What’s Happening with Honeymoons Right Now?


What are your plans?

by Stephanie Kaloi

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I‘m coming up on my tenth wedding anniversary in a few months… so suffice it to say, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve even paused to think about honeymoons. In general, I love the idea: I’m all in for travel, and have always found that road-tripping two states (or counties!) over is just as exciting as visiting a foreign country. I think travel with your partner will only do wonderful things for your relationship, and also, a trip without your family after the (sometimes stressful-ass) wedding is just a really good thing. In short, honeymoons: I’m all in.

My husband and I eloped, and one tremendous upside to this was that we saved a ton of money that we immediately turned around and invested in three weeks in India. Our path to honeymoon was a little nontraditional, since we traveled with a small group (of fellow university students) and went on the trip three months after we got married. But honeymoons are honeymoons and ours still fit the bill.

India had been a dream trip of mine since I was old enough to know the country existed, and my husband is game to go anywhere. Since we’d been together for only four months before we got married, we had known each other for seven months total when we flew across the world and landed in a nation with 122 major languages (and well over one thousand spoken ones) and twenty-nine states. We visited Mysore, Bangalore, Delhi, and Agra. We grappled with culture shock, invasions of privacy (as a white person in America, I’d never had someone touch my skin before to see if it felt the same as theirs did), and homesickness. We tried new food and rode trains and broke social norms (specifically, me being a woman drinking in public) without meaning to, and we learned a ton about one another. I will recommend India to anyone and everyone forever and ever.

But that was my trip. Where are you guys going on your honeymoons? How are your plans coming? What do you want to know about honeymoons and what couldn’t you care less about? How did you decide where to go? What’s making your honeymoon plans hard, and what’s making them easy? If APW could offer you (researched, free) help in the honeymoon department, what advice would you want us to dish? What work would you want us to save you from?

Let’s chat honeymoons! Tell us all about the one you took, the one you’re about to take, and the one that still lives on in your head as a “maybe, someday” dream.

Stephanie Kaloi

Stephanie is a photographer, writer, and Ravenclaw living in California with her family. She is super into reading, road trips, and adopting animals on a whim. Forewarning: all correspondence will probably include a lot of punctuation and emoji (!!! ? ? ?).

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  • the cupboard under the stairs

    We’re also breaking the mold and going on our honeymoon three months after the wedding! (How does *any* non-rich couple afford a big wedding AND a big trip in the same month? I would seriously like to know.) We’re headed to Portugal for two weeks of equal parts sightseeing, drinking and beach/lounging time. I’m so excited! If anyone has recommendations, I’d gladly take them.

    • Eh

      “(How does *any* non-rich couple afford a big wedding AND a big trip in the same month? I would seriously like to know.)” – We travelled on points and in the off season (we were married in October). We also stayed at an airbnb for most of our honeymoon so we made most of our own food. The rest of our food was covered by my FIL giving us his change jar (he used his change jar to play games at my BIL/SIL’s buck and doe, since we didn’t have one he just gave it to us – it was over $300).

      • the cupboard under the stairs

        A change jar!! That is so unbelievably cute.

        • Eh

          He dumps his change in it every day. We live in Canada so we have $1 and $2 coins. It adds up fast. He is unemployed currently so it’s how he saves up for things be wants when my MIL says ‘no’.

    • You factor it into the wedding budget? Like, I can spend this $4k on the honeymoon, /or I can spend it on a full bar (rather than wine & beer) /or meat upgrades /or colored tablecloths vs. white /or centerpieces? You can almost always make decisions that reduce the price of the wedding and redirect that money to something else.

      • Yup! We booked and paid for our honeymoon pretty much right after we settled the date with the venue (~15 months before the wedding). It was a big priority for us and we didn’t want it to get scrimped on towards the end of planning. I think if we had waited much longer the honeymoon budget would have been used up on something else.

        • the cupboard under the stairs

          So wish I could have done this! We were dead broke when we got engaged, so everything we saved went straight to the wedding. We only got the idea to travel abroad about six months ago, when we were suddenly both employed again.

        • Jessica

          Us too, booked venue & plane tickets at same time

      • 20Everythings

        This is what we did as well. It was always factored in to the wedding budget from the get-go. Travel is something we both value highly, and have done in the past together, so making a (international) honeymoon a priority was important to us. (Especially since big-kid jobs seem to hold back travel quite a bit in adulthood.) We found the cheapest international ticket (Costa Rica) and a friend who has a beach house there allowed us to stay. It may have been international, but it wasn’t fancy. It was us and it allowed us that breather after the wedding, which was MUCH needed.

      • Jessica

        Yes. And you save the amount each month that you’ll need for wedding + honeymoon.

      • tr

        I mean, that works well in theory, but honestly, not everyone’s wedding budget CAN accommodate both…at least, not while still maintaining traditional ideas about what a wedding *should* look like (i.e. big white dress, full meal at a reception, more than 10 guests, etc.). I know in my case, there just aren’t many places where I could have cut back on my wedding–if I downgraded every single one of my “splurges”, I’d only be freeing up $600 or so! The only way I could free up the kind of money required for a fancy honeymoon would be to skip the wedding entirely, or at least cut the reception down a “cake and punch in the church basement” sort of thing!

        • Yes, but if having a fancy honeymoon right after the wedding is really important to you, you either (1) cut where you need to in order to make it happen…or (2) you plan to have your wedding at a later date when you can afford both wedding & honeymoon. (#3 that’s been mentioned is oftentimes someone else is chipping in some extra money). Alternatively, (4) if you live a bit on the risky side, you take on credit card debt (not recommending this, but this is another way).

          Cupboard asked “(How does *any* non-rich couple afford a big wedding AND a big trip in the same month?” And these are pretty much the ways *some* (NOT ALL) non-rich couples do it.

          If you’re totally completely broke and spending every last penny on your wedding…then you don’t have your wedding until you can also afford the honeymoon you want. I never said *everyone’s* budget can accommodate both. Everyone has different priorities, and that’s fine. But if you have the option to get married now & honeymoon in 3 months, it’s quite possible you can get married in 3 months and have your honeymoon then as well. It’s all about your priorities.

          A “traditional” wedding IS a cake and punch reception in the church basement. What you’re referring to as traditional is actually the WIC speaking. Maybe call it “contemporary” wedding, or the current trend?

          • tr

            In my case (and probably many others), the “wait an additional three months so you can do them back to back” is valid, but also easier said than done.
            My wedding has taken over a year to plan. That meant that I had to determine my budget and pick my major vendors based on my best guess of where I’d be financially in another twelve months. I was able to come up with a decent estimate based on our household budget, but it definitely wasn’t perfect! Thanks to a few miscellaneous unexpected expenses, our wedding budget doesn’t exactly have the wiggle room I’d hoped it would. If things had all gone perfectly according to plan, I’d have an extra three or four thousand to spend on a honeymoon right after the wedding, but as it is, I just barely have enough to cover the contracts I entered into a year ago.
            The one nice thing about a delayed honeymoon is that you don’t have to plan it based on a rough estimate of how much money you’ll have in another 14 months!
            I mean, you are totally right about the ways you listed being the ways that *some* non-rich couples can afford to have the two back to back. It just always feels really frustrating when people act like having the two back to back is super easy and attainable. I mean, the fiance and I are pretty solidly middle class, and I like to think of myself as a good financial planner, but we sure weren’t able to pull it off.

        • LJ

          My wedding will be 6000-7000CAD including ring, officiant, one night at a hotel that night, cake and punch reception with a $500 food budget and $200 wine/toast budget, inexpensive venue, very inexpensive dress, only 4 hours of photography but photog has a great rep. How in the hell could I cut something to have a honeymoon? Liiike seriously. My dress is 300CAD, venue 1000CAD, and I’m getting married in February so almost everything is already discounted….. should I just not have rings? go back to our tiny 500 sq ft apartment after the wedding? not have a toast? We can’t legally cut the 400CAD officiant, of which 300-500 is ballpark.
          My fiancé and I make middle class money by the standards of the city we live in, which has quite a high cost of living. We can still barely afford this wedding. Maybe we’ll take a week vacation time in the summer and go camping, but that’s still going to be 800CAD between the two of us for food, booze, and carshare fees (we are members of a carshare coop because, expensive city), campsite fees….
          A honeymoon is on the “maybe one day we can do that” list.

        • jspe

          Our honeymoon definitely did not cost $4000 – if we wanted to do Europe or Hawaii from our major east coast city, we would have had to wait. We knew we wanted to leave right after the wedding, and we were able to keep the whole thing under $2K. It may have been less, I can’t remember anymore. For us, leaving right after the wedding to do _something_ was a higher priority than a once in a lifetime trip, so we figured out a way to make that work, and were prepared to do a budget trip to florida for $500 if that’s what shook out in the budget (but we were able to find more room and do Mexico). Planning in advance as part of the wedding budget helped us figure that out sooner – but we also had a decent wedding budget (well, small for the major city we live in and the size of our wedding, but large relative to what we thought appropriate). I have plenty of friends who only had $3000 for the whole wedding, and that’s totally real. I think the “put in your budget” is mostly targeted at people spending more who just feel stressed by the WIC, rather than a “if only you chose to eat ramen forever you could go to Mexico”, which, no.

    • Amy March

      So the thing that always jumps out to me on this is since when does it need to be a big trip? I don’t think a honeymoon immediately post-wedding is necessary or anything, but I think it’s kind of a shame we’ve gotten away from the idea of it being important to have some together time immediately, whether that’s a big trip, or 3 days camping nearby because that’s what you can afford.

      And for Portugal if you eat seafood you must try SeaMe in Lisbon. Absolutely incredible!

      • the cupboard under the stairs

        I totally agree. You’ll notice I didn’t mention anything about what’s necessary or important. I just wonder specifically how people who have big, fancy weddings and leave immediately for long international trips afford it. I’ve known several couples who have done this and who aren’t normally flush.

        While I certainly would have preferred a relaxing trip of any kind immediately after the festivities, money wasn’t the only factor in our delay–another was the lack of accrued vacation time at my new job. I blew through it all for our out-of-town wedding. We figured we may as well make it big and awesome if we had to wait three months.

        Thanks for the recommendation–I’ll definitely look up SeaMe!

        • R

          I also think sometimes it’s parents paying for the wedding, and the bride and groom paying for the honeymoon, so they aren’t actually shouldering both expenses at once. For us, we paid for about half of the wedding, and the big honeymoon expenses were mostly paid for in airline miles and hotel points.

        • Lisa

          I agree with R. Our parents generously offered to pay for most of our wedding, which meant that the money we received from friends and family was able to go towards our honeymoon. We also used credit card points to help pay for the cost of the flight. I, too, had no vacation time at my new job, which is why we had to wait for my office’s two week holiday recess in December. I wish we could have had a few more days to ourselves immediately after the wedding though.

        • AtHomeInWA

          A couple I know, her mom paid for the wedding and his parents paid for the honeymoon.

          On one hand, we should all be that lucky. On the other, my parents paid for 90% of my college education (they wanted me to have enough debt that I knew about credit and bills, but not so much that it would mess up the rest of my financial life) so I couldn’t accept it even if they were willing to give it.

          • Michela

            My parents paid for 75% of our wedding (they’re frugal people and saved since we were kids; we also received some windfalls from relatives that padded the wedding accounts). If we didn’t have the generosity of my parents, we wouldn’t have been able to afford our 12-day, all-inclusive resort honeymoon in Mexico, which we funded entirely ourselves. In fact, now that I think about it, all of my married friends funded their own honeymoons. I wonder if that’s a trend or just coincidence.

          • Someone once told me that it was the grooms family’s responsibility to pay for the honeymoon…I had never heard that before. But yes most of the time “traditionally” the bride and groom aren’t paying anything for the wedding the parents of the bride are and so affording the honeymoon isn’t a big deal.

      • I agree. Why can’t it just be something super simple? I’ve read so many stories/books where the couple half the time barely leaves the room on the honeymoon especially if they are saving sex for marriage. Just saying.

    • idkmybffjill

      We got a credit card when we got engaged that has HEFTY travel points and have been using it for all wedding purchases! Our wedding is at a brewery so the payments there count as “restaurant” points. I got this tip from a coworker when we got engaged and it was BRILL.

      • the cupboard under the stairs

        That. Is. Freaking. Genius.

        • idkmybffjill

          It’s been a huge game changer for us! We just pay it off right away so it’s the same as using a debit card but comes with all. the. points.

      • Lisa

        I cannot wait to see the photos from your brewery wedding! :)

        And the credit card idea is on point. It’s right up there with the tips of creating a wedding e-mail address and Google phone number (so you don’t get spam from the tuxedo rental place two years after the wedding) and making address labels with your info on them if you go to a bridal expo.

        • idkmybffjill

          Uh. All those are outrageously good. The address labels! Pure genius.

        • ‘Highly recommend a spam email account for general use, outside of a wedding, too. From there, you can set up filters for spam you really don’t want to ever see to spam you want to be able to access occasionally, when you log into the account.

      • Giselle

        This is a good idea for an APW article – how to make your money work for you for these all the big ticket items! And the little items that add up (Ex the cheap glowing batons for the dance party). Both for wedding and honeymoon. We got an American Air cc for the points and have been using that for so many payments and are planning on a pair of airline tickets out of all these purchases for a vacation next year.

        • Megan

          We did a similar thing but with two cards: one with a high cash back % and the other with 0% apr for 24 months. It’s been great for our situation!

        • NotMarried!

          Yep. We are using a 2% cash back card for everything. Biggest issue – waiting for transactions to fully process so we can pay it off and charge the next large items.

        • LJ

          YES! Although as a Canadian I feel like an international article on this would be really appreciated as all the American credit card tips wouldn’t apply. Maybe Canada, UK, USA? Have to look at the back end data from the website to see where most of the views are coming from to determine what countries to check into…

      • AP

        I am now kicking myself for not doing this. Just like we’ve been kicking ourselves for not getting a Lowe’s credit card with the 5% off when we started remodeling our house. We could have used it like a debit card and saved thousands.

        My husband and I are so anti-credit that we forget we’re actually responsible enough to take advantage of rewards points without going into debt.

        • We’ve been doing this, but just didn’t have a cashback credit card enough to handle our airfare/hotel/car package! ‘Ended up putting it all onto our 1.5% REI credit card. Someone’s getting some fancy camping gear next year, I guess! lol

      • Lizzie

        Same! It was a total genius move and I’m so glad someone suggested it to us! Our winery venue was considered a restaurant, too. We got so many cc points from wedding charges, we were able to get one of our full round-trip tickets from NYC > Hawaii for free. HECK yeah.

      • jspe

        we also did exactly that. The CC had a minimum spend of $5k to earn 50,000 points, but we had $5K of planned, budgeted expenses, so the CC was just the card (that we would pay off every month) that we put wedding expenses on. Then we used the points for our flights, which was awesome and made it much more possible. We also included hotels for honeymoon into our original wedding budget.

    • Jsk

      Portugal: did 11 days in Lagos, Porto, and Lisbon in 2010. Got around on the train (look into eurail pass if you’re American). I used points for my flight but I think the trip cost under $1500 for food/gifts/hotels. Our timing was good (went shoulder season and in the middle of the financial meltdown), but I think it’s still affordable by comparison. Enjoy the food and wine! I’m dying to get back there!

    • Lauren

      Oh hey, Portugal is cool. You’re going to Porto, right? Some of the port wine cellars have free tasting tours (or at least they still did in 2011!), so def check those out before spending any money on a tour. Coimbra was not worthwhile. Please eat all the pasteis de Belem for me and visit the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos in Lisbon – it was truly one of the most spectacular buildings I’ve ever visited!

      • the cupboard under the stairs

        Definitely going to Porto and looking forward to the free port tastings! Can you share a bit more about Coimbra? We were planning on using it as a jumping off point for a couple of days. We waffled between it and Braga. Are there sights nearby that you think would be more worthwhile?

        • Lauren

          What I disliked about Coimbra was that NOTHING was open. All the buildings in the old town that I would have wanted to visit were locked, no opening hours, or under construction, and the town was kind of run down and sketchy outside of the center – I’ve never seen that many stray dogs anywhere else in western Europe! Obviously YMMV and if it’s just a jumping off point for you it might be fine, but I wouldn’t have any high expectations for the city itself. In retrospect, if I were planning the trip again and had a car, I would stop off there for an afternoon and move on. I didn’t go to Braga, so I can’t say anything there.

    • anon

      How you afford it: really long engagement. Really, really long engagement. :P

      • Yep, I had a 2.5 year engagement partly so we could save up for the wedding and honeymoon we wanted with only some parental contribution

  • Sosuli

    Oooh this is my favourite topic at the moment! Husband and I had our wedding in July and are planning on going on honeymoon in January (due to work schedules and we just didn’t have the time, energy or money to go straight after the wedding). We’re both in agreement for our honeymoon we want to do nothing but lay on the beach and have massages, so we’re looking into all inclusive hotels in Cape Verde. Since we live in the UK it’s not too far, and we’ve heard it’s gorgeous and there is nothing to do but relax.

  • egjg

    We’re leaving for or honeymoon in a month. We’re going to the Caribbean island of Bonaire (next to Aruba).

    Three things I’m super excited about:

    1. We are leaving 1 week after our wedding. So the first week is a “staycation” to unwind from the wedding. I feel like this was a brilliant idea from my fiancé – we get a week to relax after the wedding before heading off on our trip.

    2. I have always wanted to go scuba diving, and Bonaire has some excellent scuba diving, so we’re going to get as many dives in as we can!! I’ve wanted to try it for so long!

    3. We rented a private residence via VRBO, with a private beach, a big, beautiful view, a secluded house but walking distance to town… for a fraction of what a hotel / resort room cost elsewhere. Woo!

