There's nothing better for your relationship than escaping all the stress and obligatory travel of the holidays and doing something just for you two. For some couples, a special trip is priceless when compared with material possessions--who needs those manty stocking stuffers anyway?--so a well-planned weekend or hopefully, week long, adventure is a yummy gift idea, too. As a travel junkie, I've been everywhere as they say, so I wracked my brain to come up with a list of unique places that not only provide a sexy backdrop for two, they're also easier on your pocketbook than say, a lavish weekend in the French countryside. Enjoy, and don't forget to let us know your suggestions as well.
As a nation under recession, we can relate to the unfortunate circumstances that have led to a decline in the value of the Icelandic krona. But from a vacation opportunist's perspective, this means that travelers can take advantage of the lower currency rate, SO... While ice hotels are erm, so hot in terms of winter travel, they're also expensive and come with a major waiting list. Iceland is a great alternative because you can enjoy snowmobiling, dog sledding and other winter play, but there's also a hip nightclub scene in Reykjavik and the famous Blue Lagoon spa, which is relaxing, affordable and romantic. Also, the friendly locals, most of whom speak English owing to a top-notch Scandinavian education system, believe in elves. SO!
For more info: Visit Iceland
Stay at: Hotel Ranga
Eat: reindeer (really)
Must do: whale watching, snow mobiling, dog sledding, arctic rafting, glacier tours
Vieques, Puerto Rico
The Bahamas are consistently stretched thin during the holiday season, but considerably off the beaten path Vieques is a great way to bypass the crowds and get your remote beach on. It's cheap to fly into San Juan, and one ferry ride will take you to this small Caribbean island where the locals still get around via horseback. Any couple should enjoy balmy nighttime kayak visits to the bioluminescent bay, where mysterious microorganisms glow beneath the water. Just don't forget to wear your contacts or you risk losing sight and getting separated from the group, as my travel companion learned the hard way. Ahem.
For more info: Vieques-Island
Stay at: Casa Tucepi
Eat: fresh caught seafood and plantains
Must do: Biobay Eco-tour, lay on the sand
Santa Fe, New Mexico
One of the most unique destinations in the U.S., "The City Different" equally appeals to the history buff, art lover, shopper and the foodie. The charming central plaza is good for hours of wondering around, museums like the Georgia O'Keeffe and Site Santa Fe are top notch, restaurants range from upscale Southwestern fare at the Anasazi and the down and dirty Cowgirl Hall of Fame, there's bucket loads of turquoise jewelry to buy, and winter sports enthusiasts can ski and snowboard locally. Here's an insider tip: Japanese spa 10,000 Waves is one of the most romantic, albeit expensive places to stay. But psst: Their adorable new "Silver Moon" shabby chic airstream trailer room is only about $100 per night and includes access to their famous outdoor hot tubs.
For more info: New Mexico Tourism Department
Stay at: 10,000 Waves
Eat: Southwestern style delicacies like chili relleno
Must do: museums, live music at the Cowgirl, drive to nearby Chimayo and Taos
The adventurous couple will find Turkey to be an unexpected gem and a great alternative to crowded Greece, as it combines the exoticism of east meets west, the ruins of its Grecian, Roman and Arabic ancestry, irresistible culinary treasures and gorgeous Mediterranean beaches among other surprises.Trust me, it's awesome. Plus, while it may seem expensive to fly there, do a little research and you'll find that expenses should run relatively cheap once you arrive, so everything'll balance out.
For more info: Tourism Turkey
Stay at: Tekeli Konaklari
Eat: fresh fish, mezza platters
Must do: ancient ruins, Turkish hamam, rent a gulet (small Turkish boat)
Owing in part to its popularity, flights to Miami are notoriously inexpensive. But for the couple that wants to play hard and relax as well, December is a great time to go, as from the fourth through the seventh, teams of artists, celebrities and their handlers descend on the city for Art Basel. An entire cottage industry has formed around the festival, which is one of the most prestigious art shows in the world, and there are tons of events to crash. Luckily, there are plenty of pools and beaches around so you can nurse your hangover all day before you go out and cane it all over again.
More info: City of Miami
Stay at: The Standard
Eat: Cuban sandwiches and (drink) mojitos
Must do: gallery hop, topless sunbathing in Miami Beach