Ever After: How to Plan the Perfect Honeymoon

Let travel expert Kristin Chambers of Destination Affairs be your guide.

Your honeymoon awaits. But with all the destination choices you can choose from, there’s quite literally a world of options available to you. And you want it to be the “perfect vacation.” No pressure.

“The honeymoon is the beginning of a lifetime of journeys together,” says Kristin Chambers of Destination Affairs, a full-service travel agency in Boston. “It will perhaps remain one of the most fondest travel memories you will have. It’s a conversation piece in social settings and gives you something to look forward to after the efforts of planning a wedding.” Here are her top tips on how to create your trip of a lifetime.

How should a couple approach planning the perfect honeymoon?
Place some time aside and remove the Internet from the equation. Sit down and make a bucket list of the places you’ve always wanted to go. Then make another list of all the places you’ve been separately, and then together.

Talk about how you envision this romantic time together to be. Do you want to share an adventure journey? Is it about decompressing from your busy daily lives and stresses of wedding planning? Do you want to dive into a new culture and walk away with a spiritual experience? Are you looking for inspiration as a new couple?

Before you decide on the destination, collaborate on what you want to get out of it.

How should they start their research?
Talk to people—friends who’ve honeymooned and family members old and young to find out what their favorite travel destinations have been and why. Most importantly, call a travel agent. Talk about what your lifestyle is at home, and talk about the initial conversation you had together. The more you share, the more we can read between the lines. We may bring a destination to the table that you’ve never thought of!

I want to hear about how you’d spend an ideal Saturday night. What your favorite restaurants are and why. Do you enjoy fun cocktails, or sipping wine? Are you always on the go? Do you see yourselves cuddling up, enjoying the scenery, and simply letting time pass you by? What are your favorite activities and hobbies? Are you looking for cultural enrichment? Are you looking for privacy? Are you looking to jump off waterfalls and climb mountains? These are examples of questions we need to hear.

What else should they take into consideration?
After deciding on the type of experience they’re looking for, the next step is seasonal factors. Some destinations offer amazing promotions during off-season, and traveling to those places off-season is simply about tolerating the “iffy” weather. There are, however, some destinations where many of the shops/dining/tours are closed during off-season, and certain historic monuments have limited access in off seasons. You need to know this before getting excited about the destination.

What do you say to a couple who wants both relaxing and exciting?
Destinations such as Hawaii, South East Asia, Europe, and certain Caribbean islands lend to “do everything, or nothing” honeymoons.

Hawaii, in particular Maui, for example, is one of the most sought-after honeymoon destinations for that reason: You can enjoy lazy Maui beach days followed by amazing sunsets—or hike mountains, snorkel, golf, learn to hula dance, surf, enjoy local watering holes around the island, and so much more.

In Europe, you can create multi-destination itineraries that pair relaxing beach stays with running around cities. One of my favorite examples of this type of itinerary would be spending time on the beautiful island of Sardinia, followed by a stay in an Italian city, ending off in the Amalfi Coast filled with day trips and lots of culinary indulgences.

What are your thoughts about having a honeymoon locally?
As Seneca said, “Travel and a change of place impart new vigor to the mind.”

It doesn’t matter where you travel. Traveling together to a new destination is all about stepping outside your comfort zone and experiencing something new. Meeting people, eating different food (whether it’s hush puppies down South or sea urchins in Sicily), seeing new sights, and most importantly, learning more about each other through new experiences is what defines a romantic journey.

Any other thoughts?
Many times I have couples approach me, feeling a bit stressed, having four or five destinations they’re considering. First thing I say to them is, “Take the pressure off.” You’re embarking on a lifetime of travel together. This is just the beginning. The honeymoon is the ultimate learning experience of how you travel together. You learn so much about someone when you travel with them. The honeymoon is the “gateway” of romance travel together. It should be amazing, and it’s the time to splurge!

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