Honeymoon Expert, Sara Margulis, Reveals Top Destinations & Why You Should Visit Them
Even if you’ve been married for decades, a honeymoon-style vacation is never a bad idea. Curious about which destinations today’s honeymooners are flocking to? I’ve combed through 11 years of Honeyfund data to bring you four of the most popular destinations since 2006.
Five words describe the national treasure that is Hawaii: Get away from it all.
So if that’s what you’re craving, let me take you away to the North Kohala region of the Big Island, a world where eco-sustainable lodging is plentiful and days consist of hiking past ancient rocks and religious sites, doing yoga with an ocean view and relaxing with spa services that highlight the traditional healing practices of native Hawaii.
Or, spend your days in Hawaii sipping cocktails by a pool on any of the islands. Thanks to the archipelago’s famed hospitality, or “aloha,” you’ll feel at home anywhere!
Best time of year to go: Hawaii is one of those magical places that is pleasant to visit year-round. However, spring is ideal for dryer weather and best flight prices to the Big Island. Winter is considered a peak season, as are the months of June and July.
When to book: At least two months in advance.
Top romance travel tip: The Big Island affords you time to relax and be together. Don’t fill up your days too much here. If you have to be doing something, book a couples massage with the sounds of the ocean as a backdrop.
If a hip city scene is the vibe you seek on your honeymoon or romantic getaway, Milan is an excellent choice. Italy’s economic and financial heart, Milan is home to the country’s stock exchange and tech scene, not to mention renowned fashion, design, shopping and a sparkling nightlife. Don’t visit without some extra spending money.
The Brera District looks like the perfect place for love birds; it’s full of art galleries, shops and restaurants, close to major landmarks like La Scala and the Duomo and has a plethora of B&Bs. While a B&B could be romantic, a love-cation in Milan calls for a luxury hotel -- the Baglioni Hotel Carlton (see deals below) is a short walk away.
Best time of year to go: Visit Milan in April, May, late September or October. These spring and fall months avoid the city’s peak summer season and hot temperatures. The months between November and March are cold and foggy.
When to book: At least four to five months in advance.
Top romance travel tip: Take a day trip to Lake Como. One of the most spectacular sights in the country is located a mere hour out of Milan by train.
Looking for a reprieve from tourist-laden Cancun? Try Playa del Carmen. This area offers the same luxury and beauty without the touristy vibe. Shoppers, foodies and night owls will love this beachside town and its many opportunities for adventure.
Playa del Carmen is also wonderfully close to the ancient ruins of the region. From here, you can visit Tulum, an ancient city built on bluffs facing the Caribbean Sea, and Chichen Itza, with its famous El Castillo Pyramid (one of the New Seven Wonders of the World).
Best time of year to go: If you want the best weather in the area -- still sunny but milder with less rainfall and virtually no risk of storms -- plan your vacation from December to April. May works, too, but it’s hotter and more humid.
When to book: At least two to three months in advance.
Top romance travel tip: Set aside one day for a tour of Chichen Itza, followed by a dip in one of many cenotes in the region (the Riviera Maya is known for these giant sinkholes filled with groundwater.) Bring cash on all day trips.
Cruise the Caribbean
It’s easy to see why a visit to the Caribbean makes for the ideal honeymoon: warm climates, pristine beaches (including some of the world’s best), and crystal-blue ocean. Now imagine seeing the many beautiful Caribbean islands without having to change hotels or schlep your bags.
Generally stretching from South Florida to South America, Caribbean cruises offer many combinations of ports, lengths and departure cities for cruisers to choose from. Few other honeymoons provide that much variety. I recommend travelers take at least eight days (ideally 10+) so they have enough time to sample the culture and history at four or five different ports.
Best time of year to go: Late spring and fall offer the best combination of weather, off-peak savings and last-minute deals. Weather-wise, the warmest and driest season is December to April.
When to book: Six to 12 months in advance to get early bird rates and the best availability of popular ships, especially during peak season. Or book very last minute for off-peak deals.
Top romance travel tip: Save some money and gain some romantic quality time by staying on board during a port day to enjoy some peace, quiet and poolside cocktails.
Sara Margulis is a honeymoon expert and CEO of Honeyfund, the No. 1 wedding registry app.