Surprise your loved one with more than a sorry-looking red rose this Valentine's Day and whisk them off for a romantic getaway instead. Here's your failsafe (and economical) guide to creating the perfect mini break.
Getting time off work: this is make or break issue number one. To make a mini break worthwhile, you'll probably need to take a few days out of the office. Your boss might have agreed your holiday request, but what about the other half? Discreetly call their workplace and ask if they can take leave. Make sure it is kept secret, though.
Budget: review your financial situation. Make a list of the things you'll need to pay for and estimate how much they might cost, including food and drink, excursions, transport, etc. Then compare with your budget and be realistic when you start shopping. Your partner won't appreciate the gesture half as much if they discover you've wiped the joint bank account or gone over your overdraft.
Transport: hang on, does your loved one have a phobia of flying? Don't see your partner balled up with fear unnecessarily. Would it be better to travel by coach? Or sail across on a ferry? If you are flying, don't forget transport to the airport. Save on costly airport parking fees by taking the bus to Gatwick, rather than leave your car. Many bus companies have some incredible deals.
Location: remember you are planning a romantic trip when you are choosing your destination. Coinciding your trip with a European football match, for example, won't impress most ladies. Guaranteed. Think about the places you've both talked about seeing: Paris, Venice, Prague, Bupapest... Now, what can you afford?
Accommodation: it doesn't have to be five star, use your common sense and check out reviews before booking. Establish where the hotel is located in relation to the rest of the city to avoid expensive taxi journeys throughout your trip. Some websites offer flight and hotel package deals, with airport transfers included, which are well worth investigating. Other sites allow you to use supermarket loyalty card points to fully or partly pay.
Packing: by this point, you might need to tell your partner that they're going on a trip, however, for the ultra confident, you could try and pack on their behalf. Remember important things like contact lenses, phone charger and toiletries. Mentally run through the trip to work out what sort of clothing and shoes will be required. Don't forget a camera.
Unveiling the surprise: if you've been successful in keeping the trip a secret thus far, congratulations. You are clearly skilled enough in deception and underhand activities that you can find your own way to reveal the trip.
Basking in the glory: by following the tips above, your loved is bound to be so impressed, that'll you'll be able to bask smugly in the glory for quite a considerable time. What's nicer than pleasing your loved one and earning brownie points in the process?