Even as a single girl I love Valentine’s Day – the shops, bars and cafés are plastered in pink (my enduring favourite colour), there are some great deals on rosé Champagne and I can stuff my face with chocolates for a fraction of the usual price as shops compete for Valentine’s custom.
However, 14th February and its corresponding weekend is one of my least favourite times to travel (along with Christmas, Easter and any school holiday).
Why you shouldn’t travel for Valentine’s Day
Without having my mind on the date, I was toying with the idea of a short break this coming weekend. Nothing dramatic or exotic, just a short jaunt to Scotland, Ireland or western Europe (Paris usually pleases me) so I went online to search for flights. Could I get a deal – not even. I couldn’t get a flight at all. Ok, I could have gone from Barra to Benbecula for the night (from one part of the Outer Hebrides to another), but that doesn’t solve the problem of getting that far north in Scotland in the first place.
I was looking at flight prices a couple of weeks ago to take me to Poland and while I grazed the rates I saw a sudden spike over Valentine’s Day. A one-way ticket shifting from under 20 euros to over 100.
And it’s not just airlines that cash in on the gig. Hotel deals evaporating like lit brandy off a crêpe Suzette. Many accommodations will raise their prices, have low availability and, worst of all, make you buy a package. Do you really want to dine on an overpriced poulet-a-la-romance set menu in a hotel restaurant that is only swept out and used twice a year (Christmas being the other time)?
But even if you are lucky enough to avoid the hotel dining room, restaurants around the world are not immune to the spending potential of couples determined to impress over Valentine’s Day.
Sitting elbow to elbow with people in a packed restaurant eating from the diminished menu courtesy of the fact the chef is going to have one of the busiest nights of his life and is sipping his way through the crêpe Suzette brandy to deal with the visceral reminder of the fact he’s not with his own loved one, is not my idea of a fun night out. It wasn’t fun even when I was romantically attached.
Yes, I do love Valentine’s Day, but I equally hate it’s implications for budget and under-crowded travel. My advice? Unless your love knows no bounds (I’m thinking engagement proposal) or money is of no concern…or both, you’d be much better placed (financially and sensibly) booking your romantic getaway at any other time of year (apart from Christmas). No, that doesn’t fare well with the whimsy of love and romance and you may have a hard time selling the notion to your other half, but consider this: for the inflated prices you will pay to travel for Valentine’s Day, you could probably enjoy two trips for the same cost.
Ultimately it is a personal choice, but I for one will be staying home, sipping rosé Champagne, counting my savings and planning my next trip, which I will take at any other time of year (apart from Christmas).
Wishes of love, romance and travel savings to you all.
Photo by: Pink Sherbet Photography.