My husband and I just returned from a blissful week-long, kid-free, tropical vacation celebrating our ten year wedding anniversary. We traveled with two other couples and as the six of us were rehashing the trip on our final night we realized we had the best time together, had checked off some bucket list items, and had each only gotten in one fight with our significant other. As married couples and parents with seven kids between us, that last trip highlight felt like quite the feat.
Research has found that couple friendships are an important part of marriage wellbeing. But how do you know whether you are ready to take your couple friendship to the next level and travel together? Here are a few signs your couples trip will be a success.
- You’ve taken a test run. A night away. A double-date. Make sure you’ve enjoyed some activity when it’s been just you and the other couple(s), sans kiddos. This helps ensure that you actually have things in common and genuinely have fun together.
- You have similar budgets and expectations for the trip. Be honest and upfront about how much you want to spend on the trip and the types of activities you enjoy. Aligning “must-dos” when you’re planning is so much better than opting out of meals or excursions when you’re already there.
- Your spouse likes the other spouse(s). Naturally, some activities end up being “guy activities” and some end up being “girl activities”. Even if it’s just doing a grocery run, you want to know that if you ditch your significant other for a bit, they’ll manage just fine with the other spouses.
- You’ve already seen each other fight. And make up. That last part is key. Couples fight, we all know this, but tension can quickly turn any day sour for the group. You want to know each other can resolve an issue without making everyone else miserable.
- You have opportunities to do your own thing. If you want to. We ended up doing almost everything together as a group this trip. Six is a manageable number for activities. But each of us did sneak in a walk (and one pair even a romp!) on the beach for some one-on-one time to reconnect.
- You aren’t sharing a room. My parents have been married 40+ years and always said vacations away from your kids should be investments in your marriage. Sharing a room can be tempting from a budget-standpoint, but let’s be real. You want to be able to go to the bathroom, take a nap, or walk around naked in privacy without putting another couple out.
- You feel comfortable around them. Gut-check your feelings on this one. Scenarios like getting a little too drunk or having sex a little too loud can happen when you are unencumbered by the daily duties of parenthood. So you want to travel with people who won’t judge you (and likely will joke with you) the next day that if you do something embarrassing.
No one wants to feel uncomfortable when you’re shelling out a lot of money, taking time off work, and having someone else watch your kids to take a vacation. Having the right couple friends to travel with can make a trip even better.
We’re already planning our next one!
Read more about my couples trip to St. Bart's on the travel-inspired blog MackinawRoad.com.