Pre-pandemic, a romantic couples trip might've meant a range of things: a luxury suite in the heart of Paris; a resort in the Caribbean; a tour of New York City. In 2021, things look a *little* different. With COVID restrictions and safety concerns, gone are the days of galavanting to crowded locations and hopping on packed flights to jet across the world. Now, it's all about secluded locales closer to home while exploring what nature has to offer.
"I think being active and outdoors where you can reconnect with each other and with nature is always a great idea!" says Mimi Lichtenstein, founder and Custom Travel Advisor for Truvay Travel Design, in an email to TZR. Tiffany L. Layne, Luxury Travel Curator and owner of LaVon Travel & Lifestyle, agrees. "I see [couples] looking to get outside of their four walls they may have been cooped up in for the past year," she explains. "They (like everyone) are looking to connect with each other and the world again in a new place and have a new experience."
Note that if you do decide to make plans within the U.S., states may have travel restrictions in place. So per the CDC's website, "check the state or territorial and local health department where you are, along your route, and where you are going" for up-to-date information. (Don't forget to look into any protocols your potential lodging has at time of travel, as well, since they're also subject to change.) That said, if you are able to follow regulations and design a safe, comfortable vacation away from home, continue on for a few ideas from travel pros to help you get some much-needed R&R together.
Cool Couples Travel Idea: A Snowy Hideaway
In 2021, Lichtenstein has a few boxes that destinations must check for couples: secluded, outdoors, active, and in beautiful surroundings. One type of place she recommends that fits the bill? "Rent a villa in a snowy destination." You'll be able to spend plenty of time outside, and many of those places have tons of activities, including skiing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or fat tire biking.
You don't have to make it all about working up a sweat, though, she says. "En route home from a beautiful day out, pick up dinner," says Lichtenstein. "Have dinner with a delightful bottle of red in front of a romantic fire at your villa. If you rent a place with a terrace and hot tub outside, enjoy an evening under the stars."
For this type of locale, both experts suggest Twin Farms in Vermont — a "hidden gem," says Layne. Not only is it a great place to cozy up by a fireplace, says Lichtenstein, but it offers several activities including bee tours, fly fishing, ice skating, and more. "Truly a magical place any time of year, and especially with freshly fallen snow," she continues.
Cool Couples Travel Idea: National Parks
An adventurous (and again, outdoorsy) travel idea Layne loves for 2021 is a simple one: Explore some national parks. This is especially good for those not looking to travel far, since these are located all over the country. Additionally, many can easily make this a day trip if you're not comfortable staying in a hotel or a rental at the moment. Just be sure to check with the individual park you're planning to visit beforehand to stay informed of any COVID-related restrictions.
Looking for a luxury experience? Layne suggests the newly opened Camp Sarika from Amangiri, as it's "a fabulous way to experience an outdoor safari in a luxury desert retreat." The tented camp sits on a stunning secluded spot that's within immediate proximity of five national parks, and offers yoga, meditation, guided desert and mountain hikes, and more.
Cool Couples Travel Idea: A Room On The Coast
If you're in need of something a little warmer, Lichtenstein alternatively suggests an ocean-front hideaway. "Somewhere on the coast in a warmer climate where you can have stunning views from the terrace of your room; where you can enjoy farm-to-table cuisine outdoors (maybe next to a heat lamp)," she says. "Where you can walk along the beach, go for a great hike, do outdoor yoga, or visit a brewery or vineyard."
Her go-to for this type of locale is Post Ranch Inn, a Big Sur stay that sits 1,200 feet above the Pacific Ocean. The luxury resort features cliff-side rooms for jaw-dropping views, along with pools, a spa, and proximity to some of the country's most beautiful attractions.
Cool Couples Travel Idea: Lake Regions
Nowhere near a beach? Layne says exploring lake regions are an equally great way to use your vacation as a chance to take in some nature, since they often offer chances to partake in outdoor activities such as kayaking and swimming. Her favorite spot? A 1,000-acre Great Camp in Upstate New York.
"I love Lake Kora," she says, "which makes a great getaway for a group of couples who are friends who want to enjoy a luxury camp getaway like the Vanderbilt yesteryears." Here, you can partake in things like hiking, tennis, squash, and even a spa day. (However, note that its exclusive lodging reservation is only available during certain months of the year.)