Where In The World Is Romance?
Valentine’s Day is approaching
quickly. It is the day devoted to romance, something nearly
synonymous with travel. You’ve seen the enticing vacation
commercials showing tanned couples frolicking on beaches or couples
dining in charming Parisian cafés. Are these images supposed to
compel us to turn to travel to find the perfect romantic nirvana? If
so, where are the best places to go? Are beach resorts more romantic
than say, Paris in springtime?
To find out what’s hot and
what’s not in the world of romantic travel. I recently interviewed
Susan Breslow-Sardone, About.com's guide to
Honeymoons and Romantic Getaways, and Yahoo Internet Life’s Getaway Guru. In the following Q&A, Susan has
provided us with some insight into finding the perfect romantic
Q. Susan, how do you know what makes a romantic
A. I’ve been fortunate to have done a
lot of traveling in my career. I’ve been sent on an African safari,
seen the capitals of Europe, island-hopped in the Caribbean, steeped
in the warm spa waters in Iceland, and visited many of the fifty
states (including Hawaii and Alaska). I’ve written about these
destinations for magazines that include Travel Holiday,
The New Yorker, and Travel & Leisure. I also
started the “City Weddings & Honeymoons” section in New York
Magazine. Then five years ago, I got married for the first (and I
hope only) time. It was time to put words into action.
combination of being a travel writer and a newlywed inspired me to
apply to be the Honeymoons/Romantic Getaways guide at About.com.
There’s nothing like traveling with my best friend, my husband. The
ease and comfort I have with him, plus his wonderful sense of humor,
make him a great traveling companion. Not to mention that he carries
Q. Where would you recommend going for a
A. What exotic place did we pick to
seal our vows and honeymoon? Las Vegas! And if I had it to do over
again, I’d do it there once more. It was an elegant turnkey affair
in the chapel of a brand-new hotel on the Strip. And best of all, it
was far enough from Florida that I knew my mother wouldn’t be able
What I don’t advocate is B&B stays for
honeymooners. I know that if I were spending my first night with my
husband, the last thing I’d want would be to come down to breakfast
the next morning and face a bunch of smirking strangers. In
fairness, though, not all B&Bs are like that.
to recent statistics, couples spend an average of $4,000 on their
honeymoon. That’s three times as much as the average U.S. adult
spends on a vacation. Planning is essential. Couples need to strike
a balance between an overly regimented trip and being so completely
laissez-faire about it that they end up with no place to stay for
Q. In your opinion, what are the top romantic
A. Hawaii is by far the top choice. The
weather is perfect, the hotels are terrific, the beaches are
gorgeous, and the food, the flowers, and the Hawaiians themselves
make it paradise. Other good choices include:
Q. I have been hearing a lot about
Disney World and adventure travel as being popular with couples. Are
they really good romantic getaways?
- Jamaica: A country that extends a warm and sunny welcome to
- Mexico: A great value south of the border, and muy
- Tahiti: Travel here for an exotic, once-in-a-lifetime
- Florida: America’s easy and (relatively) inexpensive choice.
- England: London and the British countryside beckon lovers.
- Italy: Venice, Florence, Rome, Milan, Naples, and Tuscany all
flame the fires of passion on honeymoons.
- Bermuda: Gorgeous pink sands, transportation via mopeds, and
not much to do at night—which is just fine with many honeymooners.
- France: Journey to the country that invented l’amour.
- St. Lucia: One of the Caribbean’s lushest islands, St. Lucia
combines French-Creole warmth and hospitality with English
A. A lot of
people seem to think Disney makes a good honeymoon vacation. I can’t
imagine voluntarily going to a theme park and being surrounded by
thousands of children. My husband and I went to DisneyWorld a couple
of years ago and stayed in their Caribbean Beach Resort, a terrible
place for a romantic getaway. It had a tiny bathroom (you deserve a
bathtub big enough for two on a romantic vacation!) and no changing
Then there are adventure trips—hiking, kayaking, and
other activities that make you sweat with your clothes on. These are
great for hardy couples who know each other well and for whom sex
isn’t going to be the big event. Even if you’re planning an
adventure trip, you can still afford to include a luxury element.
Active couples can choose an outdoorsy trip like bicycling in
Tuscany or walking the Cotswolds that also includes staying at great
places and savoring fine food and wine at day’s end.
What do you suggest for couples on a tight
A. Transportation can eat up a high
percentage of a small budget, so I advise couples without much money
to spend to drive rather than fly. Where you go is a matter of
personal taste. I think cities are fascinating, and you can
certainly find the privacy you need there.
If you must have
a beach and can’t afford the Caribbean, places like the Florida
Panhandle, Alabama’s Gulf Shores, and Mississippi’s Gulf Coast are
all quite affordable. But watch the calendar; you don’t want to be
there at spring break or during school holidays.
are the best values for romantic travel?
A. As for
the best values, I suppose those would be all-inclusive resorts and
cruises. For young couples, couples on a budget, or people who get
nervous about the uncertainties of travel, these are ideal.
Q. How has the Internet changed planning for romantic
A. You can really do all the planning
yourself now. Not only are there giants like Expedia and Travelocity
to guide you through booking an entire vacation, but you can also
preview where you’ll stay and thoroughly research your destination.
From the smallest inns to worldwide hotel groups, everyone has a
website now. And as more and more people get broadband access, and
sites get to stream audio and video, virtual honeymoon tours will
provide everything but the tan.
Q. What are the keys to a
great romantic vacation?
Or, just do the opposite of what I say in How to Have a Miserable
- No kids.
- No cooking.
- A great bed and a bath that fits two.
- Discovering a new place together.
- Time to do nothing.
- Time together, and yes, time apart.
- Saying out loud how lucky you are to have found your mate.
- And a small gift left on the pillow never hurts
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