Helping Honeymooners

Your Wedding Day is one of the most important days in your life. Most people will tout your Wedding as the first thing you and your betrothed do as a unit but we see things a bit differently. Your Wedding Day is undoubtedly the moment that you and your spouse formalize your union, however it’s the steps that you take after jumping the broom that you are truly taking together as one. Weddings are generally more about pleasing your family and friends or making a certain statement, than enjoying moments as a couple. Your Honeymoon is often the first adventure that you take as one unit. It’s your chance to break away from the distractions of everyday life and focus on deepening your connection with your new spouse. This is your opportunity to travel to whichever destination you desire and realize lifelong dreams together. For some couples, this is their one and only chance at an exotic Romantic Getaway. We always urge Newlyweds to take full advantage of this opportunity.

Last month TRAVEL AT WILL had the privilege of participating in the Houston Bridal Extravaganza. Over the 2-day event we talked to over 500 couples about their plans for their Honeymoon. We thoroughly enjoyed talking with everyone about their plans for their Dream Honeymoon. A lot of couples already had a plan tentatively mapped out, but just as many weren’t really sure where to begin. With our consultative travel design process, we are able to aid couples at any stage of planning to put the finishing touches on their Honeymoon plans. With so many beautiful places in the world to see the toughest choice is deciding where to go. Hopefully after reading this article deciding on the destination for your Dream Honeymoon will be easier.

5 Most Popular Honeymoon Destinations

While chatting with couples during the Houston Bridal Extravaganza it quickly became clear that were 5 destinations that were favorites amongst the couples. If you’re interested in “keeping up with Jones’s”, these are destinations your family, friends or neighbors are likely visiting on their Honeymoon.

#1 Italy (Rome, Venice & Milan)

By far the most discussed destination was Italy, and with good reason! With its iconic architecture, massive collection of some of the world’s greatest works of art, cutting edge fashion scene and delectable spread of gastronomic delights- Italy is one of our personal favorite countries to visit. Let’s not forget that Italian is also one of the “Romance Languages”. Between the dazzling sights and sounds abound, you’d be hard pressed not to find romance in Italy. No trip to Italy is truly complete without a visit to the country’s hot-blooded capital city Rome. Visitors from all over the world flood to Rome for a glimpse at its iconic monuments and jaw-dropping masterpieces. Before you know it you’ll be swept away by the vibrant fast paced life of the locals. As they say, “When in Rome...”. As fast as Roman Life may appear, its still more representative of Italy’s past than its future. Milan is the Metropolis of Italy’s future. Creativity is embraced and nurtured in Milan. Here you will find the latest fashion trends being born next door to cutting edge design firms defining elegant décor. You can see the impact of this forward thinking reflected in everything from architecture to technology. Its all about creating high quality without forgetting that looking good is just as important as function. Venice on the other hand is much better enjoyed at a slower pace. This city of decorated marble palaces built over a lagoon, is like some kind of fairy tale brought to life. Obviously gingerly cruising down the Grand Canal is a must, but don’t miss an opportunity to stroll down Venice’s narrow back streets. There are unassuming buildings throughout that city that are marred with priceless marble and hand painted masterpieces. The one thing that your sure to find in any Italian City is great food. From pizzas and pastas to seafood and cured meats, there is something for everyone to feast on.

#2 Greece (Santorini & Mykonos)

