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Do you find that every time you take a family vacation, you and your spouse end up in an argument or five? Would you like to be able to travel without fighting? Here are 6 simple ways to banish the travel battle with your spouse so you can all have more fun on your next trip!
When I was a kid, my parents got into an argument every time we took a vacation. It always sucked the fun out of the trip for everyone. After I grew up, I realized why they always argued when we took a trip: travel can be stressful and exhausting. This is especially true when you have kids in tow.
But, it doesn’t have to be this way. While adult meltdowns can be the hardest ones to fix or prevent, it is possible to take a family vacation without stress and conflict. I use these tips to avoid or minimize the arguments my husband and I have when we travel.
#1: Avoid Known Causes of Crankiness
The first way you can banish the travel battles with your spouse is to avoid known causes of crankiness. Chances are, you already know what things are going to stress out your spouse during your trips. The key is to plan your trip in such a way that you avoid as many of these as possible.
For instance, if you know that your husband is going to get irritable if he has to drive in heavy traffic on a road trip, plan your route and departure time to avoid rush hour. If you happen to hit a particular city during rush hour, suggest stopping for dinner to let the traffic clear up.
My husband is pretty easy going, but he is much happier when he can stay up-to-date on his favorite sports. So, I make sure that wherever we go, he has access to either ESPN, the internet, or a newspaper every day or two.
Know what your battles are going to be before they happen, and you will be in a much better position to avoid them before they start.
#2: Be prepared
You can’t win the battle if you don’t have the necessary tools. So, in order to have happier travel with your spouse, be prepared to solve problems when they pop up.
Pack snacks, electronics, and anything else that will help you prevent a meltdown in its tracks regardless of where you are.
Do you get upset when your children make a mess in the car? Then pack paper towels, trash bags, and wet wipes so that messes can be quickly cleaned up. If your family tends to argue over the type of music being played in the car, pack headphones for everyone.
If you and your spouse tend to argue over the temperature inside the car, pack a blanket for the person who is usually chilly.
#3: Never underestimate the power of snacks!
Food works wonders to eliminate the crankiness that comes with traveling. This goes for adults and kids. Sometimes, all you need to keep a trip on the right track is to hand your loved one a snack on the go.
Another advantage of packing food for the trip is that it can save you in the event that you are unexpectedly delayed for some reason.
For some ideas on the best snacks to pack for your family, check out my list of the best road trip snacks for kids.
#4: Give your spouse a warning
My next tip to have stress free travel with your spouse is to give them a warning. This is not the type of warning you give your kids. Instead, this is more of a heads up type warning.
If you know that you are likely to encounter a particular situation that is going to irritate your spouse, talk to him about it in advance when he is in a good mood. This usually works best when you address it prior to leaving for your trip.
I find that many times, just knowing that you are going to encounter a specific issue makes it easier to deal with when it happens because you can prepare yourself mentally for it.
#5: Compromise, Compromise, Compromise
Another trick to try is compromise. If you want to spend the day going to museums, but your husband only wants to go to a football game, don’t fight with him. Instead, propose going to the game today if he will agree to go to the museums tomorrow.
By compromising and letting him “win” today, he will be more likely to cooperate with you tomorrow.
For more tips on compromising with your spouse, check out this Marriage.com article.
#6: Split up
Finally, if nothing else works, divide up and do your own thing, and then meet back up later in the day. Sometimes, just having a break from each other can help put you both in better moods. It can also allow you to each enjoy doing something you want to do for a little while.
This also works well if you have multiple kids that can’t agree on what to do. Each parent can take a child and go do different activities for a little while.
A few years ago, my friend and her husband had an 8-hour layover in Santiago, Chile while traveling in South America. She wanted to go explore the city, but her husband freaked out about leaving the airport. He wanted to just sit at the gate for the entire layover.
This would have been a perfect situation for them to split up. She could avoid his meltdown by leaving him at the airport while she went and explored the city on her own. Both would have been happier.
Traveling with your significant other can be stressful and exhausting. If you’re not careful, the stress can easily get the best of you both and ruin your entire vacation. But, it is possible to travel without all the battles.
Know the signs and be prepared. Give your spouse a heads up warning when necessary. And then either compromise or divide and conquer.
I know that these tips for stress free travel with your spouse will help your whole family have happier vacations.
For more tips on improving vacations, see how to avoid child meltdowns while traveling, how to have amazing vacations on any budget, stress free holiday travel with kids, how to reduce anxiety when flying, how to plan an epic family vacation, and what to do when things go wrong on your trip.
P.S. Need help finding the best places to go on your family vacations? My Ultimate USA Bucket List for Families will instantly give you 60 of the best vacation destinations for families in the United States! Get it for FREE in the box below and start planning your next trip today! Plus, as a bonus, you will receive my weekly email newsletter full of family trip tips and inspiration!