As virtually every woman knows (and as anyone in a committed relationship with such a woman would do well to remember), Valentine’s Day arrives annually on February 14. This year, it falls on a Friday, which offers an enticing possibility (or a daunting challenge, depending on your viewpoint): Wooing your partner with a perfectly-timed romantic weekend excursion. Assuming you want to celebrate on the road, here are a few tips on how to save on Valentine’s weekend getaways.
Make sure your partner is good to go. This is the first tip for good reason: If you splurge on all of the frills and extras of an amorous vacation without checking your partner’s availability beforehand, you may very well lose your entire investment. Appealing travel deals are frequently non-refundable, so be sure your partner’s schedule is clear (and your relationship is solid) before taking any financial plunge.
Set — and stick to — a budget. Love may know no boundaries, but credit cards and bank accounts have well-defined limits. Determine how much you can afford to spend — on everything: travel, accommodations, dining, activities, and whatever else you might want to offer — and don’t exceed that limit. (If it helps, Americans earmarked $239, on average, for 2013 Valentine’s Day signs of affection.) If your partner really loves you, the amount you spend on your Valentine’s Day trip won’t be nearly as important as the thought, effort, and tender, loving care you put into planning the outing.
Check around the corner. You don’t have to travel far to find a lovers’ locale. A simple change of scenery may be all you need to set the proper romantic mood. Especially if you already live in or near a popular vacation destination, search for affordable B&Bs or other places to stay in the area that can lend an air of “escape” to your weekend plans.
Find seclusion (and savings) in off-season sites. It’s wintertime, so most of the popular summer destinations in the north are fairly deserted. This can be great news for the romantically inclined: Room rates are usually as low as they ever get; even the best restaurants aren’t fully booked; and any cold, inclement weather that might roll in will provide a fabulous reason (should you need another one) to hunker down and cuddle up in the warm confines of a cozy bed.
Delay gratification. Anticipation can be sexy. If you want to treat your loved one to a romantic trip but can’t afford it quite yet, try the next-best thing: A promise to take that trip down the road. Wrap it up in a pretty bow (figuratively or literally), then spend your Valentine evening exploring the possibilities.
If you want to save on a Valentine’s getaway this year, you can earn 5% cash back on flight, hotel, and car reservations while enjoying rebates on all sorts of enjoyable travel perks as a Travel Plus member. Tell us in the Comments section where you plan to go this Valentine’s weekend.