Take your vacation beyond champagne and flowers with these tips for spicing up your travels, even on a business trip or family vacation.
Some vacations are romantic before you book the plane ticket (your trip to St. Lucia to renew your vows) and others couldn’t be further from it (Spring Break week in Walt Disney World with kids and in-laws in tow). But, whether you want to inject some romance into a family vacation or plan a weeklong trip that will sweep your partner off his or her feet, follow these tips to make any trip romantic.
1. Romance Is All About You
Your most romantic vacation, according to Paris Permenter, travel writer and publisher of LoveTripper.com, “is one where the emphasis of the trip is on each other.” So, before you book, figure out what you want. A log cabin in the woods might get your heart all aflutter, while sitting on a beach for days on end is your partner’s ideal.
2. Choose Romantic Activities
Consider what romantic activities exist at each locale: flying downhill on skis, fighting white water rapids in a tandem kayak or learning how to salsa dance could all be considered romantic, depending on your relationship.
3. How to Show Your Love
Is there a romantic gesture (rose petals across a bedspread, a private candlelit dinner on the beach) that you, or your partner, have always wanted to experience?
4. Choose a Romantic Destination
For June Cuba, president of AllHoneymoons.com, the most important aspect of any romantic vacation is the destination. You can’t miss with a trip anywhere in the Caribbean or Hawaii, says Cuba, who recommends the intimate Palace Resorts in Mexico or the Charisma Resort Castillo de Esparza in Costa Rica. She also suggests Venice, Paris, any beachfront locale—such as the off-the-beaten-track Malaysian island of Langkawi—or a mountain retreat, such as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
5. Best Lodging for Lovers
If you want to spice up your annual two-week August vacation, remember that castles are naturally more romantic than, say, a roadside motel. Bed and breakfasts are usually cozier than huge travel lodges or chain property.
6. Turn Business Into Romance
Even a business trip can become a romantic getaway, says LoveTripper.com writer John Bigley, if one partner is busy planning a romantic evening for two while the other is sitting in convention meetings.
You can travel with the kids and still incorporate some parental “us time.” Here are some tips that let you enjoy Date Night, even on your family vacation.
7. Hop on the Love Boat: Cruise Vacations
Choose a resort cruise line that accommodates kids and grown-ups. Both Disney Cruise Line and Carnival offer cruise ships with kid programs and kid-free locations so it’s easy to fit in a romantic evening.
8. Stay in a Family Room or Vacation Rental
At any hotel, Bigley recommends scouting out the bedroom arrangements before booking. Look for family rooms that have more space and different options than the standard two-queens and a pull-out hide-a-bed. Or spring for a vacation condo or house, where you can get a home-away-from-home experience and a chance for some late-night privacy.
9. Book Places with Kids Clubs and/or Baby Sitting Services
Find hotels and resorts that offer perks and services for families—and use them. There’s no harm in signing up the kids for a supervised activity or tour, while you have a relaxing lunch together, take a dance class, book a couples spa treatment or simply spend the time alone. Babysitters come in handy for romantic dinners and night out dancing.
In the end, romance is more than chocolate, wine and flowers. “To me, romance is doing something for someone else that they wouldn’t expect,” Cuba says. Here are some ways to make sure that your designated romantic vacation (such as a honeymoon or anniversary trip is filled with thoughtful, romantic gestures.
On a once-in-a-lifetime trip, Cuba recommends splurging on those extra, special things, like V.I.P service, an upgraded room or the honeymoon package.
11. Make Use of Hotel Resources
When you check in, tell the hotel staff that you’re in town on a romantic getaway and the concierge will have suggestions for your stay. Then, work with the hotel to carry out your romantic plans, whether that’s reserving the best table in the hotel restaurant or coming back from a day of sightseeing to a romance-ready room (think rose petals on the bedspread and wine chilling on the nightstand). If you do get help from the hotel, don’t forget to tip.
Set up your e-mail away message, leave the Blackberry at home and silence the cell phone (or don’t pick up unless it’s the babysitter).
13. Bring Along a Loving Memory
Bring a favorite bottle of wine, stock your iPod with music from your dating days, or pack something that you’ve shared together before and incorporate it into your trip.
14. Do Something You’d Never Do at Home
Try a new food, take a class or try out a sport that neither of you has tackled. The best way to strengthen your relationship is to try something new, together.
15. Bring Your Trip Home
Collect mementos that are meaningful to you along the way: a recipe for a cocktail or dish from the resort that you’ll want to make at home, scented soap that will remind you of your second honeymoon or any souvenir that will transport you right back to this trip.
16. Enjoy Your Time Together
No matter what, put the emphasis on having fun together, advises Permenter, even if that means overlooking the flight delay, hotel mix-up and unexpected lost baggage.
Themes: Romantic Getaways