We’ve been together for ten years and have traveled to over forty countries. But something we’ve never done together is travel for Valentine’s Day. This year won’t be any different as we’ll be staying home in Boston on February 14th. Here’s some reasons not to feel guilty if you don’t have the most romantic holiday ever written by Hallmark planned for Valentine’s Day.
But before we get into them, if you’re in a new relationship, consider a weekend getaway for Valentine’s Day. It is more significant for new couples, than long term companions. It has something to do with the sequel to the Bridget Jones movie as women especially love ‘mini breaks’ with a new partner.
Travel as a Priority Outside Valentine’s Day
We have always placed travel as our top priority over material possessions. But Valentine’s Day often places pressure on couples to spend beyond their means. Or equally bad, waiting a very long time to eat at even mediocre restaurants.
When I was in college, I waited tables at Bennigan’s, an Irish-American chain restaurant with overly processed food and tacky Irish trinkets on the walls. The busiest day of the year, by far, was Valentine’s Day. Couples would wait upwards of 90 minutes for a table during the dinner rush. On many other nights we were starved for tables. How good was the food at Bennigan’s? The company folded years ago.
Benefits of a Romantic Evening at Home for Valentine’s Day
So we discovered that it is far better to just stay home and cook a nice candle lit meal together. It is cheaper and even more romantic than waiting two hours for a table at Cheesecake Factory, to then sit in a restaurant overflowing with other couples. Like New Year’s Eve, some restaurants even put together special menus for the occasion. These are menus with higher prices than on other nights – to take advantage of excessive demand. So dining out on Valentine’s Day is not very ideal after you have experienced it a few times.
Higher Prices for Meals, Hotels and Experiences on Valentine’s Day
The same rule applies for travel. One of our favorite parts of traveling is eating out and experiencing local dishes. So asides from higher priced rooms, you’re then faced with the same Valentine’s Day dinner conundrum, with a change of scenery. If you’re traveling on Valentine’s Day in the USA, pick a restaurant where you can make a reservation in advance. Open Table is a good website to easily surf and make reservations in cities across the U.S. (though you may be stuck with the ‘special menu’).
Commercialization of Valentine’s Day
The commercialization of Valentine’s Day has also spilled to countries outside the USA, so plan accordingly. Before living in Boston we resided in Dublin for 2 and 1/2 years. Dining out was also an issue there on February 14th.
Before Dublin we lived in Amsterdam for 3 and 1/2 years. We did actually enjoy a nice dinner out one Valentine’s Day because the holiday is not celebrated as much there. Especially when Valentine’s Day falls on weekends, restaurants worldwide will generally be busier than they otherwise would be.
Travel for Anniversaries
Instead, we usually travel for our wedding anniversary, which falls on March 12th. Last year we celebrated our 9 year anniversary in Barcelona, Spain, which was wonderful. For 8 years we celebrated in Dubai, on our way to visit family in Australia. On our 7 year anniversary, we took an overnight trip from Dublin and stayed in a beautiful manor house in nearby Wicklow. We were even upgraded to a suite simply because the mansion was not very busy mid-March.
For our 6 year wedding anniversary, we flew from Amsterdam to Dublin for a 4 day weekend. We fell in love with the Irish people. So much so that we decided to move there when a job opportunity presented itself for Bell several months later. So we firmly believe in travel for embracing romance, togetherness, and adventure. But only when it is for us, not for an entire nation and beyond.
Valentine’s Day Travel Recap
If you are looking for fun off beat ideas for a romantic activity this Valentine’s Day, check out the suggestions over at The Family Adventure Project. We especially like their idea for a barbecue on the beach, and wish we could manage that in New England.
What are your thoughts on travel and dining out for Valentine’s Day? If you enjoy doing this with your loved one, please share some tips with fellow readers. Our 10 year wedding anniversary is a month away. While plan to take a special trip for it, but our destination has not yet been decided as we like to wing it sometimes!