PLANNING that important romantic getaway for Valentine’s Day can be hard, especially if you are a perfectionist.

But experts advise that getaways for couples should be fun, adventurous and more than just a few nights at a lodge. Jennifer Moller from Travel Counsellors said that couples should look for experiences they want to have before making that decision of booking a getaway.

“Vacations should be spent enjoying what you love the most. If you want to sit on the beach then look for getaways that will fit that criteria. Two good places I would recommend are Ballito and Camps Bay.

“Then there are those who want to bond and do activities together. I suggest that couples consider the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, Fish Hoek or Kalk Bay,” she said.

Moller said South Africa was the ideal romantic destination.

She said people could have luxury experiences or have similar experiences on a budget. Popular destinations in South Africa included the KZN Midlands, Limpopo, Port Alfred and Port Elizabeth. According to her, Cape Town was becoming unaffordable for South African travellers as it was geared towards international travellers. Planning Valentine’s Day holidays for her clients has helped her suss out what couples want, and what was popular. She said many couples opted for the spa getaway where they could have massages and treatments together.

“Many busy couples tend not to have lots of time to spend with each other because of hectic schedules and opt for an overnight spa retreat. Those who do have time for a mini-vacation enjoy adventure tourism that allows them to hike or engage in adrenalin activities such as paragliding or bungee jumping.

“People are now looking for the experience. They want to do activities together while making memories to last a lifetime,” said Moller.

What makes a romantic getaway all that special is a long scenic drive, added Moller. She said this provided time to connect and reflect. She warned that money should not be an issue in enjoying a romantic break.During a Valentine’s Day getaway, she and her partner at the time stayed at a backpackers hotel in Magaliesberg in 2008. While it was not a splurge holiday, she and her partner sat by the fire talking to other couples, some of whom are still her friends.

“Never be stopped by a budget. There are a lot of places to travel that are affordable and who knows the amount of gems that one will get to uncover,” she added.

For those couples who have some extra money to splurge, why not treat you and your loved ones to a last-minute international holiday. Reunion Islands, Thailand, Bali and Mozambique are good choices for beach locations. If you’re feeling adventurous, try Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro as it’s rich in culture, festive and cost-effective.

Avoid Europe, Mauritius and the US, warned Moller.