Active Stocks
Tue Sep 26 2023 15:58:49
  1. Tata Steel share price
  2. 128.85 1.18%
  1. Tata Motors share price
  2. 619.75 0.19%
  1. HDFC Bank share price
  2. 1,537.65 0.39%
  1. State Bank Of India share price
  2. 594.3 0.03%
  1. ITC share price
  2. 442.4 -0.05%
Business News/ Special-reports / He loves beach vacations. She loves mountains. What do they do?

He loves beach vacations. She loves mountains. What do they do?


One of the biggest strains on relationships is conflicts over travel. But if handled well, these conflicts can end up bringing couples closer together, rather than tearing them apart

Couples have to deal with the difference in their travelling choices. However, a middle path can always help them in dealing with a different travelling taste (AFP)Premium
Couples have to deal with the difference in their travelling choices. However, a middle path can always help them in dealing with a different travelling taste (AFP)

Nicolas and Alina Vandenberghe had been married for nearly a decade before they realized their most fundamental difference: When it comes to traveling, they are polar opposites.

For the first 10 years of their marriage, their vacations were primarily city trips, and they were content to explore the history of Paris or London together. But in 2018, on a visit to Vietnam and Cambodia, Ms. Vandenberghe fell in love with everything the region had to offer—its food, its culture, even its humidity. Her husband had a different reaction.

“I was completely miserable," he says.

Mr. Vandenberghe feels at home near water and despises the heat. Ms. Vandenberghe craves mountain air—the higher, the better—and isn’t bothered by muggy weather. For her, the peaks of Southeast Asia are ecstasy. For him, they’re an affliction.

He also loves French food, with all its butter and heavy cream; she is lactose-intolerant and craves the fresh flavors of Asian cuisine, much of which is dairy-free.

Differences like these are common among couples, and they can make traveling together difficult, sometimes to the point of straining the relationship. But some couples have found ways to work around their differences when they travel together—and in some cases discovered the joy of separate vacations. And those couples who solve the vacation puzzle sometimes find that their arrangements not only don’t stress the relationship, they actually strengthen it.

The Vandenberghes make their travels work with a combination of compromise and solo indulgence. Each year, she travels with him to the beach, battling sunburn and sand in her clothes. In return, he grits his teeth and bears it for a week with her somewhere in the mountains—this year, a weekend in the French Alps. Then, they each head off on their own trip. She’s going to Switzerland next; he’ll do a trip with childhood friends in France, where he grew up.

Not all of their trips need to be negotiated. Bustling urban centers, for example, tick the boxes for both of them.

“We both love big cities," says Mr. Vandenberghe. “We love to visit Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, London."

For Ms. Vandenberghe, who didn’t begin to travel until after she had married Mr. Vandenberghe, it was a surprise when she realized her own travel preferences.

“I didn’t even know that I didn’t like the sea, because everybody posts pictures on Instagram with the beach," she says. “But the more I went, the more I hated being full of sand. And I just don’t have the patience to sit at the beach at all."

Relaxation vs. adventure

For other couples, the difference in travel preferences rears its head earlier. Lori Harito and Robert Levy had been dating for just a year when they took their first international trip together, flying to Belize from their hometown of Toronto.

Within hours of landing, they realized they had very different expectations.

“My style of traveling had always been that you go somewhere to relax, you lie on the beach," says Ms. Harito. “But Rob’s style is to get as much adventure as possible, and as soon as we landed he was like, ‘OK, what are we exploring?’"

The trip overlapped with Mr. Levy’s birthday, and he was eager to go caving. Not wanting to disappoint him, Ms. Harito obliged.

“It terrified me, but I did it for him," she says. “We went through these jungles that have snakes, and I’m terrified of snakes. We get to the end of it and I realized, ‘Oh, my God, we’re totally different travelers.’ "

Mr. Levy, a self-described adrenaline junkie, says he doesn’t often feel fear. The first time he went skydiving, he expected terror, and instead found himself wondering what the fuss was about while he plunged through the sky. That translates into travel preferences, he says, “where I don’t like to repeat things and I don’t like to go to the same place twice. Whereas Lori, when she finds something she loves, be it a restaurant or a city, she’ll want to go back to it again and again."