The second most popular destination among couples was undoubtedly Greece. Greece features stunning coastlines of sun-bleached ruins set against the backdrop of some of the clearest blue skies on Earth. Couple the breath-taking views with a culture highlighted by inspired cuisine and celebrated music, then you have a romantic setting that can rival just about anywhere in the world. Away from the mainland is where things really heat up. The Aegean Sea is speckled with islands that offer gorgeous white-sand, palm covered beaches that most couples dream of for their Honeymoon. Santorini entices visitors with its wave of white Cycladic houses that flow over the cliff tops and spills down the terraced rock like icicles. We’ve all seen the unbelievable images all over social media and yet the view is even more stunning in person. Better still is getting to enjoy the view at sunset. We must admit that watching the sunset over the Caldera is one of the most romantic sights you’ll ever see. Some couples will likely prefer the wilder island of Mykonos as more their speed. Think St Tropez meets Ibiza with some Greek seasoning. Mykonos is loaded with swanky boutique hotels and fancy cafes. Crowds of hedonistic holiday makers and cruise shippers flock to the beach bars to party relentlessly. The other Greek Isles offer a variety of sights and experiences that are just as fantastic. We recommend taking a private cruise around the smaller islands to fully bask in the beauty of your surroundings.

#3 France (Paris)

Next up on the list is Paris. The world seems to have been unwittingly seduced by France. French culture has somehow been swept under our noses so often that it already feels familiar to us. French language, architecture, cuisine and art have all become synonymous with romance. Everyday behaviors seem to be transformed into unforgettable moments on the streets of Paris. Just getting a coffee and croissant in a local cafe where Sartre might have philosophized or taking a stroll through the lily-clad gardens Monet might have been inspired to paint by, the history of romance as we know it seems to come alive here. Couples can’t resist the opportunity to share some special moments on top of the Eiffel Tower, in front of the Arc de Triomphe, along avenue Champs-Élysées and inside Notre Dame cathedral. And there’s no reason that they shouldn’t. Honeymooning in Paris is definitely a magical experience. Just don’t forget to opt for a room with a balcony so you can enjoy the stunning sunsets together away from the bustle of the city. Paris has some of the prettiest sunsets in Europe.

#4 Hawaii (Maui & Oahu)

The lone US Destination that couples inquired about was Hawaii. With its white powdery sand beaches and vast array of colorful coral reef, Hawaii is clearly a paradise. Pictures taken of this island collective are so beautiful that you won’t have to take the time to add that Instagram filter. On top of all that US Citizens don’t need a passport to get there, unlike the rest of this list. When it comes to outdoor activities, Maui easily wins best in show. You can zipline through or mountain bike under a canopy of greenery. Hikers can explore trails winding through lava flows and bamboo forests. Surfers barrel through waves along the coast. Snorkelers and divers swim among fish-filled reefs examining coral. Kayakers paddle within visible distance of humpback whales in Makena Bay. For couples, one of the most romantic adventures available is watching the sunrise from the summit of Haleakalā. Sunrises in Hawaii are so spectacular that they are rumored to resurrect the dead and the sunsets may bring tears to your eyes. Oahu, nicknamed “the Gathering Place”, pulsates the native Hawaiian lifeblood. Here you will find ancient stone temples called heiau. These temples are the optimal place to observe sacred hula dances and spiritual chants. Oahu has a lot going on. If you like tropical fun in the sun and adventure, you could be happy staying here for months. Try skydiving or flying a glider above the North Shore for some excitement. For the nest views of the islands dramatic landscape, try circling the island from above in a helicopter.

#5 Fiji

The last entry on this section of this article came as a surprise to us. We absolutely love Fiji and the other islands of French Polynesia, we just didn’t realize how popular the destination had become amongst Honeymooners. Fiji’s dazzling white sand beaches and glowing blue waters are far removed from the ruins of Europe and the conveniently located Caribbean Islands that are usual favorites. It was refreshing to see more Americans taking an interest in French Polynesia. Beyond its impressive beaches, Fiji also features an abundant lush rainforest and an intriguing culture that must be explored. Hikers are exposed to a buffet of tera forma treats as they conquer treks of varying difficulty. Bird watchers will find varieties of rare and exotic birds perched in the surrounding fauna. Visitors can expect a warm welcome from the Fijian locals. The people of Fiji are renowned throughout the world for their gracious hospitality. They are passionate about family, culture, church and rugby. It’s a real treat to be able to experience their traditional dances and ceremonies that have remained unchanged over time.

