With so many bustling cities, pristine beaches and majestic mountains all around the world, narrowing down your honeymoon location is no easy task. If you're wondering how to pick a honeymoon destination, you're not alone. It can be a complicated decision (especially in the midst of wedding planning!).
"Picking a honeymoon destination should be a true reflection of who you are as a couple," says Lydia J. Redmond, director of weddings at The Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples. "Your honeymoon should be a 'trip of a lifetime,' so choose a destination you'll never forget and dream about returning to on future anniversaries."
Whether you're looking for a honeymoon that's jam-packed with activities or something that's more relaxing (a.k.a. a good selection of lounge chairs, a beach and a cocktail, here are 11 expert tips on how to pick a honeymoon destination.
1. Narrow down your options.
Once you've talked about the big-picture honeymoon concepts, make a list of your top destination sites and have your sweetheart do the same. Then pick one from each list and research those in more detail. "It's much easier to compare prices and amenities when you're only looking at a few choices," says Rizzo. "And there's nothing worse than information overload and analysis paralysis." Give yourself a cutoff date for when you'd like to finalize your honeymoon destination so you can move your focus to the next aspects of planning.
2. Set your budget and only consider destinations and trips that fit within that budget.
Don't stress yourself out by planning something that isn't within your means. It's always better to over budget and end up under budget than vice versa — especially when the goal is to start your life together, which involves a laundry list of future expenses like purchasing your first home! Be realistic about what you want to spend and what experiences you are looking to share, and allow ample funds for those experiences. A great solution is to set up a honeymoon registry in advance that allows guests to help with some of your travel costs or enhance your trip with special services and experiences.
3. Factor in out-of-pocket costs.
Perhaps you're getting a good deal on airfare and hotel, but it's important to double check how much local restaurants, activities, and even transportation will cost you. Sometimes those costs can add up and be way more than you expected. As mentioned above, you can set up a honeymoon fund to offset some of these costs. You can also look for all-inclusive resorts, where all your food, drinks, and even activities are included in your stay.
4. Think about the weather.
Look up past weather trends for the month you are planning on honeymooning. If basking in the sun is your thing, try to avoid going during that location's rainy season or heavy winter. On the other hand, if you don't mind a shower here and there, traveling in the off-season can save you money. Either way, definitely factor in the weather report for your potential honeymoon destinations.
5. Make sure you can get enough time off to accommodate the trip you want to plan.
If you're going somewhere far or even planning a road trip, be sure you can take off a longer amount of time instead of rushing a trip that should be a week or two. Chances are good that you'll get the approval (if ever there was a good reason, your honeymoon is it!), but don't bank on it. Speak candidly with your boss and get the go-ahead for your time off before you get your heart set on it (check out these tips on how to ask for time off for your honeymoon).
6. Think about what scenery you'd most like to see.
You'll also want to look at the geography and decide on what type of scenery you want most. Are you hoping for some place tropical? Mountainous? Historic? These factors will help you narrow down the destination itself.
7. Keep current on what's happening in the world.
Research the location you have your heart set on romancing in to make sure you are aware of any problems or health risks. Find out what the current health and political climates are like. especially if you're planning travel to a third-world country.
8. Consider the type of vibe you want.
Factor in the type of vibe you're looking for. Fast-paced and action-packed? Relaxing and languid? Talk it over, and then look into locations that line up with your desired vibe. Make the decision together (it won't be your last!).
9. Read travel blogs to learn more about what potential locations will offer.
Considering a destination but not quite sure what all you can do there? Look for travel blogs online. You'll find travel itineraries and trip plans on travel blogs to help take the hassle out of figuring out how to pack in all the things you want to do into one trip. "Most itineraries will even share the restaurants they ate at and hotels they stayed at, which will help save you time reading reviews on the best local spots," says Liz Ise Dallas-based wedding planner.
10. Decide how many destinations you want to visit.
Would you rather spend your entire time in one location soaking up the culture, or would you prefer to keep moving and get in as many sights and cities as you can? It's definitely something to talk over with your travel partner. If island-hopping or a multi-country backpacking tour of Europe sounds like your thing (and it fits within your budget and vacation time), plan a multi-destination honeymoon.
11. Look for hidden gems.
Sure, your best friend's Fiji honeymoon seemed magical and your cousin's honeymoon to Rome was bucket list-worthy, but the world's a big place. Think outside the box and make sure to consider choices that aren't as obvious. Do your research — you never know what hidden gems you might discover!