THE BLOG
07/09/2013 03:18 pm ET Updated Sep 08, 2013

How to Survive Your First Romantic Trip Together

Now that the fireworks and excitement of the holiday weekend are over, there are many, including myself, who embarked on a romantic holiday trip with a loved one.

A month of planning together and growing closer during the process was a thrill, while the reality of being together for four solid days was petrifying. The pressure of meeting his mother for the first time was on my mind during the four-hour ride up the Pacific coast.

How did we survive a trip that ended up including so many obstacles? In one short answer, flexibility and not sweating the small stuff.

Our drive up the Central Coast of California was beautiful on day one. We stopped in Santa Barbara for breakfast and I passed the potential Mother-in-Law test. Then I had to cancel our Friday half-day wine tasting event scheduled for day two. It was pre-empted by two major time-sensitive media interviews, which I couldn't reschedule. Fortunately, my boyfriend didn't mind and he moved our private wine tasting excursion from Friday to Sunday without a penalty.

With enthusiasm, we drove to Pismo Beach, where we had VIP tickets to watch the Fourth of July fireworks from the Pier, complete with preferred seating and refreshments. Upon our arrival, there was no parking to be found. We drove around for an hour without success. Finally, I suggested that we find a quiet restaurant with a view and forgo our tickets to enjoy the viewing. In the end, we had a better time without shivering outside for an hour or two, while seated inside a lovely restaurant, despite the coastal fog preventing the fireworks display from appearing like more than a fuzzy drizzle of snap, crackle, pop.

On day two of our four-day romantic trip, the wine tour company called to cancel our reservation due to a van with air-conditioning problems. No problem, as my boyfriend called Hearst Castle to see if we could exchange our tickets from Saturday to Sunday to accommodate the winery tour's mechanical difficulties. Without a hitch, we were suddenly rebooked for a wine tour on Saturday and Hearst Castle on Sunday, without any penalties. The trip remained on course.

Later that evening, my boyfriend's mother was feeling ill, resulting in a change of dinner plans. Instead of an elaborate romantic dinner, we found ourselves at a local pizzeria giggling over a bottle of wine.

On day three of our trip, there was the tragic Asiana airlines plane crash in San Francisco. Our hearts went out to those aboard the flight, as we watched the footage on TV in shock. We were saddened to see this tragedy, but shared how grateful we were that most had survived.

On day four of our trip, we drove to Hearst Castle and saw one of the most beautiful views on the California coast together in San Simeon. It was a beautiful ending to our trip. That was until we found out that my flight home to Los Angeles was canceled. With the hundreds of flights canceled due to the airline crash, I wouldn't be able to fly home for two days. Together we put on our thinking caps, hopped in a car and drove back home to Los Angeles in heavy holiday traffic, while downloading the latest mobile traffic apps to help navigate us home. We sang to songs on the radio together, where we played "Name that Tune."

At the end of the day, going on a romantic trip together can be stressful and can often make or break a relationship.

We passed the test with flying colors, as every day our well laid out plans continued to be altered. Sure we found out we had more differences than we had realized, but we took the time to appreciate each other's different points of view. We opened our hearts a bit more, sharing information about our lives and past experiences, which made us who we are today. Knowing that both of us were able to accept the changes in our perfectly planned out trip and not letting bumps on the road such as illness, a toilet seat repeatedly being up instead of down, foggy weather and parking dilemmas or canceled flights get in the way of enjoying our time together made it a trip to remember.

Have you ever been on a trip with a romantic partner that helped grow your relationship or resulted in it being a disappointment?

Your comments are welcome.

Julie Spira is an online dating and netiquette expert and author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online and is writing The Rules of Netiquette: How to Mind Your Digital Manners. She's the founder of CyberDatingExpert.com and writes about the marriage of love and technology.