Similar to the full-force resurgence of weddings we've seen since 2020 and 2021, the travel industry is also experiencing a major comeback. Travel is, in most parts of the world, returning to a sense of normalcy—and honeymooners are really here for it.
"Honeymooners are wanting to travel for longer durations of time and combine multiple destinations," notes Sarah Brook Austin of Travels by SB. "Destinations that their friends and families haven't been to are a consideration when determining an itinerary, as [they] are wanting to be trailblazers and discover new destinations."
Meet the Expert
- Sarah Brook Austin is a luxury travel advisor at Travels by SB, an independent affiliate of Travel Experts, Inc., a Virtuoso Agency.
- Tom Marchant is the co-founder of luxury tour operator Black Tomato.
- Laura Ritchie is the principal designer at Grit & Grace, a luxury event design and destination wedding planning company.
- Dr. Terika L. Haynes is the CEO and lead travel consultant of Dynamite Travel.
- Sarah Margulis is the CEO of Honeyfund, a free honeymoon registry website.
In addition to traveling for longer periods of time, crossing destinations off of their bucket lists, and blazing new trails, couples are definitely opting for high-end experiences—which makes sense, considering travel was so limited for the past few years.
From booking those bucket list experiences to utilizing honeymoon funds instead of traditional registries, these are the honeymoon trends travel experts are already seeing for 2023.
Honeymoons Planned Long After the Wedding
Do you know how traditionally a honeymoon took place right after the wedding? Picture it: The newlyweds would be whisked away in a car painted with "just married" and off to the airport they'd go, bags packed, and ready for a romantic getaway. Well in 2023, that's not really the vibe anymore. "We’ve noticed there is increasingly less of a rush for honeymoons to occur immediately following the event," says Tom Marchant, the co-founder of luxury tour operator Black Tomato. This means that couples are taking their time to decompress after the wedding, especially since they might be planning bigger, more ambitious trips (more on that below).
Seasonally-Driven Locations and Experiences
This year, many couples are already starting to book their honeymoon around a specific season or experience. "For 2023, there’s a more acute focus on the experiences and destinations themselves," explains Marchant, "some of which are driven by seasonality and are often planned for several months after the wedding." For example, a couple who knows they want a cozy, wintery ski honeymoon will opt to wait until wintertime, regardless of when the wedding is.
Long, Multi-Destination Trips
Conceptually, honeymoon itineraries that include hopping from one destination to another (but maybe staying on one continent for the duration) are seeing a surge. "We’re seeing clients embrace multi-destination travel—and therefore often longer trips—so as to experience not one but multiple destinations, cultures, and topographies on one trip," explains Marchant. He says one example might be Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey over the course of three-or-so weeks. "Some hot spots that are gaining popularity for next year include Patagonia, Argentina, and Chile, and definitely bucket-list safari trips such as Kenya and the Seychelles (which is an extraordinary beach-and-bush combination),” says Marchant.
Luxury and Bucket List Destination Travel
Bucket list travel is back—couples are going to continue opting for luxury experiences, long trips that require lots of planning, and that once-in-a-lifetime mentality that we so often associate with honeymoon travel. "Now that the world has re-opened, I am also seeing requests again for more far-flung, exotic, adventurous destinations like New Zealand, African safaris, Southeast Asia, and Patagonia, for example," says Austin. "Whether it is gorilla trekking in Rwanda, a boat day on the Amalfi Coast, seeing the Northern Lights, or taking a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Masai Mara followed by a champagne brunch in the bush, couples are prioritizing luxe, bucket-list experiences. My clients also love staying at luxurious properties that have a real sense of place for the area that they are in," she explains.
Laura Ritchie, the principal designer of Grit & Grace, is sensing a similar trend as we begin 2023. "We are noticing that our clients are booking experience-based honeymoons in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Think much more than just laying by the pool on an island with a cocktail but now planning excursions, hikes, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences in historical locations."
Some couples may even choose to turn their destination wedding into an extended vacation, further exploring the locale after their guests have left. They may opt for either a mini-moon or a full-on honeymoon right after the wedding in the destination, or explore areas close by to where the wedding took place. "The vacation time for destination weddings is becoming longer," explains Dr. Terika L. Haynes, the CEO and lead travel consultant of Dynamite Travel. "In the past, many couples have done weekend destination weddings (three to four nights) but now we are seeing couples host their guests for their destination wedding for four to seven nights," says Dr. Terika L. Haynes. Combining a destination wedding and a honeymoon can especially convenient for those who want to request one chunk of time off work, too.
Sarah Margulis, CEO of Honeyfund, says that she is seeing tons of newlyweds opt for a honeymoon fund rather than a traditional registry, in terms of wedding gifts. "Your wedding guests are going to love gifting toward your dream trip," she shares. "Honeyfund's nearly one billion dollars in gifts is the proof, so share with confidence! Guests want to support your dreams."
Wellness and De-Stressing Honeymoons
Unsurprisingly, lots of couples just want to simply unwind and relax after all that wedding planning (which can be a bit stressful, as fun as the experience is!). Wellness-focused honeymoons will trend in 2023, including long, luxurious trips to high-end resorts that boast wellness-specific programming and top-tier spas (think Amanyara in Turks & Caicos, Sensai Lanai in Hawaii, and Castle Hot Springs in Arizona).