Vacation Fantasies for Couples

14th July, 2013 - Posted by Myrna - No Comments

Have you ever started your vacation filled with hope for some totally relaxing, do nothing downtime?  Or had hopes of a great travel adventure?  Only to end up deeply disappointed or in a fight with your spouse (or travel partner) over unmet expectations or unfilled fantasies?  If not, you probably don’t take many vacations!

I would like to share some hard-earned wisdom for fulfilling vacation fantasies.

1.  Be clear with yourself about your hopes, dreams and expectations for the vacation.  Do you want to sit by a pool all day and have someone bring you food and drink while you barely stir?  Do you want to go dancing every night?  Do you want to hike in a remote area?  Do you want to explore a new city?  What do you need to happen on this vacation to be able to come home and feel that you actually had a vacation?  You will not be able to talk about this with your traveling partner until your ideas are clear to you.

2.  Share your thoughts (from #1 above) with your traveling partner.

3.  Elicit the same hopes, dreams, and expectations from your traveling partner.  Do not proceed until you know clearly what he or she would like to make it a fulfilled vacation.  If you cannot communicate at this point, you are setting up the perfect storm for conflict over what was not made explicit prior to the vacation.

4.  Discuss budget with your companion.  You may have an expectation of eating in fine restaurants and splurging while your companion may be uncomfortable with such splurges or may be unable to match your budget.

5.  Expect the unexpected. Your flight may be delayed, your hotel room not ready, your campsite reservation lost, your luggage lost, the Grand Canyon is closed for the day (just kidding), or one of a thousand other glitches.  No matter how well you plan, things go wrong.  Your attitude at this point can ruin the vacation or you can make lemonade out of a lemon.

6.  Be realistic about having all of your fantasies come true. Your hotel room may not live up to the photos you saw on the website, the pool may be closed for resurfacing, your neighbors at the next campsite may fight all night or their baby cries all night, your flight may be cancelled or delayed, your luggage may be lost, the museum may be closed on the only day you are in Florence, or your forgot to pack your swimsuit.  Once you lower your expectations to something closer to reality, there is less chance that you will fall apart when these situations occur.

7.  Remember that disappointments listed in #5 and #6 are first-world problems.  Two-thirds of the people in the world don’t even have a concept of a vacation.  They are trying to figure out how to get food for the next meal for their families.  Thank God that you are so blessed that you have a job or finances that provides such a luxury.

8.  Sometimes the best memories of a vacation – the ones that provide great stories or big laughs – are from things gone wrong and how you coped.

9.  After back from vacation, take time to debrief with your traveling companion, what went well, what was most fun or refreshing or fulfilling, and what you learned about vacations and what you would do differently next time.  Be sure to celebrate all that went well.

Bon voyage!

Myrna L. Klassen, MFT

Posted on: July 14, 2013

Filed under: Benefits of Therapy

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