As the Houston relationship counselor, I know that couples face stressors on their relationship every day. Work pulls you in one direction, while your spouse pulls you in another. Issues with kids, in-laws, or even just friends can feel like they are plotting to sabotage your relationship, but you know that if you can just get away, things will be better.

Unfortunately, I know from talking to many of my clients that trying to plan that perfect vacation can cause just as much stress in your relationship as anything else. The best marriage advice I can give you is to remember why you want to take the vacation in the first place: to relax and spend time together. There are, however, specific things you can do to ease the amount of vacation stress you’re experiencing.

Plan Now to Ease Stress Later, Says the Houston Relationship Counselor

Another bit of marriage advice that fits almost any situation: plan ahead to make situations less stressful. As the Houston relationship counselor, I find that most of my clients complain of feeling stress over travel problems, fears about needing to check in at their workplace, and what to do with – or how to get away from – the kids.

Travel stress. The best way to avoid waking up in the middle of the night before your vacation, terrified that you forgot to pack something, or getting excited about your destination only to end up stuck in a traffic jam that lasts hours is to plan ahead. Create a list of what you need on the trip and check things off. Utilize GPS devices or internet mapping programs to plot your route in advance and look for detours. You should also bring games and snacks to make the journey more entertaining just in case you do get stuck.

The work umbilical. Did you know various studies show that almost a quarter of the population works during their vacation? Talk about adding stress on top of stress. As human beings, we need boundaries between work time and rejuvenation time, and most employers know this and would rather have happy, healthy, productive workers. Well before leaving for vacation, create a plan with your boss about how things will run while you’re gone and how much (or little, hopefully) you plan to check in. Do your best to stick to this plan and refrain from checking your email.

Family vacation. If you and your spouse are stressed from taking care of the kids, a vacation can be just the thing you need to relax – but only if you pick the right kind of trip, with lots of activities for the little ones. Again, do your research ahead of time and see what kinds of things are available for the children so that you and your partner can kick back knowing the kids are safe and entertained. Depending on the type of vacation you’re planning, you might even be able to sign the kids up for activities ahead of time so that they have a ready-made schedule before you even leave your house!

If you and your significant other still find vacation stress causing problems in your marriage, contact the Houston relationship counselor today.