Imagine strolling through the sun-dappled sands of San Tropez or holding hands in front of the Trevi Fountain. If you’ve ever had a romantic getaway you’ll know how special these moments can be. A couple’s first holiday is both a new experience and an eye-opener. Problems that arise whilst on holiday can bring out the best (or the worst) in someone, but both of these situations can offer a valuable insight into how your new partner copes with the unexpected. To avoid worst-case scenarios, read our advice on how to prepare for and enjoy your first getaway together.

Agree on the location

Don’t start your holiday with tension caused by disagreements on the destination. If one of you wants a beach holiday and the other wants a city break, choose somewhere where you can do both, such as Barcelona or Nice. If you can’t decide where to go, hop online and do your research, or scan high street travel agents for the best special offers and let destiny dictate your adventure. Better still, go somewhere neither of you have been before so you get the shared experience of unexplored territory. And don’t freak out if you want different things from your holiday, it doesn’t mean you are incompatible, it just means you have individual tastes that need to be taken in consideration well before you make a financial commitment.

Start with a mini break

First holidays together usually mean spending 24/7 together and can be the true test of a relationship. So rather than diving head first into a full-blown two week holiday, why not start off slowly with a weekend break? That way, if you end up having arguments, you won’t have a week’s worth of awkwardness to battle through before you’re homeward bound. Mini-breaks also have the added bonus of generally being cheaper which means less strain on the pocket and more to spend on romantic treats.

Buy a good map

Don’t plan your break to the minute (you’ll look like a control freak), but do plan for any stress-causing situations such as looking for directions to famous landmarks or finding a restaurant, gallery or hotel after dark. Make sure you know how to get from the airport or train station to your hotel, change your money before you arrive and check entrance fees so you don’t get any nasty surprises. But also try to keep your plans simple, relax and have fun – the point of this holiday isn’t to cram in as much sightseeing as you can, it’s about getting to know each other better and having shared experiences.

Don’t overthink things

Holidays create lots of situations that you might not be used to – long journeys, sunburn, speaking another language, sharing a bathroom…the list goes on. Don’t try and imagine what your new partner is thinking about how things are going; try to have as much fun as possible. Your holiday isn’t a license to get overly serious about the relationship or your future together, so keep it light and humorous and make your expectations realistic. Yes, she might pack too much; yes, he might have hideous swimming trunks… but that’s life, so have a laugh about it. If you get on well and stay together, you’ll enjoy reliving these fun memories in the years to come.