The Best ‘First Trips That Aren’t Paris’


This time of year, you can’t go anywhere without being reminded of romance. Construction paper hearts are stuck to the walls of the break room, red roses are overflowing from bins at the grocery store, and every alley we pass is filled with at least one dog couple sharing a plate of spaghetti. It all puts us in the mood for an unforgettable Valentine’s… month. The kind where you run off together and leave the stresses of every day behind. We want the cliche: cozy white robes, champagne in bed, and lounging by infinity pools.

Yep, even after Valentine’s Day is over, the romantic getaway vibes stay high. That means different things to different people, of course, but if the holiday finds you newly in love, then a first “couple’s trip” might just be on your mind. Is it time yet? Are you ready to go off together on an adventure? Just think of the possibilities: Sitting by the fire! Long walks on the beach! Hotel sex!

Traveling together shows you all the hidden delights and challenges of a partner. Can you get through missing your train or the pictures from Trip Advisor being totally off base (Hey, they weren’t lying. It WAS newly remodeled…. in 1987)? Can you handle one another when you’re exhausted and grumpy? Do you make each other laugh through it all? Does your beloved still look incredibly sexy to you after a 2 hour hike through the rain and mud? We’ve said it before, but traveling is the perfect litmus test for your relationship. And there’s nothing more fun than that first big trip with the person you love.

These are the first trips we’d suggest if you want to make your getaway an epic adventure; not a “the waffle iron is broken but they still have hard boiled eggs” adventure.

The Spa Trip

Why: It’s never a bad idea to splurge on a fabulous resort with a gorgeous spa. Days filled with couple’s massages in a hut overlooking tropical gardens, the gentle sound of crashing waves in the background, make for the kind of vacation that would make you want to be together forever. Or have to be together forever because you ended up in a debtor’s prison together for putting a crazy, expensive spa trip on your credit cards. But, honestly, isn’t love worth it?

Where: And if you’re going to splurge….Laucaula Island Resort is one of the most romantic places in the world. Located on a private island in Fiji, its 25 private villas will ensure total privacy and luxury. Each has a private plunge pool, a deck overlooking the water, and a fridge filled more champagne than one could ever drink (I mean they haven’t met me yet though, so…). Also, they’ve got a submarine that you can ride in to look at fish or whatever. AN ACTUAL PERSONAL SUBMARINE THAT YOU CRUISE THROUGH THE SEA IN LIKE YOUR JACQUE F**KING COUSTEAU, GUYS.

I’d almost say don’t go here for your first trip because you’d never top it. But like, if you’ve got the cash, this is an amazing paradise.

The Beach Trip

Why: A beach is the classic romantic getaway for a reason, it’s just relaxing and fun. Holding hands while sprawled on side-by-side lounge chairs, sipping some sort of fruity cocktail and staring at a clear blue sky is pretty much everyone’s dream vacation. Unless your partner is a vampire who can’t be in the sun. Then it would be terrible.

But if you’re wondering if your partner is a vampire, like maybe they just moved in next door, and always smell like dirt, and float through your window at night to suck your blood, I’d say put off the first vacation for a few months. I’m not saying the relationship can’t work (sometimes you have to compromise!). Just that you want to be super cautious with the undead, you know?

Where: El Nido in the Philippines, a collection of pristine islands, is frequently listed as having some of the best beaches in the world. The turquoise water is insanely clear, the beaches are so white they look like freshly fallen snow, and there are plenty of eco friendly options for hotel stays. Plus, this isn’t a place where all there is to do is lay on the beach. For the adventurous couple, El Nido has fabulous diving and activities on all of the islands.

The Cabin Trip

Why: There’s something so romantic about being holed up in a little cabin together for a first couple’s trip. A rustic feel will allow you to just talk and unwind together. All the modern conveniences (that can be a distancing trap) are stripped away, so you get to just bask in the love.

Where: Point No Point Resort in Shirley, British Columbia has a series of woodsy cabins that overlook the water, have personal hot tubs, and the fireplaces that we so badly want to curl up around with a lover (I think you have to bring your own bear skin rug in which to nakedly lounge on though, just as an FYI). Foggy mornings in cable knit sweaters, whale watching, and reading on your own little deck will have you finally feeling like that Land’s End catalogue family you’ve always dreamed of being a part of.

The Yurt Trip

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📍first stop #treebonesresort #bigsur

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Why: A yurt is the perfect way to pretend that you’re very outdoorsy while giving up zero creature comforts. Camping under the stars is romantic in theory until every tree stump in the entire forest finds a way to migrate to your location and press right into your back (and, like, how good is the sex while crammed in a sleeping bag really?). A yurt gives you a comfy bed, while still keeping technology and other obligations far at bay.

Where: Treebones’ Resort in Big Sur, California is unbelievably gorgeous. You have forests and hiking on one side, and a view of a plunging cliff on the other. The yurts are incredibly comfortable, and set apart from each other in a way that makes every one feel like a magical discovery, deep in the woods. A large deck stretches around the main restaurant, and it’s the perfect place to watch the sun dip into the ocean while having a glass of wine. There’s even a sushi restaurant on site. And there aren’t any kids allowed, which is nice because you’re not ready to have the “kids” talk you know? This is the beginning of the relationship!

