Planning the perfect staycation

Woman getting out of the car for a cup of coffee.

Valentine’s Day can often be an expensive day or weekend for many people and one that involves a lot of planning to get right. There has been a recent trend for staycations, with a 10% rise to 7.3 million people holidaying in England in the first quarter of 2016 compared to a year before. A staycation offers a more affordable yet no less romantic option for Valentine’s Day and we’ve compiled everything you need to plan and put into action for a fantastic Valentine’s staycation this year.

Create a romantic drive

Start off your Valentine’s celebrations in the most fanciful way, by ensuring the journey to your destination is as romantic as possible. Wherever you are going, try to stay away from motorways and other busy roads, opting for an alternative route across the countryside where possible. This will create a more romantic feel, especially for any long distance driving, allowing you to take in the beautiful scenery and stop off where appropriate.

The car you use is also important. Convertibles are often associated with romantic drives, but for mid-February in the UK aren’t always the most practical option. Still, you might get lucky and can always put the roof up if the heavens do open. Here are three romantic vehicles ideal for every budget and all weather conditions.

  • Mazda MX-5: An affordable convertible, the soft top allows you both to cruise around with your hair blowing in the wind, or put the roof up for a cosier ride.
  • Jaguar XF: The saloon and sport versions can be found at a decent price second-hand, with the luxury appearance and quality drive ensuring a romantic trip.
  • Porsche 911: For those with a bit of money to spend, there’s something more romantic about a two-seat car. Available as a convertible too, the Porsche 911 oozes class and is perfect for showing that special someone how special they are.       

Choose a great UK staycation destination

There are countless options for romantic weekend getaways across the UK. From cosy bed and breakfasts to glamorous city hotels or glamping by the sea, choose somewhere outside of your regular habitat for a real change. It doesn’t even have to be that far away from home, with plenty of fantastic locations in the Lake District, North Yorkshire Moors, Welsh and Scottish countryside.

These offer a more romantic drive, through some of the nation’s most scenic areas, but big cities like London, Manchester and Liverpool also have plenty to offer. You could book a weekend in a stylish hotel, taking in plenty of culture. Try to find an alternative route that avoids the busy roads to form a more romantic journey to the destination.

Focus on the details

When you’ve decided on a destination and journey, plan what you’ll do over the weekend. Focusing on the little details such as unplugging from your phones, setting up little surprises and more will make it a memorable and romantic experience. Make it a surprise by booking the accommodation on the sly, not using a joint account or credit card and ensuring your partner doesn’t read any email booking confirmations.

You could book in for a nice romantic meal or create your own, depending where you’re staying. Pack up a picnic and take it on a country walk if the weather is right, or cook up a romantic meal at your accommodation if staying in a cottage or other appropriate accommodation. Planning everything well is vital for a successful Valentine’s Day.

Prepare your car

It may look somewhat romantic in the films, but there’s very little less so than being stranded with a broken-down car, especially in the chilly February weather. For long distance driving for Valentine’s weekend getaways it is vital your car is well-prepared to avoid any such incidents. As a basic checklist you should:

  • Check fluid levels, including oil, transmission fluid, engine coolant, water and windscreen wash
  • Test the lights, taking spare bulbs along with you
  • Inspect the tyres and air pressure levels
  • Put in an emergency kit, spare tyre, tools and map book
  • Pack a CD or playlist full of love songs for the journey
  • Now you should be ready to set off on your romantic staycation in the UK and give your partner the day, night or weekend they deserve.

Image courtesy of iStock.

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