You don't need me to tell you what the most sought-after vacation spots around the world are. But the kind of trip you'll take with your family or friends is different from the couples vacations that'll bring you closer. If you're looking for a true bonding experience with your partner, you'll have different criteria than you do when you're just looking for a good time.
When you go on a trip as a couple, you're looking to explore a new place, relax, and let loose, but you're also probably looking for a little something more. Couples usually hope that after they get home and return to the daily routine of their relationship, it will have changed a bit. At the very least, they'll have happy new memories to look back on together. And at best, they'll have resolved issues, learned more about each other, and taken their relationship to a new level, even (perhaps especially) if they've experienced some conflict along the way.
From ancient spiritual healing rituals to couples therapy sessions in tropical settings, there are a lot of ways to accomplish these goals with your partner. Here are a few vacation spots that'll facilitate them in your relationship.
The Hard Rock Hotel's Woodstock Terrace, a site for concerts, features a "LOVE" sculpture with a gorgeous ocean view, making it a popular setting for weddings, and its rooms have private outdoor jacuzzis and hammocks to share alone time.
But if you really want an emotional bonding experience, you should try the Temazcal, where a shaman prompts you to speak about your past, your hopes for the future, and your biggest fears, emotionally cleansing you through steam emitted by hot coals. You leave feeling emotionally lighter, and you won't look at the person who went through it with you in the same way again.
Therapist Marissa Nelson, LMFT offers this retreat to couples and singles who want become closer in a beautiful setting. Guests attend therapy sessions where they talk through their issues and establish goals for their relationship and then enjoy Barbados through a catamaran cruise and an island tour.
When I went on the singles retreat, Nelson really helped me see the biggest issues that had been holding back my love life, and I left prepared to bring my authentic self to my new relationship.
You might not think of Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia as a vacation destination, but it's home to Serenbe, a place unlike anywhere else in the world. Serenbe is actually an entire village where some people live, but it also includes in inn for vacationers. Rather than a vacation resort, the inn is out in nature — you can hear birds chirping and horses neighing from your window. All the food is grown on Serenbe's farm, and you can walk to town to a spa and shops. It's a perfect place to be alone with no distractions and an even better place to enjoy retreats with themes like "sex, drugs, and death" and group experiences like a dinner under the stars and a trail ride and picnic.
Between the wine tastings, the upscale restaurants, and the hiking trails, Napa Valley is an ideal romantic destination. This particular bed and breakfast has luxurious rooms, a farm where you can feed horses and eat eggs straight from the chickens, and extremely friendly owners. And for the more adventurous couples out there, there's a clothing-optional pool.
If you want to tackle multiple destinations in one trip, a couple named Alex and Dave who took this tour for their honeymoon recommend it. Over a span of 20 days, you'll pass through England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, several other European countries, getting the chance to hang out as a couple and with other couples and singles.
"I was excited about having our honeymoon as a trip," Alex tells Bustle. "We were going to be able to meet new people and hang out with them if we wanted or do our own thing as newlyweds. We are both bubbly people and we like meeting new people, so we jumped at the opportunity."
Wherever you do decide to go with your partner for a bonding experience, just make sure to agree on your budget in advance, allow yourselves to spent time apart, and always have a snack and drink on you.
Images: Fotolia; Suzannah Weiss/Bustle(2)