Completely stumped for gift ideas this Valentine's Day? Please step away from the roses and the waxy boxed chocolates. Instead, how about surprising your special someone with an international getaway?
It doesn't have to cost a lot. In fact, if you've been contemplating a trip overseas, 2020 is shaping up to be the year to do it. Fares are low and the dollar is fairly strong.
So where will you and your sweet babe travel this year? Here are a few possibilities.
A Romantic Trip to Paris? Groundbreaking
Love-struck couples have always flocked to Paris. Now it's easier and cheaper to make the trip as more low-cost airlines have added service in the last few years—Level, French bee, and Norwegian just to name a few.
Another option for those willing to splurge on the good seats, all-biz-class La Compagnie operates between Newark and Paris and regularly offers two-for-one companion fares. Standard sale prices fluctuate between just under $900 and $1,600. These sale rates have been known to appear even in the summer months. That's often lower than what you'd find even for peak summer economy on other carriers!
Italy on the Cheap
Also high on everyone's bucket list of romantic destinations, Italy suddenly seems doable. Norwegian offers service to Rome from Newark, Los Angeles, and Oakland, with fares often under $400 round-trip. Fares like this to Rome would have been unheard of just a few short years ago. In the mood for a Milanese shopping spree? Norwegian also offers service to Milan.
In recent years, Emirates has created a bit of a headache for legacy carriers with its cheap nonstop flights and superior service between New York and Milan. Fares currently aren't as low as they once were (sometimes dipping below $400), but Emirates does have frequent companion deals along this route.
New Ways to Spain
Level, the low-cost offshoot of British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus, began service last year to Barcelona from Oakland and has since added Los Angeles and Boston. When on sale, fares can typically be booked for under $300 round-trip. You'll find similarly priced seats from other budget carriers like Norwegian.
Our Neighbor to the South
Always affordable and only a short hop from most of the U.S., Mexico has also seen an uptick in budget service over the last few years. Mexico's second-largest airline, Volaris has expanded pretty rapidly and now includes over 60 routes from the U.S., with service to Cancun, Acapulco, Ixtapa, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, Colima, and other popular coastal spots. Interjet isn't far behind with service to 33 cities in Mexico.
Cofounded by the same folks behind Ryanair, VivaAerobus is yet another possibility, though they seem to discontinue routes as quickly as they add them.
With over 58% of Americans without a passport, there's a good chance your significant other (or you) are among them, If that's the case, Valentine's presents an opportunity to do something about it. Make a cute lunch date with planned stops for a passport pic (you can usually do this at FedEx or in the photo departments of drugstores like Walgreens, etc.) followed by a trip to the post office to submit the application. With the application fee at $110, plus a $25 execution fee, you'll still probably spend less than you would on roses and a bourgie champagne dinner. Pro tip: print those forms in advance!
Spontaneous couples with an international trip approaching but no passports can pay extra for expedited service if the departure date is within two weeks. Here's how to apply for a rushed passport.