The Road Trip

Why: A road trip is the perfect adventure for a first couple’s trip. Beautiful ever changing scenery keeps things interesting and the built in spontaneity keeps you from planning something your new love absolutely hates. You can stop at the first restaurant that sounds good to both of you rather than pick a seafood place only to realize the boyfriend has a very serious shellfish allergy. Or decide that a castle in the distance would make the perfect break and tour.

Where: Germany’s Romantic Road is filled with everything you could want in a road trip, and will make you feel like you’re in some kind of fairytale. There are castles, and mountains, and picturesque little towns that almost look fake to stop in. Plus, you go right through wine country. There’s even a witch every few hundred yards trying to sell you magic beans.

You don’t want to end up with a spouse that keeps getting tricked into trading your rental car for a magic bean, you know? This will let you know whether they’re a keeper.

The Hot Springs Trip

Why: Sitting in a steamy spring, your bodies warm while snowflakes swirl in the chilly mountain air, is an extremely sexy first trip.

Where: You can’t go wrong with Chico Hot Springs in Pray, Montana just outside of Yellowstone. Beautiful cabins overlook the property with sweeping views of the mountains. They have an amazing restaurant, a kitchy bar, and an on site spa which means you’ll never have to leave the property. If you want your first trip to involve relaxation with lots of activities and hiking for those rare moments when you get out of bed or the tub, this is the place for you.

The Jungle Trip

Why: Lush rainforests make me think of outdoor showers overlooking brightly colored fauna and what’s hotter than that? Combining thrilling adventure with relaxed morning coffee that you have while watching monkeys play and sloths live their best lives (I’m an animal that needs to sleep most of the day too! Why are only sloths allowed to do it?), a jungle adventure is the kind of couple’s trip that’s the perfect blend of outdoor physical activity and beautiful scenery taken in from a comfy chair on a deck.

Where: Lapa Rios Ecolodge in Costa Rica is an amazing place to do this. One of the early ecotourism hotels, the mixture of upscale luxury with environmental sustainability will have your love see that you care about the world around you as much as you do about them. And your personal hut with a canopy bed over looking the gorgeous wilderness is about as romance fueled as it gets.

The Camping Trip

Why: If you want to make your trip a little more hands on, then camping is the way to go. Being totally out in nature, cooking all your meals over a fire, and the kind of deep conversations you can only have in the dark and quiet as you get lost in a starry sky, all make camping an incredible bonding experience for any couple.

Where: And if you’re going to do the camping thing, you might as well make it in one of the most beautiful state parks in the U.S. and maybe world.

Hawaii’s Kalalau Beach, in Napali Coast State Park is so pretty is almost physically hurts. Like how does it even exist? I’m not entirely convinced that it’s not one long, elaborate gaslighting scheme cooked up by Reddit. If you’re willing to risk that this park with its breath-taking hikes and views is not a conspiracy, then camping here might be the best trip you could ever take. And romantic as hell.

The Luxury Hotel Trip

Why: Infinity pools overlooking the kind of back drop that most people buy as a poster to hang up in their kitchen are really the height of romance. This is your first couple’s trip and you might as well get a photo of your bare backs standing in a pool looking out onto forever so that your friends can make Instagram comments like, “OMG I’m SO jealous.” What’s love if not an excuse to rub your happiness all over everyone’s Facebook feeds.

Where: The Grace Santorini Hotel in Greece is so romantic it makes us want to die. It features one of the best infinity pools in the world, and its stark, white rooms are the perfect canvas for big holiday hats and gauzy dresses that blow in the wind as you’re dipped for a kiss. It’s the kind of couple’s trip that you’d read about in an airport magazine while on your way to Phoenix and think, why isn’t my life like that? I want to be there instead.

So do it. Be there. Vacation in a place as beautiful as anything you could possibly dream up.

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Meehhhh ✌🏻️@gracehotels

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The Mountain Trip

Why: Love is the greatest adventure of all, isn’t it? So why not pair your first lovey dovey couple’s trip with amazing romance and adventure.

Where: A trip to Patagonia in Chile checks all the boxes for a thrilling adventure. And there are penguins. It’s like Morgan Freeman is narrating your life. Hotel Explora Patagonia is right in the middle of Torres del Paine National Park amidst glaciers, and an incredible waterfall. It’s truly, unbelievably pretty, with an endless amount of activities right when you walk out the door. Plus, whenever you write a love note you can say “I’d travel to the ends of the Earth for you” and really mean it.

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Morning views 💙

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The Safari Trip

Why: Seeing incredible animals in their natural habitats followed by luxury accommodations that include your own butler and world class food will make you feel like you’re in a movie. The uniqueness of a safari as a first couple’s trip will make you fall in even deeper love. As long as you aren’t eaten by a lion, but even if you are, what a way to go.

Where: Recently, I asked a couple who had traveled all over the world where the most romantic place they’d ever been was. Ngorongoro Crater Lodge was at the top of the list. The adventure and beauty of the area doesn’t hurt, but, they told me, the best part was way the staff goes above and beyond to make the experience ridiculously romantic. The Crater Lodge is like an Anthropologie store come to life — shabby chic furnishings mixed with chandeliers and bathtubs filled with rose petals. And the atmosphere of the crater attracts a huge array of wildlife. For a romantic safari, you can do no better.