    • sofar

      Yeah, I’m also a fan of the down-time between wedding and honeymoon. I don’t think I’d have been able to even pack a suitcase for the honeymoon in the week before my wedding.

    • Eh

      We went right after our wedding but a coworker who got married a couple weeks before us went back to work for a few days before going on her honeymoon. She said that she couldn’t plan both at the same time. I found planning out honeymoon a nice break from planning out wedding.

    • Jess

      We have a forced <1 week gap due to flight times! (we're doing a cruise, so we had limited arrival days). We took off the Monday from work, and are kind of looking forward to doing a bit of our coupley things at home first – cooking our first married breakfast at home, sleeping in, cooking a dinner and just kind of reminding each other that we're still here.

    • Michela

      One week staycation sounds like a dream! That way you won’t be doing SIX LOADS OF LAUNDRY the day after your wedding, hurriedly trying to finish before the send-off cookout you (drunkenly) agreed to attend the night of your wedding. Pretty sure I even cried. Not my finest moment..

      • Lisa

        I’m pretty sure I chewed out my new ILs because I was stupid tired and hangry by the end of the day after our wedding. I mentioned last week how I blew up/was a sourpuss at dinner with our friends and begged off hanging out more to watch TV in the hotel. Weddings take a lot of emotion and energy, and we often forget to plan time to regroup.

        • Michela

          We got into a blow-out argument with my ILs (BIL told T to fuck off, everyone stormed out of their house without speaking to us, SIL gave me the silent treatment…) all because we got lunch without them when they didn’t show up to help us clean, meaning we cleaned up the reception by ourselves for 4 hours and were starving… So yea. I’m with you. To say the least!

  • librarygirl.totherescue

    We spent a couple of days immediately after the wedding just hanging out in a hotel by a pool, mostly sleeping. My sister got married the same year as us, so we were out of vacation days! We’re finally taking our honeymoon this year on our first anniversary, and we’re very excited. I feel like a lot of people are surprised that we delayed our honeymoon, but I’ve met so many *more* people who did the same thing as us! Taking the time to recover from the wedding with a teeny tiny minimoon was definitely the way to go for us.

    Edited to add: we also wanted to save up for this trip, as we’d saved up cash for the wedding, and didn’t want to go into debt for a (fantastic, lifetime memory-making, going to eat all the pasta and drink all the wine in Italy) vacation. At the end of the day, we still want that down payment money!

    • NolaJael

      That’s what we’re planning. Two days around Yosemite after the wedding to get away from family and then a real honeymoon once we have vacation days again some time next year.

      • Michela

        Highly recommend that route if you can’t escape for a full trip. Everyone is so hyped after the wedding that you almost need a physical escape to regroup and reconnect alone. Yosemite for two days sounds like the perfect plan!

  • Erica G

    We took a mini-honeymoon weekend two weeks after our wedding, but as for our actual honeymoon, we don’t really have a plan yet. We had some ideas and we had a honeymoon fund as part of our registry, but we simply don’t have enough money yet for a good trip. I also don’t get paid vacation time, so that has made our trip planning difficult. I feel like a lot of people were judging us for not going on a honeymoon right after our wedding, but I feel like what we are doing is becoming the norm.

    • Sarah

      Boo to judging. But maybe the folks aren’t so much judging as much as wondering what will happen to the money they gave specifically for a honeymoon?

      • savannnah

        My mom mentioned something about this to me- because we are delaying 3 months so I just put the dates of the honeymoon in the description of the honeymoon fund- although I don’t think you should need to do that.

        • Erica G

          Yea, it wasn’t so much the people who donated to our fund though, it was mostly folks from the older generation who just can’t seem to grasp how different things are today. Like, no we can’t just up and leave our jobs for two weeks and spend another 5k on a trip, but if we don’t do exactly that they don’t consider it a honeymoon or something. Its weird. Our friends who contributed to our honeymoon TOTALLY get it because they are all in the same boat!

          • Amy March

            I think they may be thinking of it differently- to my grandparents a honeymoon was a night or two at a hotel immediately after you get married. It’s not the spending two weeks and 5K that makes it a honeymoon to them, it’s the timing. Which makes sense, since most of them were eager for some socially sanctioned evening time together!

      • Jess

        I would be confused about that too!

    • Sosuli

      Yeah people have expressed surprise at us going on honeymoon 6 months post wedding. I say screw them! Some friends bought us an overnight stay at a hotel with spa passes for the day after the wedding which was immense. But we planned a second wedding reception party with my relatives in my home country three weeks after the wedding. So we had neither the will nor the means to plan a honeymoon as well. I feel like it’s a nice continuation of the wedding excitement really!

    • tr

      Honestly, this whole expectation surrounding lavish three week honeymoons is a suuuuper new thing! Even ten or fifteen years ago, most “honeymoons” were basically just regular vacations that people took right after their wedding. Like, my cousin went to Florida for a few days, and my SIL went to Vegas. A generation before that, most of my parents’ friends “honeymooned” somewhere three or four hours away for a long weekend.
      Don’t let people judge. What you did is actually way closer to the “traditional” norm than a month long trip to Asia! (Nothing against those month long trip to Asia people. Goodness knows I’d do it if I could.)

  • sofar

    We are playing it SUPER chill on the honeymoon. Pacific Northwest!

    A lot of people have expressed surprise that we’re not going abroad (because we are avid travelers, I guess people figured our honeymoon would be an Adventure with a Capital A). But, for us, the honeymoon should be different than our other trips: We want to take naps and sleep in and not fee guilty about missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime destination, we don’t want to worry about missing flight connections and trains or losing our passports, we don’t want to worry about changing money/getting a foreign SIM card for our phones, and we want a DIRECT FLIGHT because flying stresses me out. Even the Caribbean/Mexico is out, because my husband hates beaches. So, mountains and forest it is.

    Because the flights are so cheap, we’re getting a fancier hotel and a fancier cabin. When we go abroad, we are always on a super tight budget, so we stay in hostels and take the cheapo regional trains. It was so nice to just book a decent hotel for the honeymoon.

    We’re also gearing up for a big trip abroad with my in-laws next year, so we’re trying to keep the honeymoon as chill and effortless as possible.

    • Sarah

      Ha, a direct and cheap flight was a big deal for our honeymoon too!

    • stephanie

      “Because the flights are so cheap, we’re getting a fancier hotel and a fancier cabin. When we go abroad, we are always on a super tight budget, so we stay in hostels, take the cheapo regional trains and book hellish flight itineraries. It was so nice to just book a decent hotel and a direct flight for the honeymoon.” This is our plan for our 10th anniversary! *high fives*

      • NolaJael

        Am I really really dense because I never thought of this before?! Doh!

    • macrain

      We definitely felt the same way about keeping things simple. There was a moment or two where I regretted not doing something more “once in a lifetime,” but we knew that we would just be exhausted, and we were. Once we got to our all inclusive resort we knew we had done the right thing.

      • sofar

        My husband and I get SUPER cranky when we’re tired. I did not want a cranky honeymoon. :)

    • Caitlin

      We had almost this same thought process (non abroad and non beaches for us) and decided to go with Maine as our destination this June! As life long Midwesterners, it was still really different and new, but same pros: cheaper and easier flight, nicer place to stay, more fancy dinners out, and we felt we could relax. Other bonuses: revisiting our honeymoon will be super easy and awesome, and people were so excited to see honeymooners there! We got tons of local recommendations of things to do and complimentary drinks! It’s nice to be off the beaten path! We are also already thinking of the next big trip abroad and it’s nice to look forward to and plan.

    • I’ve been thinking this too…if we go somewhere with cheap airfare or within driving distance we can afford to get the super expensive hotel rooms we normally wouldn’t splurge on. I’m always amazed how 90% of the “best honeymoon locations” are all beachy b/c so many people I know HATE the beach.

    • cpostrophe

      Hah, I am posting this while we are 5 days into our 15 day honeymoon road trip between Seattle and LA, and I totally endorse the chill, easy mode travel domestic honeymoon option.

      Our original plan was to go to England and do a cross country inn-to-inn trek of Dorset and Cornwall. But it turns out my work Green Card process was approaching a tricky phase where I couldn’t leave the country for a few months while waiting for a status adjustment, so we postponed the trip to next year. But we still knew that having a honeymoon right after the wedding was important. So PNW won out. For one, I was already familiar with most of the area, having grown up in Vancouver, and having family in SF (so lots of drives up and down i-5) but I had never actually spent legit time in many parts of Oregon and Washington. So it was easy to plan a trip that could still hit new places for me. And for her, it was all new, so she was pretty excited to discover temperate rain forests.

      And, also I totally feel you on just cutting out a lot of the logistical labor that goes into international flights. I think that the labor is often worthwhile, but I still think it’s important to recognize that navigating a foreign language, currency, geography, etc. is work and maybe you don’t want to do that work right after a wedding.

      • Avena

        I just had my honeymoon in Vancouver this past June. My husband and I are from Los Angeles, so coming from hot, dry, LA to green, lush, Vancouver was AMAZING. It was GORGEOUS! When discussing where we would want to go, my husband wanted to see more of North America, and since neither of us had been to Canada, we decided to check out Vancouver and Vancouver Island. We had a fabulous time exploring Vancouver, Victoria, and Tofino. Though none of my friend had previously considered Canada for their honeymoon before, once we told them about our plans for hiking, whale watching, kayaking, and walking on Chesterman Beach, they all thought it sounded so romantic. In fact, one of my friends liked the idea so much she and her husband copied us and went on their honeymoon to Vancouver last month! They also had a fantastic time. I can’t recommend PNW Canada enough…it was so beautiful and I am seriously jealous you grew up there. I want to go back. Right now.

  • Sarah

    I remember thinking planning a trip would be way too stressful, but several people told me “go now or you won’t go.” Kinda like how when you move into a new house if you don’t paint the walls, fix the wonky drawer, etc it won’t ever get done. We had a Sat wedding, and did Mon-Sun in Bermuda. Was back at work on Wed (or maybe Tues PM). Great island, little planning, but we’re not into cruises or those cookie cutter all-inclusive resorts to it was nice. Would have loved a big trip like Hawaii but not in the cards at that time. And two weeks off work wasn’t too unreasonable.

  • Carolyn S

    I think the concepts around honeymoons have really changed in the past couple of generations, because travel is so common now. For our parents, I’m sure a lot of them, the honeymoon was one of the first bigger trips they took as adults. When I was mid twenties and very very single, another single friend asked “where do you want to go for your honeymoon” and I thought it was the most ridiculous question, because even without a partner a lot of us have the means and will to travel a bunch in our twenties. So for most people, especially those of us that marry a bit older, the honeymoon probably isn’t even the first big trip we took with our partner, let alone the first big trip. So what makes a honeymoon a honeymoon really, other than it’s the first trip you take as a married couple? ALL THAT TO SAY, for us, the purpose of the honeymoon was to GTFO of town for a bit. It was really really important to me that we not have to be back at work two days after our wedding. We went to Napa for a couple days, and then San Francisco for 4 days (we are from western Canada, so this wasn’t a huge distance but it was a plane ride away, and a place we had never been before). We had a couple days of relaxed wine tasting and a few days of urban exploring. It was really fun to get away and experience a place neither of us had been before. We also just kept turning to each other and high fiving over the fact we didn’t have to plan a wedding anymore.

    • sofar

      When I think back on my grandparents’ honeymoon (in New Orleans), that seems so “quaint” to a lot of people in our generation. But, to them, it was their first chance to get away and have alone time together. We’re actually doing a quickie domestic honeymoon, because if we did what’s now the norm (taking a Big Trip), we’d have to wait a year!

      • LittleOwl

        Yes! My grandparents went to DC and they loved it. :)

    • My parents did a New England road trip for their honeymoon, and my fiance’s parents did a tour of local historic sites in Pennsylvania? This is how you know the lavish honeymoon is a new thing…

      • Michela

        My parents did the same thing! As a bratty teenager I used to think it was so lame, but as a far-less bratty adult, I think it sounds totally romantic. They still talk wistfully about seeing the northern lights.

      • Lisa

        My parents were planning to drive down to Disney World from Indiana for a few days before their college classes started again, but unfortunately their car was stolen the week before the wedding. They didn’t have the money to fly or rent a car so they just stayed in a hotel in their college town for two nights. Talk about a low-key honeymoon!

    • laddibugg

      Our honeymoon will be the first time we’ve traveled without family or friends. We’ve always traveled with other people, even when we’ve made our own arrangements separate from the group, so it will be a new experience.

    • Her Lindsayship

      I’m fairly confident my parents didn’t have *any* money and went camping on the beach in south Texas for their honeymoon! It’s funny, my mom always hated camping when we were growing up, and those beaches aren’t exactly of the white-sand-and-turquoise-water variety, but they loved beach trips so much, they made it work.

      My fiancé and I have taken a trip to Italy together, so the honeymoon won’t be our first big trip together either. Thinking of it in light of my parents’ situation, I do feel pretty damn lucky!

  • Ashlah

    We took a two-week road trip through California for our honeymoon. The first day, we drove 13 hours down I-5 (to get it out of the way), then we slowly made our way back up the coast to our home in Oregon. We went to a couple theme parks, stopped in various coastal towns, and spent a few days in San Francisco. It was utterly fantastic. We had decided that we wanted to visit various places, rather than stay in one place for a couple weeks. Essentially, we were worried about getting bored just lying around! We love taking drives together, so it was perfect for us. (The one downside was all the planning involved with a road trip concurrent with planning a wedding. Oof.)

    Just this past month (two years later), we took a more traditional-honeymoon-style trip and spent a week in Costa Rica at the Prana Rainforest Retreat. I gushed about it in Happy Hour on Friday, so I won’t get too into it here, but we spent a lot of time lounging in our private pool and we got a couples massage in the rainforest, so it’s definitely a great honeymoon option. We found that trip to be the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure.

    I don’t know when we’ll be able to afford a big trip again, but I’m looking forward to getting ideas here. I’ve barely traveled in my life (the above is pretty much it), so my list is long.

  • Jessica

    We were originally going to postpone the honeymoon until the summer after we got married so we could save up and do 2 weeks in Scandinavia. Then 2 months before the wedding my husband got notice that he would be deployed during our first year of marriage, so we decided to do a weeklong vacation in a place we could get cheap tickets to that also had a beach. Thus, we spent 9 days in Costa Rica in a villa and it was the freaking best.

    When he got back we did a road trip around Wisconsin, determined that we are not roadtrip-for-vacay people, and then did a week in Myrtle Beach this past spring (in one place), and are planning a week in Seattle for October. We like getting away from everyone, exploring with an agenda and going with the flow. Eventually we will do the Scandinavia trip, maybe with our kids.

    • sofar

      I’m from Wisconsin, and it’s my happy place. I keep saying we need to do a week-long vacation there one summer, and everyone looks at me like I’m nuts because I’m *from* there. But it’s so pretty!

      I like your multi-honeymoon approach. I’ve known so many people who want to take a Big Trip and can’t for whatever reason, so they never go anywhere.

      • Jessica

        I have heart eyes for Wisconsin! I went to college there and it’s beautiful!

    • Sosuli

      I’m rooting for your future Scandinavian trip!

      • Jessica

        Thanks!

    • Amy March

      My parents took us backpacking through Scandinavia when we were 6 and 4- stayed in hostels and Y’s and it was amazing.

      • Jessica

        That’s so cool! A friend of mine took her 2 y/o and husband there for 3 months–left her job, he could work remotely for a few months, and they had relatives to stay with. I followed her blog and was like “yep, that sounds like a great trip to do with a young kid.” It was one of those “aha!” moments that you can, in fact, do awesome trips with children.

        And now I have a grudge against my parents for not bringing me to Australia when I was 7 (not really, but still).

    • We did a 5 day cross country road trip for our move to the west coast…and I don’t think I’ll ever see a road trip as a relaxing concept…

      • Jessica

        It significantly cuts down on the number of books one can read. That, to me, is unacceptable in a vacation.

    • LittleOwl

      Yay milspouses!! We are newlyweds but I feel like being flexible with travel arrangements – both having trips cancelled last minute and suddenly hopping on a plane for a random trip- is like 80% of military life so far. I hope you get your Scandinavia trip!!

      • Jessica

        Oof, I don’t know if I could handle the last-minuteness of full time military. My husband is National Guard, which is hard enough (he missed my brother’s wedding this summer, and a few other major life events in our family). I hope you get to go to awesome places, though!

  • savannnah

    We are going to Morocco for 3 weeks! My fiance and I both had very different requirements and Morocco fits them all. I wanted a place where we could experience both cultural immersion and beachy relaxation, great food and a place where we can buy items and bring them back with us to remind us of the trip (I travel a lot for work and chronically never do that) My fiance wants a place we can travel by train, somewhere we can spend a little more than we usually would and get some luxury and some place to watch the stars. We both also though that it was important to go someplace neither of us have been before since we travel extensively- and its a better dynamic in some ways when one of us isn’t leading the other. Morocco fit all those requirements. Its a little crazy to figure out finances and vacation time, we are going 3 months after getting married, over the xmas/new years work slow down as its the only way to convince our bosses to let us take that much time, but I think its gonna be so worth it.

    • Sarah

      I was in Morocco in 2000! Which cities? Casablanca was a bit dingy but the night we were there I went out with a guy in our tour group and we caught a street carnival which was very authentic. Tangier, Fez, Marrakesh were all cool but we stayed in fancy hotels so I don’t think we saw alot of local flavor.

      • savannnah

        We are doing Casablanca, Marrakesh, Fez, Essaouira, Agadir, Chefchaouen and the desert in Merzouga. I did hear that Casablanca is not great but its where the airport is. We are staying either in riads or with host families in hopes of getting more local. The airbnb resources there now making planning super easy!

