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Don’t overplan. Walk faster. Carry her bags.
But also: Relax!
Just a few words of advice from 15 real, live, sex-having women — all seasoned travelers — who we recently queried about vacationing with their partners.
We asked: What annoys you most about your partner when you travel? And what can he do to make things easier?
Not everyone agreed on the specifics, but one thing is clear: be sure to schedule some time behind that “Do Not Disturb” sign.
Danielle Faust, travel and lifestyle influencer, life and wellness coach
“One thing I'd love my husband do is actually read the info and itinerary I send him before each trip so he doesn't ask me the same questions over and over that have already been addressed in the email. There are only so many times I can answer questions about which airport, which airline, what hotel, how many nights, is there a Starbucks in the hotel, what cruise line, what kind of cabin, etc. before I snap and take the trip solo! (We've been together 17 years. I know he's not going to change, so I am just glad he holds all my bags for me so I can travel unencumbered.)”
Taylor, 24, content marketing specialist
“My boyfriend and I have been dating for over a year and we’ve gone on both big and small trips — everything from a quick drive to a nice Airbnb to an eight-hour drive to New Orleans. I’m the kind of person who loves to research the best bars, restaurants, sites, museums, book shops, etc. I want to be able to take in as much as possible! My boyfriend is the complete opposite and is rather lackadaisical about the whole thing. Not to say he isn’t excited to visit, but c’mon, buddy, quicken your steps a bit. It drives me crazy that he would rather just happen upon something cool than guarantee it. We don’t have to follow a minute-by-minute schedule, but a day’s plan would definitely ease my anxiety around potentially missing an important historical landmark.”
“I don’t like when he gets upset/acts type-A about things we can't control. If there's a flight delay that results in us sitting on the tarmac for two hours, no amount of frustration will make it easier for anyone and it will be a lot more fun if we just play hangman on the back of a newspaper instead of angrily swiping through Twitter alone. And to make things easier? Carry all of my shit all the time always.”
Sheena Jeffers, professional wellness coach
“I live with my boyfriend on a sailboat traveling the world. [But] he doesn’t plan! He just goes with the flow. He genuinely believes the world will take care of you if you are open to it. He will hitchhike and wait for opportunities to appear. Unbelievably, memories have been made for us this way and we’ve made incredible new friends. But for me, the type-A planner of the relationship, it’s hard for me to trust that everything will just work out. But it does!”
Bonnie Winston, 54, celebrity matchmaker and relationship expert
“Drinking to excess on the plane is a no-no. Getting tipsy just because there’s free booze in first class, or ordering too many of those little bottles and getting drunk then stumbling off the plane is not a good idea. Additionally, complaining about flight delays, causing a scene, yelling and rude behavior is just not called for. Also, do not pack your entire wardrobe. One pair of trendy Allbirds shoes can be enough for walking, the gym, etc. Also, it’s a really good idea to discuss the travel itinerary before you leave. Perhaps one person loves museums and likes to stay indoors, and the other person can’t wait to walk outside ALL day. Talking it over beforehand is so helpful.”
Chrissy, 28, finance associate
“My partner is terrible at relaxing when we are on vacation. On our last trip, I asked him to make a few dinner reservations, and when I came back to see what he had picked, he had our trip planned out hour by hour with activities, when really all I wanted to do is chill at the beach. The worst feeling is getting home from your vacation and feeling like you need another vacation because you tried to pack in too many things. It's impossible to do and see everything when traveling to a new place. It would be much easier if my partner could prioritize the things he actually cares about doing and try to move past the FOMO for the things that we don't have time to do. Then I'd feel a lot less guilty about wanting to spend a few hours doing nothing.”
Vanessa Valiente, 36, personal stylist, creator of the style/travel blog V-Style
“The one thing my partner does that annoys me when we travel is not relax. I would love to just take it easy, see where the day takes us and drink wine. He needs everything to be planned and doesn't drink nearly enough. As for making travel easier, he really couldn't do more. He is incredibly accommodating and plans everything perfectly, but perhaps that is the problem. If he could relinquish his control and I took on more of the responsibility, he would relax more. It would also help if he loved Prosecco as much as I do. A girl can dream.”
Megan, 24, writer, healthcare claims specialist
“My spouse refuses to get TSA Precheck. I have Precheck because I travel so much for work. He loves to race me, make a scene if he beats me and make fun of me for the luxurious perk of Precheck. I think he’s jealous. It’s time he bites the bullet and pays the $80. It’s worth it.”
Cecille, 29, advertising
“I like traveling with my partner. He doesn't overplan and makes me do things I'd normally sleep through. He does stress about flying, which is mildly annoying. If I'm going to be sitting in one seat for the next 5+ hours, I don't want to get into it an hour before takeoff. We don't travel to very remote places when we're abroad, so it would make traveling easier if he would just acknowledge that we will absolutely be able to find a wifi connection when we land.”
Chantelle Kern, co-founder/travel designer for The Italian on Tour.
“My significant other is Italian and prefers to stroll rather than walk. This can be extremely annoying as I like to walk faster and see as much of the cities I am visiting by foot. He also doesn't enjoy shopping, one of my favourite vacation pastimes. To combat getting on each other’s nerves, we set up a meeting point and time so that we can enjoy the city on our own and meet up for lunch or dinner. This way we both get to explore at our own pace and prevent a dreaded vacation fight.”
Anita Ngai, chief revenue officer at the travel platform Klook
“The most annoying thing is when my partner wants to (over)plan when we travel. I prefer to leave enough time that is unplanned during a trip, i.e., leave time for serendipity. A vacation can become more stressful than work when I have to go on a tight schedule for sightseeing, exploring or eating.”
Otto, 37, professional race car driver
“My dude tries to do too much and doesn't allow for chill time — or time to just explore and let the universe happen. I spend 70 hours a week regimented. I don't want to be on-the-move or on time or bend to other's plans on my leisure time. Also, he doesn't f*ck me enough on the road and ruining a hotel room is the best sex in the world.”
Lauren Juliff, 30, travel blogger at Never Ending Footsteps
“My boyfriend and I are both budget travelers, but sometimes he takes it to the extreme. Whenever we arrive in a new destination, he refuses to pay the extortionate fee for a taxi. Instead, he insists we opt for a convoluted itinerary using various methods of public transport. Sure, we usually end up saving around $20 by doing this, but the route always seems to include half an hour of walking up hills in the heat of the day, lost and with our heavy backpacks on. I’m all about saving money when I travel, but there’s something about long and exhausting travel days that has me longing to throw my money at the nearest taxi driver.”
Tess, 32, account manager
“Dressing like a tourist. I can't stand it. He won't leave the house (or I guess hotel room) without a baseball cap on and was basically born in jeans and Nike sneakers. Throw in a guidebook to complete the look and he might as well be wearing an American flag. A little bit of effort to blend in would go a long way.”
Justine Camacho, content manager at Talk Travel
“I've always been a sleepyhead. I like going to bed early-ish and I have trouble waking up really early. Also, I don't like rushing. There's no cure, and this trait has followed me my entire life. The most annoying thing my partner does when we're traveling is waking me up early. I understand the reasoning behind that: when you're traveling you have to make the most of your time since it's mostly limited. But I can't help it. First of all, I'd rather have a good sleep and miss one attraction than feeling grumpy and tired all day.”