5 TRAVEL AT WILL Honeymoon Destinations

The destinations above are all fantastic places to Honeymoon. If you Googled “Top Honeymoon Destinations”, they would all appear on the list somewhere. We like to encourage our Travelers to push beyond the trends and discover unconventional destinations. For couples who are more interested in more unique Honeymoon experiences that will make their friends and family envious, we would like to recommend the following destinations. These are not in any particular ranking order.

Montenegro (Budva & Kotor)

Montenegro is proof that some of the best things come in small packages. This miniscule country is bursting at the seams with majestic mountains and breathtaking beaches. Montenegro's coastline contains some of Europe’s most spectacular seaside scenery. The mountains shoot sharply upward from crystal-clear waters in a way that can only be seen in a couple places on Earth. Ancient towns protected by fortress walls cling to the rocky coastline seemingly dipping their toes in the water as if they're on vacation. In summer the landscape is draped in Mediterranean blossoms and the air is filled with the scent of the bouquet and wild herbs. Budva is by far the country’s most-visited city. Hordes of travelers are drawn here with the desire of sunning themselves on the Budva Riviera and partying until dawn. There are tons of popular bars and clubs to enjoy on nights out. Cultured travelers will be intrigued by the offerings of “Old Town”, which predates the 5th century BC. Outside of the historic center you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything that isn’t shiny and new. In the height of summer, you’re likely to see the marina filled with multimillion-dollar yachts. Wedged in the corner of a bay surrounded by brooding mountains, Kotor is perfectly nestled in a dream scape setting. Shielded by the walls of the surrounding slopes the town’s medieval maze of museums, churches, meeting squares and Venetian palaces remains frozen in time. It’s a dramatic and delightful place where the past coexists with the present. After sunset, Kotor’s spectacularly lit-up walls seem to emit a heavenly glow. Its truly a romantic sight to behold. Behind the exposed facades, the streets buzz with bars playing live soul music and other loving serenades. For a truly unique experience, dance the night away at one of the castle-top clubs.

Indonesia (Lombok & Komodo)

By now the whole world is familiar with the beautiful beaches of Bali, but Indonesia is made up of approximately 18,000 thousand islands. For couples searching for a less crowded Indonesian Beach experience, Lombok is the island for you. What was once just a haven for the worlds adventurous surfers is know a budding rival of its sister island Bali. Lombok is home to several luxury resorts that are available at a rate that is a fraction of the costs of Denpasar. From Desert Point in the west to Ekas in the east, Lombok features a wide array of bays, reefs and rocky inlets that can provide the perfect nook for some private romantic moments. The most dominate presence on Lombok’s landscape is Gunung Rinjani, Indonesia's second-highest volcano. Hikers will enjoy trekking the winding paths up its jungle-clad slopes. The journey to the summit can take up to a few days to complete but once you reach the summit the sight of jaw-dropping sunrises over volcanic calderas is well worth the effort. You can’t help but feel the sense that you’ve conquered the entire island. While in Lombok, its worthwhile to also visit Komodo National Park. The largest island in the nature reserve is Komodo. The islands steep hillsides flow beautifully into its crystal waters. A unique feature of Komodo are its beaches that are decorated in naturally pink sand. The pink appearance of the sand is caused by the red coral that exists just offshore. In Komodo National Park you can enjoy guided nature walks with naturalist guides and visits to the nearby fishing village of Kampung.