        • Jessica

          Casablanca is at least easier to navigate / more culturally familiar than some of the other places. I think it’s a good starting point.

    • Leah

      We went to Morocco for our honeymoon! Four months after the wedding. It was a fantastic trip and felt, to us, like a perfect place to honeymoon. An incredible combination of romantic luxury we wouldn’t have been able to afford in the US (stay in some of the traditional-style riads in Marrakech, tell them it’s your honeymoon, and omg rose petals on the bed, fresh fruit, candles, amazeballs), cultural exploration, beautiful beaches & mountains, and great food . Essaouria was beautiful and romantic too. We also did a 9-day hike through the atlas which, if that’s your thing, I couldn’t recommend more highly. Have a fantastic trip!

      • savannnah

        Thanks! we are just getting into hiking and have been thinking about adding the Altas to our itinerary.

    • I had a friend and her husband do exactly this and they seemed to have loved it!

    • Michela

      This is fantastic!! It’s lovely to hear you found a destination to fit both your requirements. We had a tricky time doing that.. My husband wanted Hawaii but that was too domestic for me. I wanted Greece, but that was too domestic for him (he’s Dutch). In the end, we compromised with Mexico.

  • Elizabeth

    We’re settling in on Australia because my previous suggestion of Scandinavia was not at all in line with my partner’s vision, and because I didn’t want to take a hot summer month and go someplace even hotter. Also because one of my requirements is that it has to be at least as societally friendly to LGBT people as the US. And it’s also because we have both traveled a bit, and she wants it to be unique, and Australia is one of those places we haven’t ever been to and we’re not otherwise likely to wind up there in the next ten years without a good deal of conscious effort.

  • Renée Ricci

    Our honeymoon is the only non-stressful element of our whole wedding and I am beyond excited. My parents joined the Disney Vacation Club (it’s like a timeshare? I think?) back on their honeymoon in the early 90’s and let me tell you guys, that thing DELIVERS. My parents have since divorced, but they split their points each year and its meant we’ve been able to take really nice vacations almost every year despite being a working-class family. My mom gifted her half of the vacation points to her younger brother when he got married 10 years ago so that he could have a dream honeymoon, and now she and my dad are combining forces and doing the same thing for my fiance and I. It’s an incredible gift, and amazing to not have to worry about paying for a honeymoon when we’ve already wrung ourselves out with the wedding.

    We decided to skip Disneyworld and instead apply our points to a non-Disney owned resort in San Diego that participates in the Vacation Club. Our priorities were 1. get away ASAP after the wedding for at least a full week; 2. do stuff that we actually find fun (museums! breweries!) and not stuff that Brides magazine tells me I should want to do (snorkeling? spa days? MEH); and 3. minimize the amount of debt we’d be in post-vacation. I think we’ve definitely achieved all that, mostly due to the extreme generosity of our parents.

    My work pal is doing something pretty cool and hijacking her fiance’s work trip (which will happen approximately 2 weeks after their wedding) to Peru so that they can make steps towards their goal of seeing all the wonders of the world together (ROMANTIC AS HELL, RIGHT??). They’ll go down together, he will do some work, and then they’ll stay on a few more days and make a honeymoon of it.

    • NotMarried!

      I think I’m twins with your work pal! I’m hijacking my fiance’s work trip to Europe 2 weeks after my wedding! Woo Hoo!

  • Sarah Dee

    We were initially planning on going to Ireland but had to nix that idea fairly quickly because A. I’ve never been outside the country (and getting passports, learning to drive on the wrong side of the road, planning a trip outside the U.S., currency changing etc seemed like too much stress to add to my already slightly anxious wedding planning state of mind). And B. well, money. Weddings can be expensive and a trip to Ireland doesn’t come cheap so we decided on a week long honeymoon to New Orleans to eat, drink and be married. I’m looking forward to it and looking forward to a relaxed vacation to Ireland in a couple years… Maybe an anniversary trip? ;)

    • New Orleans is FANTASTIC for the newly married. We did our mini-moon right after our wedding in New Orleans, and we had a ball. You’ll love it.

      • Sarah Dee

        Oh that’s so wonderful to hear! It pretty much checked all our boxes (culture, history, GOOD FOOD) and also felt like I wouldn’t have fear of missing out if we say screw it and hang out at the hotel all day where in Ireland I would be terrified of not seeing this historic landmark or that sight… NOLA is close and we can definitely go again if we don’t see it all!

    • sofar

      I still remember going to Ireland with my dad, and he had a blast driving on the “wrong” side of the road. But my dad is insane. I would have been a basket case. And you don’t want that on a honeymoon.

      New Orleans is PERFECT.

      • Sarah Dee

        I think not being a basket case is pretty much top goals for any honeymoon! <3

    • Molly

      We are also planning on having a smaller, week long trip immediately after the wedding, and planning an international trip once we (and our bank account) have had time to recover from the wedding. We are thinking of finding a cute airbnb somewhere on the blue ridge parkway, and eventually going somewhere in south or central america.

      • Sarah Dee

        That sounds perfect!

  • NikkiL

    We are planning to do a safari/Mauritius combo next September (3 months after our wedding)! We wanted something to combine adventure and lounging on the beach so this definitely fit the bill. We are still finalizing where we will do the safari portion, but have narrowed it down to either Sabi Sands in South Africa of Masai Mara in Kenya!

  • Planning our honeymoon was actually harder than planning our wedding, mostly because we had too many options and all of them were too damn expensive in mid-March aka Spring Break in the Carribean. We knew we wanted to do a relaxing beach honeymoon but we couldn’t justify the price hike that going in March brought with it…

    Which is how we ended up with 2 honeymoons. We went to New Orleans right after our wedding, and stayed in a gorgeous B&B that we found a deal on via LivingSocial. We ate, drank, and some sightseeing, and it was nice to get away for a few days after the wedding. My company has also done a massive layoff 2 days before our wedding so it was nice to also decompress from that as well.

    Then in May we did the beach honeymoon at a Sandals property in St Lucia. We are now huge fans and have decided that every 5th wedding anniversary will be spent there, that’s how much we loved it. The island is gorgeous and the resort was beautiful.

    • Sarah Dee

      Right?! Honeymoon talk was my big trigger because we aren’t huge travelers and it was too expensive! Looks like we really think alike though :) ^^^

      • We’re big travelers but I’m also the queen of budget travel, and that’s what made our honeymoon so hard. I love finding travel deals, like the time I got us flights to Abu Dhabi for $200 PP! Sadly I could not the same level of deal on our honeymoon, but we made up for it in other ways.

        • Sarah Dee

          Teach me your budget travel ways!

    • macrain

      We did Sandals St. Lucia too! I loved how you could go to all three resorts for the price of one. More bang for your buck.
      Where did you stay? We were at the Grande St. Lucian, but I really loved La Toc.

      • We stayed at Halcyon Beach, and I loved that we chose it. The reviews were right – out of the 3 it was really quiet, which we enjoyed. We loved visiting the other 2 properties, and then coming back to ours for relaxing time. It’s a little bit dated but I think the property is going through renovations now, so when we got back in a few years hopefully it will be even more gorgeous.

    • LittleOwl

      We did a beachy inclusive honeymoon right after our wedding (off season, great deal!) and I’m SO happy we did. We are both a bit more intense when planning other trips, but it was lovely just sitting on the beach with my new spouse on our own time. Great idea about 5 year re-honeymoons!! Can’t wait to start planning again.

    • Michela

      Too many options was our same issue. Analysis paralysis.

      Also- any NOLA tips?? We’re going with couple friends for Mardi Gras. We’ve booked an Airbnb in the Garden district but that’s about it. I welcome any and all suggestions if you have them!

      • AP

        Fun! Mardi Gras is a tough time to be a tourist (or a local, ha!) in New Orleans due to the crowds and traffic. And a LOT of drunk debauchery (which might be what you’re going for?!) Depending on what kind of time you’re trying to have, there are a lot of options though! I’ve lived about an hour away my whole life and spend a lot of time there. (And everyone really should experience Mardi Gras once in their lifetime!)

        I recommend getting fancy cocktails at the Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone (the bar actually moves like a carousel!) We love Domenica for a great meal and the roasted cauliflower antipasti will change your life (or go to Pizza Domenica for a scaled-down menu and lower prices, plus they have a killer happy hour), also Magazine Street is great for fun local restaurants and shopping/browsing. Of course Cafe du Monde for beignets and coffee (be prepared to wait in long lines). If you like history, the WWII museum is worth it (for a while my family went every Father’s Day with my grandpa). City Park is a nice place to run/get some fresh air/walk off a hangover. I’ve never been, but Commander’s Palace is supposedly the go-to Sunday brunch spot (but I think you need reservations). For authentic poboys, we love Parkway Bakery (they claim to be the original.) Most of the restaurants in the French Quarter will serve typical cajun food, but prices will be high and lines might be long. I recommend branching out for food if you can.

        Uber is good for getting around, and you can hop on a streetcar in some neighborhoods for around $1.50.

        Have fun!!

        • Michela

          It’s totally not my preference to visit for Mardi Gras (drinker debauchery is not my thing) but it’s on my husband’s bucket list so here we are! Thanks for all the fantastic suggestions. I just forwarded them to the couple we’re going with and wrote them down in my phone so I can remember. I love the restaurant suggestions especially since it sounds like it might help us avoid the higher priced tourist trap places.

          Thanks again for taking the time to share!!!xo

          • Hope

            I’ve lived in New Orleans for a long time – Mardi Gras can actually be incredibly family friendly. Catch the parades on St Charles Ave and you’ll see lots of kids and a whole lot less of the drunken debauchery that tends to afflict the touristy Canal St/CBD viewing spots. I love costuming, so I recommend joining in on the fun and bringing some costumes and glitter with you. Be prepared for the restaurants/attractions you want to visit to be either packed, closed, or impossible to get to if you’re staying on the river side of the parade route. But overall, Mardi Gras is one of the one of the magical times to be in New Orleans, the energy is a lot of fun, the parade floats are beautiful and the marching bands are amazing.

          • Michela

            Adding the St Charles Ave parade to my list!! You guys are so helpful. Thank you!xo

      • Eenie

        Ooooh we went with some friends a few years back, and it was a lot of fun. They stayed out so late drinking which really wasn’t our thing. We would get up early and explore – we went to the aquarium when it rained one day and it was pretty good! I second taking the trolley at least once.

        • Michela

          Writing the aquarium on my list in case it’s rainy. Thanks for the recommendation! It’s good to know there’s more to do than just get wasted (I do want to remember the trip I’m spending money on…)

  • Mrrpaderp

    I think we’re going to do 2ish weeks in Australia and/or New Zealand. We wanted to do something far away that we wouldn’t want to do with kids or in retirement. A honeymoon is pretty much the only time in my profession that it’s acceptable to take 2+ weeks off at a time, so I’m taking advantage of it.

    For those who are taking their honeymoon later, are you taking some time off right after your wedding? Our engagement really sealed the deal for me wanting the honeymoon right after the wedding. We got engaged over a random weekend at home. I was overjoyed and I really wanted to ride that feeling for as long as possible. Then I had a hellish week at work, which dampened those happy feelings. I’d never even considered getting engaged over a vacation, but in retrospect I wish we had. I didn’t want to risk the same thing happening with our wedding. At the same time, though, I also didn’t want to take a mini-moon and then face a lot of grumbling when I tried to take 2 weeks off to have my “real” honeymoon. Anyone else have the same concerns, and if so, how’d you deal with it?

    • Giselle

      We’re taking 2+ weeks off to go to New Zealand! And our honeymoon will be 3 months after the wedding (which is next month). Our wedding is taking place on the opposite side of the country and has been a ton of planning, so we’re excited to come home and have a home-moon for 4 days in the middle of the week after the wedding. We’ll go on walks, take some day drives to the ocean, have lazy mornings at home…so excited.

      No one’s made a peep about the delayed honeymoon plan to me…but if people are grumbling at you that’s a *real bummer* that they can’t see past their perception that it’s inconvenient for them when someone else takes time with the most important person in their life after a significant life event. I’ve also told my work about it pretty far in advance, and been so enthused when I say what the plans are, it seems to leave little room for their own feelings about my feelings. Maybe wrap in something about how well you’re planning for professional time off and how excited you are when you’re delivering the news/decision? Good luck, have a great time. :)

    • rg223

      We did not go on the honeymoon right after the wedding, but we did have a destination wedding, so that felt a bit like a special get away. We had planned to take an extra day for ourselves after the wedding, but got chased home by a major snowstorm (we got married in February). I too worried that the honeymoon wouldn’t feel special, so I hear you on that. I tried to keep reminding myself all the reasons the timing was better. I would also just own what you’re doing when talking about it with others. You’re going to have a freaking amazing time!

      In the end, I didn’t really feel too bad about not doing a honeymoon right away for two reasons:

      1) it was nice to have an emotional break after the wedding to process what just happened. For some couples, the honeymoon IS that break, but we had an adventure honeymoon in Japan, so it worked out better for us that we could relax at home and feel married. And you going to Australia might be in the same boat.

      2) I really loved my wedding, and I think I would have had some post-wedding blues if I did the honeymoon right after and then had nothing to look forward to. Anytime I was sadly nostalgic for that day, I would think, “But we still have our honeymoon coming up!”

      Hope those thoughts are helpful to you!

    • Michela

      We took our honeymoon right after, and I’m so glad we did. I totally understand there are reasons why couples choose to delay. If you do that, I would recommend at least taking one workday off after the wedding. I spent the Sunday after my wedding cleaning up for 4 hours, entertaining my husband’s Dutch family, coordinating airport drop-offs, doing laundry, AND going to a send-off cookout. While hungover. Ha! I was exhausted and barely had time to chill with my brand-new husband. If you choose to delay, which is totally a chill thing to do (and a thing which no one should give you shit for!!!), at least take that Monday off work with the promise that you’ll lay in bed and stare at your rings and eat leftover wedding cake in your pajamas. You need that time. Work will understand taking one day off to regroup and you’ll be able to save up for 2 weeks in Australia/New Zealand.

  • Jenny

    We did a multisport trip with a company called backroads. We originally were going to go to Ireland, but because the trips are pre scheduled the dates didn’t work out and we ended up in Banff and Jasper. It’s an awesome company. You show up to the meeting spot and they have all the bikes and helmets etc. They shuttle your luggage, they have made the hotel reservations, they provide snacks and lunches for the trip and any support you need (a ride up the hill, not biking that day etc). It was lovely! Normally one of my favorite parts of vacationing is the planning, but after planning a wedding during my first year of a PhD program we wanted something that was basically pre packed and not at a beach (we aren’t beach people). Backroads was great! We hiked, biked, and rafted during the day (all without having to schlep our gear around or arrange for bike rentals, or worry about flats) and stayed in nice hotels with awesome food. We arranged a few days on either end to explore Banff and Calgary on our own. Our guides were super nice and we loved the other people on the trip as well.

    • Keeks

      I have always wanted to do a Backroads trip! The hardest part is trying to decide which one, though.

      • Jenny

        It was soooooooo awesome. Too expensive for us to do regularly, but we are hoping to do another one once our kid(s) are over 4 for a 10 year anniversary trip or some other big celebration. It was absolutely perfect!

  • Booknerd

    We got married last weekend and took a little mini moon 4 night stay at a resort approximately 3 hours away from where we live. I had a really hard time with this because the resort is about 20 minutes away from the city I went to university in, and my husband wasn’t keen on just sitting at the resort the whole time, he wanted to be in the city for a couple of the days. To me this felt like it was going to take the “special” out of the whole trip, like who wants to vacation in a town I visit 10 times a year anyway, but one we got to the resort and it was way nicer than we thought it would be (our friend owns a timeshare there which he gifted us the use of) it felt more like an escape and we made sure not to do the usual things we do in the city, nor see any friends even though most of my friends still live in that city.

    I feel like there is so much pressure these days to have this fantastic international or tropical adventure, and I felt very self conscious about our little trip. We wanted to be going on a bigger trip in the winter anyway but now we are going to be buying a house and his family and us are going on a big trip to hawaii together so it just didn’t work for us to go to Jamaica or Mexico like we wanted.

  • Work has sent me to many lavish places, but I’ve brought my partner along to the Greek Islands and Phoenix. I piggybacked on his company’s lovely Las Vegas trip, too, and my parents brought us to southern Spain. So…we’re going to Hawaii for our honeymoon. I don’t foresee a work-sponsored Hawaii trip any time soon, and it’s pretty convenient to where we now live (compared to where we grew up on the east coast). I also sorta live for vacations that have at least 3 days at the beach, so it all works out.

    Also. Costco Travel has some prettttttttttty nice discounts for Hawaii packages (air, car, hotel).

  • CII

    We went to the coast (about 1.5 hours drive away) to a place that we regularly stay for weekend getaways directly following the wedding. Then we went to Mexico for a 5-day vacation in the middle of winter a few months later. I would definitely recommend the short and easy hangout vacation followed by a larger one a few months later – for us, it was better on the budget and allowed us to just decompress because we were somewhere that we already knew. The only downside is that, in my office culture, you get a little bit of a “free pass” to take a honeymoon that you don’t really get in terms of colleagues being understanding / covering for your vacation absence at other times (I’m not endorsing this office culture, just observing that it’s a thing in my office / profession), so I did miss out on that opportunity a bit with the short-getaway-immediately-post-wedding approach.

  • emmers

    We did a honeymoon in a cabin in the mountain of North Carolina. It was perfect. I was sick during the wedding, so a lot of it was recuperation. We had a hot tub, and lived in it. One of the nicest gifts someone gave us was a basket of basic food stuff, like granola bars, champagne, pancake mix, soup, and cookies, to take with on our trip. Sometime soon we plan to go to Australia (yay!), but our honeymoon was much more low key.

