Let's face it -- different folks have different travel styles. Carol, 60, and Frank, 66, a retired couple in Jupiter, Florida, enjoy all-inclusive spots, where they don't have to think about where they'll eat and play. They also enjoy group tours, where they'll be assured of not missing the highlights of any destination. Meanwhile, Michele and John, a 30-something pair in Whitestone, New York, are so anti-planning they've been known to show up at a destination with little more than a hotel reservation, and then figure out where they'll go and what they'll do. Here's how to lay the groundwork for a trip you'll both love.
- Plan in harmony. My husband and I do pretrip groundwork separately. He'll spend hours online, e-mailing me links to restaurants, museums, and the like. Meanwhile, I haunt the travel section of the bookstore, searching for the best all-around guidebook, and buying maps. Between the two of us, we hammer out a mutually desirable itinerary.
- Pack wisely. If packing tends to be an area of conflict, be smart and leave it to the one who is more interested and better at assessing just how much to bring. "If I let Dimitri do the packing, we'd live out of backpacks," says Rebecca. Your other option is to each pack your own bag. That way, the person who would bring a winter coat to Hawaii "just in case" won't frustrate the other one who'd prefer to toss in a few t-shirts and wing it.
- Make lists. The first thing I pull out to prepare for a trip is pen and paper. I write down literally everything we'll need, then I tell my husband what items of his to set aside. For example, he may need a sports jacket and good shoes if we're planning to eat at nice restaurants.