This post was contributed by our Couples Travel Expert, Christine Culgin.

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Some trips are so amazing that all of your worries seem to float away, and everything that might normally be just “good”, becomes “extraordinary”. Doesn’t a steak dinner taste better when it’s eaten in a special location? When you’re with your loved one watching the sunset over the ocean, or reaching the summit of a hike with incredible views, or embracing local culture at a museum, things might seem pretty ideal from a relationship standpoint.

Sometimes when I watch The Bachelor (don’t judge please), I think, “well of course…who wouldn’t fall in love in this setting?”. It’s a thought that often occurs to me as contestants are taking a helicopter and hot air balloon tours of Tuscany with a basket full of gourmet foods and wine. It’s fantastic, but it’s not everyday life for most. Vacations are sort of like that – it’s easy for a life-changing experience in a new place to enhance a romantic relationship. When you get home, though, you’re no longer wearing rose-colored glasses, and sometimes this can lead to trouble.

romance travel: couple selfie near the water
Photo via Christine Culgin

Don’t worry, this is normal. Just because your relationship might seem stronger in a quasi-magical setting than it does in your fourth-floor walk-up, one bedroom apartment does not mean there is anything wrong. It just takes a little extra effort to keep that same spark alive upon arriving home, because it gets lost all too easily in the shuffle of work, errands, bills and other obligations. Here are a few pointers to keeping the romance alive after an incredible adventure with your significant other.

Relive the Best Moments

Memories don’t have to fade or die if you don’t let them. By re-living your favorite parts of your trip, you can keep those romantic feelings afloat. There are a few ways you can do this:

Recount: Your friends and family will want to hear about your trip, so don’t deprive them! In giving them a play-by-play of the highlights you’ll start to feel like you’re there again.

Hang photos: A beautiful photo of you and your significant other atop a mountain or kayaking can go a long way in romanticizing your everyday life. It can also serve as a reminder of your love when you’re in the midst of a bickering match, or simply having a bad day.

romance travel: paddling on the ocean with the sunset
Photo via Christine Culgin

Journal: This won’t be for everyone, but keeping a journal while vacationing will help you to remember everything in crisp and clear detail even years after you return. While the pages of your notebook may fade, the moments illustrated in them will not. You could even make it a point to read through it with your loved one at some predetermined interval.

This is also a great way to keep in mind the parts of your trip that maybe weren’t so great – a delayed flight, food poisoning, a lost wallet, etc. It might sound like these are weird things to want to remember, but the bottom line is that you overcame the obstacles thrown at you with your partner by your side and ended up having an adventure of a lifetime. Surely this concept can be applied to your relationship back home as well.

Scrapbook: Again, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but by keeping and organizing tickets, photos, postcards and itineraries, getting back that sweet, magical feeling will be no problem.

romance travel: piggy back rides near the mountains
Photo via Christine Culgin

Exchange Souvenirs

My boyfriend and I have a rule: whenever we go somewhere special, we each buy each other a small gift of some sort. This could be as simple as a magnet or something like a piece of jewelry on the higher end. Either way, our policy is that a) the gifts must be unique to the place we visited and b) we can’t open them until after we get home. This tradition keeps a surprise element in the air, and it is truly a romantic gesture that helps ease the transition to regular, sometimes dull life. Further, it allows us each a tangible, meaningful reminder of the feelings we felt.

Think Local

You likely won’t have the time or money to take as many romantic trips as you’d like, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have new and exciting experiences without getting on a plane, train, or bus. Oftentimes we overlook or take for granted the unique offerings of the places we live.

romance travel: couple with their dog
Photo via Christine Culgin

Is there an ethnic restaurant nearby you’ve been dying to try, or a hike you’ve been putting off? Haven’t you ever wanted to take a pottery or painting class? These are all great ways to connect on a more meaningful level with no vacation needed. I know a few couples who make it a point to have weekly date night/days where they alternate which partner picks the activity. 

“Staycations” are also a fun option – stay overnight at a local hotel, book a couples massage and pretend you’re not mere miles from your home. Sometimes all it takes to spark romance is steering your minds away from the day-to-day – bills, work, laundry – even if you don’t leave your own backyard. Ideas like these will help keep your relationship fresh and fun.

Plan your next trip

Having something you can both look forward to together can go a long way in a relationship. Maybe you want to return to the same locale and really relive those happy times, or maybe you want to do something totally different that may be outside of your comfort zones. Either way, plan it. Find out the information about Global Entry: what is it and is it worth it for travelers? Plan it early and plan it well.

My boyfriend and I seldom go on a trip without at least one spreadsheet built in preparation. It might sound a little insane (and not very romantic), but the truth is that with every Airbnb link visited, tour booked and flight reserved, you feel just a bit closer to those feelings of excitement and love, and those feelings can keep you and your partnership not just alive and well, but thriving.

romance travel: sitting on a dock of the lake
Photo via Christine Culgin

I hope these tips help you and your significant other keep that flame burning after an incredible trip. It’d be a shame to let the magic slip away between flight changes and cab rides home. While it may seem like life at home, working a 9-5 job and doing dishes every night is less-than-thrilling, at least it is real life (i.e. not The Bachelor) and if you’re smart you’ll schedule escape trips just when you need them most. Because we all need a break from reality every now and then.

How do you and your partner keep the romance alive after a trip? Let us know in the comment section below!

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