In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re proud to feature couples from around the world who love to travel. Stories here include entries by journalists, a U.S. Marine, writers, bloggers, doctors, IT workers and people from other walks of life. These wonderful couples share travel tips for romance on the road, inspiring us with tales of amazing destinations that leave us daydreaming of where to visit next.
We asked 10 couples three questions regarding travel and their relationships.
1) What has been the most significant destination in your relationship?
2) How do you add romance to your vacations?
3) If you could visit one romantic destination you haven’t been to, where would it be?
Marijke and Mickey: Netherlands & Alabama
Mickey and I have been in a long distance relationship for about 9 years now. I visit him in Montgomery, Alabama for 2 months a year. He travels to Rotterdam, Netherlands for our yearly summer vacation. Mickey clicked with France the first time he crossed the border. Most people will probably have Paris as their dream destination for Valentine’s Day, but it’s our least favorite town in France. We loved Dijon, Avignon and Rouen.
Jean and “Zombie”: Australia
We’ve been to quite a few ‘romantic’ places but Tahiti was the one that really did it for us. It wasn’t our honeymoon, and there was nothing quintessentially romantic that happened like a proposal (we’d been married about 5 years into this trip). But it was in Tahiti that we found our element – finding joy being underwater and learning a destination’s culture through locals. We went to Moorea and Bora Bora and spent most of our days snorkelling and scuba diving where we saw magnificent marine life. Manta rays and sharks of all kinds, and coral reefs were so alive. We don’t speak French or Tahitian, but managed to go deepwater fishing at night with locals. It was a combination of all these experiences and also the natural beauty of the place that made us so in love with it, and with each other more.
We have extremely opposite interests and personalities so when we go on holidays, we try to engage in activities involving the very few common interests we have. We go outdoors, scuba diving or snorkelling, and then also throw in some kind of relaxation at the end of the day like a couples massage or an intimate dinner. These common interests,as few as they may be, are quite essential to us as it gets us connected again and ready to face the real world. We find that ‘romancing a place’ this way is the best way to maintain the burning fire in our relationship.
The Caribbean definitely! Living in Australia, the islands of the Caribbean are quite far away but it’s always in our list of romantic getaways to visit.
Jean covers incredible destinations on her website Holy Smithereens, which is “a luxury travel blog with a penchant for adventure.”
Jennifer and Scott: Americans Living in Dublin
We got married on Maui (Mauied?) so this romantic island in Hawaii will always have a special place in our hearts. Our wedding was a travel adventure and definitely set the stage for the travel-rich life we enjoy today. We took a helicopter and landed in an oasis in the rainforest and said our vows in romantic solitude. We returned back to our resort hotel to start our honeymoon immediately and spent the next week exploring the island before flying to Buffalo in winter to celebrate with family. Eloping in a tropical destination is how we roll!
Just being together and traveling together is romantic to us. Whether it’s walking hand-in-hand while exploring a new city in Europe, splitting a sweet treat we picked up at a bakery (it’s easier on the waistline too), or sipping a glass of wine at a sidewalk cafe, for us, sharing new travel experiences is as romantic as it gets. By traveling offseason we have oftentimes been fortunate to experience “private” tours at group rates (because no one else booked that day) including horseback riding, gorilla trekking, and a ferry across an Italian lake. We also seek out destinations like the Wild Atlantic Way of Ireland, Portugal, and Western Australia that have fantastic sunset opportunities to embrace the day’s end together.
We recently celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary in Uganda, so we’ve definitely thought a lot about this question. Bora Bora is at the top on our romantic destination bucket list. Just thinking of the beautiful thatched cabins overlooking a deep blue sea makes us want to book a romantic getaway there right now.
Jennifer and PJ: Florida
Drew and Will: Americans living in Budapest, Hungary
Bianca and Tim: Melbourne, Australia
Definitely Cuba! We travelled there in 2009. It was in Havana that my husband finally caught the travel bug and began to understand my obsession with travelling. We fell in love with the faded beauty of the Spanish colonial architecture which has changed so little over time. There’s also the classic cars still driving the streets, the lively culture of street musicians and dance, isolated beaches with white sand and turquoise water, and of course the best mojitos in the world!
I guess romance means different things to different people. While we love a romantic dinner for two on a beach somewhere exotic, we also love the romance of adventure, the thrill of the unknown. For us the act of travelling itself is romantic – bringing with it the promise of new experiences and the chance to make long lasting memories together. Corny but true.
