Traveling with someone is one of the best ways to really get to know them.
If you’re considering taking the next step and turning your significant other, and making them a more permanent travel partner, there are some vacations you should take with them first.
It’s a great excuse to get out there and see more of the world with someone you love—and who you’ll hopefully love even more by the time you get home. How many can you check off of your list?
1. Backpack across the Himalayas
When you’re hiking with someone, you’re both working together on a common goal: Finding the best possible view. But getting there can be a trying task.
Seeing someone at their most tired or helping them through a twisted ankle can be a bonding experience—if handled with patience. Pair this with hiking in a completely unfamiliar place, and you’ve got the grounds for a relationship test.
If you can’t take the time to hop on a plane for your hiking adventure, plan a long weekend around some trails in your area and pack the camping gear. Nothing says “love” like spending a few smelly days together without running water.
2. Spend Christmas with grandma
The family vacation is an important part of getting to know someone. Whether it’s heading to grandma’s house for Christmas, or jetting off with the entire extended family on a beach vacation, traveling with your significant other’s family lets you see how they balance relationships.
3. Take a week-long beach vacation in Bali
Beach vacations are a completely different kind of getaway.
Taking the opportunity to completely relax to the sound of waves from a sandy perch under an umbrella with your significant other is the kind of thing you could remember fondly for years to come. And it will reveal if you and your partner have the same ability to unwind.
Head to Bali—one of the picks for this year’s World’s Best Islands where the beaches and drinks are aplenty.
4. Go somewhere where another language is required
Language barriers can be a challenge, depending on where you are and whether or not you have access to a translation app.
Overcoming a hurdle like this can bring any two people together. Steer clear of big cities, and instead visit rural cities in Asia, Europe, or South America for a new experience. Better yet, learn the native language of your vacation destination with your partner and put the “romance” back in “romance language.”
5. Rent a Jeep and explore Iceland in the wintertime
You don’t have to choose a sunny, warm spot for your couples vacation. In fact, choosing adventure over relaxation may be the best kind of vacation for you both.
Our suggestion: Head somewhere extreme, like Iceland, and spend a week exploring the great outdoors. Iceland’s ever-changing weather can be stressful, but being able to do something like snorkel between two tectonic plates will make the effort well worth it.
6. Pack a weekender and book a last-minute flight
The spontaneous vacation is not for the faint of heart.
Pack a weekender and spend breakfast planning a last-minute trip: Make sure and have a maximum budget for airfare in mind, and make good use of apps and websites like Hopper, DealRay, GTFO, or Skyscanner.
7. Spend a long weekend exploring your hometown
Living somewhere doesn’t automatically make you an expert in all it has to offer. Make a long weekend out of exploring all of the places you wish you had time to visit—and set aside a couple of hours for discovering new favorites.
Go into this staycation weekend with a list of things you’ve always wanted to see, and choose a couple from each list—preferably things you both haven’t done.
8. Travel somewhere far away and don’t make an itinerary
Choose a destination where it would be impossible not to find something to do—we vote Tokyo—and drop the planning. Pick the hotel, and fill your days and nights with whatever you feel like doing in the moment.
9. Volunteer in another country
Find something you’re both passionate about—Habitat for Humanity, REI’s Volunteer Vacations, WorldTeach to help teach the English language, or the American Hiking Society’s trips to maintain the country’s trails—and sign up for an upcoming volunteer trip.
Not only will you meet like-minded people and get the warn and fuzzy feel of doing something for the greater good, but you’ll get to watch the experience transform your significant other, as well.