“Oh, my god, we should go to Europe!” or something similar is usually exclaimed when a couple is just starting out. Trips in general are sort of romantic, even if you’re not going to a place as overrated as Europe. (There are other places on this earth than the European continent, and a trip to central/south America for spring break doesn’t count.) A trip with a significant other is even more romantic — on paper. There are certain moments that will really put the pressure on and have you thinking, “Your face is actually fucking annoying now that I think about it.”
1. Packing. Everyone has a different method for packing, and, depending on the duration and destination, we all have the, “Should we check a bag?” conversation. Most of the time it’s a resounding, “God, no, if we can avoid it.” But some people like to bring half their closet for a one week stay. This doesn’t exclusively apply to some women either. Some men are like this, either out of ignorance or some metro fashion sense. The two of you packing together will start off soooo fun, but could, depending on how compatible the two of you are, end with one of you yelling, “FINE, WHY DON’T WE BRING THE DRYER WHILE WE’RE AT IT?!”
2. Getting to the airport. Especially in a city like LA, where you’re likely departing from LAX, there’s always that momentary tiff of when to leave, and how early to arrive. This, in a practical way, depends on your airline, time of flight, day of the week, time of year, and if you’re checking a bag. Sometimes you can get their 20 minutes before boarding with no problems, other times, you might need an hour and a half. In LA, though, part of that conversation is, “When should we leave?” which has a lot to do with how you’re getting there. The best thing about this part of the trip is that the actual commute usually ends up being way more of a breeze than expected. It’s the arguing every step of the way that wipes you out.
3. The flight. Sitting on a flight can be hell. It all depends on seating and with whom. If you’re in a weak relationship, the Window Seat Disagreement or the Armrest Arm Wrestle Extravaganza can come to.. well, not blows. Just a whole hell of a lot of passive aggression.
4. Getting to the hotel. After a flight spanning an unspecified number of hours, you arrive at your illustrious destination. The view from the window on the plane gave you butterflies, but now it’s time to wait for your luggage (sucker), figure out the cab/bus situation and exactly where the hell your hotel/hostel/friend’s place is. By this point one of you will be hungry. It’s science or something. Which means the rush for transport, food, and general comfort will become a matter of anxious urgency. “No, that’s the wrong way.” “Google Maps says there’s mad traffic, I’m trying to avoid it.” “What are you, the human Waze? Stick to the directions.” “Can we stop and eat, at least?” “Are you a child? We’re going to dinner as soon as we get to where we’re staying.” Ah, vacation.
5. Seeing the sights. One of you loves the museum and sightseeing while the other might not. There’s nothing wrong with that but if you only have a week in a given city, it might get a little tense. A balance between relaxation and on foot sightseeing has to be reached as agreeably as possible. Otherwise, it’ll end up being most of the dialogue from In Bruges.
6. Budgeting. Is $20 an acceptable amount to spend on dinner? Some folks have a plan for this prior but some brave and silly duos just wing it. The last thing you want is a tiff over money to end with you guys going broke a day or two before departure. Embarrassing.
7. Sleeping. No matter where you are, it’s going to be the same struggle for blankets and bed room as ever. The colder climate doesn’t make it much more enjoyable either, does it?
8. The natives. How people interact across cultures is very telling. So, it can, of course, be very annoying. Are you with someone who’s far too flirty? Are they rude about local customs? Do they make no attempt to actually learn or assimilate into the place? Are they.. by any chance.. a piece of shit?
9. Returning home. This is the part where you reflect (consciously or subconsciously) on your time abroad together. Were they aggravatingly ignorant or were they charmingly unaware? Can you stomach doing it with them again? Oh, let’s not even think about the day they had food poisoning after dinner. You’ll look at your partner in all of their glamorous travel attire and think, “Is this for me?”