Nerd Date: Trip Out Feb20

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Nerd Date: Trip Out


a blogumn by Clark Perry

So let’s say you’re dating someone and it’s going well. You’ve proven yourself to be a good cook, dinner date and spirited conversationalist (which of course means you’re a good listener). You’ve both been to movies, museums and plays and you’re looking for something new.

couplevacayBefore long, one of you will mention Taking A Trip Together. I capitalize those words to highlight the metaphorical significance here, but don’t freak out just yet. You’ll probably plan a simple weekender to get started. That sort’ve thing feels safe because it doesn’t strain the resources (financial or emotional) and you’re not far from the safety of your mothership if things go south.

You may ask: what’s the big deal? You’ve probably already spent a weekend or three together. There’s a difference, however, between shacking up for a two-day Lost marathon in your jammies and jetting off somewhere way out of your comfort zone. Very quickly, you will realize that vacationing together is an entirely different game with a new set of rules.

They say you never really know someone until you travel with them. When you take your first Date Trip, you’re going to get a Windex-clear view of your date. And they’re gonna get one of you.

Here’s what you need to think about before you get going. Relax, these are simple and basic things, but they’ll go a long way toward making your trip one to remember.

Know Where You’re Going. With knowledge comes relaxation, and you don’t want to stress over logistics you can solve from afar. If your destination is new for the both of you, spend some online time researching the local restaurants and tourist attractions. I find customer review sites like Yelp! are great resources when I’m on the road. Make a list of things you want to do and places you want to see and keep it in your back pocket. You may not even need it once you arrive, but just having that knowledge handy is going to help you relax as much as a margarita in a hot tub.

More Trip Tips after the jump:

Gentlemen, pack your toiletries. Ladies have wonderful bathroom bags that defy the laws of physics, but most guys I know don’t even have simple shaving kits. And it’s a given fact that you must surrender all bathroom counter-top space to the lady. What guys want is a well-equipped toiletry bag small enough to fit into your suitcase. Most of the ones I’ve seen sport handy hooks so they can hang from the shower rod or back of the bathroom door. Keep its zippered pockets stocked with essentials like travel-size toothpaste, aftershave and deodorant. You also want any other fun fluids that may be required: massage oils, lubricant, body butter, etc. Throw in a scented candle and a feather for some fun.

Bring a camera. You want to remember this trip, right? So does she. Even more importantly, she needs to know you enjoyed her company. During your trip, ask your waiter or other vacationers to snap a few pix of the two of you. Weeks or months later, drop one of these pics into a card and write down how much you still think about that day. It’ll whisk her back to that happy moment faster than a time machine.

Bring books you’ll both wanna read. I don’t judge a book by its cover, but I do judge a date by her bookshelves. If she don’t read, we don’t do the deed. I always try to have at least three books handy during a trip: a classic novel I’ve been meaning to dive into, a thick pop fiction beach book that looks fun, and maybe some cool nonfiction. Unless she’s already revealed herself to be a crime scene buff, serial-killer biographies probably aren’t a good idea for your first trip together.

Bring cash. In our cashless society, we expect most transactions to be credit-card friendly. If not, there’s always an ATM just around the corner, right? Most of the time, yes. But I’ve been surprised how many times I’ve found myself dining or drinking in an establishment that didn’t take plastic. These places usually offer ATMs but they’re shady, third-party vending machines that look like R2D2 after a crystal meth binge. I’d rather not trust one of those things with my bank account number, thank you very much. Cash is fast and handy no matter where you go. If you’re paranoid about packing the dinero, get traveler’s checks.

Plan some down-time. You might plan your trip around a ski lodge, or hiking trails, or white-water rafting, or Broadway shows. Go for it, totally. But remember to block out a bit of time to just hang out and relax. When you’re out of your element, the stress can melt away faster if you just give yourself a bit of down-time. That massage oil and scented candle you packed in the bathroom bag? Now’s a perfect time to pull that out and offer your mate a full-body massage.

Make music together. You don’t want to isolate yourself behind headphones at any stage of your trip. Well, okay, maybe if you’re flying, but even then I’d recommend a handy jack splitter from Radio Shack so both of you can at least listen to the same tunes. Your hotel room may come equipped with a sound system, so call ahead and see if it’s compatible with your MP3 player, if you need to burn CDs, or if you need to bring a small pair of decent travel speakers. Spend some time building MP3 playlists for all moods and occasions. I have playlists called Travel Lounge (ambient trance and low-fi hip-hop for transit), Mellow Morning (upbeat chill-out music while you get ready for your day), and Booty-Shakin’ (turbo-charged oonska-oonska techno for getting ready to go out at night). I also throw in some stand-up comedy in case we both need a laugh and my jokes just aren’t bringing the funny.

Make each day a gift to each other. Set the mood each morning with a little card tucked beneath her pillow or resting on her nightstand. Let her know you’re happy to be here … and that even though you’ve never snow-skied before, you’re willing to risk breaking both legs to be by her side.

Don’t forget to pack your Zen mastery of all situations. Traveling is fun because it’s unpredictable and spontaneous. Unfortunately, that same energy can also bring you into situations that challenge your patience and expectations. It could be an afternoon stuck in airport hell, a flat tire on a busy rainy freeway, or bedbugs in your hotel room. You both chose to relax in each other’s company. Acknowledging any stress when it arises will sap most of that negative energy out of the room.

Laugh and have fun. Always. Sometimes we’re so focused on having the Perfect Vacation that we stress too much over the small stuff. Don’t worry that you’re somehow getting it all wrong. Relax and go with the flow.

After all, any trip with your lover isn’t really about going out into the big world and having an unforgettable adventure sky diving or sampling the exotic cuisine of a foreign country. It’s about being someone’s companion while the rest of the world happens around you. That metaphorical thing I mentioned earlier? Let me spell it out nice and clear: being in love is a trip that never reaches a destination. The journey, as always, is its own reward.

What are your travel tips, both emotional and practical, when taking a vacation with your special someone? Please sound off below!