    • macrain

      That sounds lovely! It’s beautiful out there, I’ve spent time in Asheville and Brevard.

  • Emily

    The hubby and I had both traveled extensively in our early 20’s, so going somewhere exotic really wasn’t a requirement. We ended up staying in a beautiful cabin on Lake Michigan graciously offered to us by some family friends. We decided to move 2 weeks before our wedding (because we’re idiots) and so it was glorious to not spend very much money, and be able to actually make our own dinners. We hung out for 5 days.
    Some Day In The Future we plan on taking a few weeks to Central America, I have been before to a few places and completely fell in love, my dude has been everywhere but, so it will be cool to show him a place for once.

    • Sarah Dee

      We are looking to move about a month after our wedding… not looking forward to it

      • Emily

        We survived, you will too! Make lots of lists and don’t refuse any one who offers assistance!

        • Lisa

          In the two months preceding our wedding, we moved my husband several hundred miles away, and he started a doctoral program. Then a month and a half later (three weeks before the wedding), I moved to join him and started a brand new job. I definitely do not recommend this strategy if it can’t be avoided, but we survived!

          • Emily

            OMG I barely survived moving cross-town, although my husband was conveniently at a 3 week training…

          • Laura

            My husband found out he got a new job in a new city while we were on our honeymoon! So immediately upon our return, we had to pack him up and move him to start the new position. I followed a month later once things were wrapped up at my job. Definitely avoid if possible.

    • KK

      Ugh, moving and wedding planning really don’t mix. We almost decided to move the same summer as our wedding, even started looking at new apartments – and then we realized that was just bonkers. So glad we had the option to postpone the move!

  • Meg

    We ended up doing the star trek convention in las vegas for our honey moon (and we just went again this year!!). It was something we both loved, and due to his Fiance Visa he couldn’t leave the country yet, so we had to stay domestic. It was great because we got to bond over something we both loved, but were experiencing a con together for the first time.

    • Sarah Dee

      That is so sweet! Love that it’s something you both enjoy and now you can go every year to celebrate :)

  • C.

    Our current tentative plan is road tripping to Santa Fe in early spring. Plans include cuddling in front of a fire in a casita, drives up to the ski basin (if the weather cooperates), blue corn pancakes, and a luxurious spa day at Ten Thousand Waves. Galleries and museums optional :)

    Seriously can’t get here fast enough.

  • driftless

    We spent a week at my family cabin in the north woods of Minnesota, with no electricity or plumbing and very few neighbors around. It was incredible- we lounged on the porch, read tons of books, hiked through the woods, did lots of swimming, and went canoeing. It was also amazing being away from technology for that time. So, so good.

    • Sarah Dee

      Good ol Minne! I love northern Minnesota especially in summer/fall

      • driftless

        Yes! It was the end of August, and so beautiful. Not roasting, but warm enough for swimming.

    • NolaJael

      Dream trip. Awesome idea.

    • Giselle

      Seconding northern Minnesota cabins! We spent a week at my family’s cabin once after a deployment and it was so, so wonderful. Being away from tech is one of the things I cherish about that place, and something I’d consider for our honeymoon now that I’ve read your comment. It reminded me how impactful that is when we’ve mostly been focused on the logistics of our trip.

      • driftless

        I had moments of feeling embarrassed when people would ask because some people seemed to feel sad for us (that we weren’t travelling internationally or at least flying somewhere), but it was perfect. I think it was especially perfect because it was so stress-less for both my husband and me, while other kinds of travel, though fun, is more stressful for both of our personalities/bodies.

        • Giselle

          People are judgy, you do you – and I’ll high five you for using “perfect” twice to describe it in your last reply and obviously know yourselves. :)

          • Jess

            That sounds so amazing. Why don’t people understand that quality time together is the most important part?

    • Michela

      Oh my gosh can I come next time?? That sounds fantastic!

  • KK

    We went to Alaska and loved it. I love planning trips almost as much as the trip itself, so I designed our own 2 week itinerary in southeastern AK plus Denali. We are also not usually the type to primarily relax on vacation, but I made sure we weren’t really roughing it either since it was our honeymoon ;)
    We absolutely loved it. My husband is into wildlife photography, so it was obviously a perfect destination – highlights included all the wildlife of Denali and getting to see Orca breach. Add in beautiful hiking, kayaking among icebergs, zipline tours, tiny airplanes, and amazing seafood – it was the perfect trip for us! I think we spent about 20-30% of our wedding budget on the honeymoon (AK is expensive!) and I’m so glad we were able to make our budget work out that way.

    • macrain

      Alaska! That sounds amazing.

  • Alex K

    We just got back from our 2 week honeymoon in Thailand- it was amazing! We went to Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, Koh Tao, and Bangkok. We decided on Thailand because we each got two weeks of vacation (a rarity for us) and we wanted to take advantage. Husband also wanted to site see and I wanted to sit on the beach so Thailand allowed us to do both of those things. We also used a points consultant to maximize our travel points (we both travel for work) so we were able to get over there for fairly cheap which should have been the largest budget expense.

  • lamarsh

    We are going to Portugal! I studied abroad in Rome and London in college so I have seen a lot of Europe, but my Fiance has never been to Europe so we wanted it to be somewhere that would be new to both of us. We are flying into Lisbon and then renting a car to explore the Alentejo which is a wine region east of Lisbon with Roman, Moorish, Medieval, and even Neolithic ruins/history and then spending our second week in the Algarve where we can visit beaches, eat lots of seafood, and lounge.

    I’ve already booked some of our accommodations (10 months out, because I am a crazy person who loves to plan). We are staying at a hotel on a winery in the Alentejo and were able to rent a house in the Algarve with its own private pool (and no wifi, much to the delight of my fiance who loves to unplug). Portugal is much less expensive than other countries on the euro so we are able to stay in some very nice places that we couldn’t afford in other parts of Europe. I am so ready to go, so the hardest part will be to wait till next June.

    One question I have is how to organize the wedding packing, the honeymoon packing, and the transition. We are getting married in Wisconsin and live in DC, so we will be flying to the Midwest for the wedding, flying back home, and then hopping on a plane to Europe the next day. It will probably be more than a little hectic.

    • Amy March

      I have zero honeymoon experience, but lots of packing strategies! I make a list- like, months in advance of a big vacation. Because obvi you want an entirely new wardrobe for this trip/need to avoid just buying new things, and a list early helps with the endless “do I have everything I need” questions.

      I’d also figure out what needs to come with you tot he wedding early- again, detailed, like 5 pairs of socks, 2 bras etc.

      And then cross-reference- everything that doesn’t need to come to the wedding but does go to Portugal gets packed at least a week in advance, everything that does double duty must be machine washable or not needing to be washed, so that when you are home it’s a matter of doing a load of laundry and adding it to your waiting suitcase. Because I’d also take a different bag on each of these trips.

      I figure it can either be A) something you plan and spend a lot of time on but that goes smoothly, or B) something you wing at the last minute, spend zero time planning, but is stressful.

      Also, post-its literally all over your house, on the mirror, on the doors, reminding you to bring your passports.

      • lamarsh

        Great point, making all the lists will be seriously helpful. And love the post-it idea — this is pretty much my go-to strategy at work for keeping track of everything and it’s the best.

      • Alex K

        I did basically the same thing for my honeymoon- wedding, home for a minute, then out to the honeymoon. I did exactly what @amymarch:disqus describes above. Worked like a charm! I packed for the wedding, packed for the honeymoon, and had a list of what needed to be moved from the wedding bag into the honeymoon bag. It was not as stressful as you would think. Good luck and happy honeymooning!

      • Sara

        I would add, make sure you have at least two emergency outfits (like an extra shirt and underwear rolled together) in your carry-on. I have lost luggage twice going overseas (once to Rome and one to Athens) and it takes a couple days for them to find it and get it back to you. Anything you might need – toothbrush, meds, special face wash – should go on carry on too. Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

        • JC

          I also always think of the carry on as “just in case they lose my luggage,” but once for my family, it wasn’t that at all. Something was up with the cargo door on our plane to Hawaii, so passengers could fly, but no luggage. They airline told us we could go without our luggage or stay until a day or two later. You better believe we all had swimming suits, toothbrushes, and an extra pair of underwear in our carry ons, and we flew to Hawaii come hell or high water.

    • We’re doing a similar thing…except we’ve got an 8 hour layover in the city where our apartment is, in between the wedding and honeymoon. So that should be a blast! List should work.

      • lamarsh

        Oh wow — good luck!

        • We’ve got a rental car to drive us home and back in that time period, it’s a bit silly.

    • Michela

      We travel abroad a lot (my husband is Dutch) and I manage by writing down literally everything we need to bring, down to the adapters and phone cords and essential oils, and then I check them off when they’re physically packed. Since you have the added layer of needing to pack for the wedding, perhaps try to pack everything you need for Wisconsin separate from everything you need for Portugal. Minimize the cross-over, if possible; like if you’re able to, buy a $10 phone charger on Amazon so you don’t have to worry about remembering to remove your charger from your Wisconsin bags into your Portugal bags. If you have the time, pack for Portugal before you leave for Wisconsin so you can work last-minute details in the one day you have before leaving. And for those things you will need to switch over from Wisconsin luggage to Portugal luggage, make a list!

      Also, just a few general tips: pack in one general color scheme so you can mix and match more easily. Europeans re-wear outfits days in a row so you won’t look even remotely out of place. Bring the bare minimum number of shoes; I always wear the same boots and the same flats, and get annoyed hauling extra pairs I never wear; plus, they’re bulky! Always bring more lounge clothes than you think you’ll need. I forget about the downtime after dinner/before bed and never have enough relaxing clothes. Try to leave space in your luggage because I can only imagine the incredible souvenirs you’ll want to bring back in memory of your trip.

      Can’t wait to hear all about it!!xo

    • NotMarried!

      My fiance and I are google sheet obsessed. We use them for planning everything. We’ll have packing lists and as we pack check them off. It allows us to access our lists from any wifi enabled device, and for us to collaborate and add things to the lists as we think of them.

  • Hannah

    I snagged a groupon for a tiny lodge in Costa Rica. I had enough airline miles to get us to central america and groupon seemed like a pretty low-stress and economical way to through an awesome trip together.

  • Allie

    We got married in June, and after having bought a house a year ago and job changes and pay cuts, we don’t see a honeymoon in our future any time soon. We had chosen what and where and all that, and as much as we want it (and as much as we need a good vacation) It doesn’t look like it is happening. And i think that is starting to become a trend.. which sucks!!!

    • Jessica

      I think that is why a “staycation” is so popular. If possible, take a 4 day weekend and commit to not doing anything around the house, just sight-seeing in your own city and eating out once a day. Much cheaper, and you get to sleep in your own bed. We’ve done this a couple times (once was a “let’s work on house stuff” which was kind of good because shit. got. done. but was not relaxing).

  • Francheska

    We got married a year ago! Planning the seating chart for our wedding was harder than planning our honeymoon lol, We decided on a cruise through the Norweigan fjords Geiranger, Flam, Bergen and Alesund and we had a long layover in London and two days to explore Copenhagen (Like on BIKES!)

    It was AHmazing the beauty of the fjords is something we remember a LOT (going back to Norway next march eek!) Everyone wondered why we picked such a cold place to be on our honeymoon but duh when you live in the caribbean you just want to get as far away from the heat as possible

    • NolaJael

      This was my dream honeymoon! Maybe someday…

    • Michela

      Oh my gosh can you tell me more about your cruise?? My husband is from the Netherlands, so Norway is on our short list to visit when we go back in March to visit his family. I’d love to hear your tips!

  • Cello

    In the beginning stages of our planning, we opted out of a honeymoon…we figured we’d have taken off a week before the wedding, done all the celebrating, and the re-entry to our newly married life would be easy.

    That’s also when we had hoped $5000.00 would cover meals, rentals, and entertainment for 200 people in the DC area… It probably would have, but the priority list – the fact that we could afford something more expensive – and our desire to really have the wedding of our dreams has grown the budget to about $20,000.

    And with that growth has come so much conversation. Emotional, deep, intense conversation with a lot of people we love (including each other). The weight of this wedding is overwhelming. I have stress dreams about finding the perfect stationary and not knowing what to do with it… haha! And the kicker is that we haven’t even “officially” gotten engaged; that we are still waiting on a few final details to come together before we make any kind of public announcement. Wow, we have 2 years before the wedding date, we will be devoting so much to just one day; we began to realize that we need (NEED) a honeymoon.

    But most honeymoon articles are described as exciting, adventurous, explorative – we don’t want any of that. We want a honeymoon that will help us nurture our vulnerable changed life back to health – we want something that won’t be tooooo expensive – we don’t want to be pressured by FOMO to get out of the hotel bedroom, to explore the interesting parts of some really cool location that we invested our hard-earned money, just to leave us more drained than before we left.

    I would love to read about honeymoons that are meant to revive you after the stress that comes with wedding planning.

    • Ashlah

      Not for a our honeymoon, but for a couple anniversaries we’ve booked a nearby cabin through VRBO or Airbnb that’s in a pretty area, has no TV, no WiFi, and has a kitchen. We unplug from the outside world and just relax together. We can go for nearby hikes if we want to get out, but mostly we chill in the cabin (reading, playing board games, listening to music, making dinner, drinking champagne…whatever you like to do together!) The particular one we go to is in a small town with nothing going on, so there’s no FOMO to be had. I’ve found these weekends to be one of the most restful, recharging things I can do for myself. Much cheaper than a big trip, and none of the stress of long travel.

      • Lisa

        We did something similar for our first anniversary, and it was nice. We stayed at a little B&B in the town over and didn’t make any real plans. We went to dinner and then went back to the room to hang out. The next day we felt like lounging around and then doing a distillery tour so we did. I’m a major planner, but this short non-structured time was still nice and a good change from our daily life.

    • emilyg25

      We did two nights in the woods and three nights in a city. I’m not really into camping, so we stayed at a nice place with platform tents and air mattresses, but being in the woods was so healing for me. I was totally, totally emotionally spent after our wedding. We purposely went somewhere within driving distance so we knew we could come back any time. That relieved the FOMO pressure.

  • Keeks

    We drove down the Blue Ridge Parkway and stayed in Asheville for a week. It was so low-key after the hectic months leading up to our wedding, but that was more by accident than by design. We just ran out of energy and money and didn’t book anything until a week before we left. We ended up having so much fun that we’re planning on going back for our first anniversary!

    I really wish we could have done a grand European adventure, but we went to Europe the year before our wedding, we’re going back this year, and we just needed some unscheduled down time after the wedding because we’re hella introverted.

  • Michela

    We spent 12 days at the Riu Palace in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It was a fantastic trip spent lounging by the pool half the time and going on excursions (wedding gifts!) the other half of the time.

    Getting to that decision, though, was painful. We scoured Groupon/Living Social/Travelocity/Expedia deals. We spent hours researching. After one such evening, T asked me, “is it ok if I go ahead and book this one?” and I said, “sure. Where are we going?” because I was just so.burnt.out by the planning process. We’re also huge travelers, so I was surprised at how stressful I found it.

    In retrospect, I would’ve loved a few APW articles about how to plan different types of honeymoons- the road trip, the domestic locale, the basically-domestic locale, international backpacking, etc. I also would’ve loved to hear real people’s experiences with resorts vs. Airbnbs, short stays vs. long stays, delayed vs. immediate. I have some very real opinions about all of those things in retrospect, but would’ve loved reading others’ opinions before making our decision (I think I would’ve chosen differently).

    • Hope

      I like your ideas for APW articles. Although it’s 5 years since my honeymoon, I love to travel and have been inspired by everyone’s experiences in the comments so those articles sound great.

      • Michela

        Yea, they would’ve been great to read right?? As a fellow frequent traveler, I went against our normal travel style, which in retrospect I wouldn’t recommend. Usually our trips are loosely structured, staying in an Airbnb/VRBO with daily activities either touristy or not at all. For our honeymoon we booked an all-inclusive resort because I knew we’d be tired and not in the mood to plan meals and activities. Well I was right… for the first two days. After that, we got really antsy and sick of our resort. I didn’t like the food, we saw the same people day in and day out, and it just got dull. For TEN MORE DAYS. Which is so disgusting to admit since it was a really expensive, luxurious resort. Still, I want other people to learn from our mistakes. I wish we’d stuck to our travel sensibility and instead planned maybe three days at a resort and the remaining 9 in Airbnbs in Cabo, eating fantastic food and living like the locals. An APW honeymoon travel article that discusses how to plan a honeymoon based on your travel personality might have saved me from ten boring days at a resort pool.

        • jspe

          omg this. We went to Tulum for part of it (AMAZING, highly reccomend), and then booked an all inclusive for a few nights in an attempt to reduce decisions. But Tulum was lovely and very easy, so when we got to the all inclusive and the food was terrible and we felt trapped, I wished to return to Tulum. Feels embarrassing to say, but the whole thing was silly, especially for a couple that doesn’t drink that much.

          • Michela

            Oh my gosh you have no idea how relieved I am to hear I’m not the only one who felt trapped in our (fancy, expensive) resort! I so wish we had done what you did, even if just for a few days like you all. Lesson learned though..

    • Carolyn S

      So true. I’ve bit my tongue on giving anyone wedding suggestions when it comes to size, style etc, but will tell anyone who listens that one of the best decisions we made was going away, even for a little bit, right after the wedding.

      • Michela

        I totally agree. Oddly enough, we felt pretty disconnected the week of (and even the day of) our wedding. So much of that time was spent entertaining T’s family who flew in 10 days early from Europe. That coupled with our 180-person wedding meant we had very little quality time together. It didn’t take more than our first flight the Monday after our wedding to feel reconnected again. I know that isn’t possible for everyone (cash flow, vacation days, etc.) but even one day off after the wedding to spend entirely alone is something I highly recommend to couples.

