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Originally published February 4, 2014 at 6:40 PM | Page modified February 4, 2014 at 8:46 PM

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Add a little romance, affordably, on a trip

Get a room upgrade, spa deal when traveling with your mate.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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While traveling as a couple can provide an instant support system for day-to-day logistical challenges, the time it takes to problem solve your way to your chosen destination can leave you with less energy to be attentive to your mate. Sometimes the little things can make the biggest difference when it comes to resetting your romance meter. Here are a handful of ways you can start a spark and still save money.

Upgrades: Keeping things affordable with a basic room is certainly a popular travel strategy. That said, there are times when spending a few dollars for a particular feature or location upgrade can provide a huge bang for your buck. That in-room fireplace or ocean view can provide the perfect backdrop for a romantic conversation or proposal, particularly if there’s also a refrigerator to hold a chilled bottle of Champagne or an added amenity of chocolate-covered strawberries.

If your preference is to schedule a full night on the town and splurge on a fine dining experience, then by all means you should do just that. If all you want is just a little extra atmosphere and intimacy however, a room or amenity upgrade can fit your expectations for a fraction of the cost.

Mementos: Commemorating the event or journey with a modest token is a great way to keep the romance alive from the road. Depending on the length of your trip, you may want to keep those items as small as possible to conserve luggage space. This same strategy also helps control shipping costs if you decide to mail certain items home while you extend your itinerary. Writing your anniversary date on your wine cork from dinner, spending a few pennies on a street artist’s sketch of the two of you or purchasing a small bit of jewelry such as a brooch or bangle are all ways to preserve travel memories on a budget.

Surprises: Letting your partner know you are thinking of what they might like as you vacation together can help balance out the stress of extended travel. Simple strategies include a serendipitous rose from a local street seller, a decadent chocolate pastry from the corner shop or surprising your partner by ordering a room service breakfast in bed of smoked salmon, whole grain waffles or Florentine Benedict.

Another affordable splurge is to check the seasonal specials at your hotel’s spa. Often, there are scented treatments offered as enticements for travelers to book a full day. Selective shopping is your key to saving in this instance. Simply choose an affordable treatment and book a surprise appointment for your significant other.

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