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. Here are some easy tips for stress free travel with your spouse.
Avoid Known Causes of Crankiness
Chances are, you already know many of the things that stress out your spouse. 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 that you stop 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 the current sports news. So, I make sure that wherever we go, he has access to either ESPN, 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 win them.
You can’t win the battle if you don’t have the necessary tools. Pack snacks, electronics, and anything else that will help you to solve a problem and stop a meltdown in its tracks regardless of where you are. If you get upset when your children make a mess in the car, 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 ipods and headphones for everyone.
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 happiness 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.
Give a warning
If you know that you are likely to encounter a particular situation that is going to irritate your spouse, talk to him about that situation 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 for it.
Compromise, Compromise, Compromise
Another trick to try is compromise. If you want to spend the day going to museums, but your husband is throwing a fit because he 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.
Finally, if nothing else works, divide up and do your own thing, and then meet back up later in the day. Last year, 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 divide 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 doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible to travel without all the worry. Know the signs and be prepared. Give a warning when necessary. Compromise or divide and conquer. I know that these tips for stress free travel with your spouse will bring you happier vacations. Happy travels!