Sure, you hit it off with his parents and bonded with his buddies. But a less conspicuous milestone awaits you: your first vacation together. You're thinking about moonlit beach walks; he's thinking about whether he can handle the round-the-clock togetherness. Although we'd never let on, men are always searching for signs of whether we'll click with a girl long-term or clash and burn, and traveling provides the perfect opportunity to collect that crucial info. Here are four ways to guarantee smooth sailing ... and a return trip. Plus: Find out the most romantic places in the country to kiss
1) Pack Lightly
Men don't want to date women with baggage ... especially when we have to lug it. As much as we love to flex our muscles (real or imagined), we don't want to risk a back injury because you insist on bringing 10-pound dumbbells for your daily toning session. Besides, when you pack six bags for a four-day trip, we wonder if every outing will be a major undertaking. Learn how to look sexy in any time zone. Showing packing restraint pays off, as Kevin,* 28, points out. "My girlfriend is ready to go anywhere in 10 minutes, and she never travels with anything bigger than a tote bag," he marvels. "That alone makes her a keeper." Here's what you must do before you head to the beach.
2) Let It All Hang Out
Somehow, strange little quirks seem more endearing when they're unveiled on vacation. So by all means, hang your good-luck horseshoe on the bungalow door. Suggest one of these adventurous dates. Why? When a man asks you to go away with him, he wants the real you, not the sanitized version. Your willingness to show your true colors proves that you have nothing to hide. "When I took my girlfriend on a cruise, she would sing cheesy songs in the shower," remembers Jeremy, 30. "By the end of the trip, we were both in there singing off-key."
3) Play Things by Ear
For a guy, getting away means, well, getting away. The only agenda he wants to follow is one that lets him lounge freely. "When I took my ex-girlfriend to Maryland, I was expecting some peace and quiet," recalls Dan, 23. "But she had the whole thing planned so that most of the weekend was spent running from one place to the next. You'll be surprised by these little gestures that drive guys crazy- in a good way. When I said I wanted to relax, we had a fight ... and the trip ended early." So whether you're trekking across the Greek islands or just spending a weekend at a bed-and-breakfast, ditch the to-do list and wing it for once - spontaneity scores major points with guys.
4) Pencil in Time Apart
Be honest: No matter how much you dig your boyfriend, being connected at the hip for a week straight can wear on your nerves. So do yourself (and him) a big favor by going solo, whether it's to the hotel gym for a quick workout or to the stores for souvenir shopping. "When we travel, there's at least one day when my girlfriend kisses me good-bye and says, 'I'm going to do my thing for a few hours. I'll meet you for lunch,'" says Michael, 25. "Just that little bit of breathing room keeps us from getting at each other's throats." If you follow this woman's lead, ladies, he won't leave home without you.
Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.