Do and Don’t: Balancing Vacation Styles

I’m a planner, and I’m pretty sure I get about 90% of my vacation enjoyment by anticipating the trip. My travel companions are usually not, and I am pretty sure that I drive them crazy. So here are a few of my tips for those of you who, like me, just can’t help themselves from drafting a spreadsheet of fastpasses, dining, park plans….

  • DO engage your travel partner(s) early on in discussions about what they most want to do on the trip. Make sure you have at least one element in every day that satisfies them so every night you’ll both be reflecting on the day with joy.
  • DON’T constantly tell them about new discoveries that meet their desires or update them regularly about your ideas. Try to do this about once every 5 times you have the urge to so you don’t burn them out/stress them about decisions. Think of it as planning an awesome surprise party for them.
  • DO isolate what they mean when they say they ‘just want to relax’ (I know, that’s alien to me too)—figure out if that means the pool, the bar, sitting in the world showcase, eating at restaurants, a park bench, or all of the above. Satisfy YOUR planning urge by picking out and listing great locations, finding reading material, a playlist for the pool, review menus, or watching Park Bench clips.
  • DON’T ignore their desire to relax. It’s their vacation too .
  • DO ensure each day has something that satisfies each of you. For example, hit that Boardwalk Resort Ballyhoo tour at 9 am but then spend a few hours afterwards people watching at the Boardwalk Bakery with a chocolate croissant, or lounging by the pool.
  • DON’T be afraid to split up. Wandering around Disney alone is fantastic. Going solo on a tour is a great opportunity to meet new, interesting friends with similar interests, and your travel companion may really be able to relax by themselves as well. My husband and I would switch off ‘manning’ nap time. On my days, I would adventure, get a haircut at the Grand Floridian, explore the resort, get coffee on Main Street, etc… on his days he’d spend a few hours at the pool or pool bar. We were both refreshed, renewed, and happy by these solo jaunts.
  • DO read (and perhaps even write) trip reports or pre-trip reports from people who sound like you or like your travel companions. These boards are a good place to talk about upcoming trips incessantly without burning out your fellow travelers who are just hoping to have a Moscato Colada while relaxing at Stormalong Bay
  • DON’T force your travel companion to read them.
  • DO make sure your proposed itinerary looks fun a few weeks out before your trip by sharing it with your travel companion and requesting input.
  • DON’T ignore their comments or feelings, or you may just lose your travel buddy–or hear yourself maligned at cocktail parties for years!

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