I’m helping a soon-to-be wedded friend plan her honeymoon. Though I know a lot about travel, it struck me how different a honeymoon should be from a regular vacation. If you don’t travel often, those differences may not be completely obvious, but there are a lot of particulars to consider when planning a honeymoon. These are just a few of them.
Wedding season in your part of the world doesn’t always perfectly line up with good travel weather. You might be stuck somewhere bitterly cold or miserably rainy, and that’s no fun. Sometimes couples are hellbent on a particular destination, not thinking about whether it’s a good time of year to see that particular place. If you don’t want to postpone your honeymoon, I recommend saving your dream destination for another trip and going somewhere you know is likely to have better weather conditions at that time of year. If you’re not flexible on the location, you can also wait a few months before taking your big newlywed vacation.
On a related note, you may not want to travel somewhere if the days are very short like in the winter or early spring. When you research the weather, you should also look up whether you’re going to be stuck in a place where it’s dark for 18 hours a day. Unless you’re into that, of course.
I’m a big believer that a honeymoon should be a lazy vacation. Planning a wedding is stressful, so the last thing you want to do is go somewhere that’s just as hectic on your first trip together as a married couple. Also, let’s get down to brass tacks. You’re probably gonna have a lot of sex on your honeymoon. You don’t want to do that at the expense of all the sights of Rome or Paris. And you don’t want to see Rome or Paris at the expense of all your honeymoon sex.
Though Europe is a really popular place to honeymoon, most people don’t realize how exhausting and busy you’ll be hopping from one museum to another. And if you’re gonna spend all your time holed up in your hotel room anyway, that’s kind of a waste of Paris. Ideally, you’ll want to pick a place that has as much activity as you feel comfortable doing in the time you’ll be there, while still giving you plenty of time to relax with each other.
On any regular trip, you can be flexible or adventurous about where you stay. Because at the end of the day, you’re probably going to spend most of your time out of your room. Such is not the case with a honeymoon. And of all things, this should be the area of planning where you spare no expense. Because you don’t want to get stuck in some dingy hole in the middle of nowhere. Again, the sex. Important. Do you really want to have sex in a room that is kind of gross? So get the suite, book the hotel with the fabulous infinity pools and saunas and Michelin star room service. Let it be known that it’s your honeymoon, so the hotel behaves accordingly. Don’t fuck that up.
Your vacation style
Maybe you travel a lot or maybe it’s your first time out of the country. So you may have to do a lot of research on what kind of vacation fits your needs. That fully guided 12-day tour of Japan might sound incredible on the website, but are you going to enjoy spending your honeymoon on a bus with 60 other people? On the other hand, will you feel uncomfortable and nervous exploring completely on your own? Should you rent a car or take trains? Some travel agencies offer honeymoon packages to create a tailored romantic experience that’s just for the two of you. But maybe you’re the kind of person that thinks that kind of thing would be an inauthentic way to travel.
All of these specifics depend on you and your partner’s preferred style of travel. And hopefully you know what that is already. Vacations are like sex. You should probably make sure you do it enjoyably together before putting a ring on it.
The number of cities to visit
Another popular honeymoon thing to do is zig zag around a continent like this is the last vacation you’ll ever take. While I understand the desire to do this, I question whether it makes for a good honeymoon. Again, you just finished spending months picking out flowers and arguing with your wedding planner and your bridesmaids, and you spent your wedding night making sure your drunk uncle didn’t hit on your friends. Do you really wanna go backpacking in Europe right after that? Packing and unpacking every two days and spending countless hours on trains and planes so you can see four countries in a week?
Even if you don’t see or do as much as you would on any other vacation, a honeymoon should be at a comfortable pace so you get enough rest and enough time with each other. At the end of the day, the honeymoon is more about you than the place.
Dietary restrictions and potential illness
I can’t think of anything ruining a honeymoon faster than getting a stomach virus. Climbing Machu Picchu might be your absolute dream, but you know what would be a total nightmare? Spending your first week as newlyweds shitting your pants in front of your new husband. At least save it for your 10 year anniversary. I’m not suggesting you should avoid certain countries altogether because of the risk of getting sick, but it’s something to consider.
Believe it or not, general diet is also something to think about. You want to eat well and enjoy yourself, not spend your honeymoon struggling to find anything you can stomach. If you don’t think this is a big deal, think about how your partner behaves when they’re hangry. Now ask yourself if that’s who you wanna honeymoon with.
Obviously the timing of a honeymoon can be a bit difficult after spending a ton of money getting married, and your budget will probably depend heavily on how much the wedding cost. So a honeymoon is an important time to research the cost of living in a destination, not just the cost to get there. You don’t want to end up finding out a basic ass lunch costs $35 when you arrive, especially because you’ll probably want to splurge on nice dining experiences, instead of eating at McDonald’s because that’s all you can afford. This might be the deciding factor in the destination you choose.
You and your partner’s interests
Above all, despite the fact that I’ve just spent several paragraphs giving you unsolicited advice (…or solicited if you found this on Google), you need to consider what you want to do. Everyone’s idea of romance is different. And not everyone is even looking for a romantic honeymoon. Maybe you want to do something adventurous instead. Maybe you want to volunteer abroad. Do you! Don’t go to Hawaii if you don’t like the beach just because everyone told you it’s a super romantic honeymoon destination. You should plan something that will be special and meaningful to you both even if it’s not the stereotypical honeymoon thing.