        • My sister said something similar after her honeymoon. We had so much going on the week of the wedding she also didn’t really see her husband much that week. They went on a cruise and said that the first 2-3 days they slept most of the day lol

          It was also the first time she had taken a week vacation all at once in a LONG time and realized how much she needs to do that every now and then.

      • emilyg25

        Yes!

      • Jessica

        Yes! I’ve never felt as filled with joy as we did on our honeymoon.

    • LJ

      Another type of “different” honeymoon: the “not a honeymoon” honeymoon. I’m not a huge traveler and I find hotels icky (I love camping, but my wedding is February in Canada soooooooo hahaha). I want to spend some restful quality time alone with my fiancé after we get married. Other than barricading ourselves in our home for a few days and taking some days off work, what would people recommend and what would APW readers have done differently (“worth it” and “regrets”)?

      • Jill

        What about doing something like Montreal or Ottawa and trying out an AirBnB? My fiancé and I are going to do exactly that (I will admit the AirBnB didn’t work out this time but I’ve used the service before in Montreal and it was lovely.) Alternatively what about a log cabin rental in a National Park like Algonquin?

        • Emi

          We did both! We’re from Alberta and drove to Seattle first and stayed at an AirBnB on Vashon Island (HIGHLY recommended for some r&r) and then went to Montreal a few months later, stayed with a friend, traveled by rail to Quebec City, and stayed at another AirBnB. Totally affordable, and yet a great adventure!

        • LJ

          airbnbs have less sanitation requirements and monitoring than hotels – I know people who run airbnbs who just put a new sheet on the bed and call it clean. Ick factor still applies…..

          Also, flying out east from BC is wayyyyy more expensive than north-south (USA incl) travel. If you look up flights from YVR/Vancouver out east then it is just DUMB how pricy it is. And yeah glamping is definitely on the list.

          But what if I don’t want to travel? Like staying in town, maybe activity suggestions (touristing, hikes, having cute inside date nights with popcorn and cuddles)….. honeymoons can be quality time with a loved one, not just leaving for the sake of leaving.

      • Michela

        That’s a great suggestion. Maybe “how to plan the perfect honeymoon staycation”?

      • cpostrophe

        Instead of a staycation, I would do a super short trip just outside of your home city. If Vancouver, maybe take the ferry to VanIsle and stay in a cabin in Torino. My sweetheart and I just like taking a two hour road trip somewhere just to get a bit outside our routine context, and have quiet time with each other.

        I find that staycations tend to turn into errand and project time around the house which is less memorably restful than taking even a short road trip outside of your home city.

  • CATL

    Hubby and I rented a cabin in the Smoky Mountains for a week for our honeymoon. After the stress of wedding planning, the remoteness of it all really called to us. And when it didn’t, Gatlinburg was only a short drive away. We were lucky enough to take a second honeymoon a few years later to WDW, because we’re nerds like that.

  • KK

    PS – just want to give a shout out to getting trip insurance, especially for those of you going on international honeymoons.
    Last happy hour I posted about our recent trip to Italy which turned out terrible when my husband ended up in the hospital for 5 days for what started as probably food poisoning and ended up as sepsis. We had to delay our trip home until he was well enough to travel. I had gotten trip insurance for the first time ever, and it was so helpful – both in the moment in terms of reducing the stress of the ordeal to some degree, as well as meaning we paid nothing out of pocket for changing our flights, and I expect we will get another few thousand back for extra hotel costs and all the medical costs once our claims are processed.
    Since we were doing an ‘adventure-type’ trip (challenging hiking in the Alps), we went with World Nomad – they offer two levels of plans, one for trips that are like sight-seeing/hiking/canoeing/’normal adventures’ and then a next level plan for trips with more dangerous activities like rock climbing, sky diving etc. We haven’t completed the claims process, but so far I can recommend them as a good option for trip insurance. It cost us $160 for 2 people for over 2 weeks of coverage – clearly that paid off!

    I never really thought much about trip insurance, but I will definitely be getting it for all international trips in the future – because as someone commented on Friday, if things go wrong on an international trip, they usually go really wrong!

    • Ashlah

      Thanks for sharing this (again)! Feeling really grateful nothing went wrong on our recent trip, but will definitely be looking into trip insurance for future vacations.

    • Lexipedia

      Question – are you talking about trip insurance that includes travel health insurance? Or are they booked separately?

      • KK

        The trip insurance we got includes secondary health insurance. Meaning we first had to file with our primary health insurance (Blue Cross Blue Shield), and then whatever BCBS doesn’t pay, World Nomad will. The hospital stay cost $2200 – Since the hospital was obviously out of network for our American insurance, our pretty high deductible ($2000) for out of network care means that BCBS will only reimburse about $200. World nomad will (should) cover the rest. They also cover things like helicopter evacuations etc because they specifically cater to adventure-travel types.
        Hope that helps! Just to be clear, this type of insurance is different than what is offered every time you buy a flight. I don’t think that has any medical coverage, just covers costs related to canceling or rescheduling your flights.
        Edited to add: this type of trip insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions, so I presume there’s a difference between it and travel health insurance that you might need if, say, you have a chronic condition and plan to live abroad for a year and need regular healthcare there.

  • Lisa

    We got married in October and between my starting a new job and my husband’s doctoral program, we weren’t able to go on a honeymoon until Christmas when my new office was shut for the holidays. It had been a dream of mine to see the Christkindlmarkts in Germany for several years so my warm-blooded husband agreed to spend our first holiday season in Europe.

    While I do wish we’d been able to go on a honeymoon right after the wedding (we spent one night in a fancy downtown hotel eating a Trader Joe’s picnic and drinking wine/homebrew in the giant bathtub), I wouldn’t trade the trip we had for anything. We had a lot of fun together and learnt so much travelling for the first time together internationally. We made a lot of great memories and purchased our tree topper from a stall at the Munich market, which will be an annual reminder to us of that time.

    • idkmybffjill

      Girl we are such Chicago wedding twins. October forever!

    • Michela

      The visual of your German tree topper just made me a bit teary eyed!

      Are the German tree toppers those oddly shaped, geometric, brightly colored, sort of Star Trek looking things? My Dutch husband was aghast at the star I suggested last year, so he HAND CARRIED a “piek” home from the Netherlands in January. The stares we got from passengers and the questions we got from flight attendants were enough to make me giggle even now. See the embarrassing proof, below.

      • Lisa

        Lol, I love that story about your husband! Our tree topper is an angel that was handmade by a German vendor. The man who helped us pick it out made suggestions based on the height of our tree (“Zwei meter?”) and commended our grasp of the language. (My husband and I joke that we have the capacity of a 3 year old between the two of us. He understands people better and would translate for me to English, and I would respond in German because I’m better at speaking.)

        Do you have a picture of the toppers you’re thinking of? We mostly saw a lot of straw ornaments in Munich like these. Something about being a reminder of the manger where Jesus was born, I think.

        • Michela

          Ha! Sounds like you two are a perfect match then ; )

          The tree topper I was describing is that red contraption I posted a photo of. They call them “pieks” in Holland; I wondered if Germany had similar designs. Sounds like yours is much prettier than ours, though! I especially like the look of those straw ornaments you sent. Beautiful!

          • Lisa

            Oh, yes, we did see those on the German trees, too! Some were simpler like the one you posted, and some had more decoration to them. I grew up with an angel on our family tree and always wanted something just as beautiful for my own. :)

  • Bethany

    We’re going to Rocky Mountain National Park / Denver on our Honeymoon and I’m SO EXCITED. We live in Florida, so I can’t wait for mountains and hiking and cooler weather. We both wanted to go someplace we’ve never been before while still staying (relatively) close to home. We have a direct flight and a cozy cabin with a fireplace, which is basically all I need in life.

    • Jess

      We got engaged on a week long vacation in RMNP and it was amazing. We stayed at the YMCA cabins in Estes Park. I have all the hike recommendations if you want them!

      • Bethany

        I would love any recommendations if you don’t mind – we’re staying in Estes Park too! What a perfect place to get engaged, it looks so beautiful!

        • Jess

          It is incredible out there! What kind of hiking do you like to do? I’ve got fairly recreational to intense.

          Personal favorites, mostly in order of difficulty:
          – Bridal Veil Falls
          – Emerald Lake w/ the split to Lake Haiyaha if you have extra time
          – Sandbeach Lake
          – Odessa Lake from Bear Lake Trailhead to the Fern Lake Trailhead (Shuttlebus!)
          – Twin Sisters or Deer Mountain for easier peaks (not too much above tree line)
          – Chasm Lake or Sky Pond for some work-your-butt-off lakes. Both are totally worth it, but start early or the peaks will be cloud covered and you’ll have to run to get below treeline.
          – Flat Top for a bit more strenuous peak (lots above tree line)- if you start extra early you can do Hallet’s, which is right next to it, too

          If you’re planning to go above treeline, definitely start early because there’s usually a storm rolling in for the afternoon.

          Also, the shuttlebus is where it’s at for the Bear Lake & Glacier Gorge trailheads. Cannot recommend it enough.

  • emilyg25

    I would like to put in a plug for the small honeymoon. I was so overwhelmed from planning (and paying for!) our wedding, that we just did a little road trip–two nights in the Adirondacks and three nights in Montreal. The only thing we planned was our lodging, and we did splash out on all-inclusive “glamping” in the ‘dacks. But mostly, it was a simple trip we can take again to reminisce. It was the chill interlude I needed after wedding craziness.

    • lamarsh

      Going to the Adirondacks in two weeks with my family — one of my favorite places in the world, so I’m sure it would be perfect for a Honeymoon!

    • Rose

      We did a similarly sized honeymoon, and it was perfect for us too.

    • anon

      We’re leaning towards Montreal at the moment — close enough to drive and a little exotic without being full on stressful capital-T travel! Any suggestions for the city?

      • emilyg25

        I just found out that the wonderful amazing restaurant we went to closed last year. But if you like beer, go to Dieu du Ciel. We stayed in the Plateau/Mile End area and mostly just loved walking around there, window shopping, and eating. If you enjoy cooking, you MUST go to Les Touilleurs.

  • saminrva

    I went to an academic conference a week after our wedding :) But then my new husband met me in Europe and we had an awesome 10 days that I think was the perfect way to reflect and put some space between us and wedding planning/execution. We also used a website called Zicasso.com to hook us up with a travel agent that specialized in the area and as a result got to do a bunch of things we never would’ve even known about. (This was on a tip from friends who used them for their honeymoon — we’d never used a travel agent at all before, but didn’t want to take on planning a big trip on top of the wedding). We learned a lot about how to work with a travel agent though that I wish I would’ve known before, so yes, I think this kind of post would be very welcome here.

  • Amy March

    The number one question my friends are asking is “where can we go in North America winter that is hot and sunny and beachy that doesn’t have any chance of getting Zika.” Would love to see a round up of those locations!

    • Lisa

      My first thought was Catalina Island in Southern CA and Hawaii, and when I googled to make sure they weren’t impacted by Zika, I got this article of “Sunny winter island escapes not impacted by the Zika virus”. I hope this helps!

      • That’s where we went on our honeymoon (Catalina). It was pretty great. And you can go see the bison! (And it would probably be cool enough in the interior of the island to go on some fun hikes if you wanted to… it wasn’t in August, but we still tried and failed miserably…) But January in Southern California is usually delightful. The water is a bit cold, but it’s often abnormally warm compared to November/February for some reason. (80 degree days are not unusual in my experience).

    • JC

      Not beachy, but I’m told by a former local that January is absolutely the best time to visit Napa. I have only been in the fall, when it was also lovely but probably busier than it would be in January.

    • jordoncloud

      The Oregon Coast during the summer time. Hands down. :)

    • Michela

      Ha! This is why we just returned from a weekend getaway in northern Michigan.

    • emilyg25

      Palm Springs! Not beachy but pools.

  • So it wasn’t really a honeymoon (it was my engagement gift to my then-fiance/now husband, but it was a month before our wedding), but the timing was perfect! We went to Japan for 15 days – it was mindblowingly beautiful, incredibly romantic, and we bonded like crazy. We both agree we recommend going to a country where neither of you speaks the language as a test for getting married…ha!

    Over and over again, as we experienced this place, we’d stop, look at each other, remark how lucky we were, and then confirm that we were all in and couldn’t wait to get married. It was amazing.

  • Sara

    I think we’ve settled on finding the most remote and private beachfront VRBO in the Bahamas that we can. I really dread crowds and wanted to do something a little more adventurous, but it seemed important to my partner that we be on a beach with lots of downtime to unwind, so this seemed like a good compromise.

  • We ended up going for a week to an all inclusive resort in Cancun. We basically wanted someone else to plan the whole thing for us and wanted to be able to shut off our brains post wedding. Staying at a resort like that was not something that we would normally do, but it totally fit the bill for our honeymoon. After our Saturday wedding my folks hosted a brunch at their house on Sunday. We peaced out at about 1, returned the rental car, stayed the night near the airport and took off for Mexico on Monday morning. Having the day in between the wedding and the honeymoon worked out great for us, it gave us a little more time to relax with family and a decent nights sleep before we took our trip. We also ended up totally loving the resort. Not having to worry about meals and having someone bringing you drinks on the beach was excellent. We did take a few excursions while there, but we staggered them so we got 2 days to relax between adventures. Not everyone’s sort of trip, but it worked for us!

  • Eenie

    We drove four hours to Savannah, GA. No flight delays or layovers. Just a really awesome quick trip to a new city. We kayaked and saw dolphins! We scheduled a couples massage and explored the city. I wouldn’t have wanted to fly anywhere the day after the wedding, so I’m glad we just did a short little trip. It’ll be easy to return to the same city on a future anniversary too,

    • Giselle

      Awww, I lived there for 5 years and love Sav! It’s so good for romantic trips because of the strolling and open beverage policy (if that’s your thing) and abundant parks and beach if you want it. Glad you had a great time! :)

      • Eenie

        We almost did Hilton Head, but when I google mapped it I saw Savannah was 30 minutes less of a drive. When we hit four hours we were really glad we went with Savannah! Didn’t do the open beverage thing but took the Ferry and ate at the Pink House and got some ice cream on the way back to the hotel. The kayak out to Little Tybee Island was amazing, best $80 I’ve spent in a while.

    • Michela

      Savannah was our first trip as a couple and we loved it!

  • idkmybffjill

    We’re planning on booking ours this week!!! We’re going to Spain. We are thrilled. I think we’re most likely booking through Triple A which had surprisingly non-tour group based affordable options. My future MIL suggested it and at first we were skeptical, but boy was she right. I would love from APW:

    1) Packing Lists
    2) Things to remember for International Travel (adapters?)
    3) Great all inclusive recommendations
    4) Communication apps (if you want to be reachable on your honeymoon/are traveling internationally)
    5) Tips for how to get them honeymoon PERKS.

    • This is my packing list for 2 and three week trips: http://byov.blogspot.com/2011/03/lightweight-packing-for-3-week-trips.html
      ‘Used it for places like Hong Kong/Thailand and the Greek Islands and even Arizona.

      What you want for communication apps is either Facebook Messenger or Project Fi: https://fi.google.com/about/
      …or maybe just calling your cell carrier and seeing what their international pricing options are.

      • idkmybffjill

        Thank you!!! Already have Facebook Messenger, easy!

    • Michela

      These are all fantastic suggestions, and travel articles I would love to read honeymoon or not. As someone partnered with a European, I’ve broken more than my fair share of adapters in visits to his family, so articles like these would be brilliant.

  • JennDee

    Partner and I have a list of places we both want to visit, so we’re starting with places inside the US and then venturing out from there. We’ll be doing 12 days in Northern California (I’m an East Coast gal so seeing the Pacific is a huge deal to me!).

    We’re flying in/out of San Francisco (spending two nights/three days in the city wandering and seeing the market and other landmarks), renting a car to drive to Napa for four nights (Air BnB all the way! Plus I bought a Groupon for a Bike-N-Sip tour to five, count that FIVE wineries–yaaassss) and then driving out to Yosemite for the remainder of our trip. We’re renting a cabin near the park and plan on doing lots of biking and hiking. It should be a great mix of seeing new sights, getting into some beautiful landscape, and just hanging out together in a stress-free zone. So, so excited–June can’t come soon enough!

    • Ebloom

      That sounds amazing! As someone who lives in the Bay Area, I salute you coming to my town! I never really thought that someone might come SF on honeymoon, so that’s so rad. One helpful local tip, I highly recommend bringing a coat or jacket. Even our summers get nippy here, especially June!!! :) Napa will be much warmer.

      • Lisa

        “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”

        But seriously, the summer I lived in SF I woefully underestimated how cold it would be and only brought one pair of jeans for a two month program. Out in the East Bay where my husband’s family lives, the temperatures are more in line with what I’m used to.

        • Yeah, you’ll need jeans and a sweatshirt for San Francisco, even in August. But the rest of the area gets much warmer.

        • Ebloom

          I totally thought of that quote when writing that comment! I think a lot of people do that, and it makes so much sense too. CA is supposed to be hot and beachy based on every portrayal ever made. But we have a lot of fog here! I live in Oakland and we even get morning overcast here before it blooms into sun around 12pm. Today I’m in SF and it’s gorgeous, sunny 63 F. Burrrrrrrrrr.

          • Michela

            Planning a move to SF next summer. Everyone laments the summer weather there, but it sounds like a dream coming from the high humidity, muggy, sticky Ohio summers. Perhaps I’ll change my mind after my first SF summer, but for now it’s something I lust after ; )

          • Lisa

            I do like the more temperate climate, and I haaaate Midwestern summers. I think I would miss having distinct fall and winter though if I moved somewhere like SF! Also the fog can make the city feel really grey and blah if it sticks around for an extended period.

