One of the best parts about travelling is the planning – at least that’s the case for a Type A person like myself! I love diving into every detail, making decisions on where to go and when, where to stay and what to do. I feel like I have planned 10x the amount of trips I actually go on – but, hey! Now we’ll have the plans when we actually do go!
You know what else planners love? Checklists. It’s great to have a checklist when planning, from everything you need to do for a wedding to what to pack for a trip to Thailand in the summer to what documents you need to take with you on an international trip. Checklists are essential for having things in order and for getting everything done without the constant worry of “did I already do that?” or “did I forget something?”.
Today, though, I bring to you a different type of checklist. Instead of a checklist of what to bring on your trip or what photos to take on your trip, this is a checklist of what trips to plan in the first place. This is not a bucket list of the best destinations around the world, but more of a couples’ guide to travelling together.
6 Trips Every Couple Should Take…Every Year
We are sure there are other couples out there who have a different view of things, but this is our list of six trips every couple should take each year, and it applies to couples who travel for a living as well as couples who do not. These trips help keep the spark alive, keep your relationship growing, and also keep you in touch with all of the other important people in your life.
Prepare yourself – this will leave you wanting to research your next trip immediately.
1. A City Break
A city break is never a holiday so much as it is an adventure – one full of history, culture, and fun. There’s no better way to immerse yourself in a new country rapidly than to visit a bustling city. Even the things that almost cities have in common – a main square, a viewpoint from the tallest building, a crowded shopping street, etc. – are slightly different in each place. City breaks are great when you just have a weekend to travel together – easy and cheaper to get to (usually close to a main airport), lots of information and pre-existing itineraries on them, and organised systems for cramming everything in (transport, bus tours, etc.). Some of our favourite city breaks have been Paris, Munich, and Florence.
If you’re based in the UK or Europe and looking for something different for your next weekend getaway, consider a hidden town in Europe.
Couples Tip: To make the trip extra romantic and special, dress up for a night out – attend an evening exhibit or show (something cultural and local) followed by a local favourite restaurant. End the night by picking up a bottle of wine at a local shop (bonus if it’s a wine from that area!) and enjoying it together back in your hotel or Airbnb.
2. A local getaway
Staycations are brilliant because they allow you to escape your everyday life without putting in any effort. My idea of a local getaway is anything within an hour of travel time, but this can vary for everyone. For example, if it takes you an hour and half to get to work everyday, then you’re probably willing to travel a bit further for a nice weekend away. Aim for a different environment from your day to day – if you’re in the city, give the countryside a try; if you’re in the country, maybe head toward the water or the mountains for a change of scenery. It’s a great way to explore something nearby to you that you may not know even exists right now! It’s also a great way to unplug without having to spend too much money and go into a frenzy of financial stress.
Couples Tip: This is a great trip for birthdays or special events that you do not have time to truly get away for. Leave your laptop at home – you’re not far away so if that emergency really does happen you can go back and get it! Unplug, unwind, and enjoy each other’s company. My dream local getaway is staying at a B&B in the country, going for morning walks, and splitting a bottle of wine by the fire in the evening. For us, if the dog can come, too, that’s a major bonus!
3. A true vacation
For us, a true vacation can be defined as a getaway of significant length (enough time to actually forget about work), a far enough distance from your house that you actually feel like you have gone somewhere, which consists of essentially doing nothing. Hiking for a week in Colorado may be a ton of fun for you, but it’s not relaxing – in fact, it’s quite strenuous. You also may thrive off of culture and museums, but spending a day museum hopping is exhausting, and a lot for your brain to take in. A vacation is a trip where you can forget about work, all of your problems, and pretty much everything except what is right in front of you.
Couples Tip: Go for an all-inclusive and eliminate all potential stress. You won’t even have to worry about waiting for the bill at dinner, how much that third martini is going to cost you, or arranging taxis to get anywhere. We loved Paradisus Punta Cana for our trip last year!
4. A trip with family
As I get older, I have started to realise that family vacations are less about fighting the entire time and more about actually spending quality time together. Once you move away from home, family vacations are a great opportunity to get everyone together, catch up, reminisce on your childhood, and let loose with your loved ones! I love that Sean and I have the opportunity to travel with his parents so much, and the opportunity to meet up with my brother and his wife so often while they’re living in Europe. It’s a great change of pace from travelling with just one another or just meeting up with family for the occasional dinner.
If your trip with family is really just a trip to family during the holidays, follow these tips for a stress-free visit with your family to ensure you have the best experience possible.
Couples Tip: Find something that everyone is interested in and go do that – it will eliminate the sour attitudes and planning drama. My brother, his wife, Sean and I all love wine tasting. With his family, we are normally travelling for football or skiing. My parents both love relaxing holidays, so a “true vacation” is perfect. Just don’t drag your sister who hates bugs on a camping trip in the forest simply because the rest of the family wants to – it’ll be more worry for everyone involved! If you need a little romance, plan one night or a certain activity away from the family; but remember, this is a family vacation!
5. A trip without each other
This one is so important! Going on a trip without each other will help you appreciate the trips you take with each other so much more, and will also allow you to do some things you wouldn’t normally do together. For example, Sean would probably hate a week away at a spa retreat, but it’s the perfect thing to do with girlfriends! My trip to Barcelona and Sean’s trip to Barbados were definitely different from our usual couples travel, but we both had a blast and we always talk about how we would like to take the other there for a different experience.
Couples Tip: Don’t use data roaming when you are spending time with your friends (or solo if you want to do a solo trip). You’ll miss your significant other, but you can catch up in the evening or when you are at a cafe. Chatting constantly kind of defeats the purpose of a trip away from each other! Also, don’t be afraid to share how much fun you are having; your s/o will not be upset that you’re having a blast in the sun while they’re stuck in rainy London – they’ll be so happy that you’re enjoying your time and will love hearing about it.
6. A trip down memory lane
What is one of your favourite memories together? Is it a restaurant you went to in your hometown, a day trip you took somewhere nearby, a picnic on the beach when you were on holiday? Do it again! It doesn’t have to be the exact same, but doing something that meant so much to you the first time each year is a special tradition that only you two will have. You can laugh about the previous times you did it, or failed attempts to do so, and enjoy each other’s company. For us, it’s simple – we love having a “fancy” picnic, either at home or on holiday. Our first ever was in St. James’ Park in London, followed by a last minute picnic in Milan. This year, Sean proposed during a picnic he setup in our living room (rain came and he had to adjust).
Couples Tip: Tiny details make all the difference. Try to incorporate something from your first memory into each year’s event – whether that is a type of food, a certain playlist, or even staying in the same hotel each year if it’s a trip. Those details are a special part of your lives together, so don’t be afraid to celebrate them!
It’s fun to keep this list in mind when planning a trip, and see exactly what each adventure ticks of the list! We are quite spontaneous with travel plans and will just book something when we think of it, but we do somehow end up doing all of these each year. However, remember – it’s just a guideline. Above all, take the trips that make you happiest!
We fully understand that for some it is not possible to take six trips a year. These trips do not all need to be separate, but rather can be combined on many occasions – example, a trip to a nearby city could be a city break and a local getaway; or a holiday with your family but without your significant other ticks off three!
So…which one will you plan first?
Let us know in the comments below!