Your honeymoon is the time to celebrate your new life together as a married couple. It should be the vacation of a lifetime. This does not necessarily mean spending your life’s earnings, but the vacation should reflect the special interests you share as a couple.
The honeymoon is traditionally the groom’s responsibility. However, the planning of your honeymoon should be a joint decision as to where to go, how long to stay, and how much money to spend.
Start planning your honeymoon months before the wedding. Many locations that are popular with honeymooners tend to book fairly quickly, so the earlier you plan your trip, the better values you’ll usually find.
There are many choices to make and many plans to be made but most of them seem to fall into place once you’ve made the toughest decision… where to go.
Many people have a preconceived notion of where a honeymoon should take place. And indeed, these locations are, year after year, some of the places most frequently visited by newlyweds. We’ll take a look at some of these “traditional” destinations as well as some that are a little “less traditional.”
Think about what you and your fiancé might find appealing (and unappealing) in the following honeymoon vacations. Be careful not to assume what your new spouse may be looking for in a honeymoon. Couples are often surprised when they discover what the other partner considers a “vacation.” Refer to the section entitled Choosing A Destination to determine what each other’s ideal vacation includes.
Listed below are sample honeymoon plans — both traditional and less traditional. A brief description of some of the most popular honeymoon trips (ones that have remained popular with newlyweds for generations) is provided as well.
Cruises are a popular retreat for those who want the luxury of a hospitable resort with the added benefit of visiting one or more new areas. There are hundreds of different cruise options available to you. Typically, almost everything is included in the cost of your cruise: extravagant dining, unlimited group and individual activities, relaxing days and lively nights.
Costs vary greatly depending on the location the cruise will visit (if any) and your cabin accommodations. Locations range from traveling the Mississippi River to encircling the Greek Isles. Spend some time choosing your cabin. Most of them are small but pay attention to distracting things, such as noisy areas and busy pathways, that might be located close by. Even though most everything is included in your cost, be sure to ask and clarify which items may or may not be included.
ALL INCLUSIVE RESORTS
Many newlyweds, tired from the previous months of wedding planning and accompanying stress, opt for the worry-free guarantee of an all-inclusive resort. Some resorts are for the entire family, some are for couples only (not necessarily newlywed), and some are strictly for honeymooners. Most of these resorts are nestled on a picturesque island beach catering to your relaxation needs.
Most offer numerous sports, water activities, entertainment, and exceptional service and attention. Your costs will vary depending on the location you choose, and there are many, many to choose from. “All-inclusive” means everything is included in your price. You won’t have to worry about meals, drinks, tour fees or even tips.
One way of considering if this is a good option for you is to list all of the activities that the vacation package offers that you are interested in. Add up the individual costs and compare. If you wouldn’t be participating much in the activities, food, and drink, you may actually save money by arranging your own trip at an independent resort. Even still, many couples prefer to spend the extra money in exchange for a vacation free of planning and wearying decisions.
Because of its convenience, many couples choose this resort option as the setting for their honeymoon. Some of the most popular all-inclusive resorts are Club Med and Sandals.
The Poconos Honeymoon resorts are located in Pennsylvania and are considered to be some of the most popular Honeymoon destinations around. The Poconos offer a variety of individual resorts, each heavily laden with fanciful symbols of romance and sweet desires. The atmosphere is perfect for those who want to be enveloped in a surrounding where you’ll never forget you’re in love and on your honeymoon. Some travel packages here are considered all-inclusive, but as always, be sure to ask about exclusions and extras. For information about honeymooning in the Poconos, call 1-800- POCONOS.
WALT DISNEY WORLD
Another popular destination for those seeking a “theme” resort are those offered as Disney’s Fairy Tale Honeymoons. These vacation packages include accommodations at Disney’s exclusive resorts and admission to their theme parks. Some packages are also available with accommodations at some of the privately owned resorts at Disney World. Prices for Disney packages can range greatly depending on your tastes and the amount of activity you desire. For information about Disney’s honeymoon packages, call (407) 828-3400.
Inquire with your travel agent about the day or overnight cruises leaving from nearby ports in Florida. This is one way to combine two very popular honeymoon options into one!
Other popular and traditional honeymoon plans are as follows:
- Enjoying the beaches and unique treasures of the Hawaiian islands
- Exploring Northern California’s romantic wine country
- Ski and snowboard package getaways in Vermont, New Hampshire, Colorado, and Northern California
- Camping and hiking within the beautiful and adventurous National Parks
- Sightseeing, touring and exploring a variety of points in Europe via the rail system
- Island hopping on a cruise ship around the Greek Isles
- Enjoying a fanciful and adventurous journey on the Orient Express
LESS TRADITIONAL HONEYMOONS…
- Bicycling in Nova Scotia while relaxing at quaint Bed and Breakfast Inns
- Participating in a white water river rafting expedition in Oregon
- Mingling with the owners and fellow guests on an Old West Dude Ranch
- Visiting landmarks and parks while enjoying the convenience of traveling home in a rented RV
- Mustering up the courage and stamina for an aggressive hiking tour of the Canadian Rockies
- Training for and participating in a dog sled race in the brisk tundra of Alaska
- “Roughing it” while enjoying the splendor of a safari in East Africa
CHOOSING YOUR DESTINATION
Maybe your idea of a perfect honeymoon is ten days of adventure and discovery; but for your fiancé, it may be ten days of resting in a beach chair and romantic strolls in the evening. The choices for honeymoon vacations are as varied as the bride and groom themselves. Deciding together on a honeymoon destination is a wonderful opportunity to discover more about each other and negotiate a vacation that will leave both of you relaxed, fulfilled, and even more in love.
