant other, can make for a few hiccups. But bickering after a long, tiring journey won’t help either of you. Knowing each other’s travel triggers can go a long way towards smooth travels. Does he need to eat every few hours? Does she need a shower and a rest upon arrival? Plan for these quirks to avoid spats that turn into deeper arguments.

When a disagreement about where to go and what to do crops up — or you’re both just cranky from the trek — use a safe word to halt the fight. This should be “one word that you can both use if you think the other person is picking a fight for the sake of it,” recommends travel blogger Nomadic Matt. If it’s funny enough, it may even crack you both up and dispel some of the tension.

2. Create Your Vision Before You Leave

You both always wanted to visit Paris, Nepal and Fiji? Great. But when you actually plan the trip, you need to be on the same page when you arrive. Maybe he wants to visit the museums, while she wants to shop. Or she wants to mountain climb, and he’d rather lie in the sand with a book. Not exactly the most compatible agendas.

Better talk about what the actual agenda will be long before you board the flight otherwise you’ll both be disappointed. Plan to embark on both of your top choices, then schedule solo time so you can each hit an activity the other might not be interested in. Then, you can meet back up and share your experiences.

3. Stick to a Budget

Even if you live together and share money, it’s key to discuss how much to spend on your getaway: Champagne tastes and a beer budget can foil the best couple’s retreat. While you’re at it, divvy up who’s springing for what. For example, you might cover lodging, while he pays for meals.

If you plan on hitting some stores on your excursion, set a shopping budget. How much money can you spend on art, souvenirs and gifts to bring back? That Backpacker suggests setting up a travel fund you both contribute to. If you plan to spend $1,500 on the trip, you both put $750 toward the fund.

4. Compromise

Life is about compromise, and there’s no better time to live that mantra than while traveling. He sleeps late; she rises early. She cares about room service; he wants a view. Compromise is the equalizer that ensures you both have the best trip possible.

Choose your battles wisely: There’s no sense in putting your foot down over issues that don’t matter that much to you if they’re important to your partner. Instead, focus on making each other happy, and be honest on what you can and can’t compromise on.

5. Don’t Forget the Romance

After a couple days dealing with the logistics involved in vacationing, it’s easy to start to feel more like friends or teammates than sweethearts. “Who’s got the map? Which backpack is the sunscreen in? Can you look up our snorkeling time?” Not the most romantic of conversation topics.

Find ways to bring back that spark. Give yourselves some time to just be together with no agenda. Grab a bottle of wine, and stake out a romantic picnic. Have a cozy room service meal, book a couple’s spa treatment — whatever romantic gestures you can work in. Your couple’s retreat isn’t just about getting to know a new place: It’s about getting to know each other a little better, too.

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