If you’re planning on getting married, just thinking about all the logistics that make the perfect wedding possible might feel overwhelming. However, once you get past the first hurdles, you’ll be much more prepared – and pumped – to plan your honeymoon.
Setting up a once in a lifetime getaway still takes plenty of effort, research, and hours spent in front of the computer, but this time, instead of keeping in mind a whole wedding party, you’ll only be planning for two. Whether you go for a traditional resort experience or venture off the beaten path and out of your comfort zone, your honeymoon keeps the momentum going after you’ve said your vows; having a special trip to look forward to helps your wedding last long past the altar.
As with planning a wedding, your budget is the first factor to consider when researching honeymoon destinations. Unless you want to devote more finances to the trip than the ceremony itself, it helps to already have your wedding costs laid out before moving on to travel. After figuring out the general cost of your airfare, lodging and excursions, you’ll be able to go through the list of your wedding expenses and tweak them according to how much you need to fund your honeymoon. You might, for example, find that opting to have a jacuzzi suite is totally worth cutting your wedding flower order down to half its original size.
If you’re already holding a destination wedding, you might find that you don’t even feel an immediate need to take a honeymoon. It might be more worthwhile to wait until you and your partner settle into a routine and keep saving money until you’re ready to splurge again.
While platforms like AirBnb have made it easy to plan your own lodging and travel activities, you might still want to consider working with a travel agent to plan your honeymoon. Agents’ networks, expertise and booking skills can make sure you find deals, discounts and bundles that you wouldn’t have come across surfing the internet on your own.
Be set on a timeline as well; three weeks spent in one place can be radically different than a five-day visit, and you’ll want to ensure you have enough to do to avoid getting bored or falling into a routine. However, if you both do have the ability to take a significant amount of time off, take full advantage and plan a cross-country journey or multi-city tour of Europe’s capitals.
When it comes to settling on a destination, the options are predictably endless, so narrow your choices down based on what kind of travelers you and your partner are (or want to become). If you feel like you deserve a long break, you’ll probably want to consider resort packages set in some of the most desirable locations around the world. The Caribbean, The Maldives, Hawaii and other Pacific Islands are obvious choices, renowned for white sand beaches, sparkling waters and all the bonuses of a luxury stay. If you’re looking for a more offbeat island paradise, consider discovering Fiji, Sicily, Sri Lanka or Iceland.
Adventure tours, excursions and treks are perfect for honeymooners who just can’t sit still. Capturing a summit or trying zip lining together for the first time will leave you with a shared adrenaline rush. Whether you explore by land, sea or air, reaching new heights can inspire a lifetime of traveling and challenging yourselves. Guided long distance bike tours, sunrise treks to archaeological sites and climbing expeditions are some of many ways to delve deeper into your chosen destinations. Endurance excursions like trekking, biking, and climbing are extra rewarding in the way they highlight your potential both individually, and as a couple.
Your honeymoon can also be the ideal opportunity to start an annual tradition or couples’ bucket list that you can continue to be inspired by. Maybe you want to visit every National Park in the country, successfully summit a certain number of peaks, take a picture at every medieval castle in Europe or start a collection of international souvenirs. Whatever your aspirations are, a shared goal means double the motivation and double the possibilities. Starting and staying true to a travel tradition might also keep married life from falling into a routine, giving you both quality time to look forward to year after year.
For a balanced mix of luxury and wanderlust, spend your honeymoon getting to know a city you have always been curious about. This way, you’ll be able to play it by ear and choose how far from your hotel you want to venture each day- or not at all. A city like New York or Los Angeles, for example, offers plenty to do within city limits but also gives you the opportunity to take day trips for a change of pace (for example, Catalina Island from LA or Montauk from NYC). The same goes for Europe, where you can even plan your itinerary around two or three major cities thanks to proximity and the ease of train travel. The New York Times’ most recent list of recommended destinations counts Cleveland, Kyoto, and Naples among its choices for a memorable trip where you, as a traveler can interact with cities in new ways.
If solitude is what you’re after, the smaller your destination, the better. Dropping off the grid for a few days can be liberating, especially when your brand new spouse is the only thing on your mind. English towns like St. Ives and Bakewell join France’s Bonifacio and Honfleur as tranquil hideaways far from typical tourist hubs. In the States, you’ll find tiny, inviting communities across the county, from Vermont’s Stowe to Oregon’s Manzanita. Country inns, farm-stays and bed and breakfasts let you live like a local while enjoying a home-like atmosphere that slows things down. You may also want to look into eco-friendly resorts and hotels around the world, which have grown in popularity thanks to their commitments to sustainability and environmentally friendly travel.
If you plan on keeping your spending to a minimum even while celebrating, opt for a country known for lower rates. Your dollar or pound can go a long way in, for example, Southeastern Europe, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, so research currency rates before you overlook an opportunity. If you’re not committed to an international getaway, you might also want to look into having your honeymoon close to home.
Though you may have always imagined a complete change of scenery, a staycation or backyard escape can be just as satisfying- and cut out a lot of the guesswork. Londoners may find what they’re looking for in Ireland’s National Parks, a bed and breakfast overlooking a Scottish Loch, or Wales’ seaside village of Tenby. Newlyweds from the United States have a lot more options when traveling domestically, meaning the perfect honeymoon might be just across state lines or on the opposite coast. Watching whales in Washington’s Puget Sound, trying your hand at ranch life in Wyoming, and discovering Florida’s secluded Dry Tortugas National Park by seaplane are just a few domestic trip ideas that may be a stone’s throw away from home.
For those in a time (or budget) crunch, vacationing in your own city as a way to spoil yourself can be not only exciting, but extra-convenient as well. Booking a penthouse at a top notch hotel you never thought you’d find yourself staying at can make your city feel like an entirely new place, even if you never leave your suite. Any major city is bound to have a handful of luxury and historic hotels that go above and beyond to make your experience worth the hefty cost.
Chances are a few nights at your dream hotel adds up to less than airfare, lodging and dining costs abroad. New York’s Plaza, London’s Waldorf- Hilton or San Francisco’s Fairmont might not be out of reach after all, especially if you book long in advance. Waking up in a new neighborhood can be like starting your day in another city, especially if it’s a part of the city you don’t normally spend time in. Add room service, rooftop pools and newlywed bonuses, and you’ll feel like an exclusive guest in your own hometown.
No matter how you go about it, your honeymoon belongs only to you and your spouse, giving you a reason to treat yourselves. While the wedding is as much a celebration for your guests as it is for the two of you, your honeymoon should be based on your wildest dreams. Document every moment of your first trip as a married couple or tune out the rest of the world and focus on the milestone as it happens. While you definitely want to stay within your planned budget, take extra steps to make sure you don’t feel too constricted by outside circumstances. Whether that means patiently saving money or scaling down your wedding just a bit, every moment will be worth the thought you put into it.