First, determine the type of atmosphere and climate you prefer. Then consider the types of activities you would like to engage in.
Do you want the weather to be hot for swimming at the beach… or warm for long guided tours of unknown cities… or cooler for day-long hikes in the woods… or cold for optimum skiing conditions? Keep in mind the time of year in which your wedding falls. Will you be escaping from warm or cool temperatures?
If you have a specific destination in mind, you (or your travel agent) will need to do some research to be sure the weather conditions will be suitable for your planned activities.
Review the previous information on traditional and non-traditional honeymoons and note what you feel are the pros and cons of each type of vacation. The two of you should have lots of images and possibilities in your mind at this point! The next step is to determine the most perfect atmosphere to provide the setting for your honeymoon. The following sections, Creating A Wish List and Helpful Resources, will guide you through this next step and beyond.
Together with your fiancé, complete the following wish list worksheet. You should each check off your preferences even if both of you don’t agree on them. There are many locations that provide a variety of activities. Remember, you don’t need to spend every minute of your honeymoon together, but your honeymoon destination should be one that intrigues both of you. This worksheet is divided into 5 sections. You will be considering location, accommodations, meals, activities, and nightlife.
While completing the worksheet, be as true to your interests as possible; don’t concern yourself with finances and practicality at this point. This is your chance to let your mind wander! Think about what you would like to fill your days and nights with. This is the honeymoon of your dreams…
You step out of the plane, train, car or boat that took you to your honeymoon destination. You sigh with satisfaction at the memory of your flawless and enjoyable wedding as your feet touch the ground…
… What type of overall atmosphere do you see yourself stepping into? What is the weather like?
… Do you picture a long stretch of beach, towering mountains, blossoming vineyards, or city skyscrapers? Is the dry sand of the desert blowing around or is everything captured under glistening snowcaps?
… Are there many people walking around (many locals, many tourists), or is it a secluded retreat?
… Are you relaxing indoors in a resort with a pampering environment that caters to your comfort? Do you return to a simple, modest hotel or motel after a long day of sightseeing, touring, and dining? Are you camping in the middle of your activities –hiking, climbing, fishing, etc.?
… Do you see yourself interacting much with others? Would you like to have these activities be organized? Are there vistas and horizons to gaze endlessly upon, or is there an abundance of visual activity and changing scenery?
… Are you enjoying exotic foods elaborately displayed and available to you at your leisure? Are you testing out your sense of adventure on the local cuisine and dining hot spots? Are you eating fast foods and pizza in exchange for spending your time and money on other items and activities that make your vacation exciting?
… Are your evenings filled with romantic strolls or festivities that run late into the night? Are you staying in for romantic evenings or re-energizing for another busy day of honeymooning?
HOW TO USE THIS WORKSHEET:
Each of you separately should place a check mark next to the items or images on the wish list that appeal to you. After you have finished, highlight those items that both of you feel are important (the items that were checked by both of you).
Next, each of you should highlight, in a different colored marker or pen, 2-3 items in each category that you feel are very important to you individually (even though the other person may not have checked it.)
Your wish lists, after completing this exercise, will probably look like a list of all of the positive elements of all of your dream vacations combined. This is good; you should list as many things as you can think of. The more information you have, the better the suggestions your travel agent (or yourself if you’ll be doing your own research) will be able to make.
Together, using this wish list, you will discover a honeymoon destination and match a honeymoon style that will fulfill your dreams.
The resource leads and exercises provided here will help you get from wish list to reality. Happy planning!
|sand and beaches|
|small local town|
|large metropolitan area|
|popular tourist destination|
|visiting among the locals|
|nighttime weather conducive to outdoor activities|
|nighttime weather conducive to indoor activities|
|“modern” resources and service available|
|“roughing it” on your own|
|culture and customs you are familiar and comfortable with|
|new cultures and customs you would like to get to know|
|part of a larger resort community|
|a stand-alone building|
|lodging amongst other fellow tourists|
|lodging amongst couples only|
|lodging amongst fellow newlyweds only|
|lodging amongst locals|
|large room or suite|
|plush, highly decorated surroundings|
|modestly sized room|
|private Jacuzzi in room|
|chamber maid service|
|laundry / dry cleaning service available|
|laundry room available|
|beauty salon on premises|
|workout gym on premises|
|gift shop on premises|
|pool on premises|
|poolside bar service|
|sauna, hot tub on premises|
|common gathering lounge for guests|
|prepared by executive chefs|
|prepared by yourself/grocery store|
|variety of local and regional restaurants|
|traditional “American” cuisine|
|opportunity for picnics|
|exotic, international menu|
|entertainment while dining|
|planned meal times|
|dining based on your own schedule|
|fast food restaurants|
|vegetarian meals, special diet meals|
|hiking, rock climbing|
|site-seeing suggestions and guidance|
|planned bus/guided tours|
|ability to go off on your own|
|exploring family heritage|
|sitting and relaxing outdoors|
|sitting and relaxing in front of a fireplace|
|being alone with each other|
|being out with the locals|
|being out with other newlyweds|
|discovering new cultures and forms of entertainment|
|theater / shows|
|Other important elements:||BRIDE||GROOM|