Honeymoons are heavenly. Nothing to do but sip bubbly with your forever-after boo. The only problem with paradise is deciding where to go.
Jennifer Kon of Compass Travel, Arne’ Sosin of Distinctive Vacations, and Josh Linker of Your Vacation Linker—three top-rated Thumbtack travel specialists—talk honeymoon trends, gems, and classics to help guide you to destination happiness.
What are the top honeymoon locations for 2016?
Like the trend for unique weddings, couples really want a unique honeymoon experience.
Arne’ sees couples who are choosing more adventurous destination vacations such as Bali, Thailand, and Africa. She finds that couples want an “uncommon” experience—a special experience that’s as uncommon as their love.
On trend with the adventurous vibe are the Alaskan honeymoons that Josh has planned for summer 2016. He’s also seen an uptick in European guided tours.
Jennifer has seen a surge in French Polynesia, Ireland, and Italy due to the advantageous exchange rate with the Euro.
French Polynesia is the stuff of honeymoon fantasies with its luxurious bungalows over sparkling turquoise waters.
For those seeking a different kind of romance, she recommends Ireland. The dramatic landscapes, historic sites, and beautiful castle hotels make an excellent romantic escape for newlyweds.
A long-time favorite, Italy, is also more accessible due to the exchange rate. According to Jennifer (and lovers everywhere), “the classical majesty of Rome, the romance of Venice, the fantastic coastlines, and world famous cuisine make Italy a perfect honeymoon location.”
And don’t forget about Greece. Although the country has experienced an economic downturn, honeymoon tourism is still on point. Jennifer shares that there’s currently great values in hotel prices. Affordable luxury coupled with “a spectacular combination of sun, sea, and culture,” means you can’t go wrong.
What are classic honeymoon destinations couples request each year?
All-inclusive Caribbean resorts! All three travel specialists know newlyweds love to lounge in luxury. An all-inclusive resort means being pampered without too much planning. The Caribbean never fails to deliver on exotic sun, sand, and fun. Josh strongly suggests you opt for an adults only resort, to make the entire experience more romantic.
Another classic is the honeymoon cruise. Josh and Arne’ point to the cruise’s enduring popularity, while Jennifer says she’s seeing a younger generation of couples becoming more interested in the experience.
The Hawaiian Islands are also a timeless success. Kauai seems to mix the current “off-the-beaten path” trend with a classic location—as that island is a bit more natural and Jennifer says lovebirds will find lush scenery, adventure, and relaxation.
What is the best honeymoon you ever planned?
For Jennifer, it was a combination destination wedding and honeymoon at the all-inclusive Couples Swept Away resort in Jamaica. She was able able to customize the intimate and very personal experience for the couple. Not only that, she loved showing the couple how affordable a small destination wedding and honeymoon can be in the Caribbean.
Josh and his bride had a fabulous time on their honeymoon that he planned. They visited Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora in French Polynesia. He says that Moorea was the most beautiful place he has ever seen. It was quiet and peaceful—not to mention the delicious local cuisine. They were amazed by the diving in Bora Bora—one unforgettable experience was seeing a giant manta ray up close. Sleeping in the overwater bungalow each night was also a highlight, as they saw the wild sea life swimming directly underneath their room.
Arne’s own honeymoon will be in September 2016, so until then, she shares that her most memorable experience was planning a honeymoon to Bali, Indonesia. Per the couple’s request, she crafted an itinerary from scratch that was both balanced and indulgent. Including five star villas, private car transfers, couples’ cooking class, beach visits, rice field and winery tours—the newlyweds did it all.
What are the hidden gems of honeymoon locations?
Iceland is a unique location and perfect for an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime trip, says Jennifer. Envision you and your honey relaxing in the healing thermal waters of the Blue Lagoon Spa.
The Rockies and the Alps are often overlooked as honeymoon locales, according to Josh. They are wonderful for snow sports, but beautiful for an intimate getaway whether or not you ski. He suggests looking into super romantic mountainside resorts that boast spectacular views—a win in the summer or winter.
Asia and Central America are the hidden gems for Arne’. She finds those regions have been able to “preserve their organic culture…the authenticity is unmatched and there is so much to learn about day to day life for people of other cultures.” She believes this truly makes honeymoons one of a kind. Another emerging gem she sees is Cuba. She’s watched a huge spike in travel through the approved people to people tours to that sunny island.
Yes, wedding planning can be stressful, but just hang in there and dream of your honeymoon.