          • Michela

            I will miss fall, too, but I will not miss our summers! Plus I like gloomy weather, so the grey might not get to me. But who knows- give it two years and I’m sure I’ll complain ; )

      • Carolyn S

        We were really lucky when we did our bay area honeymoon last september because it was UNGODLY hot in Napa (which was totally fine for the 2 days we spent there), and made it perfect in San Fran.

        • Ebloom

          Yeah September was sooo nice last year! Glad you came down at a good time!

    • FYI, the Jelly Belly Factory is not far from Napa.

      • JC

        And it’s in Fairfield which is so so hot! A great way to get out of the SF fog.

    • Carolyn S

      We did san fran and napa and it was so great! We were sad we weren’t going further north too, so that sounds amazing.

  • Ebloom

    We’re going to take a week off after the wedding to remember what it feels like to be human, and then some months later go to Iceland(?). I was alllllll for jumping on a plane right after the wedding, but my partner gently reminded me that 16 hours of travel, jet lag, and culture shock might not be fun after such a hugely social event. As the more introverted one, this reminder made me quickly come to my senses. She’s also spending 3 weeks in the country where she did Peace Corps, 3 months before the wedding, so it makes sense for her as well. We just want to rest. I’m about 6-7 months out before the wedding and last night I got super decisive about what DIY projects I could handle, what seemed like a long shot, and what I will need help with. Knowing the scope of work that lays ahead, I just can’t imagine researching what I want I do in Iceland on top of it. I have actual non-wedding hobbies that I would have to put aside, and I need my selfcare right now.

  • Alanna Cartier

    For our honeymoon we`re doing a hotel vacation in our own city (Toronto!). We`re going to do all the touristy things (CN tower, Aquarium, Aga Khan Museum, Shopping), and eat at fancy restaurants. Maybe we`ll have a spa day :)

    • Sosuli

      Awesome idea! Have you ever done the Edge Walk at the CN Tower? In case you want to add some adrenaline…!

      • Alanna Cartier

        WE thought about doing edge walk, but we`re getting married in November so we can`t do it for the honeymoon :(

    • emilyg25

      That sounds really fun!

    • Michela

      That’s such a great idea!! I bet it also “forces” you to do some of the tourist things you wouldn’t do on an average weekend. Let us know how it goes!

    • Eh

      When I was finishing my MSc thesis and my ex was finishing his PhD dissertation we house-sat for a prof who lives in the Annex for a month (bonus – they had a cleaning service!). We took one day off a week to do touristy things in Toronto. We had both lived there for years and never took the time to see the city.

  • anon for this

    Can we talk about honeymoons and. . . sex?

    I LOVED my honeymoon. We opted for big adventure in a far off country, we saw amazing things and had incredible stories afterward. But. . . my vision of a honeymoon had always involved a lot of late nights in a 4-poster bed. It was decidedly un-sexy when we got food poisoning, or when we got strange bug bites, or when we got lost for half the day in 90 degree heat. So most of those late nights were just crawling into bed, too tired to move.

    I love adventurous travel – but I feel like I missed out on the whole sexy honeymoon thing. I spoke to a friend recently who had purchased a bunch of fancy lingerie for her honeymoon. . . I was busy hauling around a backpack full of quick dry pants.

    Is the sexy honeymoon a myth? Did we just do it wrong? Help!

    • Amy March

      I think you did it wrong! If only all of our “wrong” decisions resulted in amazing once in a life time adventures. Fortunately, you have all the time in the world to plan a trip that is more about lazy mornings and staying in at night.

      If you aren’t waiting for marriage, and you plan a trip that’s heavy on activity and not necessarily relaxing, I think your experience is pretty typical!

    • “big adventure in a far off country”
      Mmmm, jet lag, Montezuma’s revenge, FOMO, stress of dealing with a foreign language and mapping apps. I’d say you probably planned it wrong for yourselves. This is why I like vacations with at least 3 beach days. It doesn’t have to be beach days. It could be 3 mountain cabin days, or 3 middle of nowhere in the jungle/countryside/home-city days, but you definitely need them if you’re the type of person who over schedules yourself…

    • We did 2 honeymoons in “sexy” locations…and neither one of them made me wanna have all the sex. Right after the wedding I was tired and on our beach trip I was furiously scratching sand flea bites all over my legs. Honestly, I think everyone does it wrong cause we all buy into that image that the media pushes about honeymoons being super special & romantic. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be just that.

      • BDubs

        HA! Oh Jubilance, your comment made me LOL!

    • emilyg25

      We purposely planned a lazy honeymoon where we could mostly just stare longingly into each other’s eyes. Big adventures are cool, but tiring!

    • tr

      I feel like the whole sexy honeymoon thing got started in the days where people got married at 19, and if they’d had premarital sex at all, it had consisted of a few times in the back of someone’s car. It’s still a thing, but I definitely don’t think it’s as much of a thing as it once was.

    • Michela

      I think the sexy honeymoon isn’t so much a myth as it is an outdated concept. If you’ve been having sex for years, chances are you wont be ravaging each other nightly anyway. Add to that the environmental factors of jet lag, post-wedding exhaustion both physical and emotional, foreign country oddities, and just your general travel stresses and chances are no one is feeling super sexy.

      We had plenty of sex on our honeymoon, but it didn’t feel any more magical than nights at home sometimes do. That’s life. Everything else is just hype people pressure you with to make you feel inadequate. Do you! Do your partner! Or don’t! Who cares? It’s all normal.xo

    • Eh

      So very unsexy and unromantic, I had my period for most of our honeymoon :(

      • Eenie

        Wedding and honeymoon for me!

  • Maggie Dragon

    We’re going on a Viking River Cruise, starting in Budapest, Hungary, going through Austria and ending in Nuremburg, Germany. It is expensive (not gonna lie), but my fiance has never been to Europe and we figured if there was ever a time to splurge, this was it.

    I am usually a planner– I find hotels, research restaurants, search out things to do, but I have to admit the appeal of NOT having to plan anything else on top of a wedding was what drew me to this as well. The wedding was enough– we’re letting Viking take care of everything else. For anyone else, I would recommend booking airfare through them too– since they book tickets en masse, you usually get a great deal. Ours ended being around $700 round trip per person, which is pretty good for an international flight on a major airline (Lufthansa).

    • Yes! That was exactly why we picked an all inclusive resort in Cancun. It wasn’t our typical travel style, but dang was it amazing/relaxing!

    • Michela

      Oh my gosh that sounds incredible. River cruises are on our short list!

      Also- props on finding a solution that still fit your travel personality (scheduled, well-researched) without having to do the legwork yourself. I talked about this upthread, but I went against my travel personality (loosely structured, plenty of activities) and chose a 12-day all-inclusive resort with not much to do precisely because I knew I’d be exhausted and wouldn’t want to do the legwork myself. I certainly don’t regret our honeymoon because it was beautiful and very relaxing, but I definitely don’t think we maximized our options. Way to go maximizing yours!

    • ScoutAbout

      We are doing a Viking cruise too! We are flying out the day after the wedding and spending a few days in Amsterdam before taking our cruise to Basel. The perfect combination of my desire to be all done planning, my first time in Europe, and my fiance’s need to take a Trip to See Things and not a vacation!

    • Kat

      I am alllll about cruises. My family did a Mediterranean cruise a few years ago and it was excellent. Obviously you don’t get to explore the cities as thoroughly as if you were staying in each place for a few days, but it was exactly the amount of map-reading, translating, and decision making I was capable of handling with my parents. And I got to plan our daily excursions, pick the tours we took, buy museum tickets ahead of time, etc., but it was honestly SO nice not to worry about hotels, especially since my mom is NOT known for her adaptability.

      P.S. I’m dying to go to Budapest! I studied abroad in London and wanted to go so badly on one of our weeks off, but couldn’t convince anyone else to join me, and I was still too nervous of a traveler to go alone. Have an amazing time!!!!

    • Markie Beth

      My parents just went on this exact trip! They had a great time!

      • Maggie Dragon

        Awesome. I’m so glad to hear that! What did they like best? What’s the wine that Viking serves like? (The internet has told me a range of things from “regional wines, changing by the night” to “Viking has a house winery” and from “excellent” to “terrible.”)

  • Rose

    We spent 4 nights at a hot springs resort in south-western Colorado, a 4-5 hour drive from my hometown, which is where we had the wedding. It was perfect. I was not at all up for planning a major trip right after the wedding, but pretty much all I had to do was reserve the hotel room and remember to pack a swimsuit, since we were already planning on driving to Colorado. We got to drive through gorgeous country (a part of the state I’d never seen, even though I grew up in Boulder) during aspen season, and then figure out what we wanted to do once we got there. Mostly that was relaxing in hot springs and finding restaurants in town, although we did also go on a hike, and we were there for the annual hot air balloon festival. For us it struck the perfect balance between something new and special, but with pretty minimal planning, and not a huge amount of expense.

    • the cupboard under the stairs

      This is amazing! I live in Boulder now, so thanks for the vacation inspiration :)

      • Rose

        It was wonderful! Pagosa Springs, I can’t recommend it enough. We drove down through Fairplay and Buena Vista, and it was absolutely gorgeous mid-September. If we hadn’t been about to drive back to North Carolina after, we might have done the longer route back to Boulder through Durango and up past Ouray and Montrose, which I hear is even prettier. And if you’re in Pagosa during the hot springs festival there’s a local food and wine-tasting event, and then you can sit in a hot tub and watch the balloons the next morning. It was really wonderful.

  • We got married (yay!) on Aug. 5, but are planning on taking our honeymoon in probably April/May 2017. We haven’t decided yet (there are too many places we both really want to go!), but I am pushing for Italy. I’m thinking we start in Florence/Tuscany, go down to Rome, then finish in Positano/Amalfi Coast. The more I think about this, the more I love it. We can do a day trip to Pompeii! How cool is that?! It would check both the relaxed type travel and the busy sightseeing type of travel boxes and be somewhere new for both of us. We’ll see what we decide! Anyone have any fun tips for Italy?

    • the cupboard under the stairs

      This sounds so fun! If you’re going in the spring, try to avoid dates around Easter. The crowds will be insane, you won’t have any prayer of getting into the Vatican, and flights will be markedly more expensive. Otherwise, spring is a really great time to go!

    • Vanessa

      We did a similar vacation a few years ago – spent a couple days in Cinque Terre, a couple days in Florence, and four days in Rome. We flew in & out of Milan (bc we somehow found $400 round trip tickets from Denver) and traveled by train which was so so so so easy and relaxing. CT was perfect relaxed travel we were there at the end of March so it was not high season but the weather was still good. We hiked and drank wine on the roofdeck of our amazing little vrbo apartment and relaxed. Florence & Rome were perfect busy/cultural/go-go-go vacation. The thing that worked best for us in Rome was booking a couple of half-day tours (Vatican and Colosseum) – it gave us enough structure without being overwhelming. Good luck planning your trip!

    • My husband and I just did 10 days in Italy for our first anniversary, and it was divine. However, we did 4 cities (Rome, Florence, Venice & Milan) and by the end I was just DRAINED. There’s so much to see and do, and a ton of walking. You’ll absolutely love Florence, it was my favorite by far. If you can end with some relaxation, that would be perfect :-)

    • Bethany

      When I stayed in Florence we did a day trip to the Chianti region. I loved it! We stopped at a little local farm for brunch and then went on to a winery for a tour / wine tasting. We were part of a group so we didn’t have to actually plan anything, just signed up and went!

  • hbarclay

    Long time reader, first time poster here :) I’m an American expat living in England, and my husband and I got married on 30th July. We’re leaving for our honeymoon on 16th September, after I finish my MMus course. We’re driving five hours to go down to Cornwall, and we’re staying in a secluded, positively *lush* cottage near Boscastle ( https://www.uniquehomestays.com/unique/details.asp?id=3385# ), and I’m beyond excited. We’re going to spend the week taking day trips to National Trust properties around Cornwall, hiking along the coastal path, having picnics on the beach and drinking bubbly by the fire at night.

    I think something that I’ve noticed lately, and it seems to be *especially* prevalent in the UK, is the ridiculous amount of pressure to have The Trip of a Lifetime. When people find out about our trip, the reaction we typically get is “oh…that’s it?” Well, yes! Its going to be a lovely, relaxing trip, and our first one as a married couple…to us, it doesn’t need to be more than that. Whilst it would be fun I’m sure, don’t *need* to spend three weeks galavanting around Thailand to have a fantastic, romantic honeymoon with my husband. Plus we have our little kitty to get back to :)

    • Carolyn S

      Social media has really piled on this pressure I think. People act like the honeymoon has to be the BEST trip you have ever been on. For people who rarely have the opportunity to travel, it can be a nice excuse to go all out, but I agree about the pressure. Isn’t the whole point to just get away with your spouse and celebrate your marriage?!

      • Michela

        I totally agree. If the Cornwall trip won’t get likes on IG, why go? (Kidding of course; hiking, picnics, and champagne by a fire might be three of my five favorite things in life!)

        Also, as a frequent traveler, I don’t understand the Trip of a Lifetime pressure from a literal standpoint. Mexico, where we honeymooned, was not the Trip of a Lifetime because I’d like to go back in my lifetime, please! Sometimes I wonder if this pressure comes from people who don’t travel often and, therefore, pressure themselves into making it the Trip of a Lifetime since it might, indeed, be so. That is perfectly fine if they aren’t big travelers, but I am so that mold doesn’t really work for me.

        • tr

          Honestly, if you’re not A Big Traveler, the whole Trip of a Lifetime thing is even more absurd (and a great way to guarantee that you will never actually enjoy traveling)–trips like that are just waaaay too high pressure to really enjoy!
          If you take a simple trip to your cousin’s vacation cabin six hours away, every second of the trip doesn’t have to be awesome. You can spend a day sleeping until noon, watching bad movies on Netflix, and eating at Pizza Hut without guilt, because you’ll have plenty of other opportunities to see anything you missed the first time. On the other hand, when you’re talking about $4,000 flights and $800 a night hotel rooms, a couple of unexpected rainy days or a minor stomach bug is going to feel like a really big deal!

          • Michela

            Such a good point. In fact, one of the reasons we travel every six weeks or so is to relieve that exact pressure you’re talking about. It was rainy this past weekend on our getaway to Mackinac Island, MI but I didn’t give one hoot because we’ll be in Nashville in seven weeks so who cares?

        • hbarclay

          Michela, Carolyn S, and tr: I knew I could count on APW to find some like-minded ladies who agree with me on all the ridiculousness that can surround honeymoons :)

          Also something that grinds my gears a bit (don’t know how common it is in the States yet): people here go on “pre-moons” (“honeymoon before the wedding!”), AND “minimoons” right after (“just a week in a cottage, its not our honeymoon!”), and then proper “honeymoons” (four weeks in some exotic location, which must be putting them in massive debt). UGH YOU GUYS. Your honeymoon is the first trip you take after the wedding, be it a week or a month, be it right after or a few months later. *That* is your honeymoon. Everything else is a holiday. Pre-moon? Minimoon? Ew god stop no.

          • Michela

            Wait what?? That’s… A lot. As I think back to my life before my wedding, I can’t even imagine being able to take time off with work and planning.

            This sounds part of the trend to make a wedding and honeymoon Huge Life Events. Of course they are, but you’ll have other Huge Life Events, too! It doesn’t stop here! Like when people used to say, “college is the best four years of your life so make the most of it”, I always used to think “so my life peaks at 18?? No thanks”.

        • Eh

          I think some of the “Trip of a Lifetime” idea is from generations that did not travel much before they were married. My parents honeymoon probably was a “Trip of a Lifetime” (or at least, “Trip of up to that point in their Lifetime”) for them when they got married at 18 and 20. They had never really taken a vacation before that. Now a days we get married later, we travel more before we get married (I had been to Europe twice before I was married – my mother never went to Europe).

          • Michela

            Fantastic point. My mom was still in college when she married my dad, so their road trip to New England was not only what they could afford on a college student/entry level engineer budget, but also the first trip they took together. Meanwhile I got married at 27, and T and I had been on three domestic trips and one European trip before getting married. Times they are a’changin!

  • Brynna

    We are planning on a cruise – so very, very few decisions to make in a given day, which makes it a super-relaxing way to travel. We just got back from an Alaskan cruise (where we got engaged) and can’t wait to do a similar style of trip for our honeymoon.

  • Jess

    I just got back yesterday! We got married on August 7th in BC and flew to Montreal on the 8th. We spent 3 nights there, seeing sights, eating delicious food, and just generally enjoying each others company after such a family filled lead up to the wedding day. We then spent a weekend in Halifax, eating and drinking more delicious things.

    We took the advice about taking a honeymoon right away to heart. It was challenging (as entrepreneurs) to get everything ready for us to take a week off in the high season, but that time to decompress was essential. It had also been a while since we’d been on a trip together, so it was nice to have that quality time/vacation.

    I had very loose plans about what to do at our destinations. I use a combination of Design Sponge city guides and Bon Appetit to figure out where to go and what to eat. But really, we were so busy with wedding planning that we didn’t make any other honeymoon plans than just… go. My focus is always to get into the local life when I travel, and take time to just relax and live and get into the culture that way.

    Our flights were a wedding gift from my sister in law using her fancy travel points, and we opened our cards before we went and found some honeymoon money in there as well.

    I find myself commenting on travel plans on APW quite a bit and would be really interested in contributing. I have traveled throughout Europe and North America and focus a lot on food, drinks, and farmers’ markets.

  • Anon

    We spent two nights on an island near Seattle (where we live & got married) before I had to get back to work. Summer is a hard time for me to get a lot of time off, so we’re planning on doing the “real” honeymoon in November: two weeks in Thailand! I wish we could’ve taken more time right after the wedding, but doing it this way actually worked out great. It was SO nice to get out of town/away from families for a couple of days to just veg and recharge, and I LOVE vacation planning and am excited to really plan our Thailand trip now that I have time and energy to devote to it instead of, you know, planning a wedding. Best of both worlds!

