8 Tips for a Harmonious & Hot Summer Vacation

By Dr. Jess Relationships couple kissing on beach

Are you heading out for a long-awaited summer vacation? Ready to relax, recharge and reconnect – with yourself, with friends, or with a lover? Whether you’re traveling by planes, trains, or automobiles, check out our suggestions for a more harmonious and hotter vacation because it has likely been a long time coming.

Pack a surprise

Travel can be stressful, and a surprise treat can break the stress cycle. Families and couples tend to fight in airports and on long car rides because of stress, hunger, exhaustion, and a lack of control. Research reveals that traveling through airports can be as stressful as going to work or moving homes.

Patience and self-control are not unlimited resources. If you think of them like muscles, it follows that eventually, they’ll burn out after dealing with delays, navigating crowds, and fighting traffic. So, plan for the unexpected and boost the mood with a simple surprise:

  • Hide a love note in their handbag.
  • Pack their favorite snack to surprise them when you encounter a delay.
  • Sneak a new book or magazine into their bag, so they have something to read while waiting in line.
  • Massage their feet, hands, or ankles after a long day of walking around a new city.
  • Liven up your hotel or Airbnb with fresh, local flowers.

Cancel 20% of your plans

Oftentimes, we’re so excited to get away and explore all that is new that we find ourselves needing a vacation from our vacation. When you’re overtired, you’re more likely to engage in conflict in non-constructive ways and less likely to make time for sex. So, as you schedule tours, outings, and meals, consider cutting back to leave time for rest, relaxation, and connection.

Make a list of what you have planned and consider cutting back by 20% so that you have time to enjoy one another’s company — in and out of the bedroom.

a woman wearing headphones in bed

Let the music set the mood

Whether you’re heading out on a road trip or taking a flight, the right playlist can affect your stress levels and mood. Research suggests that we mimic the sounds in our environment, so you can set the mood according to your specific preferences:

  • If you know you’ll be fighting heavy traffic, create a playlist that will make you smile and sing/dance along to pass the time.
  • If you know you (or your lover) get stressed out in airports, surprise them with a playlist of tunes from your early years of dating.
  • If you find you’re prone to fighting when you change time zones, don’t feel pressure to talk in the taxi when you land. Instead, pop in your headphones and enjoy the sounds from the local music scene.
  • If you’re self-conscious about getting frisky in the hotel room, turn up the music to drown out distractions and lower inhibitions.
  • And, of course, if you find that certain types of music put you in the mood, save that playlist and play it in the room when you’re getting ready for dinner or before you start your day.

Plan tech breaks in advance

We know that couples, friends, and families continue to fight about the effects of technology on relationships. While you can always benefit from specific strategies to minimize technoference, planning for tech breaks can be especially helpful while on vacation.

Talk in advance about how often you want (or need) to be responding to emails, checking in with work/kids, posting to your feed, filming, and taking pics. Don’t just share your desires and boundaries but talk about how you feel when it comes to technology use.

Do you feel unimportant when your partner checks their phone at the table? Talk about your feelings without making accusations.

Do you need a break from social media and the pressure to take the perfect pics or be a part of your partner’s social posts? Share your thoughts. You aren’t required to be a photographer or model just because you’re in a relationship.

a couple lounging on the beach at sunset

Use a truce card

We are all human and imperfect. Sometimes you’re tired and cranky. Sometimes you’re testy and intense. Sometimes you overreact. Sometimes you bicker about nonsense.

We all do.

If you find yourselves arguing, sniping, or being curt, take a breath and pull out your imaginary truce card. You don’t have to dissect every conflict or feeling. You don’t have to prove your point or convince them you’re right. You don’t have to get at the root issue every time you argue.

Sometimes, you can simply say, “I don’t want to fight. I’m sorry for my part. Let’s call a truce and enjoy our time together.” It can also be helpful to talk about this truce card in advance if you know you have a history of fighting on vacation.


Exercise can reduce stress, inflammation, and pain, and it can also elevate your mood, energy, and libido.

You likely don’t have time for a workout before an early morning departure, but if you can squeeze six minutes of stretching in before a car ride, you may find that you feel more patient, comfortable, and serene — despite the chaos of the roads.

And if you’re flying or traveling by train, airport, or train, this is the perfect opportunity to stretch your legs as you walk the length of the gates. Or perhaps you find a quiet corner to squat and stretch before you board.

Spend time apart

Another reason you tend to fight while on vacation is related to overexposure. When you spend every waking moment together, it’s easy to get on one another’s nerves and simply become mundanely familiar with one another.

It follows that scheduling some time apart can support harmony (and attraction) while on holiday. So, if one of you is more into arts and culture and the other wants to hit the beach or the links, don’t hesitate to do your own thing and come back together to share — you’ll have new stories to share and will give yourselves a chance to miss one another.

a bag of sex toys

Pack your toys & lube

Sometimes you need a reminder to prioritize pleasure — even while on vacation, so don’t forget to pack your toys and lube.

If you plan to get it on in the shower or tub, opt for silicone lube so that it stays slick and slippery. If you want to try a new formula, you can always order a free sample here.

Many toys are now designed for travel with locks (so it doesn’t start buzzing mid-flight), cases, and extended battery charges so you can keep playing for days on end.


However your holiday plays out, don’t stress if it’s less than perfect. It’s okay to feel tense with your travel companion(s), and it’s not the end of the world if things feel less than harmonious.

You don’t have to have all the sex because pleasure comes in many forms beyond the erotic.

So, look for all the ways to embrace pleasure however you define it — on land, at sea, or in the air. From big cities to small towns, from the physical to the emotional, and everything in between, there are always ways to embrace pleasure.