Republic of Georgia (Tbilisi, Kazbegi & Sighnaghi)

Wedged snugly between Europe and Asia, bordered by the Black Sea and the towering peaks of the Caucasus, Georgia is a fusion of influences from East and West but retains a culture unlike any other. Falling away from its snowy spine is a surprising tapestry of rumpled green hills, uncurling rivers, and golden vines. With its ancient heritage, a choice of mountains or sea, and a reputation for superb wine, feasting, and unfailing hospitality, Georgia is a rewarding destination for every traveler. Walkers, climbers, and skiers will want to explore the mountains, forests, and traditional villages. The rivers are

perfect for fishing and rafting while botanists and bird-watchers will be captivated by the incredible diversity of plants and wildlife. But Georgia is also famed for its beautiful churches and fortifications, from honey-colored monasteries decorated with frescoes to cave cities hollowed from the country's backbone. And the polyphonic singing simply must not be missed. Georgia is one of the most beautiful countries on earth and a marvelous canvas for travelers of every kind: It is a land unspoiled, uncrowded, and waiting to be discovered. On top of that, Georgia claims to be the birthplace of wine, and this is a place where guests are considered blessings and hospitality is the very stuff of life. A deeply complicated history has given Georgia a wonderful heritage of architecture and arts, from cave cities to ancient cathedrals to the inimitable canvases of Pirosmani. Tbilisi, the capital, is still redolent of an age-old Eurasian crossroads. But this is also a country moving forward in the 21st century, with spectacular contemporary buildings, a minimal crime rate and ever-improving facilities for the visitors who are a growing part of its future.

Malaysia (Langkawi)

The Malaysian State of Kedah represent a rural idyllic way of life that is central to the Malay identity. Limestone pillars seem out of place in emerald paddy fields. This area is seldom seen by foreigners but some seasoned travelers would be able to identify the State’s biggest island, Langkawi. Langkawi's gorgeous turquoise waters and its impeccable wide beaches are more than worthy of your consideration as a Honeymoon destination. Nicknamed “the Jewel of Kedah”, Langkawi is an archipelago made up of more than 100 islands and islets. Blonde beaches, jungle-cloaked valleys and abundant bargain shopping have made the destination desirable. Langkawi’s sandy shores are the biggest draw, but there is an increasing number of high-end luxury resorts becoming available at very attractive rates. Chains like Four Seasons have opened self-contained resorts with spas, restaurants, bars and more amenities. Langkawi has a rugged beauty that extends beyond it’s beaches into it’s forest reserves, natural hot springs and its enchanting waterfalls.

Peru (Lima, Cuzco & Sacred Valley)

Peru is a country of astounding contrasts and treasures. It’s ancient cultures were established in its desert coast, the high Andes Mountain range, and the Amazon rainforest. The differences in regional ecosystem led to the develop of diversities in way of life. Today those differences have been put aside allowing for an incredibly rich combination of cultural heritages, history, stunning nature, geography, scenery, spirituality, traditions and beliefs. Peru is as complex as its most intricate and exquisite weavings, a place of mythical beliefs where ancient pageants unwind to the tune of booming brass bands. Festivals mark ancient rites, the urban vanguard beams innovation, and nature brims with splendid diversity. Most visitors come for a chance to see the historic Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, but this incredible site is just one flash in Peru’s 5000-year history. Lima’s museums reveal in full detail the sophistication, skill and passion of these lost civilizations. No one can ignore the capital’s culinary genius, part of a gastronomic revolution that started more than 400 years ago. Lima is shrouded in history and full of aesthetic delights. Don’t even think of missing it. Cuzco is the undisputed archaeological capital of the Americas. It’s the oldest continuously inhabited city in the America’s and the gateway to Machu Picchu. Modern Cuzco thrives with elements of old and new world contradictions. Ornate cathedrals tower over Inca temples, street vendors line the narrow cobblestone passages and a rural Andean woman feeds bottled water to her pet llama in front of luxury boutiques that sell alpaca furs. Hikers enjoy heaven on Earth trekking in and around the Sacred Valley. A bucket list for item for most people due to the indescribable beauty of scenic views enjoyed from every angle here. You can also pay a Visit to some of the surrounding rural communities and see how old ways still live on. Immerse yourself, and you will leave Peru a closer to the history of man than you have ever been.

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