Can a Trip Away Save a Relationship?

If communication and intimacy in a relationship fail, a change of scenery could help. That said, it's not always enough. Find out when a trip away may help save a relationship.
Can a Trip Away Save a Relationship?
Elena Sanz

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 14 April, 2023

All relationships go through difficult times. Sometimes, communication doesn’t flow, emotional intimacy gradually gets lost, and both partners have serious doubts. At these times, escaping the routine and planning a getaway may seem like a solution. However, can a trip away really save a relationship?

Interestingly, it’s an option that many people turn to and some claim it offers good results. On the other hand, it might be nothing more than a temporary remedy. It could even worsen the situation. It all depends on a series of variables that we explain below.

Going on a trip can save your relationship

The idea of a getaway being beneficial isn’t naive or far-fetched. In fact, some research supports this hypothesis. More specifically, it suggests that shared trips increase satisfaction, reduce the probability of divorce or separation, improve communication, and help to widen the space of intimacy. This occurs due to the following factors:

  • Shared leisure between partners is correlated with their well-being and satisfaction. Undoubtedly, a getaway offers them the option of dedicating more time to joint activities.
  • In their daily routines, the time partners can dedicate to their relationship and family life is often increasingly reduced, due to work and personal obligations. However, during a trip, they can enjoy increased time together. This allows them to regenerate emotional intimacy.
  • Research also suggests that traveling provides positive emotions. Indeed, planning a trip and carrying it out generates feelings of hope, joy, enthusiasm, and well-being. Naturally, this affects the way we relate to others. Being more relaxed means we’re also more tolerant and friendly and more willing to collaborate and negotiate.
  • Going on a trip is also an excellent opportunity for improving communication. This is especially the case in couples where communication normally fails. In effect, by leaving home and changing their routines the often rather negative daily dynamics in which they’re immersed are transformed. At the new destination, communication flows and positive exchanges are more frequent.
Couple with suitcases arrives at the airport to go on a trip as an alternative that can save the relationship
The extent to which trips might benefit a relationship is dependent on the degree of conflict.

The need for alternative measures

Despite the above benefits, going on a trip may not be the answer to a critical situation. Moreover, it must be borne in mind that the advantages may only be temporary. In this case, on returning home, the communication problems, stress, and lack of commitment would still be there.

On the other hand, a shared getaway could serve to strengthen ties in couples whose relationships already work or who are only experiencing superficial, specific, or minor problems. But, if they’re going through a deep crisis, the difficulties won’t resolve themselves. As a matter of fact, they may even increase.

On the one hand, the trip might be a fantasy that seems to have magically evaporated the couple’s problems. However, when they return to their everyday life, they still need to converse, negotiate, make decisions, and carry out their joint plans again, and any difficulties there were in this regard before will remain intact. Furthermore, if the couple has serious problems, being thrown together in a new destination, without the possibility of any distancing, may trigger reproaches, resentment, and feelings of dissatisfaction.

Trips can save relationships

As a rule, a relationship crisis doesn’t disappear with a trip to a new location. Also, a great deal of reflection is required before taking such a trip. If you’re in this situation, here are some guidelines:

  • What difficulties are there in your relationship? What’s happening now that wasn’t happening before? Maybe it’s constant conflict, indifference, a lack of hope, or some other basic component. Following Sternberg’s triangular theory of love, different types of relationships have different characteristics. For instance, you might lack passion, intimacy, or commitment in your relationship.
  • How do you feel? What do you need from your relationship? A good starting point is to start analyzing yourself, instead of focusing on looking for the defects or failures of your partner. You must explore and get to know yourself, and identify your emotions and needs if you want to be able to express them later.
  • What can you do to improve? What can you contribute to the relationship? Take responsibility in this regard, accept your own mistakes or areas for improvement, and commit to working on them. Perhaps you’ve detected that you need to be more assertive, patient, or empathetic with your partner, and learning how to do it would make all the difference.
Couple on a romantic trip
Any trip taken as a couple, with a view to rescuing a relationship, requires extra work if the bond is to be repaired.

Joint solutions

Only if you both analyze your own internal situations will you be able to share them and seek joint solutions. These range from making a few simple changes, like having a monthly date, to making the decision to seek professional help. Whatever the case, you need to reflect on the situation. And a trip could be the ideal time for it. 

Finally, bear in mind the purpose of the trip and ensure you find some space for introspection. A change of scenery and the lack of obligations will help you focus your mind on the needs of your relationship. On the other hand, you might want to travel separately or carry out this process from home. Just remember, at the end of the day, a trip won’t save your relationship if you don’t put in the extra work.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.