It’s not all hearts and roses on the road with your partner.
I’ve been writing about romance on the road all week for Travel Pulse– what cruises to take, what islands to visit, etc. I love Valentine’s Day, so it was fun getting to write those stories, even if the travel media does overkill the subject a little. Okay, a LOT. It’s just so easy to connect travel and love and romance. In a fairytale world, anyway. Gary and I have been traveling together for 39 years. Even our wedding was on the road. I can tell you that not all trips are romantic– not even the ones that you think should be. I put together a list of things to consider as you wade through the Valentine’s Day travel hype. Enjoy!
Romance on the road requires more than a sexy nightie.
- Figure out which one of you is the navigator and stick with it. If you both are dead set on reading maps and planning the route, it may end in disaster. We decided a long time ago that I would be the plotter. That does not mean that I don’t get us lost and have to ask him to assist, but it does make it easier for him to concentrate on traffic while driving or hazards while walking.
- Plan activities that you both enjoy. Save the solo activities for solo trips or trips with buddies that share your love of something. If you are spending the money and time to take a trip together, participating in the same stuff is a sure way to create memories together. We sometimes go in separate directions, like when Gary plays cards on cruise ship casinos, but we keep the biggest blocks of time set aside for play time together.
- Take naps. Traveling together should not wear you both out to the point that you don’t enjoy each other’s company. Save time between all the fun to shut out the world and take a nap.
- Leave the driving to someone else on occasion. After driving thousands of miles together, I can tell you that lengthy road trips are rarely romantic. A night on the town with a limo driver to take you back to the hotel? Now that’s romantic.
- Go without the kids sometimes. No matter the age of your children, and no matter how much you love showing them the world find time to take trips without them on occasion. Rely on grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, or hired help to make it happen. And when I say kids, I’m including the four-legged ones too. Anything that takes your attention away from your partner is a romance killer.
- Travel just for the sake of travel. Don’t wait for a reason to travel. When you are at home, there’s a set of rules and expectations involved in making life with another person work. Leaving home takes you out of that scenario and relaxes the rules, leaving room for the relationship to grow. Travel even if it’s just to go to a nearby state park and sleep in the car– it’s an adventure that you share together; isn’t that the most romantic reason to travel?
- Leave the expectations of romance behind. If you set out on a trip that is supposed to be the most romantic trip of your lives, there will be a disappointment. Set out expecting adventure, laughter, and memories and let the romance fall where it may. My former editor, Jo Piazza, shares some hilarious moments about romantic travel expectations in her book, How to Be Married.
- Talk about the good stuff. We talk about our past and future trips all the time. We romanticize them together until it feels like those trips were/are the best imaginable. It’s better to fondly remember sipping beer with a view of the Parthenon than to talk about the fire onboard your cruise ship in the middle of the night that forced you to stay in Athens an extra night.
- Open your eyes to new adventures. It’s cool to plan a bucket list of trips you’d like to take together someday, but don’t get so caught up in it that you ignore opportunities you never dreamed about. Sometimes it’s the unexpected trip or the surprise stop on the way to another destination that create the best memories.
- Learn to say yes. Romance on the road is almost always a compromise. By learning to say yes to whatever comes your way, you are saying yes to a life of love and romance even in the most unexpected places.
I met Melinda on a press trip in Bryan/College Station. She and husband Gary were both friendly and fun, plus so in love that it was darling.Melody Pittman