Ah, sex and travel. Two of life’s greatest pleasures. Combined, they can be heavenly. Of course, they can also be quite the opposite if you don’t do them right. With summer upon us, nearly everyone is on the road again – whether physically or simply in sprit. Here are some tips to make your time away from the ordinary truly pleasurable.

1. Take to the highway with an open mind. It can be easy to let your brain run away with the fantasy and romance of travel. And maybe it will be all palm trees and silk sheets or gourmet meals and sunset walks. But even if it doesn’t meet your Hollywood expectations, commit to enjoying it just the same. Just being away from home should be enough to allow your body and mind to take a break from the ho-hum of the everyday.

2. Get prepared. Part of the fun of traveling is simply imagining how wonderful it will be once you’re there. So enjoy that sensation and indulge in some pre-pampering. Hit the salon or do it yourself. Moisturizing, self-tanning, waxing, and other "maintenance" will help you feel sexy before your toes even hit the sand.

3. Pack adventurously (but also smart). Traveling can be a great time to try out new toys or accessories. If you’re nervous about airport security, go stealth and take toys that resemble anything but, like travel kits, complete with miniature vibrators that look just like a lipstick, make-up brush or hairbrush all tucked into a tidy case. (Just remember to remove the batteries before you pack.) No one will ever know.

4. Get messy. Now’s the time to bring out the chocolate paint and the massage oils and all the things you figure aren’t worth messing with at home. Bring them along. (Pack them in your checked baggage if they are over 3 ounces, of course.) Just be sure to leave the housekeeper an extra large tip…

5. Pack to play. Vacation is also a great time to wear those things you wouldn’t dare wear at home. So pack that slinky sundress or that Panama hat and enjoy playing a little dress-up while you’re away. In fact, why not dress like someone completely opposite your everyday persona and have a torrid affair with your own partner, without any fear of scorned mistresses or sneaky private detectives.

6. I know it might sound crazy, but why not use your vacation time to build a little sexual tension? This can be a great fix if you’re traveling with kids or staying with relatives. Instead of being frustrated, relish the withholding and imagine how exciting it will be once you get back home. Plus, it’ll give you something to look forward to.

7. Rejuvenate. Here’s another tip that can make your return to reality a little easier as well as better for your sex life and all around. Use your vacation time to decompress as well as initiate good habits, like eating right and exercising. What can seem like a burden at home will seem a heck of a lot easier when you’re on vacation. Imagine eating fresh fruit – that someone else cuts. Or taking long walks at sunset. And once you set your path, you’ll have a better chance of sticking with it even when the boss is calling, the kids are screaming, and the bills are piling up.

Good sex is about paying attention and taking advantage of the situations presented to you and your lover. So, be open to those opportunities and take advantage of the sexy hum that summer always seems to inspire.

Walk through the sprinklers and enjoy the goosebumps the cool breeze brings. Buy your sweetie a sweet from the ice cream truck and rekindle the young romance you once enjoyed. Enjoy the warmth of the sun on your skin and the feel of the earth between your toes. Vacations and travel are truly about setting yourself and your senses free. And anyone’s sex life can benefit from that.

And even if you don’t travel this season, consider how you might incorporate these tips into a "staycation" all your own. Traveling, like sex, is as much about your mind as it is your physical body.

It’s summer. Get out of the routine and into the mood…

Jenny Block is a freelance writer based in Dallas. She is the author of "Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage." Her work appears in "One Big Happy Family," edited by Rebecca Walker and "It’s a Girl: Women Writers on Raising Daughters," edited by Andrea Buchanan. Visit her website at www.jennyonthepage.com or check out her blog at wwww.jennyonthepage.blogspot.com.