Double your pleasure
What’s trending for 2013? Diane Magnuson of Sun Connections Travel & Cruises says she’s seeing an upswing in destination weddings at all-inclusive resorts: “They’re great because the honeymoon is already built in.” Plus, booking at least five nights for your far, faraway big day often nets romantic perks, such as a four-course beachside dinner, gourmet breakfast in bed, 15 percent off spa services, and a one-night anniversary return-stay voucher at Mexico’s El Dorado Spa Resorts.
Of the 50 states, Hawaii is by far the most popular for the honeymooners we quizzed. Over a quarter of respondents chose it as their destination, and it’s pretty obvious why: sun, spas, sea turtles, lava hikes, rainbows, and shaved ice just a nonstop flight away. To keep things romantic in family-vacay heaven, consider a homebase with an adults-only pool or opt for an entirely adults-only resort, like Excellence Playa Mujeres near Cancún.
Better Belize It
Twenty-two percent of our couples chose Mexico for their honeymoon, but it isn’t the only oasis south of the border. The coastal country of Belize has some serious benefits: English is the official language, the US dollar is accepted everywhere, and the country is both beautiful and safe. For adventure and leisure, rent a car in Belize City and drive inland to the Cayo district for a few days of cave tubing and Mayan ruins. Then take a water taxi to the tiny island of Ambergris Caye for some sunshine and crystal-clear waters.
Working with a travel agent and packing Benadryl, Imodium, and a credit card can right a lot of wrongs, but sometimes mishaps make for good memories. Case in point: Flash flooding during James and Beth Burns’s 2012 Hawaiian honeymoon nearly caused them to cancel a kayaking trip on the river. They decided to brave it, following their guide across swift waters that nearly took them all downstream. But when the couple arrived at Bridal Veil Falls—a site typically overrun by hundreds of tourists—they had it all to themselves.
Go Big, Then Go Home
Four days after their September 2010 wedding, Manchik Photography owners Julia and Yuriy Manchik set out on a six-month whirlwind tour of 16 countries that included stops in their Ukrainian hometowns, a camper-van trip through Australia, scuba diving in Thailand, and a stay in Paris’s quaint Jewish district. Perhaps the most exciting part: the couple planned only the first two weeks, leaving most destinations and decisions up to the moment’s whim. Yuriy advises traveling in the off-season, when there are bargain prices and plenty of last-minute vacancies.
Pay the Way
What our sample study spent on their honeymoons: