Ah, the start of a new romance. It’s a wondrous stage wherein you feel that you’re the first two people to have found love in the history of the world. You’ve taken all the first steps; stayed up too late talking about your childhood, meeting the parents, sex with the lights on. What a time to be alive! This may be well and good, but you’re ready to level up, dammit. You feel comfortable, secure in your newfound relationship bliss that the inevitable next step is to plan a trip.
Your first romantic getaway is a memorable rite of passage for any relationship, and when the planning begins, forget about the generic hot spots, like Vegas or Cabo. To make it truly unforgettable, choose a destination that neither of you have ever been to—better yet—never even heard of. With fewer tourists around, you’ll be free to enjoy the culture and one another without distraction.
Start your vacation prep with some research on the following unique destinations.
Port Louis, Mauritius
For the: Artisan couple
Referred to as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean,” this island off the African coast is a multicultural nexus with diverse attractions to keep both you and your sweetheart entertained. The waterfront capital of Port Louis, dating back to 1735, offers all the excitement of a trendy urban center. With outdoor artisan markets, upscale shopping districts, performance venues and exotic scenery, you’ll want to spend the week just taking it all in.
Photo source: Elite-Voyage
For the: Outdoors-y couple
Fringing the outskirts of metro-Phoenix, this western retreat has been described as the “desert version of Miami’s South Beach,” according to The New York Times. Once overshadowed by its more populous neighbor, Phoenix, Scottsdale is now an up-and-coming hotspot in its own right with miles of rugged hiking trails, artistic and cultural exhibits, Sonoran-inspired cuisine and a vibrant nightlife atmosphere.
This is a perfect vacation spot for the adventurous couple that enjoys wild exploration and cosmopolitan energy.
Photo source: Huffington Post
Cape Town, South Africa
For the: Little-bit-of-everything couple
Voted the “world’s best city” in 2016 by readers of Telegraph Travel, this South African capital is a beacon of post-apartheid triumph and revitalization. It’s become a mecca for vacationers of all kinds, from thrill-seekers to history buffs. Top stops include Tabletop Mountain, False Bay, and Cape Wineland.
Don’t stop there, because Cape Town is alive after sunset: “This vibey city doesn’t need much sleep and generally, the party in the city centre areas of Loop, Lang, Bree and Waterkant Streets start an hour or so before midnight,” according to Cape Town: Discover South Africa’s Most Charming City.
Photo Source: Nox Rentals
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
For the: Mountain couple
Steamboat Springs inspires romance around every spruce-lined corner. This lesser-known Rocky Mountain enclave is home to geothermal basins, idyllic white-capped peaks and ski slopes featuring “champagne powder” snow. It’s also the perfect backdrop for long days in the snow and snuggling near the fireplace all night. It’s located three hours north of Denver, and is a less touristy option if you’re interested in popular destinations like Vail or Tahoe.
Photo source: SkyRun Steamboat
For the: Luxurious couple
Known for its 3,324-foot swimming pool, which is among the world’s most expansive manmade lagoons, this South American comuna is a favorite summer playground for Santiago’s urban elite. Whisk your sweetheart to the luxurious San Alfonso del Mar resort, where you can wander hand-in-hand along a poolside promenade flanking the Pacific Ocean. Then cool off with various amenities and excursions, including scuba diving, kayaking, sailing and a waterslide that spans almost 330 feet long. No matter what you do, this luxurious town is sure to impress.
Photo source: Odd Stuff Magazine
Your first vacation as a couple is one you’ll tell friends and family about for years to come. Choose a destination that’s unique and magical, and you’re sure to have plenty of stories to share and memories to look back on.
When the cold and snow start to take a toll on your mood, it’s time to plan a winter adventure. Whether you’re traveling solo or with friends, a vacation is not only a chance to get away, but also a great opportunity to meet new people, including potential love interests.
Here are my top ten warm destinations that will immediately shake off those winter blues!
One of the most alluring tropical islands in the Philippines, Boracay is home to sandy white beaches and clear blue water. It’s a great spot for singles as there are many bars and restaurants along the seven-kilometer long island—some that even stay open 24 hours a day.
San Diego, California
San Diego is filled with active people who are always looking for group adventures. Not to mention the geography is perfect for a warm-weather getaway. San Diego adventures include whale-watching tours, beach volleyball and SUP paddle boarding. If you’re riding solo and single, grab a towel and head to the nearest beach to scope out the surfers!
Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and perhaps the most popular. Mountain villages, seaside bars, nightlife and luxurious resorts make it a unique, culture-rich experience for both couples and singles alike.
Hawaii is a tropical paradise for winter getaways, and not just for couples. There’s plenty to do solo or with a group of friends, like check out ‘Eat the Street’, a monthly gathering of more than 40 of the island’s best food trucks. Locals are crazy about this “eclectic alternative to the island’s food scene.” Chat, eat and be merry!
You may be daydreaming about white sandy beaches and palm trees. Known as the “world’s luckiest fishing village,” Destin is perfect for someone looking to experience paradise, while meeting others who love fishing. Make a reservation with Charter Fishing Destin for deep sea fishing adventure to meet fellow anglers. You never know who may catch your eye!
San Juan, Puerto Rico
If you’re in the mood to salsa dance until the sun comes up, San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico is the destination for you. As a single looking to mingle, head straight to the Isla Verde resort strip of San Juan, known for its bars, casinos and nightclubs.
Cape Town, South Africa
With its Mediterranean-style climate, incredible wildlife and diverse culinary scene, Cape Town is a fabulous escape from reality for adventure-seekers. Sip on guided tasting flights in the Winelands, tag along on an African safari or dine at the best restaurant on the continent, The Tasting Room.
You can’t go wrong with a trip to Charleston, which was named the World’s Best City by Travel + Leisure’s 2016 Reader’s Choice Awards. Its southern charm, award-winning restaurants and trendy nightlife make Charleston an ideal place for singles of any age. You may even find yourself a true southern gentleman!
Rose Hall, Jamaica
The miles of beaches and irresistible tropical climate make Jamaica a perfect Caribbean getaway to improve your mood. The Iberostar Rose Hall Suites is home to restaurants, a swim-up bar, spa and white sandy beach provide ample opportunities to mix and mingle with other singles.
If you’re looking to find a little bit sunshine and friendly people, Costa Rica is known as the ‘Happiest Country on Earth’—and a happy partner makes for a happy life. It’s also a great destination for thrill-seekers, with plenty of adventurous opportunities like zip lining or white water rafting.
Going on a trip with a new partner can be a great way to get to know them better. You’re both out of normal context, maybe out of your comfort zone a bit, and you’re having to interact in a new way. Here are 5 trips you can take with a new partner to see if he’ll be able to go the distance:
See what he really looks like after sitting in the dirt for two days – that’s what it boils down to. Almost no one looks their best when they’re out in the bush without showers or mirrors. Now you can see what he really looks like without creature comforts and prep time. Is someone unhappy with the idea of not being able to do his hair, or conversely, way too excited about not having to brush his teeth? That could be a bad sign. Does he somehow manage to look even hotter in a flannel with the smell of campfire in his hair, though? Hold on to him!
2) Weekend getaway where you have to cooperate to do physical activity
Whoever said riding a tandem bike is a fun time was full of garbage. It looks so picturesque to see two tourists riding along, sweetly peddling together around the sites. In reality, they’re about two seconds away from breaking off the bike’s handlebars and having an American Gladiator-style battle to the death in front of the Santa Monica Pier. Activities or trips that require cooperation to do an activity are the fastest way to tell how compatible you are with someone. Can’t cooperate long enough to paddle a canoe together? Might be time to rethink things.
3) Travelling to a developing country
Maybe not something you’d undertake in a brand new relationship, but traveling to a country where you have to rough it a bit will tell you a lot about a person. Being in a situation where you might not be completely comfortable because neither of you speak the language, your safety isn’t guaranteed, or your accommodation isn’t fancy can be very telling about someone’s character. Is he grossed out by unfamiliar food in Bali? Scared to ride a chicken bus in Costa Rica? Uncomfortable bartering for a taxi in Mexico City? Traveling to these kinds of places requires a sense of adventure and a little bit of street smarts. If those things matter to you, putting yourselves in a situation like that is a good litmus test to see if you’re compatible in the long run.
4) A weekend visiting his family
How someone acts around their family may be very different from how they interact with friends and the rest of their social circle. Maybe he refuses to help with the dishes and secretly resents his brother, or maybe he loves fishing with his step sister and taking his adopted grandma to get her hair done? Either way, spending a good chunk of time together with his family will give you some insight into what he’s really like. Plus you get to hear all of the family drama that only comes out after a couple of glasses of wine!
5) Anywhere when it’s mostly just your friends that are going
No one likes to babysit their boyfriend who is being a grumpy cat because he doesn’t have a bro to talk to. Dating someone who gets along with your friends and is comfortable in new social situations is top notch in my books. Even if it might not be as fun for him as a snowboarding trip with his buddies, taking the time to do something or go on a trip that’s important to you, (hello, weekend your best friend’s cabin!), shows that you’re a priority to him. This means you’ll have to reciprocate though!