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No matter how you feel about monarchies (perhaps you’re one of the millions obsessed with The Crown?), you have to tip your hat to Prince Harry, whose recent engagement to Suits star Meghan Markle is one of the best feel-good stories in recent months. Who doesn’t love a good love story?
But their year-and-a-half-long courtship also offers lessons to traveling romantics before Valentine’s Day. Prince Harry and Meghan’s dates took them around the world and back again (good practice before their official globe-trotting duties begin). Here’s where they’ve gone recently—and we’ve gauged how tricky it will be to follow in their footsteps. One note: We’re unsure whether they racked up miles for their adventures, but we’d kill to see their points balance.
1. Run Away to Africa … On Your Third Date
Difficulty Level: 9
After meeting on a blind date in July 2016, Meghan quietly traveled to Botswana (where there was no paparazzi to hound her every move) to join Harry for their third date near the Okavango Delta. Their. Third. Date. In their post-engagement BBC interview, Harry said they camped out in a tent under the stars for five nights, but don’t get the impression this was done on the cheap; the couple reportedly stayed at the $1,000-a-night Meno A Kwena safari camp where Harry is a regular. They returned last year for Meghan’s 36th birthday. So while booking a safari isn’t terribly difficult, finding a near-stranger to travel 8,000 miles to you might be.
2. Try to Peek at the Northern Lights
Difficulty Level: 7
A few months later, the couple took off to northern Norway to catch a glimpse of the gorgeous Northern Lights. The bucket-list trip took them to the Norwegian fjords of Tromso and the nearby remote town of Tromvik, where they stayed at an Airbnb called Tromvik Lodge ($428 a night) ideal for sky-watching and whale sightings. Be mindful of your timing; the otherworldly lights are best seen during the uber-dark months from September to March.
3. Plan a Secretive Night at the Museum
Difficulty Level: 4
If booking a flight isn’t your MO, you can also take a cue from Harry and embrace you city’s cultural side. During their early stages of dating, the couple went on a date to London’s Natural History Museum after hours, when it was closed to the public. You don’t need to sweet-talk a curator to let you sneak in at midnight; private viewings are available to anyone — for a price. A 45-minute tour (for up to 25 guests) costs at £350 (about $495) + VAT, with an additional charge for tours starting after 9pm. Worth it to feel like a VIP.
4. Hunker Down in a “Cozy” Cottage
Difficulty Level: 3
Aw, the weekend getaway. It’s every newbie couple’s favorite pastime — you can learn a lot about someone when you escape the trappings of your daily life. Does he squeeze the toothpaste from the middle of the tube like a monster? Does she sleep ’til noon while you’re up at daybreak? A surprise weekend in will uncover all sorts of quirks. The soon-to-be-royal couple are living in Harry’s “cottage,” but scrub the cozy images from your mind; their two-bedroom Nottingham Cottage is actually on the grounds at Kensington Palace. It’s also where Harry proposed during a night when the two were staying in, roasting chicken for dinner. Their spot isn’t open to the public, unfortunately, but there’s always Airbnb, or a real B&B.
5. Visit a Super-Old Castle
Difficulty Level: 3
Another idea accessible to mere plebeians! Earlier this month, Prince Harry and Meghan took a trip to Wales, where they visited Cardiff Castle — a 2,000-year-old historic monument in the country’s capital. Unlike Harry and Meghan, you won’t have thousands of people shouting your name on arrival, but you might arrive an hour late, as they did, when their train ran behind schedule. But the beautiful castle is open to the public for a nominal price, and you’ll get points for a date that shows you’ve put in some effort beyond rearranging your Netflix queue.
6. Fly in Economy (to Monaco!)
Difficulty Level: 2
Finally, the most doable date of all! People were surprised to hear that Meghan and Prince Harry stooped to flying in coach en route to Monte Carlo for New Year’s Eve. Apparently, they flew British Airways from London Heathrow to Nice, taking up three rows in economy (adding them to our list of people you wouldn’t expect to fly economy). Now this one, you could definitely do.
Featured photo of Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Brixton, southwest London. (Photo by DOMINIC LIPINSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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