I love traveling and I’ve dated several women in the past 20 years in different countries. While French people are thought to be very romantic, I’ve made a few mistakes that completely ruined some very exciting dates. As wise people learn from their mistakes, wiser people learn from others’ mistakes. Therefore I’ve prepared a list of the most important things that, in my opinion, you should consider before planning a romantic getaway.
1. Plan in advance
You’re planning a romantic escape with your loved one and you have something specific in mind. You’re seeing yourself resting in a hammock, sharing a nice dinner and sleeping in a cozy room. You know a few places where you can get this type of experience, and you assume they always have space. Days go by and you think you’ll have time to book. You just want to be sure about the date and that nothing will get in the way so you won't have to cancel at the last minute and get charged. You’re looking forward to it a bit more every day. You picture yourself relaxing in a pool or a lake with your favorite cocktail, sharing quality time with your other half in front of a breathtaking view. As the excursion day is getting close and you feel it’s time to make a reservation, you start contacting all the places you had in mind to compare prices. But they’re all fully booked! How come they all sold out three days in advance? You really didn’t expect that and begin to get stressed. All your expectations are starting to fall apart and a strong feeling of frustration is suddenly invading you. This is not fair. You start thinking of an emergency plan. You contact a few friends to ask for recommendations you might have not thought about, and you deepen your research. You spend a lot of time looking for other options, but nothing seems to fit your expectations. And then you have to face a choice: you either have to lower your expectations, increase your budget, or change the date of your getaway. All three options make you feel unsatisfied, you just want the romantic escape you imagined since the very first day!
Well in order to avoid this situation, there is a very simple solution, which is to plan in advance. It might not be natural for a lot of people but believe me it will save you lots of trouble. Depending on where you want to go, my recommendation is to book your hotel between one week and one month ahead. If you’re afraid some other unplanned event might get in the way, don’t worry. First of all, you can ask the establishment about their cancellation policy, so you know until when you can cancel free of charge. And you’d be surprised that many places have very flexible rules. Then, really think of what could possibly come in the way, and if it would be more important than your romantic experience (isn’t your loved one more important than anybody else?). And anyway, the probability that something really important emerges and ruins your plans is very small, so it definitely is worth booking the venue in advance.
2. Choose a quiet place (better in nature)
The best way to enjoy quality time with your partner is being on your own, isolated from people and hustle and bustle. Imagine trying to have a private conversation in a noisy restaurant or on a crowded beach. Being yourself and opening up is a crucial part of developing a healthy relationship, and it is much easier when you are in a safe environment, where you feel comfortable. And in general people having regular contact with nature feel more relaxed (and tend to live longer).
Moreover, studies on sleep showed that your sleep quality is much higher when you sleep in a dark, quiet place. Which is more easily achieved away from the city.
3. Choose a small establishment
When choosing the place, you have to know the kind of experience you want. If you’re spending a weekend with friends, you’d rather be in a place where you can make noise and socialize. But if you want to have quality time with your lover, a small place is much more recommended. You’ll have less people around and less probability to get disturbed. Moreover, small establishments usually offer a more personalized service, as they have less customers to attend. And you will definitely feel more special. You can even get to know the staff and interact with them, so you really feel at home. And I’ll come back to that later, but small restaurants also tend to have fresh products and serve higher quality meals.
4. Get recommendations and do your research (from your friends, TripAdvisor, Booking.com etc.)
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get recommendations. You know your friends, and they know what you like so they can give advice that best suits you. Websites like Tripadvisor, Booking or even Google can also give a good idea of the quality of a place, with feedback from their customers. Make sure they have enough reviews, so you have a good sample to take advice from. Small places will obviously have less reviews, but if they have at least 100, that’s statistically good enough. And don't forget to check their website (or call them directly) before reserving on the traditional booking platforms. Their prices may be more affordable, as they don't have to pay the platfom fee.
5. Pick a well-established place, not a new one
I’ve been to newly opened hotels and had the chance to be one of the first guests, and seeing the excitement of the young owners, it feels somehow special. But I also realized that it was risky, as inexperienced business owners sometimes make mistakes that can really affect your stay. It is not easy to develop this kind of hospitality, as there are many aspects to think about, and so many things can go wrong. A mishap here and there is not much when you’re traveling solo (or with a friend). It's no big deal, but