Off-Beat Valentine’s Day Ideas for Travellers

Fact: I’m no romantic, but I do enjoy a little romance every now and then. Although romance should be celebrated year-round and not just limited to Valentine’s Day, there’s something special about a whole day devoted to love. Don’t you think?

With that being said, ditch the regular ol’ plans. Cocktails and dinner at a fancy restaurant in a beautiful city is always a great idea, but maybe you want to shake it up a bit. As a traveller, maybe your idea of romance isn’t a sweet gondola cruise in Venice, or a kiss under the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Maybe you like getting creative with your memories, and opting for something a little more…risqué. Most of these ideas are off-the-wall. That’s what makes them so much fun. Make it a new year’s resolution.

Here are some alternative ideas for the travelling lovers, and the travel lovers.

#1. Go Skydiving Over Niagara Falls

Nothing gives a romance a good adrenaline reboot like falling 30,000 feet out of the sky, right? Right.

If skydiving is something you’ve always wanted to do, I highly recommend doing it with someone you love. Heck, even if it’s not something you’ve always wanted to do, or if it terrifies the hell out of you, there’s even more reason to do it. Just think of the stories.

Now, where to skydive? Niagara Falls is a big hit. Then there’s Australia, and New Zealand, and Hawaii. Actually, skydiving is an option just about everywhere in the world. So there’s really no excuse not to do it.

Otherwise, the classic Niagara Falls boat tour isn’t too shabby at all.

#2. Walk Around the Top of the CN Tower

Just a few years ago, Toronto’s CN Tower introduced the EdgeWalk – a daring adventure where travellers strap themselves inside some harnesses and walk the edge of the CN Tower…356 metres high.

This is not an adventure for those afraid of heights. Actually a lot of these suggestions seem to be geared towards activities performed at stunning heights. Maybe romance occurs best above the clouds.


#3. See the Northern Lights in Norway

Who says only steamy destinations are for romance? Why lay on a beach when you can lay underneath the Aurora Borealis? Norway even has igloo hotels you can stay in, and seeing as how it’s February, well now’s the time to embrace all those cold-and-somewhat-foreboding destinations.

For the best views, head above the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway or the Svalbard Islands. The lights tend to start in the Lofoten Islands, following the way along the coast up to the North Cape. Even if you don’t see the lights, the Norwegian landscape is something out of a movie poster. If you’re too afraid to do it alone, try a Norway Northern Lights tour.

Driving the Atlantic Road is also quite an adventure, although it’s always best to check weather conditions before heading out.

Yes, it’ll be cold. But that makes for plenty of cuddle time.

#4. A Hot Air Balloon Ride Over Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula

Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places you’ll visit in the Mediterranean. And sure, a hot air balloon ride might sound a little cliché, but February is just such a good time to be in the Balkans. You don’t have to worry about overcrowding, and prices tend to be lower during this time of year.

The landscape: rolling hills, mountaintop villages, sprawling vineyards and olive groves, and snowcapped alpine mountains. Beat the cliché and pack a 40-ouncer of whiskey instead of champagne. Don’t lean too far over the edge of the basket.

#5. A Cruise…in Southeast Asia

No, don’t do the packaged cruise ship vacation in the Bahamas. Don’t opt for the massive, floating cities jam-packed with noisy families and drunken brawlers.  (Unless you like that sorta thing, that is. Who are we to judge?)

If you’re looking for a quieter alternative, try a cruise around Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay. The bay has more than 1600 islands, and it’s seriously one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever set eyes on (besides your lover, that is). You can even take a short, one-day cruise to take in the caves, arches, limestone pillars, and more. It’s your opportunity to opt out of the stereotypical cruise scene for something a little more luxurious yet surprisingly affordable. This is Asia, after all.


#6. Take a Trip to the Deep South

Here’s a romantic city you’ve never seen coming: Savannah, Georgia. There in the Deep South, this city’s streets are cobbled and there’s unlimited southern charm for everybody. Especially that southern drawl – you’ll find it in its purest form around these parts. Savannah is a very cosmopolitan city, and there are no shortage of cafes, restaurants, boutiques, and entertainment venues. You can even hop on a Savannah walking tour.

You can also get outside the city and check out the area’s creeks and lakes, as well as the wildlife, including everything from alligators to herons. Hop on a riverboat cruise down the Savannah River, and gorge yourselves on some good ol’ fashioned southern cooking. You’re in love. No need to worry about those few extra pounds.

#7. Take a Ski Trip Around Montana

Once again: why not embrace the cold weather and warm up by hitting the slopes? There are few places in the world more beautiful than the Rocky Mountains, and Montana’s Big Sky area is the cream of the crop. Moonlight Basin (dreamy name, right?) says it offers the “biggest skiing in America,” so step up to the challenge and enjoy the ride. If that’s not your thing, strap on a pair of snowshoes and find some off-the-grid trails to explore.

When you’re done for the day, you and your lover can snuggle down in front of a fireplace in a warm chalet somewhere, cups of hot cocoa in your hands, and make fun of all the single people sitting around looking lost. Just kidding – we’d never actually recommend doing that.

#8. Volunteer Your Time at an Orangutan Sanctuary in Borneo

Is that off-the-wall enough for you? Instead of spending the day professing your love to one another, why not do a little good in the world instead? It’ll even bring you closer. I promise.

You can become a volunteer wildlife conservation officer to help protect species threatened by mass deforestation, mining, and forest fires. Orangutan habitats in Borneo are under constant threat, and volunteers can assist wildlife centres by doing everything from improving husbandry standards to helping with construction. You and your partner should leave feeling proud of yourselves for having a little bit of a positive influence on the world, even if just for a short amount of time.

#9. Bungee Jump from Macau Tower

Back to conquering those fears of heights! If you’re going to bungee jump, you may as well go all out. The bungee jump from Macau Tower is the highest commercial skyjump in the world, at 233 meters high.

If you feel like going even bigger than that, the world’s highest commercial decelerator descent facility is the Vegas Stratosphere skyjump, at 252 meters. Be sure to take lots of photos so we don’t ever have to try this out for ourselves.


#10. Stay in and Be Armchair Travellers!

I get it: Valentine’s Day is an expensive affair sometimes. A lot of work can go into planning the “perfect” evening, but really…sometimes there’s no better place to be than at home, snuggled up on the couch, watching movies and binge-eating popcorn and chocolate. (Or at least that sounds pretty ideal to me.)

You can still spark that wanderlust by watching a few good travel movies or documentaries. Got Netflix? I recommend Tracks, based on the true story of a young woman who trekked across the Australian outback alone, in the 70s, with just a few camels and her dogs. Another personal favourite is 180-degrees South, following the journey of some explorers sailing to Patagonia to hike the stunning Cerro Corcovado.

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