(Forbes) Technology has made travel easier, quicker, and more accessible, no doubt, but has it also sucked a bit of the romance out of our vacations? After all, taking dozens of photographs, and pouring through them to find the best snaps to post on social media does distract us and pull us out of the genuine special moment we’re trying to capture in the first place. With the ease of use, the internet at our fingertips, we no longer have to work hard at getting from point A to point B (“The journey is the thing”, right?). The options of where to go and what to see seem numerous, creating a stockpile of quantity over quality experiences.
Traveling to check off a list item rather than following optimistic Rational Choice Theory, using thoughtfulness and logic in our decision making to achieve an upshot that is in our best interest, i.e. happiness, seems to be the modus operandi of today’s tourists. To bring the romance and connection back into travel, might I suggest taking it slow? Here are a few ideas for bringing the focus back on your love interest, with the objective of wandering deeper with intention, dialed in to richer discovering, with some kicks added in for good measure.
Cuddle on a Train
For your next trip, consider getting there by train. Take the Amtrak’s California Zephyr from Denver to Glenwood Springs to San Francisco; the Capitol Limited from Washington D.C. to Pittsburgh to Cleveland to Chicago; the Texas Eagle from St. Louis to Dallas to San Antonio; or the Empire Builder, which travels out west along sections of the Lewis and Clark trail, delivering you to Whitefish, near Glacier National Park in Montana.
Luxury train travel is also available, an experience perfect for enjoying leisurelier travel. Take a trip of a lifetime aboard the Rocky Mountaineer on one of their four routes that slice through Canada’s British Columbia, touching in Alberta. You’ll see the mountains like never before, as the train travels through remote land inaccessible by vehicle. Whether you pick the First Passage to the West, Journey through the Clouds, Rainforest to Gold Rush, or the Coastal Passage trek, you’ll be treated to fine dining, knowledgeable on-board guides and wildlife sightings.
The Alaska Railroad is another exceptional adventure, conducive to mindful travel that allows you to bond with your loved one. Operating year-round, with summer and winter packages, the main line travels 470 miles from Seward to Fairbanks, with a 12-mile expanse to Whittier. Opt for the GoldStar service, which includes outdoor viewing platforms on the second-level, comfortable seating under a glass-domed ceiling, dining and bar service. The Alaska Railroad is an excellent way to get to Denali National Park for nature lovers.
Smooch on the Beach
Beach vacations are restorative, especially during the winter months for residents of cold-climate regions. Getting away from snow, ice and steely skies and wiggling your toes in the heated sand can do a lot for our well-being. Connect with your significant other, perhaps with a cold beverage in hand, and travel to a warmer destination.
Visit Aruba, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the southern Caribbean Sea, and you’ll be rewarded with much more than a suntan. Known for white-sand beaches, windsurfing, a diverse culture with more than 90 different nationalities, and fresh potable water, this Dutch island, located outside of the hurricane belt, has much to offer. The weather here is fairly consistent with a decent breeze and an average temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes loafing around the beach quite pleasant.
Venture out and explore the island’s Arikok National Park, on a UTV tour with De Palm Tours. You’ll drive your own four-wheeler through ruddy muddy puddles and over rocks and you’ll have the chance to see Ayo Rock Formation, Black Stone Beach, Alto Vista Chapel, California Lighthouse, and Conchi Natural Pool.
The island is also known for market shopping for Dutch cheese; the Donkey Sanctuary and Butterfly and Ostrich Farms; and aloe cultivation at Aruba Aloe. Be sure to try a colossus sweet or savory delight at Linda’s Dutch Pancakes. Also, watch multi-hued angelfish swim over brain coral and spot silvery schools of fish dart out of the portholes of the Antilla shipwreck on a snorkel sailing adventure with Red Sail Sports.
Couples will love learning how to make cocktails in a signature mixology lesson, learn from the Executive Chef during a private cooking class, indulge in a couples massage treatment at Mandara Spa, swim in the H2Oasis adults-only pool, and dine on Palm Beach at sunset at Atardi, while staying at Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino.
Embrace in Europe
Europe is, of course, a romantic destination full of good food, music, art and cobblestone streets that are perfect for hand holding. After all, who could pass up a trip to Paris, Barcelona, Prague, Amsterdam, Zurich, or Venice?
Travel to Lucerne in Switzerland and go on a walking tour through the historic old town, crossing Chapel Bridge along the river Reuss as you go. Pop in a chocolate shop, visit Old Town Hall and St. Peter’s Chapel, sigh at the Lion Monument, and see the panoramic art created by Edouard Castres inside the Bourbaki Panorama.
Visit the small medieval Tuscan town of Barga, which overlooks the Serchio Valley, with clusters of sun-hued houses and weekly markets. Cook in the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa’s kitchen with the chef. Walk through the walled city of Lucca, where if you climb to the top of Torre Guinigi, you can see the red rooftops of the entire city, dotted with towers, and views of cerulean mountains.
Stay in Bed
Of course, it doesn’t really matter where you travel with your partner, as long as you make mindful decisions to really connect with each other. Stay up late and enjoy a glass of wine and sleep in the next morning until you’re ready to greet the day. Throw caution to the wind and wander without a set-in-stone plan. Spend time away from your devices, hold hands, make eye contact, find out something new about each other and travel with an open heart and curious mind.