    As a side note for foreign travel: I only just recently learned that you can register your trip with the state department, and if shit goes down in the country where you are travelling, the US government will get you out. Learned this from a friend who was in Morocco during some deadly flash floods a couple years ago, and got airlifted out. Now I’m spreading the PSA because YOU NEVER KNOW and it’s such an easy thing to do.

  • Angela

    I am not much for flying and I have coeliac disease so I need to be very careful about my food. We are doing a cruise to New Caledonia and Vanuatu. Flights to Brisbane from Auckland are only a few hours and I feel like a cruise will give us a nice balance of relaxing and exploring/doing things. We have a week between the wedding and the honeymoon but this gives us time to catch up with family and friends who have travelled and pack for the honeymoon/tidy up after the wedding and generally catch our breath. We are really grateful that with the cruise there is not much to organise and I am confident that they can cater for my dietary restrictions.

    • Jess

      We’re doing a cruise too, and ended up with that one week between because of flights.

      I’ve not really done a cruise, but I’m actually super pumped because we just picked the excursions we wanted to do and are done planning now. No stress of driving/navigating, no stress of finding someplace to stay, no stress of finding food at the end of the day!

  • You know what helps, for those who can’t afford the big trip abroad? Remembering that your “small” local trip is someone else’s big abroad trip. I know it’s not quite the same, but it’s still cool. I mean, if you lived in the UK, Pacific Northwest would be epic. If you live in New York, rural Ireland is epic. If you were British, Mexico would be epic. Choosing a romantic, epic-to-someone fairly local place and exploring it in an indulgent, fresh-eyes way is great fun and way cheaper!

    • Michela

      We just returned from a weekend getaway to Mackinac Island, MI (we live in Ohio). It was an easy 8-hour drive and not at all what I would’ve considered “honeymoon” before going, but after arriving we both mentioned what a perfect honeymoon destination it would be. The island banned cars in the 1800s, so it’s all horses and bikes. You walk around, shop, eat at the world-famous fudge shops, sit by the harbor, take carriage tours, and bike around the island. It’s relatively reasonably priced and would’ve been perfectly romantic. It never occurred to me to book a honeymoon so “local”, but I totally agree it would’ve been lovely. More APW articles with suggestions like these, please!

      • T. Brunner

        I LOVE Mackinac Island! Went there as a kid and it’s still one of my favorite places.

    • Eh

      Exactly! Some of my friends could only afford a few days off and local trips, and other friends could afford big trips (some where gifted, other’s budgeted). One of my friend’s and his wife took a road trip down the west coast after having their second reception in the PNW (where his family lives). They didn’t consider that road trip their honeymoon (the wife told me once “I guess it was a mini-moon”). They had the money for their honeymoon but they didn’t have the vacation time (they took over two weeks off work for their wedding, two receptions, some time visiting with his family and the road trip). Just before our wedding they were telling us that they were planning their honeymoon for just before their second anniversary (a year later). In those two years they took multiple trips (e.g., NYC, Chicago, Vermont, England/Scotland – we live in Canada) that did not meet their requirements for a honeymoon. Their idea of a honeymoon was going to southern Europe for two weeks. I felt pretty crappy that we were only going to Halifax for just over a week for our honeymoon. When we told them our plans they said that that were “nice for us”.

      • Amy March

        Yeah that’s what I really hate about the “minimoon” or little trip now and then our “real” honeymoon later trend. That trip you are saying isn’t good enough to qualify as your honeymoon? That’s a dream trip someone else can’t afford.

        • Eh

          EXACTLY! Their comments were not taken well by a friends who stayed at another friend’s cottage for a few days as their honeymoon. That couple took a first anniversary trip to PEI and joked about calling it their honeymoon.

          • Bah, that’s rubbish. I actually kind of like the idea of doing a more local trip for honeymoon and then doing a bigger trip 6 months or a year into marriage, but the way your friend and his wife dealt categorised “honeymoon-worthy” and “not-honeymoon-worthy” trips is in really poor taste.

      • LJ

        Fack I hate the WIC. Sympathy, that blows.

    • SmileyT

      I completely agree with this comment! My sister and her husband did a “stay-cation.” (Stay-honeymoon?) They live in a big U.S. city. They took off a week from work and just relished in the fact that they just got married in the city they love!

      My husband and I did a more tradition honeymoon (in Europe) but it doesn’t matter how you celebrate so long as you are with the one you love! :)

  • jordoncloud

    We’re going to Costa Rica and Panama next month! Honestly, the whole process of planning a wedding while also planning a 2 week trip to another country has been pretty exhausting. We’re not placing as much attention as we’d like to on that trip, but I think that’s the point. We get stuck together in a place we’ve never been, and figure out how much relaxing we want to do, and how much energy we have for adventuring. If I were to do it all again (and of course we’re still in the process), I would love to hear post-mordem advice from people who have honeymooned. Were you happy you left the day after your wedding? Was it weird to go back to work on Monday, after getting married in Saturday? Did you plan too many excursions? Did you do an all-inclusive package, and was it cheesy?

    • Markie Beth

      Those are perfect places for relaxing and adventuring in equal measures. My favorite place in Costa Rica is Tulemar next to the Manuel Antonio National Park. It wasn’t all inclusive, but we got a whole house and there was a little store we could walk to, and some cute restaurants. The only excursions I enjoyed were the guided tours of the park and ziplining. Honestly the nice beach there is worth two weeks of just sitting by.

  • Kadee

    Like many other commenters, between vacation time and logistics we’re delaying the honeymoon. My fiance suddenly went from job at place he’d been at for almost 8 years, see: lots of good will and vacay time, to 2 new jobs at new places about 6 months before our wedding, and I’m looking at the potential to be starting a new job at the same company I’m at now within the next 2 months, and our wedding is early October, so taking the time off for the wedding is about all we can manage right now. We’re hoping to do 3-4 days someplace close to home right after the ceremony, and then do a 2ish week trip to Hawaii sometime in the spring.

    To complicate things, we’ve never been on a vacation together that wasn’t also a family trip. One year we got 2 days by ourselves in NYC before meeting up with his family upstate, but every other trip, weekend away, anything, has been with one of our families, basically the whole time. So we’re really looking forward to it, but we also don’t really know where to start. Should we find a cheap flight to Santa Barbara or SLO, or drive north (we live in SF) to Napa or surrounding area, or Mendocino, or Point Reyes? Should we stay at a hotel and tell them it’s our honeymoon? Or find an AirBNB and go that route? Tips on setting up localish trips and what to look for would be awesome. Also either recommendations of actual places, or good places to get those recommendations, would be super helpful.

    • Kate

      From SLO county, wine tasting can be super fun in a Paso Robles. And there’s a zip lining place in Santa Margarita that includes a wine tasting. Hearst Castle is fun and touristy. Back garden of Linnaea’s in SLO is nice for a romantic cup of coffee. Snuggling up for a move at the Sunset Drive-In is also pretty great. Will plug for SLO 4ever.

    • Kaitlyn

      There are so many awesome trips right near SF that could absolutely work as a honeymoon. Carmel! Tahoe! Petaluma!!! I <3 <3 <3 CA :D

    • Michela

      If budget is a concern, a drive can be totally romantic and practical. Listen to your wedding playlist if you have one or throwback albums from when you first got together. Stay in an Airbnb (they’re plentiful!) so it feels cozy and relaxed. I’ve had fantastic Airbnb hosts; I bet if you mention in your booking request that it’s your honeymoon, you’ll have just as sweet a surprise (perhaps even sweeter) than you would at a hotel! Cook together if that’s your thing or scout out hole-in-the-wall joints together. Wander around the city, hike in state parks, take a beach day, collect seashells or driftwood as souvenirs, and just enjoy each other.

      (Although now that I’m typing this out, I’m thinking I’d quite like to go on this trip, so I’ll stop now in case further brainstorming means I’ll invite myself along!)

      Best of luck, and let us know what you decide!!xo

    • Lisa

      My husband’s parents went to Carmel for their honeymoon in 1970, and they have been going back for every anniversary since then. It seems like a fun little place to get away from the city without having to spend too much money, which would allow you to save more for the dream Hawaii trip!

  • Jessica

    I have strong opinions on honeymoons. Primarily that you should take one, within a few days after the wedding (even if it’s of the going two counties over variety). Our honeymoon was… Me & my husband floating on a cloud of love & joy, listening to our reception playlist on repeat. While we’ve been on wonderful vacations since, nothing matches how we felt on our honeymoon.

    We went to New Zealand as we wanted to go somewhere super far away for 2 weeks with plenty of outdoor adventure & an easy to navigate place. It was amazing.

    I do bite my tongue when my friends are planning their weddings, e.g. I don’t share my opinion on honeymoons. The reasons my friends tell me they aren’t going to go on a honeymoon (or one right away) are:
    1) No money / waiting on Honeyfund talley to come in
    2) No time to plan / overwhelmed with wedding planning

    Thus I think great APW advice would be:
    1) Budgeting for a honeymoon within your wedding budget
    2) Creating fun personalized Honeyfund sites (focused on the specific trip the couple wants to take)
    3) Honeymoon hacks – easy to plan honeymoons at various price points (low/medium/high) in different regions (e.g. borrow a friend’s cabin etc. if you’re lucky enough to have a friend with a cabin!)

    • Eh

      It’s been mentioned a few times further down in the comments, but I totally agree that including your honeymoon in your wedding budget is important.

  • We’re going to Disney :) I’m a huge huge Disney fan and haven’t been in 7 years and fiancé has never been so it seemed fun. Our dream honeymoon would be Iceland or New Zealand but DANG that’s expensive, and we’re still young and poor. I kind of wish we had gone to Nepal as we both and discussed and dreamed of going there, and the price would be the same as Disney but it will be nice to feel like we are in a magical bubble for once, a nice break from stress.

  • tr

    We’re doing a super tiny mini-moon to Oklahoma City for a couple of days, followed by a “real” honeymoon to New England a couple of months later.
    I know that both of those are pretty modest compared to everyone else’s plans, but they suit us. The fiance always starts to miss home pretty quickly, and I do not deal with FOMO well. If I spent $15,000 on a Once in a Lifetime-type trip, I would be miserable the entire time, because every minute of being stuck in traffic would send me down a spiral of “I can’t believe this is my one opportunity to see such and such, and now I’m wasting it because this traffic light won’t turn green”. As it is, we can pretty easily return to either place if we miss anything important this time, which is HUGE for me!

    • CMT

      Your plans actually sound like a lot of the other honeymoons discussed here.

      • tr

        True! I just feel like so many people are planning these huge exciting trips abroad, and compared to that, a week in Vermont just sounds kind of lame!

        • Bethany

          I’ve done a couple trips abroad and, while they were fun, they were NOT what I would even consider a vacation…. I would consider them sleep deprived adventures. A week in Vermont sounds lovely and relaxing. I would pick that a million times over!

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  • JenC

    The honeymoon was a priority for us, along with rings were the things that were the highest priorities for both of us. We quickly ruled out eloping or a small destination wedding so we went into wedding planning thinking that we were doing the wedding for everyone else. Realistically there’s only so much money you’re willing to throw down for a wedding when you would have both preferred something more low key. In that sense it was good because we could have a cheaper, yet still traditional wedding. We didn’t have the worlds best reception venue, it’s not Instagram worthy, it’s just a basic function room at a chain hotel. We didn’t upgrade the menu or drinks package. We didn’t have a theme and the hotel package included centrepieces so our flowers and colours were based around what the centrepieces would be. We also wanted to go on honeymoon straight after our wedding so we planned the wedding for when we could take two weeks off together without work or his studying being impacted. This worked better for us because we ended up with a winter wedding and it was off-season so we got a cheaper deal for our wedding package.

    As we made the honeymoon a priority and had planned the wedding however it happens, it gave us a generous budget for a honeymoon. We did receive some contributions from parents but the majority of the wedding and honeymoon came from us. We saved the money we needed before the wedding, we included the cost of the honeymoon in the overall budget and worked out what we needed to save and by when.

    We had two weeks in the Caribbean in a five star hotel with butler service and a spa. We had the big trip but it wasn’t a big trip just because it was our honeymoon, it was a big trip because we felt this was the point we could take a big trip. Excluding trips to visit family, our honeymoon in March of this year was the second time we had been away since June 2013. The other trip was a three day trip within our country. We hadn’t had a staycation in that time, most of our leave had been used for both of us studying. I didn’t actually refer to our honeymoon as a honeymoon, I would sometimes refer to it as our big holiday, a honeymoon implied we were only going because we’d just got married but actually it was a honeymoon and a celebration of using leave for something other than studying and completing a masters degree and professional qualifications between us and also due to other circumstances probably our last big holiday for about 15 years! We also got the big trip because we got a good deal from the travel agents, we had our budget and started with the most ridiculous hotel and said we would work our way down until we found something we could afford. The first hotel (therefore the most ridiculous with the butler service) came back as under budget so we booked it! We didn’t aim to save up for the biggest trip ever, just what we could afford and then fit the biggest trip to our budget.

  • Johanna

    We’re in the UK, so we went to Sri Lanka, my husband arranged and paid for it all. I was taking the lead on the wedding and asked him to tick this one off the list.
    I asked for no European locations (perfect for future holidays) and no African locations (I business travel there a lot) and suggested Cuba or Sri Lanka. It was a complete surprise and I found out on my wedding night!! It was perfect and not too luxury honeymoon-ish, we explored and adventured as well as sitting on the beach/pool/spa.
    Loved it!! FYI, it was 2014

  • LindsayG

    We went to Ashville, NC for our honeymoon, as it served the goals of being cooler than Texas in early September, had lots of activities, and was cheaper than going somewhere outside of the U.S. We booked a cozy one bedroom apartment through AirBnB, and explored the city. We visited the Biltmore, walked around the downtown area, took a comedy tour, went hiking nearby, ate at several delicious restaurants, and visited many breweries. We had a great time and have been talking about how beautiful it was and how our goal is to retire there ever since we got home.

  • Varenna

    Okay question— I had always assumed that we would pay for the honeymoon ourselves and have planned something relatively low cost with that in mind (and because the thought of planning some grand vacation AND a wedding at the same time freaks me out). But it turns out that my Fiance’s parents paid for both his brothers honeymoons and he says they will be hurt/offended if they don’t pay for ours. But that makes me SUPER uncomfortable. Paying for a (super low key) rehearsal dinner that they are going to enjoy and invite their families too seems okay, but paying for me to lie by a pool drinking cocktails and having sex in the middle of the day?? no way. Plus they aren’t well off so it would be a not insignificant burden so it makes me feel super icky and guilty. Is there a way to say, “that’s not traditional where I’m from,” without hurting feelings? Class differences between the two sets of parents (my parents are comfortably covering the whole cost of the wedding) make it extra sensitive.

    • krc22

      This seems like a situation where you have to trust your fiance, but also be open with him about how you feel…while you don’t want your future in-laws to be stretched helping to pay, you also don’t want to hurt their feelings or have it taken as an insult. It’s probably a conversation best had between him and his parents, especially if money is a generally sensitive topic — I know it definitely is with my parents, as they were the ones on the less-well-off side of our wedding equation. Maybe you could also propose a compromise, like they could pay for your flight or hotel (or whatever you’re comfortable with) and you two cover the rest?

    • CMT

      Hmm, my gut says to accept their generous offer, but of course I’m just an outsider looking in. Since they’re your fiance’s parents, I’d take his lead on this. Do you know for a fact that this would be burdensome for them, or do you just assume that since they’re less well off than your parents? (FWIW, I get the sense that you are uncomfortable with the class difference here, but that doesn’t mean that they are.) Instead of being squicked out that they’re paying for you to have sex in the middle of the day, what if you re-frame it as a contribution to the overall Wedding + Honeymoon experience, just like your parents’?

      • Varenna

        I am mostly uncomfortable with difference between myself & fiance (as a unit) and his parents (rather than between the two sets of parents). We aren’t crazy well off but staying in a $400 night hotel for a few nights wouldn’t seriously impact our finances, especially with that much notice. But his parents are both unemployed on fixed incomes, so it would have a pretty dramatic effect on theirs. I don’t want to hurt feelings or wound pride, but I also don’t want to drain life savings so I can have a vacation.

        His family is very traditional so my parents paying for 100% of the wedding has been expected from the get go (my parents are less traditional but are happy to pick up the tab since they are able to). His parents haven’t offered to pay for the wedding and we never broached the subject with them. They haven’t offered to pay for the honeymoon yet, my fiance just mentioned it recently as something they are going to expect to pay for. He will definitely be handling any money conversations with them but he’s not always the most tactful so I can’t totally trust him to handle it.

    • Amy March

      I don’t understand at all what the problem is here. They have done this for his brothers, and they would like to do it for you. It sounds like they aren’t making demands about where you go or what you do. You are letting your parents contribute by paying for the wedding- it seems hurtful and exclusionary to not let them contribute. It isn’t really your place to decide they can’t afford it.

      • Varenna

        It’s mostly a guilt thing. And they are contributing to the rehearsal dinner. I just know how stressed they are financially (it comes up a lot and is something that stresses my fiance out a lot so I am acutely aware of numbers that I probably shouldn’t be).So the thought of them feeling like they have to pay for this vacation because it’s “expected” makes me feel terrible. I would love to give them an out, while allowing them to save face, but that might not be possible.

