There are less than 19 days until Valentines Day! Instead of stopping by Walgreens at 5:30pm on 2/14 on your way home to pick up a heart-shaped box of chocolates, a stuffed animal, and a cheesy card, let’s think this through in a deliberate manner. What could you give your loved one this holiday that shows you really care for them and appreciate them and…put a lot of thought into the gift? It’s not going to come as a surprise to anyone reading this blog article that I’m going to suggest giving the gift of travel as a Valentines Day gift, right? Allow me to explain why and give you some tips on how to make it the best gift your love has ever received for Valentines Day.
Before I cut to the chase I want to say out loud…even if your significant other (SIGO) says he/she doesn’t care about Valentines Day (special emphasis on the *she* part), they probably do and will still be very touched if you actually make an effort to think about a nice gesture for them. I know this from experience, because I’m one of those people that “doesn’t care about Valentines Day”. You know what I do care about though? Being shown that I’m appreciated or loved and Valentines Day is just as good a day as any to receive that feeling.
Why is travel the best gift?
Honestly, I could go on and on about this, so I’ll try to keep it succinct for the sole purpose of getting you away from this blog and getting into planning a special travel-related gift for your SIGO. But, if you want the lowdown, check out my signature guide, “10 Ways to Strengthen Relationships Through Travel”. For now, let’s throw a few bullet points out there:
- Builds Memories. Rather than a box of chocolates that will provide instant gratification, never to be consumed again or a teddy bear that will get put who knows where (?) – travel provides a gift that can never be consumed and forgotten. Travel creates precious memories that will last forever. I’m just gonna throw my favorite quote out there for the gajillionth time, “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”
- It Shows You Really Care. It usually takes time, planning, and prep to create the gift of a travel experience. This will really get you an A for effort in the “it’s the thought that counts” department. This is a million times better than that Walgreens grab-and-go gift!
- You Get to Share. Let’s be a little selfish here and admit that it’s pretty awesome that it’s a gift you both get to benefit from. Right?
Some of you may be saying at this point, “Well, I don’t have the money to plan a trip right now just for Valentines Day”; or, “How do I pull this off in just a couple of weeks?” First, as one of my mentors says, “Forget about the how and focus on the what/why, because the how will come into fruition.” I’m going to help you out with the “how” right now, just to be an awesome friend!
How can I make this happen?
Overcome Resource Constraints. Your gift of travel doesn’t have to be an elaborate trip to Paris (though, who would say no to that?). Whether you’re short on time or funds, you can do something special for your special someone. I’m just going to throw out some ideas for you.
- Staycation. “stay·ca·tion ˌstāˈkāSHn/noun informal – a vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.” Staycations are one of my favorite ways to reset and recharge (blog article soon to come on this topic). Book a one-night stay in a hotel near you, order room service, get a massage, sleep without kids waking you up… Or, take a day trip to a local National Park, bring a picnic with a bottle of champagne or kombucha….Or, plan a local winery tour, brewery tour…The point is to explore your own backyard through the eyes of a tourist and give yourself a bit of time away from your daily distractions to focus on the one you love.
- Weekend Trip. Find all the places that your local airport flies direct in less than 2 hours to, pick a place that seems appealing, and plan to take a weekend getaway there. The US is huge, and there are so many places to explore. Some of my favorite weekend getaway cities are Sedona, AZ; Savannah, GA; Monterey/ Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA; San Juan Island, WA; Miami, FL; Las Vegas, NV; Atlanta, GA; Nashville, TN; Denver, CO; and Missoula, MT.
- Deposit Now; Travel Later. If you plan in advance, most travel suppliers have a payment plan that allows for an initial deposit and then a final payment closer to the travel date. This means you could put a deposit down on a fabulous cruise or all-inclusive resort now, print out a lovely booklet of the vacation package, and present that as a gift saying that with some savings, you’ll be able to take your trip in six months.
How to Make It Truly Special. This is where I have a lot of fun as a travel consultant. A man comes to me and says, “I want to plan a special weekend getaway for my wife’s birthday. I have some ideas, but can you help me make it really special?” I say, “Why yes! I would love to!” Here are some of my favorite ideas:
- Make it a Surprise. It’s up to you how surprising you want it to be, but I would advise at a minimum you let the person know what kind of clothes they should pack and if they need a passport before they get on that plane. But seriously, this is the best! I would love to be surprised with the gift of travel. [Hint, hint to my husband.]
- Involve Their Interests. Don’t arrange a trip to see a NASCAR race if your SIGO isn’t into NASCAR, but you are. I probably shouldn’t have to say that, but I did. But, you get it, right? If your SIGO is a foodie, book a trip that involves a food tour. If your SIGO is very active, book a trip to a National Park with plenty of outdoor recreation opportunity. On the flip side, it is fun to plan something totally new for the both of you, because doing new things together is a great way to strengthen bonds.
- Add Special Touches. Here’s a list of some ideas, but there are so many more:
- Arrange for flowers, champagne, or chocolate covered strawberries to be in the room at check-in
- Upgrade your room to a suite to make it extra decadent
- Book a spa service
- Book a hair appointment for her before your night out
- Arrange for a personal shopper to take him/ her shopping and pick out a nice outfit for the event (my husband did this for me a while ago, and it was so fun!)
- Arrange for a private car to pick you up from the airport (may not seem like a lot, but it makes it a bit more luxurious)
- Arrange a romantic dinner in your room – many luxury hotels will help you arrange this
- Book activities/ tours that she/he will love, like private tours, after hours museum visits, sunset helicopter rides, foodie/ brewery/ winery tours, snorkeling, car racing, gun ranges…this list could go on and on depending on where you are going and what your interests are.
- Hire a photographer to capture the moments (check out my blog article on this topic)
This is a lot to think about. How do I plan this?
This is where I come in – gladly. I would love to help you put together an amazing Valentines Day Travel gift for your loved one.
You simply fill out my travel planning form. After that, we schedule a free consultation. If you like my initial ideas and we seem like a good fit for each other, we work together to make an unforgettable gift from start to finish. Here is a description of my services so you can be comfortable knowing I can take care of it all for you. Be warned though, I will set the bar high for future Valentine’s Days.
Don’t hesitate. Your loved one is worth it.
In the meantime, Happy Wanderlusting!
P.S. To keep receiving travel tips and inspiration and a FREE GUIDE, “10 Ways to Strengthen Relationships Through Travel” CLICK HERE