Love is in the Adventure

Valentine’s Day can be a tricky time of year – some people fawn over the holiday and others call it a waste of good chocolate. Whether you’ve got heart-eyes for the holiday or not, one thing we know for sure is that adventure is amazing no matter the time of year, and no matter if you’ve brought your own companion or joined a new crew. Read each side below to see why we love heading out solo or with your favorite sidekick.

No Plus-One Necessary...

By Nicole Ekholm

It’s Valentine’s Day and if you’re like me, you’ll be spending it solo. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In my younger years, I would have been put off by a V-Day spent single. It seemed that an entire day and industry designed to highlight romantic love only emphasized how alone I felt.  But a few years and many life lessons learned later, I came to find the power in the strength of that word – solo.  

And while there are so many great ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day solo, there’s no better way to show yourself some love than by booking a trip for yourself, but not entirely by-yourself. 

There’s a certain magic to heading out solo in a small group. Think about it.  With the power to choose where to go and what your itinerary looks like, you can decide whether you need a week to unwind on the beaches of Thailand, umbrella drink in hand, or if you’d rather wander the bustling streets of Hanoi – strong coffee in hand all with your fellow travelers by your side to help push you ever so slightly to the edge of your comfort zone. 

There’s something about venturing out into the world in new-to-you places that changes you. When you set out solo, you’re signing an unspoken agreement, acknowledging that the person who leaves will not be the same person who returns – and usually, that’s just the kind of self-care adventure you need. 

Seeing the world without a safety net of familiar family or friends to surround you can be quite unnerving, albeit simultaneously invigorating. When a significant other isn’t there to share a meal with, who do you talk to? Perhaps you chat up a local and toast a Guinness together in a pub in Dublin. You’ll make fast friends with your other like-minded tourmates, forging the bonds of lifelong friendships. When you strip back the layers of the life you’ve grown accustomed to and expose the raw authenticity of who you are to those around you, you’ll find shared commonalities, appreciation, respect, and intimacy that span cultural and geographical borders.  

I think the best way to compare these travels is to a metamorphosis. Generally, travel can be such a transformative experience. And while I’ve loved the shared journeys over the years with past boyfriends, my kids, or the girls, nothing compares to the changes I undergo when I’m dropped in a new place with a group of complete strangers. With no prior exposure, I can show up as the most authentic version of myself – not who others expect me to be. A blank canvas, I spend time reflecting on the person I’ve been, who I want to be, how I want to present myself, and the direction I’m headed.  

And, over the course of a week or so through conversations with fellow travelers and locals, I’m usually surprised by my findings. The stressors and complexities of my life back home are dusted away to reveal a shiny, strong, courageous, and adventurous core – brought out by the new experiences and friendships that have stretched my comfort zone out just a little bit more. 

Give yourself the gift of self-love this Valentine’s Day and check out our best small group trips for solo travelers here. 

Got Room for Two?

By Rachel Jordan

If you’ve hopped over to this side of the blog, you’re likely spending Valentine’s Day like me – incredibly thankful for the person you’ve found to spend life with. And, maybe you’re not a chocolates and roses kind of person and the restaurants are all just a little too busy for your liking. That’s a-okay in my book, because honestly – one of the best gifts of all can be found in shared experiences.  

Just think about it, you’ve set aside specific time with the person you love, focused on one another’s company and creating new memories together that you’ll be able to chat about for years to come – it’s the gift that simply keeps on giving.  

And, one of the best shared experiences you can have with your partner is traveling together. Imagine all the incredible things that happen when you travel – the belly-laughs, the new flavor of local foods, the sheer wonder of a beautiful landscape. Think of it happening by yourself. Now think of it with your partner and watching as their eyes light up with every new experience. Just the two of you – venturing out for the evening, picking out local art that your living room just can’t go without, or daring each other to taste some of the local’s delicacies that don’t quiteee look like your ideal plate. I guarantee you, 30 years from now – those are the nights you’ll remember, not the ones where you ordered the “Valentine’s Day” three-course at the restaurant around the corner. 

So, what’s the best way to celebrate with travel you ask? Well, that’ll depend on your interests.  

We say here at Club Adventures that, “Adventure means something different to everyone,” and that’s probably true for you and your partner too! Find an adventure that you both will enjoy, spend time talking about your bucket lists and what kinds of activities you want on tour. Figuring out what you want to do and where you want to go is all part of the experience, and you’ll probably learn quite a bit about your partner from it too – who knows, you may even decide on multiple trips! 

But, because it’s Valentine’s Day and I’m feeling a bit more sentimental than usual, I’ve gathered up a few ideas for you for some of the most ‘romantic’ small group adventures to share with the one you love. Don’t stress, your vacation Cupid is here: 

I’m not sure I can imagine anything more romantic than watching the purple, red and yellow hues of a Santorini sunset blend together over the Aegean. Oh wait – try a perfect sunset, plus a glass of wine in hand and a delicious dish on the table, your partner across from you overlooking one of the most beautiful island scenes in the world. 

Travel from the notoriously romantic City of Love (Paris) to the dazzling Mediterranean coastline. Along the way, you’ll stop in charming Dijon and Burgundy to learn more about the art of making wine, enjoy a riverside picnic in Avignon, and you’ll wander the Rothschild estate before heading back to Nice for a free evening to enjoy the beautiful coastal promenade.  

Enjoy hearty hand-made pasta, sip on Tuscan wine, and wander your way through some of Italy’s most beloved cities – with your own beloved… Discover the charm of colorful Cinque Terre and cruise the canals of Venice – it doesn’t get much more romantic than Italy.


Not seeing your perfect match? Check out more adventures below:

Start planning my adventure