Though we're not totally out of the woods quite yet, every day is looking brighter-especially for eager travelers-as more people around the world receive coronavirus vaccinations and regions begin to welcome non-essential visitors. Recently, the E.U. recommended that vaccinated U.S. citizens be permitted to visit. Each country sets its own travel regulations, and many have already announced plans to open their borders this summer, including Greece, France, Spain, and others.
After months spent cooped up at home with your significant other, you might be craving a change in company (we get it, it's been close quarters). But what you and your partner might actually need is a change of scenery. A trip together to celebrate the safety of traveling once again could be exactly what you need to rekindle your romance and get back into your groove. Rather than booking a random destination with no real thought, be strategic about planning your getaway. That you'll return feeling reconnected, and you'll end up being as safe and responsible as possible along the way.
Here, travel experts share their best destination recommendations and general travel tips and ideas perfect for couples ready to get out of town.
The Trip Where You Learn New Things Together
The pandemic has made life feel like Groundhog Day. However, as restrictions lift and visiting public places and doing group activities becomes less worrisome, you two should consider a new hobby or sport during your vacation. Not only does this keep things interesting and create memories, but it gives your brains something fresh to focus on (rather than how loudly your spouse is chewing). Try learning how to surf, go heli-skiing for the first time or take a couples cooking class, recommends Clark Winter, the chief operating officer of Heli.
"Through these types of experiences, couples are laughing together and encouraging one another along the way. Trying something new together helps strengthen connections and gives couples fun stories-and photos-to look back on and share with others," Winter says. "And if everyone has fun, it might just lead to more adventures around the world together to pursue this new hobby."
If the Great American West is calling your name and you have some travel budget to burn, book your stay at Dunton Hot Springs, located in the San Juan Mountains near Telluride, Co. This cozy property offers you a choice of 12 luxury log cabins, all of which were hand-built and boast gorgeous views. To keep you and your partner active and learning, you can book a number of seasonal activities, including horseback riding in the Rockies, mountain biking, rock climbing, rafting on the Animas Rivers, a photography class, an archeological day tour, and tons much more. As a bonus, your nightly rate includes all meals and beverages.
For a less expensive, yet no-less-fantastic experience, head south to the Marriott Cancun Resort. It overlooks the Caribbean Sea and is a cool 15 minutes from the international airport. While you're on property, you can book a mezcal tasting, a poke bowl or sushi rolling class, or swim with whale sharks, and much more.
The Trip Where You Get Back Into Your Groove
If you've been together for more years than you remember, you may have trouble remembering what connected you in the first place. Was there a shared interest, passion, or hobby that gave you plenty to connect over when you first got together? The pandemic has taken away these kinds of outlets for everyone, and your relationship might feel like it's a little faded or depleted. You're likely just under-stimulated-you need interesting things to do and places to go!
"Couples should consider booking a trip to once again do the things they enjoy most together," Winter says. If you're foodies who've missed fine dining and the buzz of city life, for example, check off your New York City bucket list by making reservations at top restaurants, walking through iconic neighborhoods, and treating yourself to some shopping. Since the Big Apple is opening up again with high vaccination rates, now's a great time to see it during its post-pandemic renaissance (before all the international tourists come crowding back in!).
Book a stay at The Langham Hotel and opt for the 'Celebrate Everyday' package, which includes a welcome bottle of champagne, festive pink balloons and a bouquet of pink flowers. The hotel itself is ideally located in Midtown East, within walking distance of Macy's and the Empire State Building. For a luxury splurge, you'll feel taken care of and indulged in the city that never sleeps.
Consider the newly opened INNSiDE by Meliá New York NoMad if The Langham Hotel is out of your price range. Conveniently located in Manhattan's vibrant Chelsea neighborhood, this chic, comfortable, and more affordable hotel puts you right in the heart of the action.
