Honeymoons are about connecting and making memories, and there are as many ways to do that as there are newly wedded couples.
Some duos are looking for “the quintessential romantic getaway with beach time and bungalows,” said Dan Austin, founder of Austin Adventures, a Montana-based tour operator, while others are “looking for more action and adventure.”
But these dreamy scenarios and out-of-the-box concepts can quickly give way to practical considerations of budget, distance and activities for any destination. Weddings and honeymoons can feel overwhelming at times, so use this guide to find a terrific honeymoon spot with minimal stress.
Start with a budget
When, where and how you travel will all stem from how much you want to spend. If you are paying for the wedding, consider the cost of your honeymoon as part of the overall picture. Splurging on the ceremony? Some economy might be in order afterward to avoid beginning your married life in debt.
Some couples ask for a honeymoon fund donation in lieu of gifts. Websites like HoneyFund take the process online.
Consider seeking out a shoulder season destination, to find smaller crowds and less expensive pricing. “The destination can depend on the season,” Austin said.
Read the fine print for resort fees, parking or other charges that can quickly send the advertised price higher. And make sure to leave money in the budget for special meals and activities once you’ve arrived.
Decide on your desired trip
Are you excited for the chance to explore a new city, relax on an empty beach, experience the suite life on a cruise or hike a mountain? Use this answer, combined with your budget, to come up with a shortlist of places to investigate.
Molly and Jack Santucci combined relaxation and exploration on their honeymoon to southern Spain with three days on the beaches of the Costa Del Sol, followed by a week of travelling to cities that neither had been to before. “We came out of the wedding happy and exhausted,” Santucci said, so it was great to decompress for a few days and then to travel around a country they had wanted to visit for a long time.
Consider a group
Travelling as part of a group on your honeymoon may seem counterintuitive, but it’s a great way to put your experience in capable hands. For their honeymoon, Andrew Pollen and his wife, Sarah, opted for a small group kayaking trip with Outdoor Odysseys in the San Juan Islands, just north of Seattle, where they were married. The pair wanted to “do something adventurous,” said Andrew, but after planning a long weekend full of activities for their guests, they wanted to leave the post-wedding trip details to someone else.
“We’re not really campers,” Sarah said. “We wanted guidance.”
Another benefit? “The rest of the group often embraces the honeymooners and celebrates them all week long,” Austin said.
Explore your heritage
Your postnuptial travel can also be a way to explore your heritage. Antonia R Giannakakos-Ferman and Dan Ferman are planning a trip to Greece. The couple will visit Giannakakos-Ferman’s relatives in Krokees, a small mountain town south of Sparta, and take in tourist sights in Athens.
Whenever and wherever you travel, you should always be aware of any potential security and health issues. If you are going to a part of the world that may have political unrest, the State Department travel website posts safety information. If the bride is thinking of getting pregnant soon, be aware of Zika mosquito warnings and check the Center for Disease Control website.
Count those days off
Don’t use all of your days off travelling to and from your destination. For example, if you are booking a cruise, you may need to arrive in the port city the day before departure to guard against any weather delays that would cause you to miss the ship. Some couples wait a bit, until they have more time to travel, to go on their honeymoon.
Know this trip is just the beginning
If you don’t have the time or money to make it to your dream destination, you can cherish your moments together anywhere. Hopefully, you will have many vacations to look forward to in the years to come.