CLOSE
Original image
iStock

5 Tips for Traveling With Someone for the First Time

Original image
iStock

Planning your first trip with a new significant other, friend, or coworker? Traveling with someone for the first time is exciting, especially if it signals a step forward in your relationship. But being together in close quarters or stressful situations can also reveal hidden sides of your companion.

“[Travel] can expose things about each other that you hadn't previously seen, such as hygiene habits, spending differences, tidiness or messiness, sleep issues like snoring, and eating schedules and habits,” says Tina Tessina, PhD, a psychotherapist and author of Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. “Travel often creates stress: when plans go awry, a flight is delayed, luggage gets lost, a hotel room isn't as expected, or the weather doesn't cooperate. All of these experiences will test your ability to solve problems together on the spot.”

Before you jet off, here are a few steps to take to avoid any potential conflict.

1. TALK ABOUT MONEY.

“I recently embarked on an overseas trip with a longtime friend, our first-ever together,” says frequent traveler Kari Cruz. “While we've been friends for five plus years, there are definitely some standard questions you should ask beforehand ... You don't always think to do this when you've gotten to know a person for a long time.”

Specifically, Cruz suggests asking about spending habits. “Are you flexible on where you want to eat and how you want to indulge? This may strain outings if you aren't on similar budgets," she says.

You also want to discuss exactly how each of you will pitch in for expenses like gas, hotels, restaurants, and so on. The answer may seem as simple as “split it down the middle,” but if your friend has some expensive tastes—or, conversely, a tight budget—you might be in for a surprise.

2. PLAN SPECIFIC ACTIVITIES BEFORE YOU GO.

Aside from the money, you may have different ideas about what you want to do and see during the trip. “Don’t make assumptions that your companion will like what you like,” says Tessina. “You may have dreams of lying on a beach, while your companion loves the nightlife. Find out who wants what.”

Start by coming up with a list of activities you each want to fit in and rank them by priority. When you've each written down three to four sites you have to see, schedule them into your itinerary. If there’s extra time, you can squeeze in some low-priority activities from each list.

“Don’t spring surprises on your travel companion,” Tessina adds. “While it might be nice to see someone you know on your travels, or to visit a place you visited with your ex, your companion might see it differently, if not given time to deal with it in advance.”

3. DISCUSS DAILY HABITS.

It helps to understand your travel partner’s day-to-day habits, too. “It could definitely hamper plans and itineraries if you're on different schedules,” Cruz says. You might be a morning person who wants to get a jump on the day, while your travel companion is a night owl who'd prefer to spend her nights clubbing and the mornings sleeping in.

By discussing your habits in advance, you can not only prevent conflicts but also create a realistic itinerary. Don't plan to be at the museum when it opens at 9 a.m. if you know it's a struggle to rise before 10. And if you know you'll get grumpy without an afternoon nap, don't be shy about leaving time for that, too.

4. CREATE TRAVEL GOALS.

“Talk in advance about your hopes, expectations, and fears about the trip," Tessina says. "While you can't anticipate everything, having discussed these issues will help each of you understand the other better.”

Along the same lines, it may help to establish some overall travel goals for the trip. Do you want to learn about a destination’s culture or do you want to come back recharged? Or both? You may have different ideas, but by discussing them before you leave home you can figure out how to best accommodate both your needs.

5. SCHEDULE TIME APART.

If each of you has starkly different budgets or priorities for the trip, you might consider scheduling time apart to do those things on your own. And even if your goals and plans align, taking some time and space for yourself can be crucial for keeping the peace.

"Traveling together is great—but sometimes we need alone time,” Cruz says. She recommends discussing and scheduling this time in advance to make sure your partner is okay with it—and making it clear your need for a break isn't a reaction to something they did. You’ll both get to squeeze in all of your activities, and best of all, you can regroup after and share your experiences.

Original image
Pol Viladoms
arrow
architecture
One of Gaudí's Most Famous Homes Opens to the Public for the First Time
Original image
Pol Viladoms

Visiting buildings designed by iconic Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí is on the to-do list of nearly every tourist passing through Barcelona, Spain, but there's always been one important design that visitors could only view from the outside. Constructed between 1883 and 1885, Casa Vicens was the first major work in Gaudí's influential career, but it has been under private ownership for its entire existence. Now, for the first time, visitors have the chance to see inside the colorful building. The house opened as a museum on November 16, as The Art Newspaper reports.

Gaudí helped spark the Catalan modernism movement with his opulent spaces and structures like Park Güell, Casa Batlló, and La Sagrada Familia. You can see plenty of his architecture around Barcelona, but the eccentric Casa Vicens is regarded as his first masterpiece, famous for its white-and-green tiles and cast-iron gate. Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, Casa Vicens is a treasured part of the city's landscape, yet it has never been open to the public.

Then, in 2014 the private Spanish bank MoraBanc bought the property with the intention of opening it up to visitors. The public is finally welcome to take a look inside following a $5.3 million renovation. To restore the 15 rooms to their 19th-century glory, designers referred to historical archives and testimonies from the descendants of former residents, making sure the house looked as much like Gaudí's original work as possible. As you can see in the photos below, the restored interiors are just as vibrant as the walls outside, with geometric designs and nature motifs incorporated throughout.

In addition to the stunning architecture, museum guests will find furniture designed by Gaudí, audio-visual materials tracing the history of the house and its architect, oil paintings by the 19th-century Catalan artist Francesc Torrescassana i Sallarés, and a rotating exhibition. Casa Vicens is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. General admission costs about $19 (€16).

An empty room in the interior of Casa Vicens

Interior of house with a fountain and arched ceilings

One of the house's blue-and-white tiled bathrooms

[h/t The Art Newspaper]

All images courtesy of Pol Viladoms.

Original image
iStock
arrow
Live Smarter
Hate Waiting at Baggage Claim? Here's How to Make Sure Your Suitcase Arrives First
Original image
iStock

Air travel involves plenty of waiting, from standing in long security lines to preparing for takeoff. And even after you land, your trip is stalled until you locate your luggage on the carousel. Luckily for impatient fliers, there are several ways to game the system and ensure a speedy suitcase delivery once you step off the plane, according to Travel + Leisure.

To score true VIP luggage treatment, ask the representative behind the check-in counter if they can attach a “fragile” sticker to your bag. Suitcases with these kinds of labels are often loaded last and unloaded first. (Plus, they receive the type of kid-glove treatment that ultimately helps them last longer.)

Keep in mind, however, that you’ll need a new tag each time you fly. If it looks old, or was issued by a different airline, the crew might not pay attention to it, according to Condé Nast Traveler. Also, consider upping your suitcase game, as quality, hard-shell bags look like they contain delicate or important items. Their appearance—along with the fragile sticker—will inspire baggage handlers to give them special treatment.

Another trick that can shave a few minutes off your wait time is making sure you're the last person to check in, instead of rushing to be first. If you can't resist getting to the airport early, try asking if you can check it at the gate. This could make your bag one of the last on the plane, and thus one of the first taken out. This method isn't surefire, however, as loading and unloading systems vary among flights.

And if all else fails, Thrillist advises that you try upgrading your flight. Some airlines give priority to bags that belong to elite travelers and business class, meaning they’ll be stored separately from other luggage and come out first. Good luck! No matter what happens, at least you can't have it worse than the lady who had to wait 20 years for her bag to show up.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios