Traveling For Dummies: A Guide To Recognizing Your Partner

Remember when a vacation was collecting shells with your grandpa on the beach and going for ice cream with your cousins at sunset? Remember when vacation joy consisted of you diving for the pennies in the motel pool and climaxed with defeating your sibling in underwater breath holding. Like anything and everything, things change.

Yes, you're a big boy or girl, living on your own, making your own money and organizing your own fun. And this of course means planning your own vacations. As I remember a friend of mine Alex Wise of Loveawake telling me one aimless summer "Total freedom isn't everything it's cracked up to be - it can be very stressful." Add the extra ingredient of planning a vacation that accommodates both you and your partner's wishes and you often have a recipe for a buffet of turmoil.

I've seen plenty a good couple lose their minds and a percentage of faith in humanity over a two week vacation. The reason being simple: all human beings are wound differently and thus all unwind differently.

Some humans use their two weeks to offer a helping hand. These sweet Mother and Father Teresas head straight to the "third world" to pitch in, dig in and dole out their time for the good of a community in need. Now, one can't intellectually argue that that's a waste of time, but when annual vacation time is limited how do you tell your mate you'd rather be blind drunk at a Sandals Resort than helping make sandals for the blind in Chalatenango, El Salvador. It can get touchy.

The issues can be endless: flying vs driving. Ferries, buses, or car rentals? Hotels vs Motels. 5 nights or 6? Athens, Greece or Athens, Georgia? Mountains vs oceans. Skis vs bikinis. Cities vs towns. Historic Sights vs camp sites.

If you're lucky, or unlucky, the choices are endless. The key is to learn how to reserve judgment when reserving your airline tickets. It's in respecting choices and allowing shared and unshared needs to be met. Unless your vacation involves you going to one of those Scandinavian strong man competitions there should be very limited tug-of-war battles going on. Communicate your needs and play fair. You can't have seafood every night if your man is allergic to shellfish and lobster bibs. You can't spend five days tanning if your girl is albino. You can't spend a week in Paris if your partner is dying to practice their Spanish.

Vacations are meant to be relaxing and rejuvenating. A chance to swim in tandem, not to drown alone. So enjoy the plunge, and be mindful that while we don't always seek the same penny at the bottom of the pool, your partner's coins are just as valuable as yours.

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