        • Eh

          This sounds like my in-laws. They gave us a huge cash gift for our wedding because they gave the same amount to my BIL/SIL for their wedding (they also gave my husband a large cash gift for his graduation a few months before our wedding because they gave my BIL an equivalent amount when he graduated). My FIL was laid-off just after our wedding (and had been on reduced work for the previous year because the factory was shutting down, so they had lots of notice). They went into huge debt for our wedding but their position is “that’s what you do for you children”. There was no talking them out of it – we did tell them that the gift was generous and that they didn’t need to (me giving them an out), but their response was that they did it for my BIL/SIL so to be fair they were giving us the same amount. Our position with them is that they are adults and they make financial choices for themselves. Since our wedding they have made a lots of comments about their debt but they still refuse to change their lifestyle despite my FIL still not working.

    • emilyg25

      I would try to trust that they’re adults and can choose an amount of money to give you that’s comfortable for them. As a parent, it’s important to me to be able to contribute something to my kid’s wedding.

    • NotMarried!

      Down thread you mention how $400/night hotels would be doable for you but would seriously impact their finances. is it possible to accept a set dollar amount in support from your in-laws for the honeymoon. I’ve known families that give each son the same $$$ for the honeymoon. Then its up to the kids to plan a honeymoon under that amount, or to supplement it with their own funds. This way you wouldn’t feel bad about making whatever planning choices you truly want for your trip; but would also not create a riff.

  • krc22

    I think it can be easy for people to forget how personal of a decision a honeymoon is because “ooh it’s a vacation!” …and they feel like it’s okay to give their own (sometimes inappropriate or insensitive) thoughts on the matter. Like most wedding decisions, choosing what to do for your honeymoon is super personal and shouldn’t be judged by others for being “less than” or “not as exciting” as what they may personally want or have done. It’s also important to remember everyone has different budgets, travel styles, ability/desire to handle a lot of planning…

    I always thought I wanted a Big Trip right after my wedding but, as it turns out, planning a wedding was really stressful! We also somewhat unexpectedly bought & renovated an apartment in the months leading up to our wedding, so our capacity for planning things was really stretched to its limits. We were lucky enough to be able to take a short trip to San Francisco right after the wedding (to relax, eat great food, have no commitments!), and are now planning our Big Trip (to Southeast Asia) in the fall. It’s sooo much less stressful to be planning the trip now that we have nothing else on our plates! We’re actually enjoying the research and planning process, instead of slogging through it while we were making a million other wedding & apartment decisions, and I think we’ll both be in much better mindsets for adventuring and making the most of the trip than we would have been immediately after the wedding (plus, we can use the wedding gift money!).

    If I could give any advice it would be to really think about your personalities and what will be the best experience for you and your partner. I do think it’s important to take some time to decompress and process your wedding experience together, whether that’s just in a hotel/cabin/campground near home or halfway across the world, and whether it’s a few days or a few weeks. You did something huge and amazing! Relax together and enjoy. If you’re the type of person who can jump on a 12 hour flight and run around a foreign country together immediately after, go for it! But if you’ll feel more relaxed and happy chilling out a short drive from home (and maybe or maybe not planning a bigger trip later) don’t feel bad about that! It’s also kind of a sweet idea to be able to revisit the place you spent your honeymoon for future anniversaries, which is much easier the closer it is to home.

  • NotMarried!

    We are also going on a slightly delayed honeymoon (a couple weeks). We’ll be tacking an extra 3 days onto a work-trip for my fiance and hitting a couple cities withing driving distance of his work destination in Europe. Two weeks after that we’ll be repeating the process in Northern Japan. Were we not able to take advantage of work-paid flights and partially paid hotel/car rentals … I’d have chosen a cruise. As it is, these will take up the bulk of my vacation time for the year, and fiance gets to use his to move into my house. Aren’t we just smart :)

    Cruises are my favorite vacations because (1) FOOD and (2) the balance between port days where I want to go-go-go and ocean days where there is a bit of forced relaxation, and (3) Soft-serve Ice Cream!

  • Megan

    We LOVE travelling and it’s where all of our non-essential money goes… That being said, the type of honeymoon we want to take will be very similar to the normal ‘big trip’ we’d save up for once every two years… Last year we went to Nicaragua and Costa Rica. 3 years ago we did 3 weeks in SE Asia. I can’t imagine taking a trip that didn’t involve some adventure, getting dirty, eating weird stuff, traveling on local transport, exploring and getting out of our comfort zone… That doesn’t sound like the honeymoons most of my friends and family have done… Also, these trips take LOTTTS of planning and research (and who am I kidding? I think that’s half the fun!). We don’t have time or energy or money to put towards planning a big trip like this next year so we’ll likely take our ‘official’ honeymoon up to a year after our wedding…

    It’d be great to see a post about different minimoon ideas as we’re getting married in the mountains and will likely rent a cabin for a few days after the ceremony to decompress and spend time alone. I know that’s not the only type of minimoon out there (roadtrips seem popular but we’re not really roadtrip type people) and I’d love to get some good ideas!

  • Lizzie

    Something that I’d love to hear others’ opinions on is whether, to you, a “honeymoon” means:

    1. A period of alone time immediately following your wedding, that may or may not involve any travel, can last anywhere from an overnight to weeks or months, etc., that is meant to give you two time alone to connect and reflect on what just happened

    OR

    2. A trip, maybe a little extra-luxe depending on financial circumstances, that happens at some point in your married lives, that is meant as a gift to yourselves for getting married/a celebration to honor the beginning of your marriage

    To me, it’s #1; for budget and vacation day reasons, my honeymoon certainly wasn’t the fanciest trip I’d ever taken (or hope to take) with my husband, but ultimately, after floating the idea of postponing for a later, super awesome trip, we decided that getting some quality alone time right after the wedding craziness was what mattered most. Any future awesome trips may well be more expensive, but they won’t be honeymoons.

    But, I know a lot of people see it more as #2 (as evidenced by talks of taking a honeymoon weeks/months/years after the wedding, having a “mini-moon” right after and then a honeymoon later, etc)!

    And, of course, there are so many personal factors at play here, from preference to budget to vacation days. I’m not trying to suggest that a 3-months-later honeymoon doesn’t count as a *real* honeymoon, of course! But I am curious to hear how others approached this, and defined what honeymoons mean to them. There’s a million ways to do it! :)

    • Eh

      For me it’s #1. Some people have commented on having a break between wedding and honeymoon because of the stress of planning both at the same time, and I can understand that. And I also understand having it at a later date due to vacation day allowances. But I think if you do take a trip/time alone together after your wedding that it’s your honeymoon.

      • Lizzie

        I agree (clearly) – I don’t have many married friends, so it’s always fascinating to see how many people go the #2 route! I don’t think we ever considered that route too seriously – I just couldn’t fathom going straight back to daily life after the wedding. Too many FEEEEEELINGS to process!

        • Eh

          From my experience (e.g., my friends), most people who go the #2 route do take some time off (at least a day or two) but don’t consider it their honeymoon. (I have heard of people going right back to work too.) Some might refer to it as a mini-moon and others don’t call it anything (e.g., just some downtime). We never considered #2 at all. It’s traditional in my family that newlyweds leave for their honeymoon from the reception. We didn’t do that because we wanted to spend more time with my family who lives far away so we had a brunch with both families the day after our wedding. After the stress and family drama around our wedding I really needed to decompress.

    • Carolyn S

      For us it was definitely 1, though we let ourselves book nicer versions of things (ie hotels and meals) because it was “our honeymoon” (and we were given a decent amount of money as wedding gifts)

    • Amy March

      For me it is 1- not immediately necessarily, but soonishly after getting married. I view 2 as a vacation you are taking while married.

    • Eenie

      #1 for me. I think some of the confusion is caused by the societal pressure to travel somewhere super special for a honeymoon, and so the couple doesn’t want to waste their “honeymoon” name on the quick trip they took (or would have been able to afford) right after the wedding. I have noticed that a lot of my recently married friends are taking shorter domestic honeymoons. I think a lot of it has to do with vacation time and wanting to use the full year’s allocation for trips abroad (assuming they used a few days for the wedding).

  • Kayjayoh

    Our original honeymoon plan was to go sailing in Thailand about 6 months after the wedding. Our immediate post-wedding trip was a few days in northern WI, part of which was spent with friends. (And part of that was spent with the five of us having food poisoning in a small cabin.)

    We then realized that, since I would be starting a new job, I wouldn’t have enough vacation time to do Thailand. Instead, we went to Granada (same time zone, easy flight) on a week in January that was between semesters and included MLK day, so I only needed 4 vacation days to do it. Both trips were great.

    Now, two years later, we are finally doing the Thailand trip. We will be joined by 6 of our friends, and will sail around on a small sailboat for 8 days. I. Am. So. Excited.

    • Granada! Lovely!

      Thailand on a boat sounds fantastic. Bangkok is both awesome and awful at the same time, but everywhere else is 100% great!! Have fun!

      • Kayjayoh

        We will be sailing out of Phuket, and flying in and out of there as well. So for good or ill, we don’t get to see Bangkok.

  • Nikki

    Just went on our honeymoon in late May, and I’m still dreaming about it! We went to Rome, Florence and Vernazza in Cinque Terre, and it was MAGICAL. We spent 10 days in little B&Bs, figuring out the regional trains, exploring the cities by foot, and eating so. much. good. food. My 2 favorite memories: the day we spent hiking to and then lying on the beach in Monterosso, and our last night in Florence when we grabbed a bottle of wine, hiked up Piazza Michelangelo, sat on the steps, and watched the sunset over all of Florence while someone played a guitar in the background. Like I said, MAGICAL!

    • Nikki

      Also, for what it’s worth, we used Expedia’s package/bundle option to book, and it was surprisingly affordable! $1300 total per person for flights and hotels (really cute bed and breakfasts in great locations too!) from LA to Rome. We probably spent about $500 more total on train tickets, food, side trips, and everything else. I know it’s not SUPER cheap, but definitely less than I thought it would be! Just wanted to share for anyone currently planning ;)

  • Liz

    He just started a new job and I’m starting mine the moment we get back, so we’re exploring our new neck of the woods and spending four days in Shenandoah National Park! NEXT WEEK! So excited.

  • annlynn

    We drove 90 min north and rented a house in wine country. It was lovely. I only give two pieces of unsolicited advice to my friends when they get engaged- check out APW and go away right after the wedding, even if only for a night or two. No matter the size or complexity of your wedding you will be tired and want time to rest and enjoy your new spouse.

  • Her Lindsayship

    Fiancé and I are considering scrapping our local wedding ideas (none of which seem possible in our budget) and doing a small destination wedding instead. People keep telling me this is a great way to go, and I agree, but the reason they give is that “then you’ll already be on vacation and can have the honeymoon there too!” Must say, I realize this is massively privileged of me, but I still want to get AWAY after the wedding. Even a destination wedding will require planning and stress, and after it’s done I want to go somewhere different, switch modes, and be alone with my fiancé. Even if somewhere different is like, thirty miles from where we have the wedding. I don’t know why being in a different physical location is apparently so big to me, but there you are.

  • Jenny

    I think a good idea for an article series would be exploring what honeymoon means and how/if it is different from a vacation. For some people I think the answer is yes it’s different in these ways, for others it is just a vacation, maybe more lavish, or longer, for others its just getting away.

    For me, I tend to be a want to see everything do everything kind of vacationer, I don’t want to miss out because I always assume I won’t be back. I love my vacations, but they are refreshing and rejuvenating more than relaxing.

    For our honeymoon it was really important to both of us that it not be rushing and that it be as stress free as possible. I think we both wanted to feel like if there were problems that we could basically tell someone and they would solve it, which is something really different than what is usually important. It was pinpointing that fact that helped us decide we wanted to do a planned trip, and how we decided on backroads.

    We used a lot of questions for wedding planning to envision our honeymoon. What do we want it to feel like, what are our priorities, what don’t we care about? etc.

  • Natalie

    We’re going to the USA after we get legally married in October, ostensibly for a family wedding (planned way before we decided to get married) and we will do a road trip with my parents while we’re there, but at the end we will have 4 days to ourselves driving from NC back to DC via the Skyline Drive and some Virginia vineyards, which I am really looking forward to.
    Then next year after we have our marriage celebration ceremony and reception in Sweden, we will spend another 10 days there with friends and possible some time on our own just chilling and BBQing. I love spending quality time in Sweden so I am really looking forward to it.

  • Gina-gina Maye

    my SO and i are an international couple, so pretty much our whole relationship up to now has been sort of a Big Trip for one or both of us. We’ve spent time living together in my home country, his home country, Korea where i worked for a couple years, and now we’re planning to relocate to Australia next year.
    We took a week-long trip to Thailand last year on my summer break and it felt as much like a honeymoon as anything ever could, minus the fact that we’re not married yet. ^^; We even got talked into taking ‘wedding/engagement photos’ by a photo studio that was advertising their services at a local shopping hub, they did our hair/makeup, dressed us up in typical thai wedding gear, and since we were tourists leaving in a couple days, they allowed us to get our photos on cd rather than making us shell out for an expensive photo album. The whole staff treated us so well. that was easily the most expensive part of our whole trip, but it made for a really great memory.

    i think the sort of traditional approach to a honeymoon assumes that you as a couple are both sort of from the same place and background, have spent a long time together in a ‘regular’ town or city, and the honeymoon is a chance to go somewhere ‘exotic’ and through traveling you really get a chance to spend time alone together without concerns from your daily lives interfering, and theres also something to be said about what you can learn from your partner traveling together. (especially in a foreign country.) How do they or you respond to stressful situations like language barriers or delayed flights? How do they or you comfort each other when something goes not as planned, which it ALWAYS does?
    But if that’s been your whole relationship up to this point, its not as appealing as a honeymoon.

    I’m getting some great ideas from these comments. Like a staycation or a cabin. something simple where we can just enjoy each other’s company without the interruption of our usual daily worries is my ideal, i guess.

    (PS. That said, i still look longingly at pictures of the Maldives from time to time. haha)

  • Markie Beth

    We set up a honeyfund and are planning on taking a couple of months between grad school and real life to go on a big Southeast Asia trip. We’re going to take that about 7 months after the wedding.
    We were encouraged by everyone to take at least a couple of days for ourselves right after the wedding, so we looked into booking a quick trip. Cabo is only two hours from us by plane, and we have lots of airline miles and found deals, so we ended up booking a 5 day trip to Cabo at an all inclusive basically for free.
    But now when I tell our family and friends that we’re going on a mini-honeymoon right after the wedding, I’m met with some insulted people who think that 5 days in Cabo is honeymoon enough and that we shouldn’t have made a honeyfund for a separate trip.
    Anyway I’ve resorted (pun intended) to lying to people and saying we’re just going to stay in a local hotel for a couple of nights when they ask.
    I know we are extremely lucky in this situation, but it’s weird to be met with these attitudes.

    Anyway that’s our honeymoon…

  • Denise

    We got married in October but took our honeymoon in early December. We went to New York City for the weekend, saw the Radio City Christmas Spectacular which was amazing and always a dream of mine. We just had a fantastic time looking at all the window decorations, seeing all the landmarks, and simply enjoying each other’s company.

  • Gaby

    I’ve always been the person that dreams of going on big international trips but lets life get in the way time and time again, so a honeymoon was not an option for us at first because I didn’t want to plan that first big trip while also planning our wedding. But one day I got an email from groupon about cruises and started investigating, then found a great deal directly through Carnival for a four night cruise to Mexico. The drive to LA isn’t long for us and we get to enjoy each other without needing to plan anything other than getting ourselves to the port, which is EXACTLY what I think I’ll need once the wedding is done. We are usually really active during our trips so I am super excited that we’ll have the option to lounge when we want to but also go on excursions and explore the town when we’re done with relaxation. I also realized last month that our cruise gets back early enough on the final day that we can make a stop at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter that day and still be back at home at a reasonable time that night so I am DOUBLE excited!

  • We’re still debating on what to do. We’re getting married in Florida in April (it’s where we live so it’s not a destination wedding) and want to stay on the east coast. He wants to go to Boston but I really don’t want to do a city tour/history museums on my honeymoon so I’m trying to find something different that I haven’t done.

    And it’s frustrating b/c every time I suggest something he’s all “that is a possibility” so I can’t decide if he’s really interested in that or not. But we’re so different travel wise..he hasn’t traveled much and I’ve traveled a lot. We used to travel a lot in budget friendly hotels. He’s only stayed in super nice places. So I don’t even know what to do. I priced the all-inclusive places and it’s like $4000 for the two of us. That just seems a lot but I don’t really know what we want to do. I just want to decide on something already lol

  • Sarah Coulter

    Seconding Mackinac Island — my friends are there on a minimoon right now, and it looks fabulous!

    We had a teeny city hall wedding so felt ok splurging on our honeymoon last summer in Cuba. The political situation was just starting to shift around that time, but still the only way for us to go legally was on a cultural exchange visa, which, practically speaking, means an organized tour. As a result, we spent two weeks with a busload of retirees who thought it was, “so sweet” of us to share our honeymoon with them. It’s not our usual travel style, but we had a blast.

  • elliejay23

    The one complaint I had about the newest APW book was that there wasn’t a section on honeymoon planning. In fact, as far as I can recall there was almost no mention of planning a honeymoon anywhere in the book, although I feel like it’s a pretty important part of the planning process for most people! (I’m sure that section didn’t make the cut for a reason, but still, I thought it was strange).

    All that aside, we’re going to San juan, PR for a week in October for our honeymoon. It was a long decision process about what to spend and where to stay, and I’m STILL finding groupon links and sending them to my fiancee (the budget master) with fear that we booked the wrong place. I’m also a leeeetle concerned about going somewhere in hurricane season that’s infested with a potentially dangerous virus, but hey! Life’s an adventure, right? (And we won’t have had sex for a YEAR before our honeymoon so actually we could stay under a rock as long as we had time and space to reconnect in that way! Lol)