The Trip Where You Go All Out
You may have a larger vacation fund than you expected after canceling last year's trips. If you can afford it, now may be the time to go big, particularly if you are celebrating a milestone anniversary or never got around to taking a full-blown honeymoon. One idea? Retreat to a private island, a new trend in tropical jet-setting. For those who like a bit of pampering and seclusion, book a room-or the whole island!-to get ultra-luxe castaway vibes full of untouched nature and indulgence, says Shawnta Harrison, the president and CEO of Harrison's Travels and co-founder of the Association of Black Travel Professionals. "The intimacy of a private island allows you to disconnect from everyone and everything and focus on your partner."
If you're going to go big, go big (and if you can't swing it yet, add it to your aspirational travel bucket list). Explore Kokomo Private Island Fiji, a 140-acre private destination with 21 standalone luxury villas and 5 residences, all nestled on their own sliver of land in the sparkling South Pacific. It's near the world's fourth-largest reef, the Great Astrolabe, so it's perfect for scuba divers and snorkelers. This once-in-a-lifetime experience will leave you feeling intensely relaxed, totally spoiled, and with more photos than you know what to do with.
The Worry-Free, All-Inclusive Trip
Take a load off with your next excursion together by booking an all-inclusive getaway, Harrison recommends. An all-inclusive trip lets you enjoy your stay without strategizing your budget or preparing for the unexpected. This type of hands-off experience paves the way for true rest and relaxation, tipsy conversations, and even fun excursions to keep the energy light and exciting.
For a dreamy beach getaway unlike any other, book your retreat Grand Velas Los Cabos, a AAA Five Diamond resort in Mexico. In addition to the 307 ocean-view suites, they also offer six wellness suites with private terraces and personal plunge pools. Enjoy romantic dinner at one of its seven gourmet restaurants, most notably one led by two-star Michelin chef Sidney Schutte. Since everything is included, you don't need to think about anything other than each other.
For something slightly less pricey, book the nearby hotel Marina Fiesta Resort & Spa located in downtown Cabo San Lucas. While all food and beverages are included in your nightly rate, you can add on a visit to the spa for relaxing and rejuvenating massages that utilize the healing natural waters sourced from the nearby Sea of Cortez.
The Trip for Gaining New Perspectives
Whether you decide to venture to Asia, Europe, South America, or another new-to-you continent of the world, there's nothing more romantic than exploring a foreign place with your other half. "This type of experience can help couples find new perspectives together by learning about different cultures and seeing how others live-from their jobs to their cuisine and their celebrations," Winter says. "Witnessing beautiful views and epic sunsets while exploring untouched nature with your significant other is something you'll never forget."
Instead of revisiting a place you've both been, go somewhere new, exciting, and even a bit challenging. Give yourselves something to talk about, both during and after the trip. If you're nervous about mapping out uncharted territory, deciphering a new language, or exchanging currency, consider hiring a travel agent to do the planning for you.
Note: We've held on mentioning hotels for the moment due to current travel and health restrictions still in place across the globe.
The Trip Where You Connect to Nature-Not the WiFi
There tends to be four active participants in many modern relationships: two people-and both of their smartphones. The pandemic has upped our screen time and media consumption, leading to social media, news feed, and email burnout (at the very least). A digital detox could be just what your relationship needs right now. One way to unplug is by hopping on the glamping trend, says Kathy McCabe, a travel expert and the host of the TV series Dream of Italy. "Glamping allows you to connect with nature and each other while disconnecting from your electronics," she says. "This is a wonderful way to strengthen your personal relationship while enjoying the beauty of nature in tricked-out tents."
Book a stay at the luxury all-inclusive The Resort at Paws Up in Montana. The expansive, 37,000-acre ranch is nestled in the middle of the wilderness and takes glamping to a whole new level, with comfortable tents and huts, and food and drink included.
For a more affordable option, book your getaway at Huttopia Southern Maine, with nightly rates beginning at $120. Choose between wood and canvas tents, or even select from a number of tiny houses. You'll be camping along Maine's Beaches region where WiFi is only available in the main cabin, forcing you to disconnect entirely to connect with each other.