Planning a trip with your spouse is a great way to schedule some much-needed time together, but it can also produce some stressors as well. Throw in unpredictability, foreign languages, strange food and 24-hours a day with your spouse and you may feel the need to vacation after your vacation.
These etiquette tips for traveling together will help ensure that your "two tickets to paradise" don't lead to a road trip on the highway to hell.
1. Agree on a budget ahead of time. If one of you is dreaming of a three-week cruise and your bank account is more in line with a weekend stay at a local bed and breakfast, get on the same page before you book anything. Do the math, agree on the amount you have to spend and stick with a budget.
2. Make decisions together. In many relationships, one person makes the plans and the other goes along with them. Fight this routine and make sure you both weigh in on the decisions. The trip will prove to be more fun if you are both making plans together.
3. Pack sensibly. Wives, prepare for marital discord if you bring seven suitcases for your three-day couple's getaway and then expect your husband to lug them to the rental car while you search for the nearest T-shirt kiosk.
4. Compromise. This is the golden rule of traveling with your spouse. You pick the restaurant and he picks the museum. You pick the theatre and he picks the running trail. A couple's vacation is not for either one of you, it's for both of you.
5. Factor in some alone time. Your spouse may want to go cliff-diving while you would prefer to stay in the hotel and catch up on a good book? Yes, you need to do some things together, but give each other time to pursue different interests. There is no harm in alone time as long as it is discussed and agreed up before one of you wanders off for the afternoon while the other spends the latter part of the day trying to figure out where you disappeared.
6. Expect the unexpected. Travel doesn't always go as planned. Remember to pack your sense of humor and to stay calm even as you linger in an unmoving security line at the airport. Practice taking deep, calming breaths. Download a favorite movie on your iPad and share the earbuds (or get a splitter so you can both listen with your own pair).
7. Deal with it. You will most likely differ in interests or simply disagree at some point. No pouting, whining, needling or manipulating allowed. Remember, you are there to relax and reconnect with each other.
8. Pack a snack. There's nothing worse than feeling famished with hours of travel ahead of you. Pack your spouse’s favorite healthy snacks—nuts, dried fruit, granola bars, pretzels—as a quick pick-me-up.
9. Don’t over schedule. Snowboarding! Dancing! Swimming with the dolphins! Chances are your vacation destination has plenty of activities in store for you. Enjoy them, but don't over schedule yourself. You are much more likely to get irritable when you're exhausted. Maybe the occasional afternoon nap is just what both of you need.
10. Unpack together. At the end of your trip your first instinct may be to jump in the shower and go to bed. Be a great travel companion by helping your spouse unpack the suitcases. Even if they are not your own, both of you are tired and ready to relax and unwind, but the nagging feeling of unpacking will likely be there until everything is put safely away. Do it together as a perfect ending to a great trip.
Diane Gottsman, a nationally recognized etiquette expert, is the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in etiquette training for corporations, universities and individuals, striving to polish their interpersonal skills. You can reach Diane at 877-490-1077 or www.dianegottsman.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @: www.twitter.com/DianeGottsman.