It seems that the days of newlyweds heading off for an all-inclusive fortnight in the Maldives, the Seychelles or Mauritius are over. Now, honeymooners want something a little more unusual, whether it's a 6-month backpacking stint in Thailand or a tour of Italy’s foodie hotspots.
Here are our six top ideas for a unique honeymoon, from luxury packages to cheap alternatives:
More and more newlyweds are opting to take a mini-moon -- a small trip straight after the wedding, ahead of a bigger, more expensive holiday later in the year -- and with good reason. "Mini-moons make the perfect post-wedding break: close to home, reduced travel time, no jet lag," says Stylist magazine. Our UK Hotels & Breaks sections have plenty of inspiration, from Scottish castles to foodie getaways and country retreats. And for something really alternative, how about a UK festival? Adam Jennings, Travelzoo business development manager, is planning to go to Glasto with his new wife after their wedding next year.
When senior producer Amy Lindsay returned from her month-long honeymoon in Central America, we were all suitably jealous -- she managed to tick off beachside relaxation, jungle trekking and climbing among ancient, awe-inspiring ruins in one epic trip. For secluded sandy beaches and super-fresh seafood, try Costa Rica, or for a slice of laid-back culture, try Belize. "The seaplane transfer to Belize alone is a one-of-a-kind experience, especially during a storm," she says.
There's a bit of a stigma around cruising, but it’s not just for rich older folk. In fact, says National Weddings magazine, "there really is no right or wrong age to cruise these days". Our very own cruise expert Felicity Pont recommends Princess (the "Love Boat" line) for affordable cruising for couples. It's a great way to visit a number of different destinations, and Princess ships have a good number of romantic balconies and suites. For true luxury, try a Paul Gauguin cruise -- they sail to tropical hotspots in the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. Plus, they offer butler service.
2014 will be big for Brazil, but don't forget the rest of the continent -- there's a whole range of destinations to suit every honeymooner. Victoria Murden, Travelzoo Associate Producer, has booked a trip to Peru and Ecuador with her husband-to-be: "We start with a Galapagos cruise, followed by a tour of Peru and a trek to Machu Picchu, and finish in the rainforest with a stay at a luxury lodge." We'd say that just about covers all the bases…
What could be more romantic than a stay in a baroque castle in the French Pyrenees, overlooking snow-capped Mount Canigou? Earlier this year, we published a deal that put you right there, for £299 per person. Since then, we've spotted a heap of luxury offers for France -- and because it's close to the UK, you won't lose valuable annual leave travelling, and it's more affordable. That means that you can probably snap up something like this 14th-century chateau escape on the Burgundy fine-wine circuit, for £169 per night.
In 2012, there was an 89% increase in the number of winter weddings, according to a survey by Debenhams. It makes sense -- December-March weddings keep costs down and also open up a whole new range of unique honeymoon destinations. Think sledging in Lapland, hunting for the Northern Lights in Iceland or even travelling by train from Russia to Siberia. Jon Kissack, Travelzoo entertainment sales manager, went on his honeymoon to Courchevel 1850. "There's nothing nicer than skiing all day in beautiful scenery and then snuggling up with a vin chaud in front of a roaring fire," he says.
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