Traveling with your spouse is supposed to be fun – not stressful! So, what do you do when the two worlds collide and threaten to ruin your vacation?
Fighting on vacation is the worst. After all, you’ve paid all this money to go somewhere absolutely fantastic only to wind up stressed out and wanting to escape the company of your loving spouse. Suddenly, the thought of spending another night in a hotel room together feels more like a prison sentence than a romantic getaway.
This was what my husband and I learned when we traveled to Europe for the first time – but we didn’t let it get the better of us!
The last thing you want to remember about your vacation is how much you argued, instead of all the wonderful sights you saw or the amazing meals you ate. That’s why I’m giving you 4 love tips that helped us stay happily married even after the world’s most stressful trip to London and Paris.
With my husband and I only ever traveling together on our honeymoon – where everything went smoothly and there wasn’t a hint of irritation with one another, ah newlyweds – we never dreamed that traveling to Europe would be a stressful experience.
Two years after my husband and I were first married we decided to go on our first European adventure. It had always been my dream to go to London. My husband was game – although we could barely afford it. His only request was that we took the Chunnel to see Paris along the way.
The trip was everything I had dreamed it would be – until the end.
The first incident
We decided to spend our last full day across the pond on a train to Paris. We took the Chunnel first thing in the morning and arrived in Paris by 10 AM. We had eight hours to explore the city, which we deemed perfectly acceptable.
Little did we know, there had been shooting the day before we got there. A police officer had been shot. Watching police patrol the city with their guns out, alongside a poster of the deceased police officer down the Champs-Élysées, certainly put us on edge.
We managed to navigate the foreign-language metro system to see a little more of the city, only to have a random strike happen.
In moments like these, it’s unfortunately easy to get frustrated with your spouse. You’re both frazzled, stressed, and want the other one to fix the problem as though either one of you could turn into a genie at the snap of your fingers.
We snipped and snapped at each other as we tried to find another way to the Chunnel to get back to England. Eventually, the metro sprung to life and the random strike was over. My husband and I made the pouty two-hour journey back to our hotel room.
“Let’s not fight again,” my husband and I agreed. We promised then and there that no matter what happened from that point forward, we wouldn’t let stress get the better of us. Little did we know how soon our promise would be put to the test!
The final test
Finally, we made it home in one piece.
The next morning, we didn’t have to be on the plane until 1 PM. Since we had a late departure and we had only just adjusted to our jetlag, my husband lovingly decided we should sleep in that final morning.
We made it to the train station (which would take us to the airport) only to realize that we were about to be hit with our second metro strike.
All the trains were at a standstill.
I insisted we call an Uber to take us to the airport, but my husband had faith that the trains would come back to life before our flight took off without us.
When we finally made it onto a train, about an hour later, I thought we were good for time. I ate my egg-sandwich we had purchased from the train station, sipped my mocha, and chatted aimlessly; all the while completely oblivious to how panic-stricken my poor husband was.
“I feel sick,” he said, looking up at me. “I think we’re going to miss our flight.”
As we entered the airport, we could not find a sign of our airline anywhere. This left us in the difficult position of “guessing”, which is not the optimal choice when you’re in a panic.
As we approached the airport with a mere 30 minutes to get through customs and board our plane, we were at a crossroads. We stood before a lift that would take us to the right side of the airport or the left. My husband decided we go left.
We scrambled back to the lift after realizing we were nowhere near our airline and went right. This cut a precious five minutes off of our ticking time bomb.
I distinctly remember hearing our final boarding call and looking at my husband in a panic. He turned to me, eyes wide, and said, “Run!”
We took off running through the airport like crazy persons. When we finally reached the gate, the attendant informed us that the gate was closed.
Thankfully, she took pity on us (probably due to our pouring sweat and looking absolutely stricken) and let us board anyhow.
The nightmare of anxiety and stress was finally over.
Love Tips for Making it through your Vacation in One Piece
My husband and I don’t fight very often. In fact, the last argument we had was several years ago about a topic so insane that it makes us both blush to recall it.
But something about being in another country (especially the one where we didn’t speak the language) was enough to put us on edge. Being determined not to argue or ruin our trip, here are some of the love tips we took to heart.
- Compromise and communicate like there’s no tomorrow
When traveling as a couple, there is going to be a lot of compromises needed. For the most part, my husband and I have the same idea of what a “fun” evening looks like.
Even so, there were still things I was interested in that he wasn’t crazy about doing (and vice versa) but we made compromises so that the other could get the most out of our vacation.
- Learn to laugh it off
We planned and planned for our little European adventure, never expecting that we would end up almost missing our flight or eating cold egg-sandwiches on a frozen train art.
So instead of fighting, we laughed it off. Even in the moments where it wasn’t all that funny.
Instead of thinking “We’re going to miss our flight and be out $2000” we thought “This is going to make for a hilariously epic story when we get back home.”
To this day, my husband still raves with laughter about the time I saw on the train cart, sipping a small mocha and chatting on endlessly about our wonderful trip while he was stressed out of his mind.
The point? Arguing is pointless. Both you and your spouse want the same things – to have fun (or in our case, to get home in one piece!) So instead of turning against each other, just learn to laugh about it. I promise you, it will save you a lot of grief.
- Find some “me time” amid your vacation
Vacations are a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time together as a couple. And as studies show, couples who have a regular date night are more likely to stay married, have deeper emotional intimacy, more fun, and better communication skills!
But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to take some time apart – even on vacation!
My husband and I learned quickly that one of the best love tips for travel is to make some time for yourself. We spent a small portion of the morning listening to podcasts, audiobooks, bible readings, or music in order to get some time alone. it’s amazing how refreshed you will feel after a mere 15 minutes apart!
- Don’t overschedule your trip
If you don’t want to be stressed – don’t overschedule! Especially if you are relying on public transportation and not your own vehicle.
We had nearly every day jam-packed and, trust me, it gets tiring. This is why we kept our nights absolutely free – which we shamelessly used to lay around in our hotel and watch British cooking shows. This helped prevent burnout and gave us more time to explore and relax.
Keeping your cool while you’re traveling abroad can be difficult. But if we can do it through a metro strike and almost missing a flight – so can you! By following these love tips, you and your sweetheart will be on your way to the world’s most romantic getaway possible. No fighting allowed!
About the Author:
Sylvia Smith is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support, and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.