"Long-term relationships are strongest when romantic trips are part of their history, present, and future," says Pepper Schwartz, PhD, coauthor of Frommer's Places for Passion, and AARP sex and relationship expert. (Hear that, L? That's my boyfriend L I'm referring to. We need to plan more romantic vacations. When are you retiring?)
I spoke to Dr. Schwartz to learn more about her new book.
"I've been a relationship expert for a long time and travel is a passion," Dr. Schwartz says. "I wanted to pair the two together with my writing so couples could have a book to depend on to plan accessible and reliable escapes. It can get sparks flying and create lasting memories."
While 75 destinations are featured in Frommer's Places for Passion, I asked Dr. Schwartz to name a few of her favorites. She categorized the destinations into four groupings:
♥ Cities: In the USA, Dr. Schwartz likes New York City; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Charleston, South Carolina; and New Orleans, Louisiana. For international cities, she noted Paris, France; Barcelona, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Cape Town, South Africa; and Sydney, Australia. (I've been to quite a few of these cities, with more still to visit. Hear that L? I've yet to go to Santa Fe, Lisbon, or Cape Town. And I'd love to go back to Paris with you. What's that you say? You might take a romantic trip with me this year? Where are we going? Stay tuned.)
♥ Beaches: In the USA, Dr. Schwartz recommends the Florida Keys or any place in Florida; Carmel-by-the Sea, California; and Maui, Kauai and Oahu in Hawaii. Bermuda and St. Lucia are romantic Caribbean islands. "I like the Amalfi Coast in Italy and the Greek islands, but they have rocky beaches," Dr. Schwartz says. "The Maldives in the Indian Ocean republic of islands is one of my favorite places in the world," she adds, "yet getting there can be hard work—it's more than 30 hours from the U.S. East Coast." (Okay L, I'll let you pass on the Maldives. A trip like that might put an end to our relationship if we spent that many hours in the air. Let's keep Florida and maybe try the Florida Keys sometime instead of Miami. What about Hawaii? Please, pretty please! I've never been and it's on my bucket list.)
♥ Natural Wonders: "You may need to be in good shape to go to some of these wonders," says Dr. Schwartz. She lists national parks such as Zion and Bryce in Utah and Glacier in Montana, as well as wine country in Napa Valley, California; Walla Walla, Washington; and Willamette Valley, Oregon. (I've been to Napa Valley and would love to return. L is not a big wine drinker. May have to squeeze in some other natural wonders if we take a trip to the West Coast—maybe Lake Tahoe, which is very romantic with its beautiful lake and mountains. What do you say, L? Are you ready for romance? Just say the word and my bag is packed.)
♥ Adventure: Dr. Schwartz suggests dude ranches in Montana or an Alaskan cruise. If you want to go farther away, she likes the Red Centre, a mostly empty red desert in the center of Australia; wine lands in Africa; sites in Thailand and Cambodia; and the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort in India. (Ooh, ooh, ooh, L might swing for an Alaskan cruise. As for Thailand, Cambodia or the Taj Mahal, I may have to go with my yoga buddies.)
Surprise and Delight Your Partner
Dr. Schwartz offers a variety of tips for planning a romantic trip:
- Don't over-program.
- Spend time with each other doing what you both love.
- Don't go to convention or family hotels.
- Don't scrimp on hotels—pay a little extra for your romantic relationship.
- Call the concierge in advance to suggest ways to do something special to surprise and delight your partner.
(Did you hear that L? When are we going away? This year our relationship will be going on seven years. You know what that means … itch, itch, itch.)
I like Frommer's Places for Passion. Most of all, I agree with the author's wise advice that, while it's good to plan a romantic rendezvous, "The most important destination is each other."
This post originally appeared on aboomerslifeafter50.com.