The “Travel Test”: During and enduring it…

Travel Test: (noun) a trip that is taken fairly early in a relationship and designed to gauge the commitment level and compatibility of the two persons involved

Passing the Travel Test usually leads to a deeper relationship and greater trust. Failing the Travel Test signals the end of the relationship and often results in either one or both parties despising the other.

I could tell you plenty of nightmarish stories about Travel Tests I’ve administered that went sour fast and furiously. Aside from the torture I survived in Italy, there was another time in Costa Rica when I spent nearly the whole week taking care of my boyfriend who basically couldn’t digest anything on his plate — not even white rice. No matter how much you love someone, there’s a tipping point at which enough’s enough.So, the Travel Test has been administered. Before you two pull each other’s hair out, here are a few things you need to keep in mind while you’re on the road:

  • Immodium and rehydration salts: Even if you feel the slightest stomach ache, take an immodium. When things get bad, be sure to rehydrate! You certainly don’t want to end up like one of my friends did in rural Thailand, hooked up to an IV in a grass hut.
  • Money matters: Try to strike a happy balance with regard to who pays for accommodations, food, and other expenses. It’s actually best if each of you pay your own way, so you don’t have to fight about the bill later.
  • Make decisions together: Choose activities and restaurants that both of you can agree upon. It may be hard sometimes, but it’s important to keep each other happy as often as possible.
  • Make friends: I don’t care if it’s your honeymoon. You should still interact with other people if you’re traveling somewhere. You two will have plenty of alone time.
  • Get out: Don’t spend all time on the beach, by the pool, or in your hotel room. Be out and about and active!

Despite my own preference to be a solo traveler, when you’re with the right person the world is an even bigger and better place to explore.

Gadling take FIVE: Week of Dec. 6-12

Humor is a great travel tool, particularly if you’ve had a bit of bad luck like I did when I was pickpocketed this week in Copenhagen–or if the tide is high and the streets have flooded, such as what has happened in Venice. In Venice’s situation, as Jeffery points out, there’s hope in boots.

Or, perhaps that travel companion you thought you were in love with has turned out to be a bust. Brenda has a few tips to prevent that from happening. But just in case you are stuck with Ms. or Mr. Dreadful, a laugh can help.

Whether you’ve had some bad luck, or you just want a reason to smile, here are some of the stories this week that have a humorous edge.

  • Scott’s post on learning British accents in 7 minutes may help you speak like a Brit, or not. The guy in the video does present various sayings you may not have considered before.
  • Aaron’s post on Steven Colbert’s chat with TSA critic Jeffrey Goldberg provides a humorous look at how airplane security is currently a waste of time.
  • Although air rage is not a funny matter, particularly when it’s happening to you, the behaviors Abha describes in her post on what happens when people do get surly on board have a certain chuckle factor. Plus, reading about how badly other people have behaved makes me feel better about my own tense moments. At least I’m not that bad.
  • The picture alone in Mike’s post on the Babykeeper Basic made me smile. When I read his description of how the contraption also keeps a child from absconding with belongings while you pee, I laughed.
  • Then there’s Annie’s post with the video of a slowed down version of an in-flight safety video. Smoooooookinggggg is noooooooottt allooooowed. Clever.

Here’s hoping there’s fun in your life this weekend.

The “Travel Test”: Before you administer it…

Travel Test: (noun) a trip that is taken fairly early in a relationship and designed to gauge the commitment level and compatibility of the two persons involved

Passing the Travel Test usually leads to a deeper relationship and greater trust. Failing the Travel Test signals the end of the relationship and often results in either one or both parties despising the other.

Whether he liked/knew it or not, every one of my boyfriends has been given the Travel Test. While most of them passed the Test enough for us to continue our relationship, one of them failed the Test so miserably that I had to flee Italy, undergo therapy, and ultimately move away to avoid further contact with him. With that experience alone, I wholeheartedly believe in the Travel Test, but there are some distinctions that need to be made if the Test is to serve as a true relationship gauge. Thus, here are a few tips BEFORE you embark on a journey with the possible yet untested love of your life:

  • The Relationship: Don’t hit the road with your partner unless you feel it’s worth testing. Make sure the relationship is strong and healthy beforehand, as traveling with a loved one always puts a strain on the relationship no matter how solid it is.
  • Timing: The Test should be administered in the early stages of the relationship — around 6-12 months after it started. At this point in the relationship, you should know your partner well enough to plan and prepare accordingly.
  • Location and Length: If this is your first Test or if your partner is not well-traveled, it might be best to go somewhere close by, familiar, or technically “easy” and to travel for no longer than 2 weeks. If you’re both travel pros and want to truly test each other, then go for broke — make the trip exotic and long.
  • Plan ahead for road bumps: It’s always best to have an exit strategy even if you’re certain things will work out while you’re on the road. Come to some sort of agreement before you go as to how you’re going to handle one another if things fall apart while you’re on the trip. This will be one less conversation you will want or need to have later.

I believe avid and frequent travelers must administer the Travel Test upon a loved one as it is an integral part of the relationship process. I know for myself that, at some point, anyone who is interested in me will have to, in addition to tolerating my beloved pug Iris, endure a boot camp-like trip to prove his commitment and compatibility with me. It’s just a hard reality for this particular globetrotter.

Speed-dating at 35,000 feet in Europe

Catherine recently talked about finding love at the airport and the popularity of online social networking to meet someone while hauled-up at the airport.

But, if you want to skip the whole courage building process to approach the hottie you saw whilst boarding, or want immediate interaction with not one, but plenty of singles looking for in-flight spice, Central Europe’s low-budget airline Sky Europe will organize a speed-dating session for you mid-air. “Come with a bright smile and look forward to a great trip”, I had to laugh when I read that in its list of guidelines.

So far the Sky Dating service has been offered on Sky Europe flights to Italy, Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands. It works like any other speed-dating service: you get 5-minutes with every person signed up and results are emailed 3 days post event. Unfortunately, you can’t sign-up for it on a spontaneous whim, you have to register for it in advance.

If you want to travel especially to meet someone, you can get the Sky Date package to a European capital. Trips are normally 1-3 days, your accommodation is taken care of and city tours will be organized, all with the idea of getting you hooked to someone on the trip. According to a recent article on MSNBC: on the last Sky Date flight – which combined speed-dating with overnight hotel stay and guided city tour, three couples were formed by the end of the trip.

Hmmm. Excuses for being single are running out way too fast! :)

The World Tour Compatibility Test

We all know that travel can often serve as a good test of a relationship. Here’s a couple that set out to see what would happen to them after taking to the road together. Over at Memoirville, a place where writers can test out their true-life stories, I came across the World Tour Compatibility Test, defined as, “Part travelogue and part convoluted love story…a series of true stories set in exotic locales, as two American writers decide whether to break up or move in together.”

After only two months of dating, Elizabeth Koch, Executive Editor of Opium Magazine and Todd Zuniga, her boyfriend and co-editor, planned a 5-week trip they dubbed “The Opium World Tour.” Their travels took them first to China, then Japan. There were additional destinations after that, but those chapters have not yet been revealed. (A clever way to hook you into wanting to buy the book when it comes out, huh?)

The writing is fresh, funny, heartbreaking…so you may just get hooked. But then you’ll be left hanging with the rest of us. Do they split the rent or split up? As Elizabeth explains, “The ending isn’t happy, but it’s not sad. It’s complicated. Realistic.” Elizabeth began sharing her work-in-progress memoir on December 1, 2006. The tenth and final installment of the story (so far) was posted on May 3, 2007. It’s easy to follow along on the Memoirville website.