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20 Long-Distance Date Ideas to Keep Your Bond Strong

You'll never be bored on FaceTime again.

If you're in a long-distance relationship, it can sometimes be difficult to keep the spark alive, much less schedule regular dates. And while phone calls and video chats are important, simply recanting your day to your partner can't replace valuable facetime. To help you get as close to that in-person experience as possible, we asked relationship experts for the best long-distance date ideas couples can use to keep their bond healthy and strong. From which phone games to play to how to plan an unboxing date, these are the long-distance date ideas you'll love and use.

Try an unboxing date

Snail mail isn't dead! Staying in touch by mail can bring you closer to your partner and make long-distance dating a bit more whimsical. "Surprise each other," says Celia Schweyer, a dating expert for the online dating comparison and advice service DatingScout. "Send each other cute gifts via online services or good old postal packages." Then, turn it into a date by "unboxing" your letters and gifts together. There's no better way to feel connected then seeing the look on your partner's face when they open something special.

Take online personality quizzes or relationship tests

Learning more about yourselves as a couple can sometimes be difficult when you're not experiencing everyday life together or having pillow talk at night. For this long-distance date idea, simply take a personality quiz or a relationship test over video chat. Try sites like Playbuzz for fun quizzes that can bring you closer even from a distance.

Create art together from afar

Creating something together is a great way to grow as a couple. For a quirky, relaxing long-distance date, decide on a craft or mini project to do at the same time. You could even just paint or doodle while your partner is doing the same. You can also draw together online using applications like FlockDraw (somewhat of a Google Docs for art) to collaborate on something creative in real time.

House-hunt or plan future dates

"Couples who live in a long-distance relationship should always remember that the situation is usually just temporary," says Schweyer. "It's important to create future plans and set up important milestones that are worth working for—for example, a move to the same city or apartment."

But for now, you can make planning for the future part of your long-distance date nights. Dream up future vacations and take each other on virtual tours of possible apartments or homes you might share. Setting aside time to look forward together will keep you excited for a better tomorrow as a couple.

Get a virtual psychic reading

Curious about your future? For a bit of fun, go to an online psychic or fortune teller with your partner, or get a virtual tarot card reading and compare notes. Try not to take the results too seriously, but a bit of fortune-telling can sometimes lead you into real conversations about your own hopes and dreams as a couple.

Play a two-person online game

Connect online in a new way with a two-player game. Visit a website like Gamesgames to play everything from word games to poker for a bit of friendly competition. Playing games together lets you do something other than just talking and can teach you more about what your partner is like in different scenarios.

Read your love letters to each other

There's something magical about handwritten letters, especially romantic ones. Set aside a virtual date night to read love letters aloud to each other. Hearing your loved one's voice saying sweet nothings they've written just for you can hold you over until the next time you get to see them in person.

Go on a virtual vacation

Missing out on real-life vacations together? Sit back and enjoy the breeze in the Bahamas or the wintry landscape of Iceland with "digital vacations." For example, this 360 video from Lufthansa shows exactly what it would be like to sit under New York's Brooklyn Bridge with your beau.

Play phone games like 20 Questions

Old-fashioned "phone games" or word games like Mad Libs or 20 Questions can be a fun way to do something together on the phone that's not just talking. Playing retro games can also break up the same-old Skype routine and give you a glimpse into your partner's quirky, sillier side. Plus, it's one of the long-distance date ideas that helps you learn more about them, too!

Skype with friends and family

Being part of a romantic partnership isn't just about your partner. It's also about the village of caring people around you. Include your friends and family in your Skype dates so they can stay in touch with the person you love most, too. It can be as simple as them waving hello from the background while the two of you chat.

Arrange homework or coworking dates

If you're both in school, you might be missing out on studying together at the library or working side by side on your laptops at a coffee shop. Have a "coworking" or "homework" date via Skype. If you don't work remotely or go to school, consider learning together by signing up for an online class you can both take. Learning a new skill with your partner will help you learn more about them, too!

Enjoy some intimate time together

Sexting—from flirty phone sex to full-on video chats—can be a way to stay intimate even if you're across the world from your partner. "Get to know each other's bodies," suggests Dr. Fran Walfish, a relationship and family psychologist and author in Beverly Hills.

"No matter how much sexual experience you've had, good relationships include the discovery of every curve and nuance with your partner," she says. "The adventure is a huge turn-on. Begin the process on Skype through talking and visually learning before touch is included when you meet again in person."

Arrange a scavenger-hunt date

Come up with clues based on your partner's city and send them on a romantic scavenger hunt! Watching them try to answer riddles, solve puzzles, or figure out hints will be ultra-cute—and ultra-romantic.

Take a spooky trip through a virtual haunted house

For a bit of an adrenaline-pumping couples' experience, go through a virtual haunted house together for a glimpse into what your partner is like when they're scared silly! You can find them at websites like Frightbytes. Or, simply watch the same scary movie on your laptops while you chat about the experience on your phones.

Go on a virtual dinner date

"The more ways you can simulate spending in-person time together, the better," says Allison Zamani, J.D., M.A., an associate marriage and family therapist and associate professional clinical counselor at the Center for Mindful Psychotherapy. "Try having a FaceTime date where you both order Thai takeout, have a glass of wine, get dressed up, and have dinner with each other."

Have a book club

"Choose a book that you think you'll both enjoy and read it separately," suggests Adina Mahalli, MSW, a relationship expert with Maple Holistics. Starting your own book club will spark dialogue and put you on the same page, literally. "It's like watching a show, but it involves a lot more investment and commitment on both sides," she says.

Head to the bar together

"Include your partner in everyday activities via Snapchat or text," says Schweyer. When you're out and about and having a coffee or cocktail, "show them around or give them a 'cheers' with your drink via your smartphone screen," she says. It's a simple reminder to your partner that they're on your mind even when you're out on the town—and it's one of the mini long-distance date ideas that only takes a second or two.

Share the sunrise with one another

One of the worst parts about being far apart is not getting to experience awe-inspiring things together, like golden sunrises and scenic sunsets. If you like exploring the outdoors, bring your smartphone along on a hike to your favorite viewpoint and video chat your partner. If you're in the same time zone, you can watch the sun go down at the same time from different spots. If you're in different ones, you can watch the sunrise from their screen, even if it's the evening where you are. It's a simple way to see the world from your partner's eyes.

Schedule everyday check-in dates

Sometimes, it's the little things we miss most when we're separated from our partner. Doing laundry and other chores or going to the grocery store might not seem like a big deal when you're together, but it's those small everyday activities that often form the glue for a couple's time together. Zamani suggests talking about some of these seemingly mundane activities with your partner, just like you would with bigger events.

"Try to keep each other as up to date on the day-to-day as possible," Zamani says. "It can become easy to stop talking about the details of what's happening at work because the other person is far away, but connecting on a daily level is what helps keep a couple strong."

Stargaze at the same time

It's those romantic moments, like gazing up at the stars or a full moon, that couples in long-distance relationships often miss the most. Sit out in your yard and call up your partner for some virtual pillow talk under the stars.

Laura Dorwart
Laura Dorwart, MFA, PhD, is a health and lifestyle writer. Read more
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