How To Go On Vacation Without Breaking Up

It’s not that you don’t find every little thing about your partner endearing and adorable; it’s just that it would have been really, really nice if that map could have been consulted three hours ago. Traveling together is one of the great joys of couplehood, but it can also be a little fraught. Do you know, for example, whether or not your beloved is morally opposed to guidebooks? (You’re about to find out!) Does your partner know that you refuse to leave home without three different pairs of shoes? (Surprise!) Issues that have never popped up in your daily routine can surface on the road, and when you’re jet-lagged / out of your element / every restaurant within six miles is secretly closed on Sundays, it’s easy for minor snags to spiral into major problems.
But, while you may not be able to avoid all forms of turbulence during your trip, you can minimize the emotional kind. Ahead, 10 tips to get you and your partner — as well as your relationship — through vacation intact.
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Leave all driving to the driver. This includes gasps and theatrically bracing yourself for impending death when the driver stops a little short. (And, take comfort: If your death were actually impending, gripping those hooks that are intended for hanging dry-cleaning would not save you.)

Corollary note from this non-driving writer: Your navigator is trying. Navigators may not always be totally clear on “left” vs. “right,” but they are doing the best they can, Google Maps isn’t loading, and repeatedly asking if they're absolutely sure exit 22 is correct isn’t helping.
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Whichever partner wants to get there earlier is correct. You thought 10 a.m. would be fine, but she's insisting on 9:30 a.m.? Congratulations — she wins. Being early is never a crisis; being late is, especially if the occasion you are late for is a transatlantic flight, and the security line is moving at the pace of a slowly melting glacier.
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Bring snacks. Hanger (n., hunger + anger) is a scientifically proven fact. Flights get delayed, and just because the map said you'll be there in time for dinner does not account for that accident that's blocking all of I-80. It's possible that sudden, searing rage you're feeling is genuine; it's also possible you need a banana.
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Do not agree to things you will resent. If, over breakfast, you agree that a distillery tour sounds “like fun!” and your partner says “really?” and you again confirm that yes, you are absolutely game for the distillery tour, then you are contractually obligated to enjoy that damn distillery tour for at least 90 minutes. You have lost your right to complain about the distillery tour.
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Make sure your phone works. If you're paying $1,000 for a plane ticket, pay the 20 goddamn dollars for a SIM card with prepaid data so you can look up where buses go without unfurling a paper map on the street like Tintin or having to do weird, retro things like "agreeing on a meeting place." You’re a child of technology. Know thyself.
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Get enough sleep — by any means necessary. There is no shame in a well-placed nap, even if that means bowing out of the sculpture-garden tour for a personal tour of your hotel bed. Everything starts to break down when you’re tired. Have you ever seen an exhausted toddler? Don’t be that toddler.
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Do your research. You’re raring to go explore when you wake up in the morning, but make sure you have some lunch options in mind for after the museum, too. A little bit of planning will save you a lot of hangry wandering (and also prevent you from downing gelatinous noodles at some overpriced tourist trap while the best curry in the city is only three doors down). “Time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted” — traditional military adage, or something.
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Take a break from each other. Only on vacation do you spend 24 uninterrupted hours per day with your beloved. Interrupt those hours. You don’t even have to physically separate — an hour reading separate books in the same café can work wonders. This is not about your partner; this is about the human condition. Everybody needs alone time.
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Be prepared to abandon the plan. Things will go wrong. The gastropub you read about will be closed on Tuesdays. The gallery is under construction until 2015. It will rain, and then it will rain again. These are not disasters — these are potential opportunities. If the fancy place hadn’t been closed, how else would you have discovered that hole-in-the-wall bar? Enjoy the moment, people!

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