How to Avoid the Vacation Fights You Always Seem to Get In

The whole point of traveling is to get away from it all, so don't let these little arguments drag you down. Here's how to stop squabbles before they even happen. By Anna Davies, REDBOOK.

"Are you seriously on your phone now?"
From Facebook to Twitter to work email that automatically routes to your smartphone, it feels like you and your husband have talked more to your coworkers and followers than you have to each other. Eventually, instead of Instagrammig a cute couple shot, you and he end up angrily snapping at each other. "Before you go, decide how much technology you want to use on the trip," suggests Vinita Mehta, PhD, a clinical psychologist. "It may be unrealistic to have a week that's completely unplugged, but deciding to only deal with work e-mail or social networking before breakfast and after lunch sets expectations." Since you both know you'll have access to the Internet, you're less likely to get antsy or mindlessly check your news feed while lounging by the pool.

Related: Your One-Month Plan to a Closer, More Loving Relationship

"You want what?"

Getting away from the everyday can change the way you two talk to each other, leading to less conversations about schedules and to-do lists and more about fears, hopes, and goals. But these serious talks can lead to major misunderstandings. For example, you may bring up the idea of having another child as a far-off hypothetical, but if he responds negatively, you may get surprisingly defensive, turning a lighthearted chat into an issue-laden argument. It's okay to suggest that you table the topic until you get home and switch over to lighter matters, and if it's a discussion about something neither of you have mentioned before, like, say, moving to a new town, don't stress if his words take you by surprise. One weird conversation shouldn't cast a shadow over the entire trip.

"I don't know what I want to do. You figure it out!"
Dehydration, exhaustion and hunger can push even the most even-keeled adults to the edge. Add the unfamiliarity of a place and throw in a wrench in the plan-like learning a restaurant has an hour-long wait-and it's all too easy for you to start sniping at each other. "When you're under stress, you lash out at the person closest to you, and when you're on vacation, the fact that your guy's likely the only person you know for miles creates the perfect environment for these types of arguments," says Anna Ranieri, PhD, a marriage and family therapist and author of How Can I Help? Your solution: First, recognize that being on vacation doesn't mean that everything is going to be magical, 24/7. Second, pretend you and your guy are hungry, tired toddlers and do what you'd do for them: Find the shade, get a drink, get a snack, and chill out a bit. The break may eat into your itinerary, but preserving the peace and saving your sanity will make the trip a lot more restful than whatever sightseeing you had planned.

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"You're on vacation and I'm watching the kids"

Sure, your toddler and husband splashing up a storm in the kiddie pool is adorable-but right now, all you're aware of is how much your arms ache from carrying all the baby gear, how much time you have before a temper tantrum, and how the kids will possibly sleep in a hotel room that faces the parking lot. How can your guy possibly have the time to play in the pool when you're doing all the work? Most likely, he's clueless about how you're feeling, which is why you need to let him know what's going on, says Patrick Wanis, PhD. "Say that you feel frustrated, exhausted, or overwhelmed and follow up with a few concrete suggestions of how he can help make you feel better." Instead of asking for more help with the kids, tell him that you'd love if he could assist them at dinner, organize their stuff before you head to the beach, or take them for a swim. "Being as specific as possible, as well as communicating with each other about how you both want to relax and enjoy your vacation, makes misunderstandings less likely."

Can't we just sleep?

You see a king-size bed and think, "ahhh." He sees it and thinks, "aw yeah"-or vice versa. For whatever reason, your sex schedules are not syncing up the way they should be, but if he's raring to go, why not consider a quick romp in the hay before crashing? "Rejection can start the weekend off on the wrong note," warns John Wilder, PhD, a relationship therapist. But if all you want to do is hit the sack, let him know you still want him by sharing how excited you are for what will happen the next night... or the next morning.

Related: 25 Totally Free Date Ideas

"We haven't done anything yet"

You want to take in the sights, try new experiences, and generally soak up the atmosphere of a new place. He's content chilling out at the resort, kicking back by the pool, and doing the same stuff you could do any old weekend at home. If this sounds familiar, start by figuring out what you want to do and why. Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in what we should do on a trip-like hitting all the major museums-that we don't allow ourselves to do what we actually want, reminds Ranieri. If sightseeing really matters to you, split up for an afternoon so you both have a chance to do what you like. If you'd rather he join you, explain that it's important to you, then switch off so he gets to decide the itinerary the next day. "A lot of times, couples assume they know what the other wants, but that's not always true, especially on trips, when you're away from familiarity and routine," says Ranieri. "That's why it's essential to let each other know what you want out of the trip."

"I'm not spending that on that"

It's vacation! But while you-or he-has a strict budget in mind, the other is happy to spend with abandon. It's okay to allow a bit more wiggle room than normal when it comes to minor purchases, says Ranieri. If a $6 latte is enough to make you look elsewhere, but your guy wants to stay, in this case, it may be best for you to let it slide. Sure, it's pricey, but the experience, and the fact that it's an irregular occurrence, may be enough to justify the cost. Meanwhile, have whoever's more budget-conscious handle the big expenses, such as travel, hotel, and dinners out. You may have shell out a bit more than you initially anticipated, but you aren't likely to experience over-the-top sticker shock.

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