Honeymoons can be a lot of pressure. What is really just a married couple going on a vacation carries the weight of being the end of a year’s worth of wedding planning and the beginning of, well, forever.
By Annabel Monaghan
Honeymoons can be a lot of pressure. What is really just a married couple going on a vacation carries the weight of being the end of a year’s worth of wedding planning and the beginning of, well, forever. Everything is going to have to be Hollywood-perfect because this vacation is going to set the tone for the next 70 years. Hear me now: it won’t be perfect. Things will happen that are beyond your control – you might get sick, lose your luggage, miss your flight. Honeymoons are a little like life that way.
What you can control is your selection of a honeymoon destination that’s right for you and your intended. Ask yourselves, are you content to sit on a beach holding hands for eight hours a day? Or does your idea of relaxation involve narrowly cheating death? Not every couple likes long walks on the beach, so it’s important to pick a honeymoon that’s going to meet your particular personality as a couple.
It was love at first sight. You insist on sitting next to each other at a dinner party. Your ideal vacation is lots of togetherness and rehashing the day you first met. “No, I saw you first!” You know who you are.
You’re looking for the Twilight honeymoon, and this one’s close: Turtle Island, Fiji. It’s a schlep to get there from here, but once you arrive it’s all turquoise waters, relaxation, and romance. In fact, “The Blue Lagoon” was filmed there. Each couple has its own thatched cottage on the water, and activities include moonlit picnics for two, sunrise horseback riding, and couples’ massages. Full disclosure: Britney Spears and Kevin Federline honeymooned there.
Don’t feel like flying so far? Check out Sandals Grande in St. Lucia and book one of the resort’s beachfront rooms with a private plunge pool and whirlpool. Their all-inclusive honeymoon package includes a special turndown service with flower petals, a bottle of chilled sparkling wine, and breakfast in bed.
You two met at the top of Mount Everest after a 12-day trek. He loaned you his ice ax and you shared your Chapstick. Try Jack’s Camp for your honeymoon, which offers an 11-day luxury African adventure, complete with safari, a bike trip across the desert island of Kubu, Botswana, and a walk with Bushmen trackers on which you learn their survival techniques.
What’s more romantic than a camel built for two? Check out Nomadic Expeditions to book an adventure trip to Mongolia. Explore the country by horse, car, and camel, stopping to climb the legendary Flaming Cliffs and enjoy Tsenher Hot Springs.
Closer to home, there’s the Amangani in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Amangani is in the high mountain valley of East Gros Ventre Butte. Winter adventurers can ski, snowboard, while summer visitors can go on wolf and bear expeditions (oh my!), try their hand at wildlife photography, hike, kayak, and ride in hot air balloons.
You consider a six-mile run to be a nice warm-up for some real exercise. The most romantic part of your courtship was when you let him win in the final moments of the Iron Man. Since it’s hard to take that spinning studio on your honeymoon, try DuVine Adventures for biking excursions through France, Italy, and Switzerland. These trips are not for the casual peddlers, but offer hilly and challenging days of biking for the feel-the-burn set, with luxurious and restful accommodations at day’s end.
If your dates are flexible, go to San Francisco for the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon July 7 and 8. Start the race by swimming from Alcatraz to the mainland, a feat once thought impossible, and then bike and run through hilly San Francisco. Afterward, treat yourselves to a long weekend and a couples’ sports massage at the Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa.
You looked for an authentic Victorian wedding dress because you both agree that 1850 was the best year for English poetry. You’ve decided to name all of your children after the Bronte sisters, even the boys. You’re not going to want to be at Disney World.
Take a ten-day literary tour of England, customized to your interests. The trip begins in London, with your choice of palaces, major museums, or the British Library. Visit the Charles Dickens museum and Sherlock Holmes house. Then tour Windsor Castle, the village of Steventon where Jane Austen was born, and, of course, Stratford-upon-Avon. End your trip in Edinburgh at the Elephant Café where J.K. Rowling created Harry Potter.
Or try a two-week guided tour of Italy’s major centers of art and architecture. Fly into Milan and travel through Verona, Venice, and Rome for a tour of the Vatican, the Coliseum, and the Roman Forum. Travel by train from Rome to Florence for tours of the Uffizi Gallery and the Academia Museums.
Those are just some ideas to get you started. Hopefully, there is still enough time to determine what kind of honeymooners you want to be. But please remember, this is probably not the last vacation you and your spouse will ever take. So just enjoy it as a first adventure of many, a time to pave the way for more fun times. Because when you get home you still get to open your presents.