If you’re planning a trip with your hunny for the first time, people around you might make joking comments about the trip “making or breaking” the relationship, or how you’re “really going to get to know each other.”
My boyfriend and I took our first trip together just under 3 months into us dating. We traveled to Cancun, Mexico for his friend’s destination wedding.
As I was preparing for the trip, I had many friends and family members make some of the comments I just mentioned. I took all of the remarks lightly. I knew that even though our relationship was still very new, it was going to be great (it’s been 7 months since that trip and our relationship is still strong as ever).
Soon we’ll be venturing onto our third trip together—we did NYC for a few hours last month (you can read about it here)—and I figured it would be a good idea to reflect back on what we learned about each other during that first trip so that some of you planning your first couples trip will know what to expect.
This was a big one that my boyfriend learned about me. As much as I love traveling, the thoughts of missing a flight, running late, or taking off/landing stresses me out like nothing else. I get very quiet and I constantly feel the need to rush—only to end up sitting at our gate for 45 minutes before our flight even begins to board. When the plane takes off or land, I tense up and sometimes hold my breath until I know everything’s fine. I mean, to my defense, it’s a whole lot of responsibility to get that many people in the air and back on the ground safely.
Luckily, he is very patient and soothing. He would consistently reassure me that everything was going to be fine. From being willing to rush through the airport even though he knew we had plenty of time to holding my hand during take-off and landing, I quickly learned that he doesn’t stress much when it comes to traveling.
Overall, traveling is a great way to learn about what your partner stresses about (if they do), how well they handle it, and how you can help each other work through it.
On your trip, one of the first things you’ll learn is how long it actually takes your signifiant other to get ready. Guys, while you may think your girlfriend is just sporting some winged eyeliner and lipstick, you’d be surprised to learn that there’s a good chance she has quite a bit more makeup on than just that. Primer, foundation, highlighter, eyebrow gel, mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow, lipstick, lipliner, and more—yes, there’s more—are all possibilities. And the tools it take to do all of that? Expect to see several sponges and different size brushes laying around. The most impressive part? You might find that your lady can totally transform her face and hair in under an hour—if you’re lucky—but don’t be shocked if she says she needs more time (it'll be worth it in the end).
Ladies, you might find that your man takes longer than the 5 minutes you thought it takes him to get ready too. I just thought that guys just roll out of bed, brush their teeth, jump in the shower, and then they’re good to go. But if your man keeps himself looking sharp and well-groomed, he’ll need time to style his hair, shave, and do other man-stuff too.
Overall, vanity is one of the biggest things you’ll learn about your partner on this trip. Asking how much time they’ll need to get ready before dinner/the beach/whatever activity is always a great way to make sure no one is rushing around trying to get ready. I do take longer than my guy to get ready, so he would watch TV, read his book, catch up on email, go get coffee, etc. while I finished up. Learning each other’s grooming habits early on allows you to be more respectful of each other’s time and needs.
Activity vs Leisure
During vacations there are usually three types of people: those who love to be active, those who love to relax, and those who like a mix of both. For my boyfriend and I, we learned that we both like a mix of relaxing and activity. We loved doing activities like playing beach volleyball or jumping off a boat into the ocean, but having quality time together to cuddle and look at stars on the beach at night was just as incredible.
During your trip, you’ll find out which type of person your significant other is (you probably know which you are already). If you don’t match up with your partner, don’t worry—part of a successful relationship depends on the way in which you can compromise. If you want to lounge on the beach, but your hunny wants to go jet-skiing at 8am, find a way to plan your day to accommodate both of you. Maybe getting up early to jet-ski then grabbing a nice breakfast afterwards is a way to start your day. After you eat, you can then have time to lounge in the sun while you plan out the rest of your morning/afternoon.
On your first trip you’ll learn a lot about your partner’s eating habits. How much they eat, how often they eat, what they eat, how they like their meat cooked, what they like/dislike what types of drink they like with dinner, and how they take their coffee are all things you’ll pick up quickly on about your partner. One of the biggest parts of the eating habits I think most couples learn on trips is whether or not their partner likes to share. Some girls (and guys) like their food to be completely their own, while others like to share with one another.
My boyfriend and I have very complimentary eating habits. Neither of us are really morning eaters—we prefer to have coffee right away and just eat a little bit later—and we tend to eat around the same times throughout the day. I hardly finish whatever I order, so he usually knows that I’ll have food left over if he wants some.
You may think you know your partner’s sleeping habits from staying with them a few nights a week, but until you sleep with them for at least 3-4 days in a row, you won’t really get a sense of their true sleeping habits.
Do they snore? Are either of you cover hogs? Do they move around a lot when they sleep? Does it take long for them to fall asleep? Are they a heavy or light sleeper? Do they need the room to be totally dark or can you sleep with the blinds open?
All of those questions (and more) will be answered after spending continuous nights together.
During your trip, you’ll find out if they like to sleep in, stay up late, wake up early, take naps, etc. You’ll also find out if their sleeping habits align with yours. For instance, my boyfriend sometimes stays up late often to work on things, while I tend to get very tired. So for us, he’ll lay with me until I fall asleep, then go work on whatever he needs to; on days he has off, he’ll sleep in a little and sometimes I’ll wake up, but still lay in bed with him and catch up on my emails on my phone. Most of the time our sleeping habits are the same, but even when they don’t, they still compliment each other perfectly.
Overall, the most critical thing you’ll learn on your first trip together is if you get along. You’ll be with each other 24/7 and taking a trip together will prove whether or not you can get along with one another constantly, or if you can only get along for a little bit at a time. Some people need their own space and some people need to be around others constantly. During the trip you’ll learn if your needs match up and, if they don’t, how to work through it.
Don’t let your friends or family scare you about your first trip together. As much of a big deal as the first trip together is, just remember that it is still a vacation and you’re supposed to have fun. If you learn things about each other that you don’t exactly like, use the time after the trip to decide if how good of a time you had with them is enough to work through those things.
Our trip made us stronger and closer as a couple. We loved getting to know each other more—the only hard part was when we came home and weren’t able to spend every single day together.
Just live in the moment and enjoy your time together. A couples trip is a great way to go on an adventure with someone you love spending time with and learn more about them at the same time!
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