Survive Your First Romantic Weekend

One of the first - and most fun - milestones your young relationship will cross is the weekend getaway. Long before you talk about exchanging rings (or even keys), you'll plan a short romantic trip for two.

The first trip with a new paramour can strengthen your bond or break it apart. Often that's because couples pack their bags with high expectations and loaded significance. If you want to have a good time, get to know each other better and still come home as a couple, heed this advice.

Getaway Guide #1: Plan Smart

If you've determined your date isn't a serial killer and you share in your desire to spend ridiculous amounts of time together, there's no time too early to plan the first weekend out of town. As you select your destination, make sure you're on the same page about your holiday goals. Don't pretend to love camping when you hate nature. Talk about what you want out of the trip - relaxation? Exploring? -- and find a way to compromise if you're up for different things.

Getaway Guide #2: Talk Cash

Before you click "book it" on the travel website, talk about the bills. If there's a big gap in your incomes, you don't want the person making less to feel obligated to pay beyond his or her means. But you also don't want either of you to feel like you "owe" the other something. Figure out who's paying for what and talk about how you both feel about the arrangement.

Getaway Guide #3: Plan...A Little

As lovely as spending the entire weekend in bed might sound, it's a good idea to have an idea of the local attractions of your destination so you know what you'd like to explore should you decide to leave the hotel. But resist the urge to plan a whole weekend; if you're running from museums to historical attractions to Zagat-recommended restaurants, you won't have the chance to relax, find something new, and get to know each other.

Getaway Guide #4: Keep a (Little) Distance

Respect each other's need for privacy (no barging into the bathroom or rooting through your date's bag for the suntan lotion). And don't be afraid to split up sometimes. Go ahead and keep whatever solitary daily ritual keeps you sane - your morning walk or workout, for example - or spend a few hours pursuing solitary interests. It'll give you something to talk about over dinner.

Getaway Guide #5: Be Flexible

Things will inevitably go wrong. Planes are delayed, hotels that look good on the website turn out to be fleabags, one or both of you will get food poisoning from that little restaurant you thought was so cute. Part of what makes traveling together so bonding is seeing how you weather minor storms together.

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