Baecation Like A Pro: Tips & Tricks For Baecay Bliss
#baecation: hanging out with bae (your significant other) for an extended period of time, i.e. during a vacation.
So you’re thinking of going on baecation? Here are some tips on how to do it and where to go with bae. But first, here is a little background into my relationship:
When people ask my boyfriend and me “when did you two meet?” they’re not expecting us to answer: “We met in Kindergarten.” Seems a little crazy, right? I know. We went to elementary and middle school together, and while he always had a crush on me, the feelings at the time were not mutual (LOL). It wasn’t until our junior year in college that we reconnected and started getting serious right before we both took off for 6 months to study abroad - he in Australia and I in Brazil. We both thought that spending this extended time away from each other would either make or break the relationship and, fortunately for us, it not only made our bond stronger, but also fueled a desire to travel the world together.
We took our first #baecation together as 21 year olds looking to live it up in Vegas. This was the beginning of our adventures together. Bae, being the creature of habit and organization that he is, created an itinerary outlining various activities we could do, our hotel information, and any potential costs we would incur.
Over the 5 years we’ve been together, we have refined our planning process to go as follows:
1) We choose which one of my vacations (I’m a teacher so I get a lot of time off throughout the year) we will use to travel on.
2) We decide on a destination depending on our mood. For instance, do we want a relaxing, beach getaway right now or are we up for some exciting adventures.
3) We research any activities and accommodations via Trip Advisor (our fav!) and travel blogs we already follow or come across via Pinterest. We also make sure to touch base with any family and friends who have been to our chosen destination.
4) We set up an itinerary based on what we want to do and how much of that country or place we want to see. Here’s a sample itinerary we created for Puerto Rico.
5) We create a packing list because I hate forgetting things while I’m away from home.
6) We get those passports stamped and GO!
My Top 5 Baecation Places:
1. Romantic Retreat: Cartagena, Colombia
Where we stayed: We spent 4 nights in Casa Pombo, which is a beautiful, charming boutique hotel right inside of the walled city of Cartagena. The service was excellent and the free, made to order breakfast was fresh and delicious! We also spent two nights at the Sofitel Legend Clara, which is a larger, “resort” like hotel. Room was nice, but overall, didn’t feel like this was worth the money.
What we did: Visited Museums, took a horse carriage ride around the city at night, chartered a boat to take us to “Las Islas del Rosario” and “Isla Cholon,” relaxed at the beach in Baru, and drove out to “Parque Tayrona” – a beautiful national park, where we saw dozens of monkeys on our hike.
What to know: We went in April and it was scorching hot so bring lots of sun block and airy clothes. Bring plenty of cash and exchange your dollars beforehand as credit card fees add up. Vendors can be aggressive so be firm when saying no and be sure to haggle, haggle, haggle when you want something.
2. Adventurous Getaway: Costa Rica
Where we stayed: We visited three different regions. In Arenal, we stayed at Arenal Manoa Hotel and woke up to the view of a beautiful volcano in the morning. In Monteverde, we stayed at Ficus Sunset Suites, which was close to the Cloud Forest where we zip-lined. In Tamarindo, we stayed at the JW Marriott Hacienda, which was beautiful and a relaxing way to end our trip.
Where we ate: We either ate the hotels or at local restaurants called “sodas,” which are super affordable and offer authentic, traditional Costa Rican food.
What we did: Lots of hiking (i.e. Arenal volcano, Cero Chato, La Fortuna Waterfall and the Rain Cloud Forest). We also zip-lined in Monteverde, walked across many hanging bridges, and relaxed at hot springs and the beach.
What to know: While it’s warm in Arenal and Tamarindo, it can get pretty cool at night, especially in Monteverde so bring clothing for both climates. Also, pack insect repellant, rain ponchos, sneakers and water bottles. We rented a 4x4 jeep (driving was fine and we felt safe) to get around because it is best when driving up tough terrain and mountainous areas.
3. Beach and Adventure: Hawaii
Where we stayed: Since we scored free flights thanks to bae’s travel miles, we decided to splurge a bit and stay at the Four Seasons while in Maui. The service was top-notch, we even received complimentary champagne and a rose when they found out we were celebrating our anniversary. In Honolulu, we stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, our room had an amazing view of the ocean and the fireworks that happen on Fridays.
Where we ate: While I don’t remember any names besides Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, we made sure to try local Hawaiian eats like “poi,” fish tacos, “loco moco” and, of course, shave ice from Ululani’s.
What we did: Traveled the “Road to Hana,” relaxed on the beach, snorkeled at Waimea Bay, ate Pineapple goodies at the Dole Plantation, learned about Polynesia at the Polynesian Cultural Center and attended a luau.
What to know: Hawaii is a part of the U.S. and can get pricey.
4. Quick Beach Escape: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Where we stayed: For the first part of our trip we stayed at Embassy Suites and for the second at the Ritz-Carlton.
Where we ate: We tried Puerto Rican fast food (El Meson and Metropol) as well as nicer spots like Mojitos in Viejo San Juan, Asere Cuban Restaurant, and Oceano.
What we did: We rode horses at Carabali, hiked el Yunque Rain Forest, visited and snorkeled at the beautiful Playa Flamenco in Culebra, explored the old streets of San Juan and danced salsa until our feet hurt.
What to know: If you want to visit the bioluminescent bays, be sure to plan your trip when there won’t be a full moon.
5. American “Staycation": San Francisco
Where we stayed: Hotel Nikko located in the heart of San Fran. The indoor pool was great because it was chilly out.
Where we ate: The only place that comes to mind is Kokkari Estiatorio, which had the bomb lamb.
What we did: Visited Alcatraz, Golden Gate Park and Fisherman’s Wharf. We also rode cable cars, rented a tandem bike and rode it across the Golden Gate Bridge, and coincidentally ran into a colorful Chinese New Year Celebration.
What to know: The cable car system can get confusing (here’s some more info on this) and the lines can be long so be patient and plan accordingly.
Tips on Traveling as a Couple:
#Baecations can be awesome for many reasons, especially when you and your partner share the same vision for what you hope to get out of the experience. Having lived with my partner for over four years, we’ve gotten to know each other very well… some might say a little too well, so we understand our likes and dislikes and know how to compromise with one another so that we’re both happy while traveling. For those of you looking to get away with your boo, here are some tips to ensure a happy time for the both of you.
1) Discuss your travel vision. Make sure you’re on the same page about where you want to go, what you want to do, and how much you’re both willing to spend on activities, food and accommodations, etc.
2) Share the planning workload. Since you’re both taking this trip together, be sure to each contribute to its planning. Play on your strengths; if you’re the organized one in the relationship then take charge of making an itinerary or booking the accommodations. If you’re the creative one in the relationship then take charge of coming up with fun-filled, cool activities you’d both be interested in.
3) Stay off your phones! Baecations are a time for you to enjoy with your loved one, so take a few pics and then put the phones away. Enjoy the moment!
4) Communicate early, often and honestly. Communication really is key when traveling with anyone, so be sure to talk and debrief about things you both liked and didn’t like so that you can make things better for next time.
5) Be flexible. Things don’t always go as planned and that’s okay. You’re in a different place, go with the flow, adjust and make the best of it together!
For more invaluable baecation tips and beautiful pictures follow Kathy's IG @baecationbliss .