The first time my husband Robert and I traveled together was a doozy. We had only been dating a few months and flew to Jamaica for a long weekend. To say I was nervous would be an understatement. Could our youngish relationship take the strain? There would be no separate apartments to decamp to if the proximity got too intense. We'd have to agree on casual or fancy for dinner, and whether to hit the beach or lounge in the shade -- a big issue, since I can spend all day at the shore, while his fair skin can't take too much exposure. That trip was a test and, thankfully, we passed -- with the help of liberal applications of SPF 30 and a few well-timed breaks from each other.
If you and your mate are set to hit the highways and byways on a vacation, know that your trip -- from planning, packing, and traveling, to your time at the destination -- can bring you closer together, or reveal potential rifts in your relationship.
Figuring out what kind of vacation you both want is your first potential minefield. Our Jamaican jaunt was my idea, and the very fact that my freckled honey agreed helped to cement my growing feelings for him. Here, tips on how to plan a holiday you'll both enjoy.
- Pick a planner. If one of you is more organized -- or pickier -- then leave the tactical details to him or her. "I'm a pathological planner, so I organize our trips," says Robin, 42, an art director in New York.
- Be open to new ideas. Rebecca, 34, a public relations exec in Miami, and her husband, Dimitri, decide on trips democratically enough. "I'll say, 'Let's go here,' and he'll say, 'Sure, why not,'" she says. Other times, "We'll see something on television or read about a destination in the newspaper and we research that together."
- Compromise. "I'm happy to sit on a beach all day, drinking frozen margaritas and going for an occasional swim," says Debbie, 36, an editor in New York. "But my husband, T.P., says that the sand gets in his butt, and he doesn't like swimming. He'd prefer to sail all day. So we look for resorts with nice beaches that keep sailboats handy for guests."