Valentine’s Day ideas: A romantic ‘staycation’ with your lover
By Aimee Heckel
Sure, being whisked away for a romantic Valentine’s Day vacation to Waikiki, Hawaii, isn’t going to garner up many protesters. But due to schedules, finances, other obligations or even just the dynamics of your relationship, this might not be an option.
Studies show that 45 percent of Americans dread Valentine’s Day because of the pressure to spend money. In fact, mental health professionals report a surge in depression this time of year, according to Explore My World Travel, which is why the company urges people to keep it simple and inexpensive and opt for a “nearcation” as a V-Day alternative.
In other words, venture just outside of your regular life to feel the excitement of something new — but without the stress of planning, packing for a week, flying, passports and credit card debt piling up.
Instead of going the expected route — a box of chocolates, jewelry, a card and flowers — why not step out onto a different pathway this Valentine’s Day: a romantic excursion close to home.
You don’t have to fly overseas to experience a romantic getaway. Sometimes, just different scenery and a break from the regular patterns can provide your brain (and heart) with enough space to reset. And sometimes the answers you’re seeking are right in front of you — or at the farthest, a few miles down the highway.
Here are our favorite ideas for planning your very own romantic staycation this Valentine’s Day:
A dinner and a movie — in a new city. Instead of watching a movie in your basement, check out area film festivals, or even movie showings at non-traditional, artsy, independent theaters. Maine has the Local Love Muscle film festival on V-Day. Missouri has the Valentine’s Day Film Festival.
Avoid the Valentine’s Day dinner rushes and book a bed and breakfast — or a cabin or cottage with a kitchen. Prepare a meal before your partner arrives, and when he or she walks through the door, an elegant table spread (or an adorable picnic) will be waiting.
If you happen to live near Galena, Ill., you are in luck. Bedandbreakfast.com named the Cloran Mansion Inn there one of the top 10 bed and breakfast establishments in the nation. Here, look forward to fresh-baked cookies upon your arrival, a fire pit and sea salts in the whirlpool bath.
Don’t forget to check the deals and coupons for Bedandbreakfast.com. You could save 10 percent off online bookings, plus up to 5 percent cash back, when you purchase through ShopAtHome.com.
Check out vacation rental by owners, where you can rent rooms or even full homes from private owners for often significantly less than staying at a hotel. A popular website to check is VRBO.com, where you can find offerings such as a full, three-bedroom house in Joshua Tree, Calif. (just outside of Palm Springs) for $250 per night. This includes 1,800 square feet on 5 private acres, a luxury hot tub, leather furniture and even a Tempur-Pedic bed. Check the map for offerings within a short drive of your home.