How to Plan a "Many-Moon" at 3 Different Budgets: From Affordable Cross-Country Travels to Exotic Globe-Trotting

Honeymoons & Destination Weddings
Anne McElwain San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

Photo: Anne McElwain

Nathan Lump, a former travel editor at Condé Nast Traveler and The New York Times, redefined the traditional honeymoon with his husband. Here, he breaks down how you and your fiancé can do the same.

I recently wrote about the novel way my husband and I are celebrating our marriage: Rather than taking one traditional honeymoon, we're making this a full year of trips, something we're calling the "many-moon". I used to be a travel editor, and he used to be a travel writer, so travel is a shared passion for us. But I think for any couple, the many-moon is a chance to spread out the fun and continue to find time to reconnect. I've put together three sample itineraries for how a many-moon could be done at three different price points.

Option 1: Cheap and Cheerful
A mix of city and country, you can keep costs down by choosing smaller cities and less well-known rural retreats.

Trip 1: New Mexico
Fly into Albuquerque and rent a car for a road trip filled with natural wonders like White Sands National Monument — a sea of blindingly white sand — and Carlsbad Caverns. Plus, see some human ones too, including the Victorian town of Las Vegas, NM, and justifiably beloved Santa Fe. In Santa Fe, check out the Inn on the Alameda (it often has good rates), and don't miss the wonderfully wacky Museum of International Folk Art.

Trip 2: Nashville
Music City has been on the up-and-up for the past few years, with a burgeoning creative scene that's yielded interesting designers (like Imogene + Willie) and restaurants (like City House). Stay at the Hutton Hotel, by all means go to the genuinely interesting Country Music Hall of Fame, and definitely stroll the quirky streets of East Nashville. Nashville not your thing? Substitute Austin, Texas.

Trip 3: Marin County, California
Fly into San Francisco, seen above, and then drive a bit north to one of California's most scenic corners. Have a picnic with a view at Mount Tamalpais, knock around the boho streets of Bolinas, take a romantic beach walk at Point Reyes, and book yourself into the adorably cozy Manka's Inverness Lodge.

See More: 10 Drop-Dead Gorgeous Honeymoon Resorts in Fiji & French Polynesia

Trip 4: Philadelphia
It might not seem sexy, but Philly's got great culture and food — and its hotels are well priced for a big city. Try Kimpton's Hotel Monaco or Palomar, be sure to allot time for the fantastic Philadelphia Museum of Art, grab some superlative donuts at Federal Donuts, and splurge on a dinner of inventive fare at the industrial-cool Serpico. Not into Philadelphia? Try Boston.

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Photo: Courtesy of Halekulani

Option 2: North America
Step things up a bit, but keep it manageable by choosing destinations within relatively easy striking distance.

Trip 1: Palm Springs
There's something inherently romantic about the desert, and Palm Springs is a great place to relax while still having fun things to do. Live out your Mad Men fantasy by booking a mid-century modern house through Vacation Palm Springs, have great Spanish tapas at Tinto, go for an excellent hipster breakfast at the Ace, and treat yourself to spa treatments at the Viceroy.

Trip 2: Nova Scotia
With pretty lighthouses, fresh oysters, and some gorgeous countryside, this is a picture-perfect road trip. Fly into Halifax and then take a spin to the south along the Bay of Fundy, spending a night at the rustic-luxe Trout Point Lodge and another in the old fishing village of Lunenburg. Looking for someplace west rather than east? Try Lake Louise, Alberta.

Trip 3: Mexico City
It's huge and chaotic, but also full of life, art, and great food. Stay at the cool Downtown Mexico hotel, be sure to spend a few hours at the outstanding National Museum of Anthropology and the Frida Kahlo Museum, and eat, eat, eat! Have breakfast with the locals at El Cardenal, fantastic seafood at Contramar, and super-neuvo Mexican fare at Azul Condesa.

Trip 4: Honolulu
Everyone knows Hawaii has great weather and beaches, but lately Honolulu has also become an interesting city — you get sun and fun. Stay at Halekulani (splurge), seen above, or The Modern (less so), savor the original New Hawaiian cuisine at Alan Wong's, stroll the KCC Farmer's Market on Saturday, and check out the cool new shops, galleries, and restaurants in Chinatown, including awesome ramen at Lucky Belly. Fancy the Caribbean instead? Try Anguilla.

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Photo: Courtesy of Mombo & Little Mombo Camp

Option 3: Four Continents
It's way more ambitious, and definitely expensive, but how much fun would this be?

Trip 1: French Riviera
This is one gorgeous and glamorous trip. Fly to Nice, check into the modern-cool HI Hotel, and stroll the markets, sample street food, and visit the Chagall Museum. Then grab a car and explore storied towns like Eze and Cap Ferrat and lovely St. Paul de Vence, with its terrific modern art museum the Fondation Maeght. Spend a romantic night in the countryside at Le Mas Candille, make the scene at the Hotel de Paris in St. Tropez, and hit the beach in Juan les Pins, staying at the fabulously-retro Hotel Helios.

Trip 2: African Safari
Trust me: being out in the bush — just you and nature — is incredibly romantic. I'm currently planning a trip to Tanzania with the sustainably-minded safari company Asilia Africa. I can also highly recommend Wilderness Safaris, which similarly combines high-end experiences with an eco approach. For first-timers I recommend South Africa or Botswana, seen above, for prime game viewing.

Trip 3: Colorado & Utah
This is all about luxury in impossibly beautiful settings. Head to southwestern Colorado for Dunton Hot Springs, a former mining village in the San Juan Mountains that's been turned into a collection of rustic-luxe cabins, then drive to Amangiri in Utah, a sleek Zen retreat that's seemingly carved out of the desert rocks.

Trip 4: Hong Kong & Beyond
It's the perfect intro to China, and a city that sizzles with energy. Book a room with a (dramatic) harbor view at the InterContinental, and be sure to take afternoon tea at the Peninsula and pop into the Shanghai Tang emporium. After getting to know this megalopolis, fly somewhere else within striking distance: Bali, perhaps, the coast of Vietnam, or Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

There's more!

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