As Aussies we both love sunshine and beaches. But Tim and I disagree on this one. Tim wants to go to Bora Bora, a small Pacific island and popular luxury resort destination with over water bungalows. I’d rather to go to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, known for its palm-fringed beaches, reefs and rare wildlife. However, I’m more than willing to compromise and visit both!
Bianca has been a journalist for more than 15 years and Tim works in IT. Since being together they’ve travelled to more than 20 countries and counting.
Max and Carolyn: American & Aussie currently stationed in Japan
The most significant destination for my wife Carolyn and I is by far, Sydney, Australia, where we met for the first time! I was on the way back from the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003. I flew to Australia, but ended up on USS Cleveland when we stopped in Sydney. Carolyn is from a suburb named Camden and was working in the city when we met at the Golden Sheath pub in Double Bay. Our relationship almost didn’t happen because I mistakenly gave a taxi driver named “Robert” the only business card Carolyn gave me and I forgot to ask for it back. “Robert” was the coolest taxi driver! He was from Baghdad and totally stoked to drive around 3 Marines that just liberated his country. He even joined us at the bar later. I always wanted to locate “Robert” and tell him his recommendation of the Golden Sheath led me to my soul mate.
For romance while traveling with our daughter, Coralyn, our routine is always the same. After sightseeing, when our gal is off to sleep, we crack open a bottle of wine and cheese (preferably on balconies). We also sit on the same side of the table at restaurants right across from each other. We rarely allow our daughter to watch television, but headphones with iPod movies allow us to enjoy even a 5 star meal. But our favorite place is Hard Rock, for the most iconic tourist shirts in the world.
Cruises to South America, and Antartica are on the vision board for upcoming romantic destinations since we have visited all other continents. We’ve now visited over 60 countries.
Max and Carolyn recently celebrated their 10 year wedding anniversary. Max is approaching 23 years of service as a U.S. Marine.
Kelly and Antonio: Massachusetts
Mathew and Karla: Calgary, Alberta
I can’t think of one specific destination but I’d have to say Asia as a continent. Our first big trip was spending one year in Southeast Asia and it was incredible. There’s just something about tropical paradise, great food, scuba diving, and nature that makes us tick.
Since a lot of our trips are on a low budget, we always try to squeeze in a couple of nice hotels where we can really relax and unwind. In addition, we always try to find a romantic place to eat or a beautiful lookout point where we can spend time together admiring the view.
Lucia and Nunzio: Italy
Alex and Bell: American and Aussie, currently in Florida
Brugge, Belgium is definitely the most significant romantic place to us. Bell and I met at the Bauhaus hostel in Brugge in 2002, while we were both backpacking through Europe after college. We were staying in the same dingy €10 a night co-ed dorm room and both happened to be heading to Amsterdam next. We hit it off over tasty Belgian beers, foosball and jenga in a dive pub called The Crash. We’re about to celebrate our 12 year wedding anniversary and we’ve returned to Brugge twice since we first met. It gets ridiculously crowded on weekends during the warmer months, so try and visit during the week if you can. There’s around 80 chocolate shops in Brugge, so don’t blow your wad in any one shop! Winter can be romantic too as it’s far less crowded, and Bell and I met there end of January, when it was freezing. We’ve previously written on Finding Romance and Indulgence in Brugge.
Traveling in itself is romantic to us (outside flying, buses and the occasional squat toilet). It’s how we met, and it’s still a passion we both share. While we often take a lot of photos and use technology when we travel, we also unplug to just enjoy each other’s company. Sitting on a restaurant terrace with delicious food and wine, especially in any Mediterranean country, is romantic and fun for both of us. We also love scenic drives in the mountains and along beautiful coastal roads.
Tahiti would be amazing, it looks so exotic and far away from everywhere outside French Polynesia. Bell would love to see the Northern Lights, preferably over the fjords of Norway, while staying in a log cabin. That’s completely different, so luckily we’re both flexible with what we enjoy!
Bell is a PhD scientist who loves photography, and editing photos for Wanderlust Marriage. Alex is a writer and travel consultant. We’ve lived together in Australia, Florida, Dublin, Amsterdam and Boston, and have traveled to 50 countries. Along with this website, we’re on Facebook Twitter and two instagram accounts, Wanderlust Marriage & Travel Guide Alex.
A huge thanks to all the wonderful couples who shared their awesome stories and tips! Have thoughts to share or need tips planning a romantic getaway? Leave a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org