My boyfriend came to visit me in London and just left yesterday - so I thought I would write this while it's fresh on my mind and I forget about the nitty-gritty details! Traveling can be messy, exhausting and ugly - but travel can also be exhilarating, mind-blowing and exciting. I was anxious leading up to this trip because he's never been abroad and we've actually never been outside the United States together. I've navigated new countries and figured out my travel style - but I wasn't exactly sure what his was or if he even had one. He was anxious because it was his first time out of the states and we didn't have a car to rely on (he slightly underestimated how much better Europe is at transportation than the US is ha!). However, despite our slight differences in expertise and experience - the trip was a trip to remember.
Our first, actual stop on the trip was Paris! Getting here however was not as easy as I would have hoped. Not only was France's air traffic controllers on strike - but there were no other flights flying into Paris that night so we had no choice but to take the Eurostar from London to Paris which was more money spent. It wasn't something we had planned on, but we had tickets for a few things that night that we didn't want to miss. This is the part I was talking about where I said travel can sometimes be messy and ugly...I was super irritated at this situation. I hadn't had anything like this happen YET while I've been in Europe and it was frustrating for me that it was happening while he was here. I didn't want him to get a bad taste of how the airports work over here vs the US because quite frankly - I think they are better here than in the states. It was a whole mess but we eventually sorted it all out and made it to Paris about the same time we would have via airplane.
With that being said, there are a few things that I would advise any couple on when they embark on a journey like this together:
1. Rely on each other - after all, you're all each other has on this trip. We had several instances where we were at each others throats because of directions, which we later found silly because we needed to rely on each other and listen to each other's point of view and instruction.
2. Don't get stressed out - it will be OK. I say this for the girls, ha! I tend to run off of emotion sometimes and so when our plane was delayed and we were trying to figure out what to do - I was stressed and he could tell. I was irritated partially because I was SO excited to go to Paris and I just thought we would never get there and because it was our first stop and so if this was already happening what else was going to happen? But our trip ended up perfectly fine and we enjoyed each country we went to with minimal problems.
3. Indulge! When you are traveling, have a nice meal together or a cocktail on top of the Eiffel Tower. When ELSE are you going to get this opportunity? Before we know it, we will be done with school for good, working and hardly having time to travel like this - so seize the opportunities given to you and just enjoy each others company!
4. Do yourself a favor and just breathe. Sometimes we would argue while we were out and about and - now that I think about it - it was mostly due to directions, haha. He is a map kind of guy and I am more of a 'let's get lost but not too lost and I kind of know where I'm going' kind of girl. It's definitely a balance act between the two of us but every now and then I had to just take a step back (and I know he did too) and breathe. In the end, everything is going to be OK and you are going to get to where you are going. After all, how lost can you get ;)?
5. Get off your phone. Nine times out of ten, your phone isn't going to work properly in the countries you are going to - so ENJOY it!! He's so good, much better than me, at just sitting the phone down and not even bothering with it. Me? I'm a picture person. I like to have my phone out for any picture opportunity that arises and it probably drives him crazy! Several times on this trip, I just sat my phone down and enjoyed quality time with him...it's only once that your boyfriend flies across the Atlantic to spend two weeks with you - so you treasure that time together!
6. Plan a few things in advanced, i.e. get tickets EARLY. We, thank God, had several tickets in advance because the lines in Europe are NO joke. This is partially thanks to him because he's a planner but then I ended up buying the Vatican tickets and thank God for that because it was SUCH a long line!! We also purchased transportation way beforehand and I would highly suggest doing this as well. That way, the only thing you have to worry about upon arrival into your new city is transportation within the city!
I believe that these things are all vital to having an amazing trip with your significant other. It's going to be the experience of a lifetime and if you treat it as such, you actually will have an amazing time. Sometimes it's OK to not worry about the details of everything and just sit back and relax. Who cares where your next meal will be or what time the metro shuts down? Enjoy each others company and just savor these memories!