Finding your perfect honeymoon destination
He’s coffee, you’re tea. He’s heavy metal, you’re indie folk rock. He’s chocolate, you’re cherries jubilee. Marriage is all about compromise, and sometimes the first decision out of the gate – where you will go on your honeymoon – is a tough one. Picking a destination can be as stressful as figuring out where to seat your crazy Uncle Earl at the reception. But it doesn’t have to be!
Whether you and your new spouse have traveled together before or this is your first trip, understanding each of your travel personalities is a key component to your honeymoon’s success. Just as with everything else in a marriage, communication is important. Sit down and talk about what you’re both looking for. Are you the person armed with the map or the one relaxing on the beach? What level of luxury and privacy do you want? What do you want to fill your days with? What type of nightlife do you desire?
If you find yourself at an impasse, Susan Robson of Go Travel STL suggests bringing your travel agent into the conversation. “Some couples already have an idea of what they want to do together when they call me, but some of them start out with absolutely no idea what they’d like. I recommend that we meet in person, and then we can get things narrowed down pretty quickly.” Mike Schellhase from Travel Haus of St. Louis suggests, “Think about your hobbies and your backgrounds, and then consider what types of experiences you want to have.”
Luckily, there are a wide array of locations to choose from that offer everything from picturesque landscapes to adrenaline pumping activities that can be perfectly matched to the desires of both you and your new spouse. Whether you want to spend your vacation lounging under palm trees or hiking into volcanoes, we’ve put together a few profiles to help you find the perfect honeymoon that will fit your travel personalities.
If you’re looking for high adventure and romance, Costa Rica is Robson’s favorite place to send couples. “There’s a 7-night package that I love to recommend,” she shares. It starts with a stay in a resort in the Arenal Volcano area and includes a trip to the Arenal National Park and the Arenal Volcano. There you will experience the volcano by crossing over hanging bridges, taking a soak in the Tabacon Hot Springs, and follow that up with a mineral and mud bath before heading out to Cano Negro to visit a wildlife refuge and a Rio Frio boat safari. You’ll take thrilling hikes along gorgeous waterfalls before heading over to the Guana Caste area, where you can spend the rest of your trip enjoying the ambiance and one another’s company at an all-inclusive beach resort.
If you’re a tan fan, and it’s strictly beach time that you’re looking for, Cancun is an easy three hour flight from St. Louis. Shellhase recommends the all-inclusive Le Blanc Spa Resort. Enjoy the white sand beaches and sparkling waters of the Caribbean, along with luxurious spa treatments, sumptuous dining and exciting excursions. Honeymoon packages include a relaxing couples massage, in-room aromatherapy, and chocolate covered strawberries just to name a few perks. Escape the outside world with just you and your spouse, and give in to the carefree atmosphere of a lavishly serene retreat.
Lap of Luxury
Are pleasurable pursuits more your speed? If pedicures, massages and destressing with a nice workout sounds like heaven to you, then maybe a spa honeymoon is just the ticket. Embarking on this new life together with a healthy start is the perfect prescription! Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona is one of the world’s leaders in luxury spa and health resorts. Take a hike or bike ride through exotic desert canyons, or enjoy gorgeous vistas from a pine-topped mountain. There are over 40 invigorating fitness classes to choose from as well as consultations with top wellness experts. Indulge in nutritious cuisine, then learn how to cook that way at home. Melt away all the wedding stress with luxurious body treatments as the two of you nurture your mind, body and spirit together as newlyweds.
If you have a thirst for knowledge, you may want to broaden your traveler portfolio with some art, culture and history. And what better place to do that than Europe? Schellhase points out, though, “It’s a very different honeymoon when you’re sight-seeing. So make sure that’s how you want to spend your time.” But if these things really are your style, then days filled with museum tours in Paris, grand architecture in Rome, or unforgettable experiences in places like London and Amsterdam are yours for the taking. The world awaits to feed the student inside you.
Local Culture Buff
Do you seek culturally authentic experiences when you visit a new place? Skimming the touristy surface doesn’t satisfy. You want to immerse yourself with the locals. Traditional sightseeing is cool, but you want to truly slow down, stay in one place and get to know the people, embracing this new destination. There are several ways to do this. Ignore the advice you got as a kid, and talk to strangers! Tap into your inner extravert and ask questions, make new friends. Try staying at an Airbnb property instead of a hotel, and get to know your host. Or use an app like Vayable and find a local that will show you all of the secret out-of-the-way spots that you’d never find on your own.
A Few Bonus Tips
It’s important to be aware of the differences in your personality and your partner’s as you travel and work together to make this honeymoon a vacation you’ll remember. Here are a few tips to guide you:
• If you’re the planner:
You’ve read all the reviews, downloaded all the latest apps and created exciting and amazing itineraries. You enjoy preparing for the trip almost as much as the trip itself. Your partner totally appreciates all the hard work and research you’ve done. BUT…be careful not to completely take over this vacation. It’s your spouse’s honeymoon, too. Make sure he’s game for all the plans you’ve made before you schedule every possible second.
• If you go with the flow:
You really don’t have a preference for where you go to dinner. You care more about who you’re with than what you’re doing. Easy-going is the word everyone uses to describe you, and you’re really pretty content no matter how the honeymoon plays out. BUT…pick at least one or two things that are important for you to do on the honeymoon. This will put your partner at ease and make them feel like you’re both contributing to the trip. And if there is something you really want to do, then communicate it!
• If you love being the tourist:
You wear the fanny pack with pride and pore over the map in public unapologetically. Souvenirs call out your name, and you can never pass up those caricature street artists. You can help loosen up your spouse if they’re uptight about traditional vacation activities. BUT…remember you don’t have to go on every dolphin cruise or bus tour. Be willing to do what your new spouse wants, too, even if it’s a little outside of your typical vacation ideas.
• If all you want to do is chill:
Relaxation. That’s what a honeymoon is about for you. More than anything you just want to spend time with your new spouse and recharge from the stress of the wedding. Serious downtime is what you’re looking for versus a packed schedule. BUT…your spouse may not fully appreciate the art of just being. You can help them understand it, but they may want to venture just a tad beyond the beach chairs and mai tais. Remember, it’s all about compromise!
• Have Fun!
Above all else, this is your honeymoon. So, make memories and have fun! Most people will want to include an element of each of these travel profiles on their honeymoon experience. The best way to prepare is to be completely honest with yourself and your significant other about what you want to do and how you want to experience the world around you through your travels. It’s important to consider these aspects of your honeymoon, not just the locations you want to visit or which airline you’ll be flying. And remember that, beyond all the details, this is a time to enjoy one another as newlyweds and start your greatest adventure off right.
Written by Jackie Tucker