Top Picks For You

A Romantic Weekend Is a Concept Built With Two People in Mind. But What if You’re in a Relationship of Three?

Here's how my partner, my other partner, and I travel NYC as a triad.

When my partner and I traveled with our primary to New York City (back in the pre-pandemic era), we weren’t sure what to expect. We hadn’t been polyamorous for long, and Matt (not his name) was our focal partner; we occasionally went out with others, but he was the one we saw as our real relationship. This was our first venture into a triad, where all three members of the group see themselves as a full partnership. It was also our first time away together and our first exploration into how we really functioned as a triad, without concern about who was watching. Of course, it was New York, the city where no one blinks at a guy in briefs and cowboy boots playing the guitar in Times Square. That is to say, the risk level was not terrifically high.

Dining With More Than Deux

Even so, we quickly noticed that the romantic weekend is a concept built with two in mind. At restaurants, we were usually seated with two on one side of a four-top, one on the other. If you wish to avoid this, do some research on available seating, then call ahead and request a banquette instead. Our workaround was just rotating who got the third seat, but that was not exactly ideal. Our restaurant solution, in the future, might involve take-out as an alternative, either for in-room dining or for a picnic. For some, though, it’s important to consider relationship dynamics for situations like that romantic carriage ride in the park. Who sits where, and how do you keep everyone included and happy? Not super-sexy to contemplate, but much better than a fight.

Continue Reading Article After Our Video

Recommended Fodor’s Video

Making Room for Three

Fun fact: Some hotels list a king-size bed as suitable for occupancy by two, three, or up to four. I can attest that you can get four people into a king bed, but if anyone is a restless sleeper, you might want to have a sofa option. The three of us expected we might get some side-eye when we all trooped up to the room, but if there was, we didn’t see it. We did see that there were two pillows (go ahead and request more bedding, including blankets if someone is a cover hog or finicky about temperature), but that was easily fixed. This goes for hotel toiletries too: If the place is still using the little plastic bottles instead of wall dispensers, you might need to snag a few extras for more than two bodies. The same almost certainly applies to towels (and maybe robes, depending on how luxe you’re going) as well, so you may want to just make one friendly call to housekeeping for all your needed extras.

Airbnb or VRBO can be more nitpicky about the numbers game. I’ve tried booking for two adults and for three, often yielding entirely different results for available properties. Since some renters are strict about adherence to conditions, it’s probably best to either rent a place that says it will accommodate three (often this does mean a couch or a pull-out) or, especially if you’ve tried the property before, reach out directly to ask for flexibility. My mom always says it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission, though, so to each their own.

It’s (a Little) About the Money, Honey…

This trip with our primary was partly business (for me), so my partner and I did pick up the bill for most of it. It’s important to establish beforehand who’s covering what, though (see the next point below). Obviously, a meal or a bar tab for three will be more, but most essential extras aren’t. Transportation, for example, shouldn’t increase for a ride-share or cab. Lyft, Uber, and the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission all stipulate the charge is the same for that post-bar ride home, regardless of whether you’re a duo or a trio.

But It’s (More) About Communicating

Importantly, however, we agreed on the division of expenses beforehand, so there weren’t any surprises. In the time since, we’ve experienced what happens without that agreement, which reinforced how necessary it is to communicate and reach understanding about costs, itinerary, and needs overall. My partner and I know that I get super-cranky when my blood sugar gets low and that skipping lunch is not a good idea. As the newest member of the group, our primary might not know that and question cutting an activity short to go get a burger. Conveying that kind of detail makes travel more pleasant for all involved, no matter how many. This is why I strongly advise against traveling early on in a relationship. Until you’ve established a group dynamic, adding the challenges of a new environment can be tough. That’s partly because you need to know what works most of the time before you can establish new expectations. Everyone gets a keycard, sure. But will you be together for every moment of the trip? Do two of you want to go to the zoo while one longs to go to the Met? Also, depending on the flexibility of your arrangement, what if one of you encounters someone else of interest? Is there room for that on the agenda or in the bed?

P.S. While getaways are the perfect time for some unapologetic vacation sex, standard etiquette still applies: keep the volume down after 10 p.m., avoid getting busy in public spaces, and tip the housekeeping staff well.

Ryan DeBerardinis/Shutterstock

Triad Travel Is Doable

Bear in mind that hospitality is based largely on return business. We had no problem with our arrangement beyond a few raised eyebrows and, let’s be honest, a couple of envious looks. If we’d been more openly demonstrative, or if we were same-gendered or if we were non-white, it’s highly possible that would have been otherwise, especially in a less been-there, seen-that environment. As it was, though, we attended a convention, enjoyed a skyline cruise, and made our way through the city without much fanfare at all. We were aware of the privilege we enjoyed as a white, cis-het-appearing group, even if we still felt that we needed to keep our relationship low-key and unobtrusive.

Ultimately, traveling as a triad means a little extra work: understanding how your partners’ needs might diverge from what’s more typical, anticipating where you might need to be aware of how you’ll be received, communicating your group’s wishes when the usual set-up doesn’t work, such as a couple’s massage for three (by the way, this is much easier to arrange in-room, so try booking through your hotel or a mobile service like Zeel). At the end of the day, however, the excitement of exploring and experiencing a new place together is worth it–in bed.