This year, Valentine’s day falls on a Friday, which makes it especially perfect for a romantic weekend getaway. There’s nothing like a few days of uninterrupted quality time together to remind you both just why you fell in love in the first place. Here are a few tips for planning an enchanted weekend away together this holiday.
Embrace the element of surprise
The grand romantic fantasy is to spirit your loved one away to a weekend of delights, without them ever knowing what’s up. Okay, it’s easier said than done, but there’s nothing like watching their eyes light up when you unveil the plan. The logistics are up to you. We all lead busy lives, and it might not be possible to put together a totally secret trip. If not, there are still plenty of tricks to keep up your sleeve. Tell them you’re going away, but don’t tell them where. Play travel agent, arrange everything, and tell them to relax and trust you. Knowing that your partner took the time to organize a whole trip just for you is deeply heart-warming.
Destination, destination, destination
The best part about escaping daily life with your beloved (aside from unlimited time alone together) is sharing a new experience. Scientists have found that novelty is one of the strongest drivers in lasting romantic happiness: it’s tied to all kinds of feel-good hormones and chemicals which light up brains in love. So choose your destination with freshness in mind. You don’t necessarily have to go far. Large cities are a great choice: even if you’ve been there a hundred times before, there’s always a new side to explore. Research is key here. If you’re more of a sweet B&B type of couple, seek out accommodation with especially beautiful surroundings and, even more importantly, privacy! You’ve only got the weekend, so you don’t want to spend too much time in transit. Pick somewhere within a few hours’ journey. Spending too much time in airports can be a mood killer, (definitely avoid connecting flights) but if you’re both avid travelers, the thrill of jetting off together is hard to beat. Check out cheap last-minute flights on Hipmunk. For something completely different, don’t forget the train! Traveling by rail has its own special kind of romance, with lots of time to relax and watch the world go by.
Pick one or two unforgettable experiences
Don’t overplan your weekend. Lingering over one more glass of wine before you chase each other upstairs, lolling about in bed together enjoying room service, and being free to follow a whim at a moment’s notice are all priceless parts of a weekend away. Still, to make it a getaway you’ll never forget, choose one or two “anchor” experiences to lift you both out of the ordinary. Book dinner at a Michelin Star restaurant, a sunset cruise, or a snorkeling expedition: you know your partner best, so choose a surprise they’ll love, and organize your itinerary around it. It’s that novelty magic at work again. Couples who share adventures see each other in a new light, which perks up the excitement and strengthens their bond, with long-lasting effects. You’ll make life-long memories and have lots to talk and laugh about as you unwind after your day.
Don’t fear the cheese
This is not the time for sophisticated cynicism. Embrace the silliness inherent in Valentine’s day and plan ahead for a little mushy romance. If you’re taking a roadtrip, make a swoony mix to play on the way. Call the hotel and arrange for champagne, chocolates, and strawberries to greet you in your room. Hold hands, whisper sweet nothings, write something saucy on the mirror with lipstick. Seek out photobooths, paddleboats, hot air balloons, heart-shaped jacuzzis, over-the-top lingerie, and rose petals on the bed. You can get away with it because it’s just the two of you. We might sneer at these tropes in public, but they bring up strong sweet associations for just about everyone. At the very least, they’ll bring out the giggles. Call us crazy, but laughter lies at the heart of most great love stories. And a little bit of sentimental nonsense goes a long way.
Above all, relax and remember to enjoy each other. Valentine’s Day only comes once a year, but the time you spend together this weekend will keep the spark burning bright far into the future.