8 Ways to Have An Epic Honeymoon
1. Choose a Destination You’ll Both Love
She dreams of a “foodiemoon” in France, he wants to sail the Florida Keys. What’s the compromise? “Travel psychic” Linda Lauren says to sit down together with a map and look at the places you both have considered. “Say the names aloud to each other and see how it makes you feel. Happy? Excited? You will internally know what place will nourish you the most,” Lauren says. If that doesn’t work, take the top four places on both your lists and name the pros and cons.
2. Be Trendy
According to the experts, current hot honeymoon destinations include
• The Dominican Republic, with its plethora of affordable but high-end all-inclusive resorts
• Smaller European cities like Rome or Barcelona that may be less expensive than London and Paris
• Thailand for its mix of culture and beaches, and safaris for adventurous types.
Closer to home, a “minimoon” – think a quick jaunt to a nearby locale – is a popular wedding buzzword.
3. Think Experiential
“We’re seeing people want to encompass more experiences as their honeymoon together, instead of just laying on a beach and getting a tan,” says Rachel McIntyre, founder and president of Black Door Experiences in New York. According to the country specialists at Audley Travel, many couples request a combination of off-the-beaten path destinations, adventure and culture with a little relaxation at the end. Mix with the locals and get a true sense of your destination beyond the guidebook. An easy trick: Get off the tourist grid and stay at an off-the-beaten-path bed and breakfast, where the owners will serve the local specialty and point out favorite neighborhood haunts.
4. Enlist Help
The right travel planner has inside access to score a hard-to-get restaurant reservation and troubleshoot any problems that pop up. This could include details down to when to wear layers, cultural dress norms, and which rooms have the best views, according to Audley Travel. To find the right person, McIntyre suggests asking a potential travel pro questions like what relationships they have with hotels and resorts, and what are some examples of honeymoons they’ve planned.
5. Book Early
Travel booked more than 100 days in advance often equals a better deal, says Sarah Gavin, director of public relations and social media for Expedia (which launched a weddings travel service in February). Also, booking flights and hotel at the same time can save on average about $540, but up to $1,500 in larger markets like the Caribbean and Hawaii. Monday and Tuesday are the days when many fare sales launch, so travelers should look to book early in the week to snatch up a good deal, adds Courtney Scott, senior editor of Travelocity.
6. Make the Most of Your Budget
Traveling in low season, for example to Mexico or the Caribbean in fall (typically known as hurricane season), could yield a 50-percent lower cost. McIntyre advises to research and consider the risks – check the area’s weather patterns over the past few years, inquire whether restaurants remain open – and weigh against potential perks such as fewer crowds and more access to exclusive venues.
Another idea gaining momentum is to invite the wedding party for part of the trip and book a private villa for the group, where you can cook together and save on hotel costs.
7. Befriend the Concierge
When booking your hotel room, let the agent know it’s your honeymoon so the staff can make your stay extra special, shares Brian Honan, director of sales and marketing at The New York Palace. A honeymooner’s best friend is often the hotel concierge, and Horan advises to reach out even before your arrival to discuss any desires like concert tickets or restaurant reservations. “The more notice they have the better able they are to make dreams come true,” Honan adds.
8. Plan a Surprise
The romance didn’t end at “I do,” so incorporate a few extras into your trip to make it extra memorable. Instead of the typical fancy dinner for two on the beach, Sarah Pease, owner and creative director of Brilliant Event Planning in New York, suggests an early morning hot-air balloon ride followed by a champagne breakfast. Need inspiration? Top this: Honan says one groom at The New York Palace booked a special suite for a private dinner on its rooftop terrace, complete with a serenade by a Spanish guitarist followed by a rose-petal turndown.