Perhaps you’ve always envisioned your honeymoon as a sweeping 12-country tour of Europe. But what if your fiance's idea of the perfect trip is lounging in the sun on a remote Caribbean isle? Can ever the two worlds meet?
Your honeymoon is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate your marriage with an incredible (and totally justifiable) big-budget vacation. However, couples often have drastically different perceptions of the ideal honeymoon. Others haven’t a clue where they should go — or where they can afford to go. Budget, personality, climate and many other considerations all come into play when determining the perfect locale. Here are some tips for choosing the destination best suited to you and your fiancé:
Choose the Category
Discuss what you each crave most from the honeymoon experience: adventure, relaxation, etc. Narrow the field by deciding what vacation category (e.g., urban, tropical, etc.) is of most interest to the two of you. If you have wildly disparate tastes, remember that some locations provide a wide range of options within a reasonable driving distance.
Be Willing to Compromise
If such a solution isn’t feasible, get creative and be willing to compromise. One option is to let one person choose the destination and the other select the lodging, trip activities and dining. You could also commit in advance to letting the other person choose the spot for your next major vacation. If you stick to a strict budget, a five-year anniversary trip (or even a one-year anniversary trip) is possible. By adopting a long-term vision for your marriage, you’ll have plenty of anniversaries to celebrate as a couple. Remember that how you and your fiancé treat each other will have a greater effect on your overall enjoyment of the honeymoon than the location itself.
Determine a Budget
Once you’ve chosen the type of honeymoon, assess how much you can actually spend. If your travels take you to a place where the currency is foreign, consider the exchange rate (which affects how far your dollar goes). All-inclusive resorts are one of the easiest ways to bypass budgeting headaches; you’ll know exactly how much money you need. These packages are also often more economical than a custom vacation.
Think Through the Details
Once you’ve tentatively selected a location, check for any restrictions or situations that might impact your trip. If traveling abroad, make sure your passport and vaccinations are up to date. Check the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs for travel warnings, sanctions and document requirements. Also be mindful of any climate considerations (e.g., hurricane season). You might get lucky and win the fair-weather lottery, but know your odds. If the details have you feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a travel agent to think through the logistics.
If you’re still undecided on the location, below are some vacation spot suggestions.…
Popular Honeymoon Sites
Tropical — Saint Lucia; The Bahamas; Tahiti; Fiji; Belize; Antigua
Asia — Thailand; Vietnam; Dubai
Europe — Paris, France; Venice, Italy; Greece; Spain; Florence, Italy; Switzerland
Africa — South Africa; Mozambique
United States — Hawaii; Napa Valley, California; Alaska; Charleston, South Carolina; Aspen, Colorado; San Francisco, California
Less Conventional Locations
Estonia; Suriname; St. Petersburg, Russia; Chile; Tunisia; Cinque Terre, Italy; Singapore; Edinburgh, Scotland; Madagascar
Small Budget Solutions
Cancun, Mexico; Jamaica; Key West, Florida; Canada; the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania; Puerto Rico; the Dominican Republic
Cruises are also often relatively affordable. And if you don’t mind roughing it a bit, camping is a great way to shave costs of your trip. Another option is the good ol’ fashioned America road trip, by car or by RV.
These are obviously just a few suggestions among hundreds of possibilities. Travel sites such as TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet can also help you further research honeymoon destinations and activities.
Enjoying the Journey
It can be tempting to jam-pack your itinerary with activities. But the primary purpose of a honeymoon is not to conquer every spot on the map; it’s to bring a couple closer. And since you will likely be somewhat exhausted from the wedding, it’s also a time to rest and reconnect. So wherever you journey together, focus your energy on each other and on creating meaningful, lifelong memories.