This manual is technical, completely straightforward and simplified. It will tell you exactly how to handle vacations and holidays with a new partner. From my point of view it’s a girlfriend, but it works both ways.
1. Tell her you have free air miles to give, and leftover Airbnb credit.
This way she doesn’t feel like the trip is being paid for entirely by you. Don’t share any of the booking details except essential times and dates. Apps now allow you to share every booking to the smallest detail. Don’t be tempted. Give her an envelope with print outs of the itinerary and a mobile phone charger bound together.
2. Fly separately. Meet at the destination.
Always. If the destination is far, get there a day earlier, learn the environment and prepare the ground. Meet at the airport and wait for her at arrivals with local families waiting for their loved ones. No roaming. Send her a regular text: “Your plus one is outside. Local rates apply.” Make a note with her name on it and throw a flower at her as soon as she comes out. Point at all the other people there and say “They’ve all been waiting for you.”
3. Book two nights at a boutique hotel and then four nights at an Airbnb.
The transition between the Château Marmont and a Silver Lake flat will be rough, but every trip needs some rough ends to be memorable. The hotel should happen straight after the airport to accommodate the intense jet-lag. When you get to your hotel room, turn off the air-conditioning and open the windows. The city’s ambience is sexier than you. Order the house burger from room service and ask it to be cut in two. Wait in the closet naked while your gf opens the door to the delivery person. Get locked in.
4. In the event of your girlfriend’s luggage being lost by the airline, offer to buy her a few essentials and one dress, all in one store.
Don’t keep the receipt and don’t chase the money. She will have to wear the same thing over and over again in every picture you take during the trip. This will result in a story of its own and define the vacation visually.
5. Invite interesting male friends to meet you in the hotel you’re staying at.
Or ask them to pick you up when you’re staying at the Airbnb. If your gf has local friends, let her hang with them without you, then join them for desserts. This is so she can unload and gossip about you freely. More drama. Remember every detail about her friends, keep complimenting them and invite a few over to stay at your flat back home. Your girlfriend will love waking up in your house with people she knows sleeping in the next room.
6. Carry books and the New Yorker magazine.
Also: cash, contraceptives, two mobile chargers and Pamprin pills. Even by the pool.
7. Take her shaving with you.
Pre-book a men’s grooming appointment at a Turkish barbershop on the edge of town. Have a heart-to-heart chat through the mirror while they cut you. She’ll sit on the couch behind you, as you’ll stare at her reflection. Get a hot towel facial. Talk about the next step in your relationship. Keep reminding her what happened a week ago with specific times and gestures. Quote her own tweets to her. Email the entire chat history to yourself every week, so it’s easily searchable. Open a Dropbox folder of the current trip, in case you lose your phone. Drop a few films in the folder so she can watch them on the plane. Never rely on iCloud.
8. Choose to travel to a remote destination, up on a hill, like the Griffith Observatory.
Do it after opening hours, or when you know there’s an event blocking the way. Or a riot. When the road block emerges try to convince the Uber driver to bypass it, then exit and climb up by foot. The bigger the obstacle the bigger the emotional impact. If you fail to reach the top – even better. It’s the quest that counts.
9. Try not to travel to cities where there isn’t a Soho House, Uber and a local VICE office.
İstanbul has all three. Tel Aviv, for instance, has none.
10. Before leaving town to catch her flight, open the UberLUX window and hand your girlfriend a brown envelope.
She ought to open it on the plane, but won’t be able to resist opening it in the car. Inside she’ll find a pair of hotel slippers (that you stole) and a key to your flat back in London. This is you de facto inviting her to move in. Done deal.
This essay assumes that one partner has the fiscal upper hand in a relationship. While true in many cases, that person doesn’t have to be the man, and usually isn’t.
Nimrod Kramer wrote this on a plane to Los Angeles. He flew solo and met his plus one at the airport.