By Kelly Grigg

You’re doing it! You’re taking the plunge and going to Europe with bae! Romantic gondola rides in Venice and wine-filled meals at quaint cafes await you! Grab your tickets and hop on that plane to your ecstasy-filled journey that will be as memorable as your first kiss. 

But wait. It’s not that easy. Stress, fights, discomfort and—yikes!—even breakups can ensue when you travel unprepared. You don’t have to go overboard, but some simple steps can ensure you and your boo have a wonderful time abroad. Here’s what to consider while planning your first or even your 15th holiday together.

What Kind Of Trip Do You Both Desire?

First thing’s first—where should you go? Europe is a large continent with a vast melange of destinations, all offering unique experiences. An excellent pointer is to write down your top 10 European destinations separately and read them aloud. Then, if you have crossover, choose from that list.

Next, you must decide a vital aspect of the trip—will it be an “every day is planned” ordeal, or will it be a “wing it” sort of adventure? Of course, you and your partners’ personalities will lend a lot to this decision. 

Suppose you both want the holiday to be well-planned, chock-full of activities, pre-ordained restaurants and sites. Then, you may want to consider a guided European tour. Many great options are affordable and take the stress out of most of the planning before and during the trip.

I prefer a more DIY-type of vacation, so I like to choose my destination and be spontaneous. My standard m.o. is to read about the country beforehand and split the time between the big city and the smaller towns equally. I party in the capital upon arrival when I’m excited and rearin’ to go, then delve into more chill time in smaller towns during the latter half. I don’t plan much; instead, I talk to locals and do whatever they recommend for a more authentic experience.

What’s The Financial Situation?

Arguments over money are bound to happen even in the most blissful of coupledoms. Still, the last thing you want is to work it out on your precious holiday. So landing on a comprehensive budget beforehand will help you choose where to go, and agreeing on a daily budget can ease the pain while travelling. 

Suppose one of you earns more than the other and has higher accommodation expectations but won’t budge. Compromise! The higher earner can choose to pay the difference between a hotel and a hostel. These financial kinks should be clarified beforehand so everyone sleeps soundly.

Divide And Conquer Planning Duties

We all have our strengths, and we’re all busy. When planning a Euro trip, I recommend task division for ease and a “we’re doing this together!” bonding opportunity.

If you’re a cheap-flight-finding guru, take that task while boo makes the packing lists and secures travel insurance. Stress is reduced if you both are involved, and resentment is kept at bay.

Keeping a travel journal is a fantastic idea and is good to maintain before, during and after the trip. All of your details are in one place, and any memories, restaurants you loved, or people you met can be jotted down.

Communicate, Be Honest And Be Open-Minded

It’s no shock that communication is the key to any solid relationship, and travelling demands it even more. Speak to your bae honestly about what you want and need; it helps avoid surprises during travel. 

Being open-minded about travel, however, is also paramount. If your partner suggests a destination or activity that sounds appalling to you, take a moment to set aside your preconceived notions and consider it. If my partner hadn’t proposed it, I might have never visited Albania, where I’ve lived for 4 years (you must check out Albania!). 

If this is your first vacay together, it’s an excellent idea to do a trial weekend getaway first to see how you get on. You may live together or stay overnight often, but nothing compares to spending 24/7 together while travelling (and encountering the many stressful situations that WILL occur). 

On your vacation, plan to spend time apart and be honest with each other about what that means. It’s natural to need alone time, and couples often forget about this when they travel. Do you want time to shop or read while your bae goes to museums or works out? Preparing for this time apart will keep you both sane, allow time to miss each other and give you loads to chat over whence reunited.

A trip to Europe with bae can be the most rewarding, romantic and fulfilling tale of your relationship. However, it can also strain the love! So, I implore you, fellow adventurers—communicate your wishes before you go, plan accordingly, and enjoy the journey AND the destination. You’ll relish those travel pics for a lifetime!