When you decide to plan a trip and want to combine a getaway with visiting relatives, it is important to have a itinerary. However, before you sit down to do that, a discussion about boundaries and purpose should take precedence.
For us, there are usually multiple purposes when traveling to Joseph’s native country, Tanzania (which is the only time we combine our vacations) : to visit fam, explore and spend quality time with each other.
Sounds great, right? I know, but in all honesty, this can be very difficult and from our own experience we have done a lot of trial and error to figure out what works for us. We know the challenge with traveling abroad, trying to spend time with relatives, while not neglecting one another. Despite all of this, it is still possible to make this work (with a lot of effort, patience and understanding).
Below are some tips that we have tried and have worked well:
1. Start and end the vacation alone. Connection is everything. That’s my whole purpose of vacationing with my husband. But, when you know you will be around multiple people this is so key. Set the right tone by starting the trip together and end it together to reinforce unity.
2. Maintain some consistency. If you usually cuddle at night, pray/worship together, go to bed at the same time or eat breakfast together…do that. I know the purpose of vacation is to switch up the routine, but when you are in a place that is different all around you, you will appreciate something familiar (even if its just that one kiss before bed). Be intentional…don’t get lazy.
3. Never stop communicating… (actually communicate more than usual). The worse thing is to not know what your spouse is thinking due to being caught up in the plans of the day or entertaining relatives. Share what’s on your mind, thoughts, feelings, dreams, what you want to do… and any proposed changes to the plans. Communicate about trip expenditures daily, talk about who will be the money tracker, and share what is happening with the other family members on the trip (translate as much as possible, if there is a language barrier).
4. Create space. Having your own room is def a must, but on top of that taking a break from being around people is important. Maybe a walk, eating together or doing a separate activity that brings both of you joy. Relatives may try to invite themselves, but don’t give in because this time is designated for the both of you.
Ok, that’s all for now. I hope this was helpful…don’t forget to share with your spouse before your next trip! Thank me later.