Why We’re Traveling Instead of Exchanging Presents This Year (+ where we’re going and a few small gift ideas!)
If you follow me on insta-stories, you might remember that I shared my discovery of google.com/flights earlier this year. I spent almost a whole afternoon one weekend daydreaming about going to every major European city. Google Flights has a flexible dates feature so I could search for week-long trips in a few different months to see how the prices vary. It quickly became clear that planning a trip to Europe isn’t actually that big of stretch if we avoid the peak tourist season. We could get round trip tickets to Lisbon for under $500 per person?! That’s how much a flight to San Francisco costs most of the time!
To give you some context, throughout our relationship, we’ve realized that we really love traveling together. We’ve been to a LOT of weddings all over the country, we went on a Texas road trip, to the mountains of Colorado, Mexico, and of course, FINLAND! Pretty sure I cried when I got that invitation ? Let me explain…
There are a LOT of places on my travel bucket list.
I didn’t study abroad in college, so I didn’t check any countries off my list during that time. In fact, when it comes to destinations outside of the US, I had only ever been to Mexico and London before I turned 28. That year, I traveled to Dublin for a family wedding and then continued to the South of France with a bunch of my cousins, and it was seriously one of the best weeks of my life.
So, when I got that email about going to Finland, it makes sense that I would cry, right?! I’ve been saying I want to see more of the world for so long, and that was a clear sign that now is the time. Whether it’s through a blogging opportunity like that or just budgeting my own finances, it’s worth it and possible now. Especially with an amazing travel buddy by my side!
Where We’re Going Next
After much deliberation, we ended up deciding on Barcelona and Lisbon for a few reasons! #1 this itinerary was well within our budget if we went at the end of March/beginning of April. To give you an idea, for the two of us to book round trip flights to Barcelona, plus 3 nights in a hotel, it cost us just over $2000 TOTAL. We also booked round trip flights for both of us from Barcelona to Lisbon for $145 total. We haven’t booked a place to stay in Lisbon yet, but if a hotel collaboration doesn’t work out, we’ll get an affordable AirBNB. There are a ton of great options! (PS. I got the idea for those cities on Google Flights, but we found the actual deals we booked on Expedia! We recommend looking at the bundles with flights and hotels for the best prices.)
Now, don’t get me wrong…
I know most people aren’t spending $2,100+ on Valentine’s Day. But we since we really don’t need anything right now, and we will be registering for our wedding soon, material gifts just seem so unnecessary. So, instead of Valentine’s Day and birthday gifts this year, we decided to make this trip happen! And we are SO EXCITED about it!
If you’re not interested in/can’t travel, I still love the idea of getting each other gifts that encourage or refer to an experience together. I’ll be honest, most of the ideas below are more fun for him to give you – woops! But if you’re looking for something for your man, I think it’s fun to get him tickets to a sporting event or a concert. You could also encourage him to finally try out that new hobby, by getting him a music lesson or signing the two of you up for a cooking class!
Here are a few other ideas…
Do you exchange gifts on Valentine’s Day?
And have any of you been to Barcelona or Lisbon? I’d love to hear any recommendations you have!!
PS. You might also like Date Nigh Risotto & Garlic Shrimp, The Best Valentine’s Day Cards + Outfits You Won’t Freeze In, and What To Do In Helsinki, Finland.
February 6, 2019 @ 2:50 pm
My husband and I recently did this as well. Both our birthdays are near Christmas time (lame), and typically if there’s something we reallllly want we’ll just buy it for ourselves anyway. So this year we got each other stockings but otherwise skipped presents. We instead booked a trip to Cancun! We got to escape the Chicago winter for a bit and it was an amazing way to celebrate his 30th 🙂
Best decision- seriously considering making this a thing we do every year now. Enjoy your trip together!!
February 6, 2019 @ 3:06 pm
Ahhh love this so much!!! Thanks for sharing, Stephanie!!
February 7, 2019 @ 8:09 am
Thanks for sharing! My husband and I stopped exchanging gifts about a year after we started dating (which was about 7 years ago now) opting for trips or experiences as well. I also am in the middle of reading the book The More of Less which is about using minimalism to put money and effort towards things that really make you happy!
February 7, 2019 @ 8:18 am
Omg I need to add that book to my reading list! Thanks for the rec!