7 reasons couples fight so much during traveling (and how to fix it)

What starts as fun, exciting and breathtaking can suddenly switch to stressful, scaring and expensive: a perfect recipe for a fight with your spouse.

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  • My husband and I love to travel. We started when we were dating, and have made it a priority in our marriage to fit in at least a trip each year.

  • Early in our relationship almost every trip had a pretty big fight somewhere in it. We'd get over the fight, but I started to expect them rather than prevent them. Eventually, I decided to get to the bottom of why we were fighting. Once I knew what may spark a fight, I was better able to prevent them.

  • Now are pretty much argument free with our travels. The main reasons we fought were the following:

  • 1. Stress

  • Traveling can be stressful. Not only are you going away from home and what is familiar, but a lot can go wrong when you travel.

  • You may get lost, forget something, have an inaccurate reservation, or a whole other list of things. This stress can affect your experience and even cause fighting between couples.

  • Be responsible and prepared, but also remember that things happen that are out of your control. Take it easy, go with the flow and enjoy the experience. If needed, schedule a day into your vacation with no activities planned. Not only will it give you a chance to slow it down and relax, but if something does come up it gives you extra time to get things figured out.

  • 2. Not being prepared

  • This can be a huge reason for contention between a couple. While you can't plan for everything, it is important to be organized, try to foresee any potential problems, and be knowledgeable about where you are going. Gather your important documents weeks before your trip. Do not wait until the night before you leave to look for your husband's green card, child's birth certificate or your passport. You will have no time to get replacements if you can't find them. Just in case you don't get internet service where you are going, keep a hard copy of all your confirmation numbers and itineraries.

  • Do research on where you are traveling before you go. Map out how you will get around (bus routes, subways, etc.), and culture differences you should know before you go.

  • 3. Finances

  • Finances can be a point of contention even when you are not traveling, so it is extremely important to discuss your budget with your spouse before you go. Have a plan for unexpected costs that may occur. How much you will spend on food, activities, lodging, transportation and souvenirs? It's okay to over plan in this area. Keep track of what you spend during your trip so you do not go over your budget.

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  • 4. Expectations

  • Everyone has certain expectations when they travel. This includes certain places they want to go, things they want to do, and how much money they will spend. If you are not on the same page as your spouse, it can cause issues. Talk about your trip before you go. Make a list of the top things each of you wants to do and figure out how to meet both of your expectations. Knowing what each of you expect can prevent a lot of miscommunication and disappointment during your vacation.

  • 5. Back seat driving

  • When you travel you tend to spend more time with your spouse than you normally do. You are together pretty much the entire time. There are no jobs, car pools or appointments to break up your time together.

  • All this time may lead to nit picking or even literal backseat driving. After an extended period of time this can ware on a couple. If you find yourself getting overly annoyed or frustrated with your spouse take a time out. Meditate, read a book, or soak in the tub. Make sure you let your spouse know you just need some personal time and it is not something they did that upset you.

  • 6. Exhaustion

  • Vacations are easy to pack full of activities, sightseeing and very little sleep. This is exhausting, which may result in short tempers and fights. You do not want to miss anything, but keep in mind your body can only handle so much. Fit in activities that will help you slow down and relax. A calm boat ride, a couple's massage, or even a leisurely walk can help you to rest a bit and reconnect with your spouse while still experiencing the area you are in.

  • 7. Looking for blame

  • It is inevitable that something unexpected will come up. Learn how to move on from these events and not spend time placing blame or finding the reason behind how it happened. That will only make the problem worse. Even if it is obviously someone's fault, don't dwell on it. We make mistakes, hopefully learn from them and are more prepared for what not to do on the next trip. When all else fails, remember you are on vacation. You're here to enjoy yourself, and fighting with your spouse will take away from the good times you could be having.

  • All of these different factors played a role in the fights I had with my husband while traveling. While it has taken time to learn from our mistakes, we are a lot better about planning, being prepared, taking time to relax and we now know how each other will react to certain situations and how to deal with it correctly. Hopefully you can learn from our experiences so you can stop fighting and start enjoying your trips together even more.

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Megan Shauri graduated with a bachelors in anthropology and a masters in psychology. She is a mother of twins.

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