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Romantic Getaways

Tips for Planning Your Own Romantic Rendezvous

by Jessica Howell

Forget roses. Forget chocolate. Flowers and candy are nice, but nothing beats rekindled romance and time well spent with the one you love. Try sweeping your sweetie off their feet with an unexpected getaway this year. Whether it's a quiet weekend at a nearby bed and breakfast, a relaxing trip for two to the spa, or a weeklong getaway to someplace you've only been talking about - it's the perfect gift to celebrate your love and create some new memories while you're at it.

Start looking now. Many B&Bs, hotels, resorts and spas offer special Valentine's Day packages that arrange for special touches, like champagne at check-in or pre-made dinner reservations. Not only do such packages help shave planning time, many will save you money as well. Here are some ideas to get you started in your quest to create the perfect romantic holiday:

Think local

"Getaway" doesn't have to mean "far away". Sometimes the most relaxing thing to do is stay close to home. Enter bed and breakfasts. Often overlooked as viable travel options, B&Bs offer personalized services and home-cooked meals in a setting unique to each owner. Smaller than a hotel and much more intimate, they're an ideal escape from the daily upkeep of your own home.

Now you can take the time to try out that new restaurant that you've been eyeing for the past few months, stroll through a visiting museum exhibit or just kick back and relax during a weekend free of household chores.

Think relaxing

Stressed out? Worn down? Love may be in the air, but holiday bills are still in the mailbox. De-frazzle with the one you love by booking a weekend at your favorite spa. Nothing says "I love you" like the gift of rejuvenation. Try an aromatic or herbal soak to unwind, a body polishing for baby soft skin, or a simple pedicure before a Valentine's night on the town.

Most spas also offer couple's packages that cater specifically to twosomes. Check your favorite spa to see if they offer something similar. If not, check SpaFinder to find destination spas all over the U.S. that will suit your needs.

Think convenient

Looking for a romantic vacation where convenience and comfort go hand in hand? Where you can spend a few days without ever wandering too far? You may want to consider a resort getaway. One step up from hotels when it comes to on property services and amenities, resorts are perfect for a weekend away. Most have an onsite restaurant and spa, along with plenty of activities to keep you perfectly occupied without the need for a cab.

First, choose a destination. You can find beautiful resorts from northern Michigan to the Florida Keys. Search online for area resorts and as you view their web sites, be sure to check out specials and packages. Many resorts offer Valentine's Day promotions only advertised through web sites or travel agents.

Think secluded

Sometimes the best way to get in-touch with the one you love is to get out-of-touch with everyone else. Check your local newspaper for rental classified ads and find a quaint cottage in the woods or a small lake house to rent for a few quiet days. For those more in tune with nature, grab a tent, picnic basket and firewood for the ultimate in close-proximity travel.

It may be difficult, but do the unthinkable and leave your cell phone at home. Instead, pack a basket full of "necessities" from your local gourmet grocer (fresh bread, savory cheeses and a bottle of wine), a few good books to swap and discuss and, of course, a couple of warm blankets to curl up in beside a campfire.

Think fun

Tired of celebrating Valentine's Day in the same old way? This year, kiss dinner reservations at crowded restaurants goodbye. Instead, why not trek Arizona's red rock region or climb Alaska's Mount Denali as a twosome, tackling adventure as a team?

For more information on how you and yours can share some serious bonding time, visit iExplore. Packed with adventurous itineraries (guides included), you can browse through travel tips and personal reviews or book space on an upcoming excursion, a perfect way to make this year a memorable one.