Their love of being together sometimes overrides their desire to explore different locations. And when one of them gives in and goes along to a destination that he or she perhaps wouldn’t have chosen, sometimes it helps them grow.

“We definitely enjoy each other’s company and like traveling with each other, so we’ll both make compromises," says Mr. Levy. “She’ll push her boundaries, and I’ll do the European trips she wants to do—although I won’t visit London four times a year like I know she’d love me to."

Recently, Ms. Harito acquiesced and joined Mr. Levy in Tofino, British Columbia, and shocked both herself and him by not just learning how to surf but also admitting she enjoyed it.

But after five years together, they continue to travel separately more often than together. In the past year, he has gone surfing in Costa Rica while she has flown to London to see Adele in concert. While Mr. Levy is traveling, Ms. Harito goes out with girlfriends and binge-watches her favorite shows; he uses the time while she’s on the road by getting to bed early and reconnecting with old friends.

They both feel it has made them a stronger couple.

“I’ve protected my own independence, and one way I’ve done that is by traveling on my own," Ms. Harito says. “The fact that our relationship is still standing and progressing five years later is a testament to the fact that the way we both travel works for us."

Honesty helps

First trips together are particularly fraught, says Laurel House, a dating coach who serves as one of eHarmony’s relationship experts. “Many couples take a vacation as their make or break—they’ve gotten to know each other and they feel like the vacation is where they’re going to decide if it’s a yes or no" for the long run, she says. “If travel preferences differ, what can happen is they get on vacation and believe the relationship is a no, when in reality, it’s just that they have different definitions of what travel means to them."

For all couples, she says, the solution for such differences is to remember that a couple’s vacation is meant to be a shared experience, and compromise is part and parcel of the trip. So even if one person wants to relax on the beach while the other wants to visit every monument and museum, that’s fine, as long there is also time saved on the schedule to be spent together. Travel planners often can help, by speaking individually with both partners on preferences. That’s because when only one person takes the lead in planning, trouble can follow.

“I will play the role of a psychologist or a therapist," says Anthony Berklich, a travel consultant and founder of the travel platform Inspired Citizen. “I speak to them together and then also separately, to get everyone’s honest opinions that they might not be comfortable saying in front of each other."

Alone time

Polly Clover, a content writer who lives on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, believes that couples should occasionally travel separately even if they want the same things.

“Society tells us that when we have a vacation, we must take a trip with our partners. This doesn’t need to be the case," Ms. Clover says.

She and her partner, Liam Daniels, have been together for three years. Ms. Clover had years of solo travel experience under her belt when the two met. When they fell in love, she had no desire to give that up—and he didn’t ask her to.

“I knew if I ever was going to be with someone long term, it had to be someone who also enjoyed traveling and also supported me traveling solo," she says. Mr. Daniels works as a brewer, and when they met he was locked into a 9 to 5 job while Ms. Clover, who runs her own business, had the freedom to make her own schedule.

Mr. Daniels says he never feels left out.

“I’ve always enjoyed my alone time, and I think us both having that time is good for us—individually and as a couple," he says. “I also know traveling makes her happy, which is what I want for her."

When they want to travel together, they stick to camping trips, which they both enjoy. Destination weddings also offer successful middle ground, “since we don’t determine those destinations," says Mr. Levy. “That makes it easy."

But by spending time apart, says Ms. Clover, she has felt them grow closer.

During the height of the pandemic, she rented a camper van and road-tripped solo across 15 states. They emailed and texted daily, and she sent photos via old-school snail mail. The absence, she says, truly made them fonder of each other.

“Our relationship is as good as it is because of this," she says. “Because we can both be independent, because we work so well together and we have lives that we enjoy, both independently and together."


This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.


"Exciting news! Mint is now on WhatsApp Channels 🚀 Subscribe today by clicking the link and stay updated with the latest financial insights!" Click here!

Next Story
Recommended For You
Switch to the Mint app for fast and personalized news - Get App