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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Romantic (and Reasonably Priced) Getaways 2.4.11

Feeling like a little escape might be a good thing right about now? Get some one-on-one time with the love of your life and also rack up some bonus points by giving a surprising and amazing gift for Valentine’s Day. I’ll let you in on a little secret: You don’t have to plan your getaway for the weekend or the week of the 14th! You don’t! Plan it for March or May or even September. The point is that you think of it and do all the legwork for it now. Take your better half out to a romantic dinner at one of their favorite spots and give them a cute little card with a note proclaiming your love and impending vacation plans. They will LOVE it (and you) and also have something awesome to look forward to. If they ask why you aren’t leaving right away, tell them you wanted to prolong V-Day and also make sure you could get off work. It’s probably true.

Now, on to my list of vacation spots for young (and old) lovers that will make you the hero this year, while you rejoice in keeping some cash in your pocket, because, after all, you don’t need to spend every penny you have to give a great gift. All the smart people know this, like the ones who hand make gifts for those that appreciate such things. You can be frugal and still make a big impact.

Take to the seas! Caribbean cruises are all on sale right now and there’s nothing more romantic than all-you-can-eat buffets, a floating casino, limbo contests and $42 mojitos. Seriously though, cruises can be a great way to reconnect, pamper yourself and just relax. While the booze cruisers are drinking away their college tuitions, you can enjoy late-night adult entertainment (dancing, comedy, Broadway-style shows), stroll the streets of a new city each day and then hole up in your cabin for hours on end, if you so desire.

Dress up and splurge a bit by taking your date to one of the fancy restaurants that are not included in your cruise rate, or request a nice table for two in the main dining room. And take all those free photo ops! While most will be awful, in the most hilarious way, there’s bound to be one or two that you’ll actually want to take home and show people you know. Right now, CruiseExperts has some dandy deals on 3-14 night cruises in the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico, Hawaii, Europe and the Panama Canal. They start from just $219pp, so if you can cruise close to home, you can save even more.

All-inclusive resorts are all-inclusive. I mean, that’s like 95% true. Spa treatments, some motorized activities and anything you buy at the gift shop are not included. I also hear that many resorts make you pay for WiFi, but if you’re there on a couple’s getaway, checking your email probably isn’t on the top of your list anyway. All-inclusive resorts can be found throughout Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, the Bahamas and also the Gulf Coast. So, if you either don’t own a passport or are looking to make your trip a little cheaper, look at great destinations like Destin and Panama City Beach in Florida. The same white sandy beaches and fantastic service, but a shorter plane ride and a smaller bill. The two best places for finding lower rates? CheapCaribbean and BookIt. Both are amazing for finding package deals that include airfare, but you can also book without airfare, so it’s convenient for any travel you want to book. CheapTickets even has this lovely list of deals where you can save up to 55%.

Did you see my post on New Orleans? It’s not just for Mardi Gras anymore! Take a free ferry ride, eat oodles of yummy Cajun food, tour the historic homes and learn about the ghosts that haunt The Big Easy. How are you not planning your trip RIGHT NOW?

If you and your honey are adventurous types that aren’t really into the whole squealing in delight over jewelry and PDA that everyone averts their eyes from while muttering “get a room!” at, and instead you like to try weird foods, climb things and explore ancient ruins (and historic buildings), then South America may be exactly the kind of trip you have been looking for. Peru, Ecuador, Brazil. There are plenty of things to see and do that are also crazy cheap. In fact, South America is my top pick whenever you’re looking for a budget destination. You can make it outdoorsy and cheap or luxurious and pampering for (a little less) cheap. Sleep in a rainforest or the Radisson. Honestly, if your partner is into traveling to cool new places, then you need to go. It fits any budget. Aside from airfare, you can expect to spend 33-50% of what you spend on your normal vacations.

Live large for a few days in Sin City and do a bunch of free things and a few expensive things and still go home with some money in your bank account. Las Vegas has a lot to offer those that aren’t eloping or trying to “win it all back”. Here’s a short list of freebies followed by a way to get crazy cheap show tickets:
·         Sirens of TI show – What used to be called Treasure Island, now is hip and “with it” and has scantily clad lady pirates traipsing around a ship, sword fighting and walking the plank.
·         Fall of Atlantis – Behind Caesars Palace in the forum shops you can eat at the Cheesecake Factory and then watch this animatronic show that happens every hour that shows the struggles between the Gods and how Atlantis ended up on the ocean floor. At least, I think that’s what it was about.
·         Lions at MGM – My favorite activity is totally free and amuses all day. Smack dab in the middle of the MGM is a plexiglass home of the MGM lions, where they lounge about and sometimes yawn or play with trainers. Watch from outside or inside the tunnel and then peruse the gift shop.
·         The fountains of Bellagio – Every night you can be entranced by the dancing water that is put to lights and music. This can be romantic.
·         The conservatory and botanical gardens of Bellagio – If you’re biding your time until nightfall to see those amazing fountains, take a trip into the botanical gardens to check out some awesome plant life. Hold hands and marvel at flowers. Chicks dig flowers.
·         Hawaiian Marketplace – Modeled after the marketplace in Honolulu, you can browse vendor booths with cool products you’ve never seen or just saw two kiosks away and then enjoy a bird show and also Hawaiian dancing.
·         Fremont Street Experience – If you like shiny things, or travel with someone who does, then make a point to visit Fremont Street. The entire canopy lights up and makes you dizzy after staring upwards for so long. This may also be the best time to spend some money and go for a zipline under the canopy of lights. Fun!
·         Stroll through the “streets” of Paris or New York.
·         Ready to show your Valentine a bit less of a frugal time? Take a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower, eat at a celebrity chef’s restaurant, sit at a sidewalk café and then take in a show or two. Use Broadway Box to find discount codes on many of the popular shows in Vegas. Sometimes up to 50% off and sometimes inclusive of dinner.
·         Need to find a deal on getting to and staying in Vegas? Again, this is the time to check out BookIt.

Want more ideas on spoiling your Valentine on a budget? Sign up for Groupon Las Vegas and get 50-90% off dining, entertainment, activities and more. Or follow me on Facebook or Twitter to see the deals rolling out each day.

Do you have more ideas to add to this list? I want to hear your romantic getaway destinations!


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