Plan the Perfect Couples Getaway

Our guest Melanie Waldman writes Travels With Two, "The Travel Blog for Couples," which encourages couples to step away from their work, and, in a spirit of romance and exploration, get the heck out of Dodge. When not traveling, Waldman lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their corgi.

We caught up with Melanie (via email) to get some tips on planning the perfect couples getaway.

1. Where-to-Go

If a couple has only one week to get away during the year, where would you suggest they go?

couples vacations in bali

A good rule of thumb: for each week of vacation, book a location that's no more than 12 hours of travel time from your home. While this might seem like too long to some people, it means you can go as far as 1/4 of the Earth away from where you both spend most of your lives, noses to the grindstone.

Then, think about what kind of vacation you want: for example, adventurous and on-the-go or tranquil and requiring unpacking only once. The first two could mean a scenic driving or biking trip with stops for hiking and active tours in a national park or the jungly tropics. The latter could mean an elegant resort by an exotic beach or a midst-of-it-all apartment rental in a romantic European city.

As you plan, pay attention to how learning about a destination makes you feel "excited, relaxed, stressed, anxious" and that will help guide you in the right direction.

Need inspiration? Well, from our base in Los Angeles, our favorite week-long trips have been to the Hawaiian Islands, western Canada, upstate New York, southern Florida, Jamaica, Costa Rica, London and even the Cook Islands, at the center of the South Pacific (about a 10-hour flight from L.A.). We once bent our own rule by a few hours and went as far as the Indonesian island of Bali for a fantastic week of culture, exploration, and quiet seaside/jungle evenings trying new foods and enjoying each other's company.

2. When-to-Fly

Is it important to aim for "off-peak" travel seasons to avoid the crowds, or are privacy and seclusion more about the destination a couple chooses?

You can find little pockets of romance everywhere, but timing does help. If scheduling allows, travel during your chosen destination's Spring or Fall shoulder seasons for fewer crowds – and lower costs. If you want seclusion and privacy at any time of year, though, choose a destination with an adults-only resort and start looking for deals.

3. What-to-Do

Are there events (festivals, concerts, cruises, etc.) that are worth making a part of a couples vacation?

couples vacations in Cook Islands

No matter where you go, if you're both into different pursuits and/or levels of activity while on vacation, try to divide your time between them. That way, both partners feel they've met at least some of their vacation needs.

We're not big into crowds, so we tend to pass on festivals, concerts (and with one Caribbean exception) big-ship cruises. Some of our favorite events on past vacations have been small adventure tours to see natural wonders, like a horseback ride through a Mexican desert dotted with cactus blooms or a climb up a huge Jamaican waterfall. (We'd also love to take river boat tours in the Everglades, Egypt, India, Panama, Thailand… or all of the above.) When visiting a far-flung locale or a place famous for its ingredients, I'd suggest a cooking class. Or if you're into wine, schedule a private winery visit and you can feel like you have a gorgeous estate all to yourselves.

4. How-to-Shop

Any tips for saving a bit of money once you've reached your destination?

Whenever possible, shop for groceries to keep at your hotel/resort/rental, and eat at small local spots. If traveling in a city, either do a little research online or ask your hotel/rental agency/etc. about tourist discount cards, which can save you big bucks on museum and subway fees.

couples vacations in Hawaii

You can also find Melanie on Twitter @travelswithtwo and on TWT's Facebook page.

Photos: Farm in Vancouver, Southern Bali, South Pacific's Cook Islands, and Waldman and her husband in Grand Wailea for lunch and a smooch – by Melanie Waldman

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