1)  Eighteen months BEFORE the 20th anniversary, the husband should casually say to the wife, "Hmmm, our 20th anniversary is coming up after this year, right?  We need to do something special."

    a)  You get extra points for saying this in the company of others so it can later be verified.
    b)  It’s perfectly acceptable for that thought to be left dangling for a few months; suggesting this in and of itself is the first 20th anniversary gift.
    c)  In order for this to remain a gift, it better not be the only gift. 

2)  Define "something special" to be a trip.  A good great  NO-EXPENSE-SPARED-FOR-THE-FIRST-&-ONLY-TIME-IN-YOUR-LIFE trip.  NoHermitage_bay_beach_chairs pressure or anything….

    a)  Begin saving. 
    b)  Train your children to scrounge for loose change…it’s amazing how much "silver money" you can find in the grocery store check-out line and under Coke machines.   Just invest in a bucket of Purell.
    c)  This would be a good time to lift your ban on playing the lottery.
    d)  And for goodness sakes–send in your Publisher’s Clearing House entry!  You may have already won!

3)  Begin researching your options.

    a)  Read travel magazines.
    b)  Watch travelogues.  Sit through mind-numbing exciting slide shows of your friends and family.
    c)  Solicit suggestions from friends, relatives, neighbors, the Wal-Mart greeter–anyone with lips and a brain.  The two of those put together often result in  spectacular ideas.
    d)  If you want extremely diverse ideas, start a blog, make a few bluddies, and ask THEIR opinions…because bloggers NEVER shy away from sharing their opinions, and actually, they’re usually pretty scary entertaining helpful.

4)  Plan your date.

5)  Secure childcare.  Make sure whoever is keeping your children understands they aren’t just "taking the reservation…they’re HOLDING the reservation".

6)  Determine the "ingredients" of your trip–the better your recipe, the more delicious its taste.  Crowds or seclusion?  All-inclusive or a la carte?  Nightlife?  Shopping?  Museums?  Theatre?  Fine dining?  Knowing what you want in advance is crucial in narrowing your focus.

7)  Discover tripadvisor.com.  It will become an INVALUABLE TOOL in your research…she will become a friend.  Not just ANY friend, your BFF.  You will use her, seek her opinion often, and as a matter of fact, you will not book a trip without her from your first meeting until the end of time.  Or beyond.  You will want to give her surcies, write her love letters, and make out with her for HOURS (uh oh, I’m channeling PW)…but then you will remember tripadvisor is just a website.  A reeeally GREAT website!  And you’ll be embarrassed you said all that gooey stuff (but you won’t take it back because if T.A. was a person, you’d want to do all that and more).

8)  Pull the trigger and MAKE YOUR DECISION.  No matter how difficult this is…in spite of the self-imposed pressure you’re putting on yourself for this to be the trip of a lifetime…make the flippin’ decision.  The rest is downhill from there.

9)  Hypothetically speaking, if you’re looking for:  private, all-inclusive, beach front, SPECTACULAR UNSURPASSED BEAUTY AND SERVICE, choose a place like Hermitage Bay.

10)   Consult luxurylinks.com, and if the moon is in the Seventh House And Jupiter aligns with Mars, you will save money.  Enough to pay for a kidney transplant (or at least hair extensions). 

    a)  After you do a little happy dance round-off, back handspring WIN your auction, return to Robin’s Pensieve and thank her profusely for i) providing a GREAT public service with this article; ii) helping you plan the PERFECT anniversary trip; iii) thumping your spouse in the head to get the ball running; iv) suggesting the time and the place to propagate the human race. 

Homework–well done–WILL.PAY.OFF. 

Juicy details to follow soon ;).


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