Picking A Vacation For Couples
Picking A Vacation For Couples
Catharine Hamm (Travel Editor, LA Times) gives expert video advice on: What factors should I consider when choosing a couples destination? and more...
What factors should I consider when choosing a couples destination?
I think choosing a holiday destination as a couple is probably about the trickiest thing you can do because often you have competing interests, needs, and desires for what you want to do. Essentially, before you even begin talking about destinations, you should talk about what you want to get out of a vacation. What's your top priority? If your priority is to be culturally stimulated, that's great, but you need to agree on that as a couple. If your priority is to just flop on the beach, great, but your needs and desires have to be in sync. Even before you begin thinking about destination, you need to get those things ironed out. When you determine what those needs and desires are, you can begin to discuss destination, which can also be tricky. Often, there's a pull to visit family when you'd really rather be lying on a beach in Hawaii. You need to get those things ironed out because this should be a time to bond and not a time to fight. Unfortunately, it's usually the latter and not always the former for couples.
What are popular resort destinations for couples?
Couples have great opportunities to choose from a variety of resort destinations. There are resort destinations in the United States. There are resort destinations in Mexico. I think the key is figuring out what you want out of the vacation. If you just want peace and quiet, there are great resorts in the Caribbean that will keep you pretty much within the compound, so that you know that you're away and yet you don't have to deal with the stresses of the world. On the other hand, there are some resorts that will allow you to participate in cultural activities, and participate in golfing and kayaking and hiking. If that's your cup of tea, that's the kind of resort you should choose. However, these resorts can be fairly pricey, so you need to make sure you've agreed on a budget before you go off and book a resort vacation.
What are popular senior destinations for couples?
Senior travel, as we used to call it, really doesn't have any meaning anymore because seniors are so active. The baby boomers, who will soon be in the older generation category, have seen the world, they want to see more of it, they want to see it in a different way, and they're extremely active. So is there a place for senior travel? Yes, everywhere. Every place in the world is particularly good for seniors. If there are seniors with mobility issues, one of the ways that I found that is terrifically effective to travel - because I have an 86 year old mom - is a cruise. It's a very contained vacation. You get to see lots of different destinations. You can participate as much or as little as you wish, but a cruise is a fantastic way to get to see the world and spend some quality time with a loved one.
What are popular honeymoon destinations for couples?
One of the most popular honeymoon destinations is Hawaii, which I think is one of the most romantic places in the world. The Caribbean also tends to be an outstanding honeymoon destination, but there are a lot of couples who like to have kind of a different kind of a vacation or honeymoon. They are going to places like Machu Picchu, Kathmandu or Beijing, where they'll take the train to Tibet because they're adventurous. There are some pretty standard vacation destinations for honeymooners like London, Paris and Rome - all incredibly romantic and all great for a honeymoon.
What are popular adventure destinations for couples?
There are some terrific adventure destinations for couples. Primarily, you should start in the American West I think, if you're looking for adventure destinations. There are amazing river rafting trips that can be down and dirty, or they can be incredibly elegant with food and wine that is second to none. You should start in the west, especially Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Utah -amazing places to see. If you want to go a little bit farther afield, there are incredible adventure spots, obviously, in Europe. If you want to go skiing, there are both the French and the Swiss Alps, which are terrific adventure destinations. Even farther afield, you can climb to the base camp of Everest. You have to be a little bit more fit than if you're just going to go lie on a beach, but it represents a real opportunity to see a part of the world that you might never have seen. All of those are within the realm of possibility. Nowadays, we talk about soft adventure in a way that makes it sound like you can be a couch potato and do it. That's not necessarily true; you do have to have a certain level of fitness, but you don't have to be necessarily in the same shape as you would to climb Kilimanjaro.
What are popular cultural destinations for couples?
There are amazing cultural destinations for couples, particularly the European capitals. Obviously, you can't talk about cultural destinations without including some of those. However, even within the United States, and especially in Asia, there are amazing cultural opportunities. When we think about culture in this country, we often think about New York, Washington and Boston. All of those are terrific places. We shouldn't ignore other places, though. For example, Austin, Texas, which has a very vibrant music scene and is a different kind of a cultural adventure, and of course, San Francisco is a great cultural destination for its cuisine. In terms of cultural destinations in Asia, Beijing is very alive and vibrant, with the 2008 Summer Olympics scheduled for there. It has taken on a new energy that we've not seen before. Shanghai has always been a terrific cultural destination. It has some amazing architecture. It is growing at a rapid clip. Hong Kong, of course, remains an excellent cultural destination, especially for couples who enjoy seeing a different side of life. I recommend any of those places, and more.
What is an 'all inclusive' vacation package?
An all inclusive vacation package is almost exactly what it sounds like. It would include your accommodations, your meals, and often activities such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, and kayaking. It may include transport from the airport to the hotel. There are some things that may not be included. For example, alcohol may not be included. Gratuities may not be included. There may be resort fees on top of the inclusive package, so you have to look at your bill and be very careful, and plan for those unexpected expenses.
What are some couples destinations I can find in my backyard?
Couples destinations that you can find in your own backyard include state and national parks, which I think are terrific places to go hiking, or even to camp and to stay overnight at a very low cost. There are, of course, museums in most urban areas. There are also offbeat museums that you may never think of going to, but can be just a short drive from where you are. Those are all things that you should take advantage of. Also, there are free cultural offerings, particularly in the summer, including summer music festivals in many major urban areas. Right in your backyard and it won't cost you a dime.
What are some destinations that an experienced traveler may consider?
There are a lot of places in the Middle East and Africa that aren't necessarily safe destinations, but are rewarding destinations. For example, Kenya is on the State Department's list of places that one should consider waiting to visit. However, there are tremendous natural sites, game parks, and safaris, which you would really cheat yourself by avoiding all together. The places in the Middle East that are definitely worth visiting include Dubai and Oman, which are generally considered safe destinations. Cairo can be risky, but also can be worth it. There are also places, for example Libya, that have recently opened to tourism for the first time in many years. There are amazing Roman ruins in Libya. Laptis Magna, for example, is a place that is unbelievably rich in architectural and archeological history. Do they come with risks? Yes, they do. Is it difficult to travel? Yes, it is. Is worth travelling to the Middle East and Africa? I think that's something that each individual traveler needs to evaluate for himself or herself.