When Valentine’s Day doubles up with Presidents’ Day, the weekend has romantic getaway written all over it. But nothing busts our budgets like spontaneous travel, especially when we're trying to be romantic the same weekend as everyone else.
We've come up with some ways to get away with your sweetheart, without paying off the bill 'til July 4th:
Think Fireside Cuddles, Not Sun-Baked Parties
Instead of joining the sun-worshiping crowds, try heading way north, where they know how to cozy up to winter. On a the official Quebec website, we spotted a room at the Appartement Hotel in Montreal. (Yes, it's spelled that way.) It has an indoor rooftop pool with a view. It’s in the city center, with easy access to both the romantic Old City and the stylish Rue St. Denis. The package we found had rates at about C$109 ($101.63 US) per night, for February 13-15. Best to go while it's cold, as rates only climb higher once it warms up. Bonus: The favorable exchange rate (about 93 Canadian cents to the dollar) means that you can wine and dine your significant other at a discount over what you’d pay for something similar in the US.
Go On a Couples Road Trip
You don’t have to spend the whole weekend with the other couples, and having other folks in the car will make the drive go faster—especially if you pick friends with good mixes on their iPods. Consider, for example, a getaway for four from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, a four and a half hour drive away. Rent a midsize car at LAX for about $80 for Saturday to Monday (that’s only $40 per couple) and split the cost of filling the tank. It goes without saying that you'll also split the cost of happy hour drinks when you arrive at your location.
When you get to Sin City, skip the hotels and rent someone’s condo, which will save a few dollars and offer some extra room and privacy. There are plenty of sublets available around the country via VRBO, Vacation Rentals By Owner, a site founded by vacation rental owners who self-manage their second homes. We saw a large suite at the Jockey Club, a vacation rental property right on the Strip, for $123 per night or $369 for a three-night weekend (that’s less than $200 per couple). By comparison, a night at the Bellagio, right next door, starts at over $400 per night for just one room.
Try Swapping … Apartments
If you have friends in a place you’d like to visit, ask to swap homes for the weekend. Change the sheets, put some fresh coffee and drinks in the fridge, and ask them to do the same. A New York couple trading places with Boston friends for the weekend would save upwards of $140 per night on a hotel near Faneuil Hall. Meanwhile, the Bostonians will easily save more than $200 per night on a Midtown hotel. You might find yourselves farther from tourist central, but you’ll explore a local neighborhood where eating and drinking might be cheaper and more interesting.
Plus, your hotel savings will cover a cab ride or two if your romantic night runs into the wee hours.