I’ll tell you a little something about me you probably don’t know. I love Valentine’s Day! I never had a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day until I was in my 20s. While I was perpetually single, I used to wear blue, give out Hershey Kisses for fun, and celebrate “Singles’ Awareness Day” on February 14th. But since Steve and I have been together, it’s one of my most favorite days of the year.
Why is it so much more fun with Steve? Because we make a big deal about it. We go away for the weekend if we can. I get multiple Valentine cards for him. He gets me whatever I ask for because he doesn’t like shopping (last year I asked for Hawaiian coffee and chocolate-cover macadamia nuts from my favorite Waikiki coffee shop). It’s great! So, if you, too, want to plan an incredible Valentine’s getaway this year, here’s your guide to exactly how make big plans for you and your honey!
10 Steps to Plan the Perfect Valentine’s Getaway
1. Decide if you want it to be a surprise or a joint (ad)venture.
Is your loved one a surprise person, or someone who enjoys the anticipation? Sometimes the best gift is to just plan the whole thing for someone else. Other people prefer to be in charge and do the planning–taking the load off you! Some couples like to plan trips together. You know your loved one best, so choose what’s best for the two of you.
More helpful info: How to Plan Travel with Someone Else
2. Decide what you want to spend money on.
Different people value different things. Steve does not care about food, so going out to eat is at the bottom of his longest list of things to do. Me? I like meals that double as an event! So Steve kindly took me to Mama’s Fish House on our trip to Maui, and you know what? He was excited right along with me, because I was excited! It was a wonderful gift.
But maybe fancy accommodations are the thing for your significant other. Maybe you or your loved one would rather drop $500 on one really fabulous night in a hotel rather than a whole week somewhere on the cheap. And that’s okay, too! Or maybe it’s a concert, musical, or something adventurous like a hot air balloon ride! Figure out what’s important, what’s not, and what’s worth the splurge. Whatever you choose, it’ll be special if you both enjoy it!
Read next: Travel Experiences Worth the Splurge
3. Be flexible on travel dates if you can for best prices.
Flexibility is the key to happiness! If you’re operating on a budget, this is essential. Or if one or both of you despises crowds, this will help you out! Decide how important the actual February 14th date is to the two of you and your celebration, and if it’s more or less important than saving $100 per person on airfare or a hotel. Don’t be afraid to shift things around a little bit! Think outside the box (or travel outside the suitcase!), and remember that you can celebrate when you want.
More here: 5 Habits of Flexible Travelers
4. Make sure you both get to do what you want to do.
…Even if that means a little time apart to miss each other! Some couples, like Steve and I, can totally spend every waking and sleeping moment together and still like each other. But people are different, and everyone has different preferences for what they want to see and do. It’s okay to give each other the gift of space for a few hours if one of you wants to visit a museum but the other needs to take their self-care run.
Or, maybe both of you can sacrifice a little and do what the other person wants to do. Just make sure you each get to pick at least one thing you really want to do. And then give your loved one the ultimate treat: No complaints while you’re doing what they chose!
5. If you must have a schedule, schedule some downtime.
Maybe you’re that one-in-a-million couple who loves to have every second of your trips planned. That’s awesome! For the rest of us, let’s make sure we make room for some downtime together. Personally, I love to have a schedule. I love planning our trips to be as efficient as possible, but I also always make sure to plan a beach day, or leave the last day totally open to give us time to rest while we’re still away!
6. Arrange something special in advance.
This is such a fun thing to do, even for someone who doesn’t really love surprises. Who would turn down flowers waiting in their hotel room, or locally-made chocolate on their pillow when they arrive? The hotel concierge’s whole job is to help you make your trip special and memorable, so whether it’s theatre tickets, dinner reservations, or a dessert delivered to your room, going that extra mile to do a little something special for your loved one will go far!
Keep reading: How to Surprise Someone with Travel
7. Seek the sun!
What’s more romantic than watching a sunrise or sunset with the ones you love? Almost nothing right? But if you’re crossing several time zones, this will also go a long way in defeating your jet lag! The more light exposure you can get, the less crabby you’ll be with each other!
Read next: How Jet Lag Can Be Your Secret Travel Weapon
8. Look for locations that address the theme properly.
Life is best lived in theme! We’ve taken some truly romantic trips together, but I have to say, Verona, Italy, takes the cake when it comes to Valentine’s Day romance! It’s the hometown of Shakespeare’s famous Romeo and Juliet, and everything about this sweet Italian town in the Veneto was perfect for lovers. You don’t have to go all the way to Verona, though! You can find romance closer to home. Look for a place that makes the most of the holiday, and make it your special place!
This will always be a favorite: Why You Should Spend Velentine’s Day in Verona, Italy
9. Plan to unplug.
Bloggers are the worst, y’all. We are practically glued to our phones, laptops, cameras, etc. Social media is the necessary evil that enables us to run our businesses and pursue our entrepreneurial dreams! But let’s be real, everyone is constantly connected these days.
That’s exactly why I make a conscious effort to be present with my husband when we travel. Sometimes I keep my phone in airplane mode even after we land so I can still take photos, but not be disturbed with notifications. Sometimes I delete Instagram and other social media apps altogether for a day or so! Do what it takes to help yourself stop and smell the roses–together!
More here: The Ultimate Couple Travel Bucket List
10. Pick up something local to remember your trip.
This is one of my favorite things to do–and I’m not even a shopper! But it’s fun to get coffee from a local roaster to take home with us. It’s fun to get a new dress from a boutique to wear while I’m there and at home as well. Whether it’s locally made soap, artisan jewelry, matching hats, a mug, or a special food item, it’s worth buying a little something to bring home with you for the memories!
Funny story: I once forgot my warm socks on a trip to Vermont, so I bought some at our hotel. Now, I think of that trip every time I wear them! Whatever will remind you, or both of you, of your happy times and special trip, get it!
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