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Josh Haroldson: A Married Couple’s Guide to a Stress-Free Vacation

  • March 5, 2018
  • By Sun Country Explorers
  • 0 Comments
Josh Haroldson: A Married Couple’s Guide to a Stress-Free Vacation

A fun story my wife and I used to tell at parties is that although we’d been to Europe together, we’d never flown on a plane at the same time (she was studying abroad in Wales and I came to visit her). Now, it’s not that we don’t like traveling together, it’s just that between getting married, busy jobs, creative projects, etc., we mostly stuck to exploring the beautiful Midwest by car during our first 11 years of bliss.

Even though we stuck close to home, we still learned a lot of great lessons about how to have a stress-free vacation for two. After a big move from Madison, WI back home to Minnesota, new jobs, buying the house my wife, Stasia, grew up in and a few months of making it our own, we decided it was finally time for us take to the air together for a little R&R and our first beach vacation to Cabo San Lucas.

So, read on to see five of the rules we follow on every vacation to make sure we have an enjoyable and stress-free experience!

Rule #1 – Don’t be afraid of alone time

Taking time to yourself probably seems like a funny piece of advice to lead off a guide to successfully traveling together as a couple, but hear me out.

You see, when traveling as a couple it’s easy to feel like you need to spend every waking minute together. And while that’s a totally plausible goal (and on travel days a necessity), that often means someone needs to make compromises and missing out on something they’d love to do. And when somebody feels like they’re always compromising, it can be easy to start feeling resentful, which is never a good thing.

So, if you have your eye on a cooking class and they’ve got golf on the brain, go ahead and indulge each other. Or if they’re a photographer like me, they’ll appreciate if you encourage them to go out and take photos alone for a while. Whatever it is, instead of thinking you’re wasting your trip if you’re not constantly attached at the hip, give yourself and your partner permission to do something you both love, separately, and everyone gets to head home with no regrets. Then after you’ve each had your time alone, plan to come back together to enjoy dinner together where you can both share stories of your adventures. Plus, you know what they say…absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Rule #2 – Build in time to relax

The cool thing about a vacation with Sun Country is you have the power to design your trip just about any way you want with excursions and activities. Along with fun activities, we’ve also found vacations are best put together with an appropriate amount of white space.

Scheduling time to relax together is important. That wide-open schedule you had will get crammed full of stuff that sounded fun the first day, but by the fourth day, ends up being an exhausting and a tense race to get to the shuttle bus on-time.

Instead, before you get to your destination, commit to blocking out at least an afternoon (or preferably a whole day) to just sit at the resort, nap, eat tacos, and drink margaritas.

Rule #3 – Go for a walk to reconnect

If you want to feel connected to a place or a person, nothing beats a long walk. And there’s no better time to go for a walk than when you’re on vacation together.

I don’t know what it is about strolling through a new place that creates such a great vehicle for talking. Maybe it’s the fact 45 minutes of silence could be the most awkward thing I could think of at this moment. Or perhaps it’s the small amount of endorphins that are just enough to make you feel okay about opening up to one another.

Whatever the reason, it seems like Stasia and I have some of our best conversations while walking and that’s often when we feel the closest to one another. So, whether you’re just on the beach or walking through town, leave your phones behind, pick a direction, and start moving. You won’t regret it.

Rule #4 – Practice Patience

As fun as the unpredictable nature and adventure of travel is, you’re almost guaranteed to come into contact with situations that will test your ability to be kind to one another. That’s why practicing patience is so important. In those moments, your ability to be patient is what can make or break your trip.

So before your trip, remember to practice:

  • Taking a deep breath before responding
  • Remembering the other person isn’t trying to upset you
  • Being the first to apologize, take responsibility, and be kind

Trust me, as someone to whom patience does not come naturally, start now or procrastinate at your own peril!

Rule #5 – Plan Ahead

I just got done writing about patience but even better than practicing patience is not needing any! And that’s where good planning comes into play.

Because there are two of you on the trip, it is critical that you plan ahead in some key areas to avoid in-trip frustrations:

  • Decide who is in charge of travel documents. It could be one or both of you, but make sure that you each know and agree on who is responsible for this.
  • Make sure you both know key information like flights, hotel confirmations, etc. You never know if you’ll get split up or even if one of your phones runs out of batteries. Take advantage of the fact there’s two of you here.
  • Talk through any special concerns or needs while traveling. Even if you’ve been traveling for years together, talking through this stuff before you leave avoids any surprises. For example, I’m a nervous flyer and like to listen to podcasts to take my mind off of everything. On the flip side, Stasia knows not to bother me when the headphones go in.
  • Go through the first 4 lessons above and plan your trip together!

 

Josh Haroldson, Sun Country Explorer:
@joshharoldson
I received airfare, hotel accommodations, and a stipend from Sun Country Airlines as compensation for the post, and Sun Country Airlines did not influence my opinion of this experience. All views and opinions expressed in the post are my own and no other compensation was provided. 

By Sun Country Explorers, March 5, 2018 In our ongoing mission to connect people and make memories that matter, our Sun Country Explorers program engages travelers and their stories. Local influencers and Instagram gurus are jet-setting with us and bringing home travel tidbits, local finds, and stories they’re excited to share with our community.

Sun Country Explorers

In our ongoing mission to connect people and make memories that matter, our Sun Country Explorers program engages travelers and their stories. Local influencers and Instagram gurus are jet-setting with us and bringing home travel tidbits, local finds, and stories they’re excited to share with our community.

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SUN COUNTRY EXPLORERS
In our ongoing mission to connect people and make memories that matter, our Sun Country Explorers program engages travelers and their stories. Local influencers and Instagram gurus are jet-setting with us and bringing home travel tidbits, local finds, and stories they’re excited to share with our community.
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