When it comes to planning your honeymoon, it’s difficult to separate fact from fantasy. Sure you can dream about exploring the cobblestone streets of Lisbon, London and Rome during your honeymoon. That’s the fantasy. But is it wise to visit those destinations during high season, and how much of your precious honeymoon time will you spend travelling from one destination to the next? That’s when the facts start to intrude on the fantasy.
In times like these, it’s best to learn straight from those who have spent their post-wedding bliss around the world. So here are four couples full of been-there, done-that advice.
Marissa & Andy
Hometown: New Richmond, WI
How did you and your fiancé choose this location? It has always been our dream to visit Hawaii. We loved the fact that we could go to the beach one day and the next be ziplining in the jungle or watching the sunrise from a mountain! Marissa’s parents went to Hawaii for their honeymoon 30 years ago, so it was special to be able to share that experience with them.
Favorite part of your honeymoon: We both can't pick just one thing. The dinner sunset cruises were a lot of fun, and the food was to die for. We miss the fresh seafood! Snorkeling was one of our favorite things to do. We brought our own gear, so we just walked right out of our room and jumped in. The turtles and fish were amazing!
Anything special you added to the honeymoon to make it more special? We paid a little bit more for an ocean-view room. That was definitely worth it. We talked to the concierge right away and booked a lot of different activities. We paid a little extra for those, but we had fun, got to experience so many parts of Hawaii and meet many people. It was nice to be able to book those right at our resort.
Favorite part of the resort or destination: Our resort was right on Black Rock, so some of the best snorkeling was just footsteps away. We also were within walking distance of many other resorts and Whalers Village, which had a lot of shopping and cool restaurants. Learning about the Hawaiian culture also made it very unique and special for us.
Anything you would do different or advice to give other couples? There is so much to do in Hawaii! We decided to extend our stay a couple extra days and it was worth it. Our travel agent took care of that for us too! There are a lot of ways to save money, but don't try to save money by cutting down on your time there.
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Honeymoon: Ka’ana Belize Luxury Resort, San Ignacio, Belize (4 nights)
Las Terrazas Resort Belize, Ambergris Caye, Belize (4 nights)
Favorite part of your honeymoon: We enjoyed being a part of the surrounding culture, such as going to the market, visiting shops, interacting with locals, and going on adventures and pre-planned excursions our travel agent told us about.
Anything special you added to the honeymoon to make it more special? At Ka’ana Resort, we had a private butler that helped us with scheduling our various excursions, waited on us, and even went into town with us to the market. We did ziplining, cave tubing, explored the Mayan ruins at Xunantunich, enjoyed a couple’s massage, and stayed in a one bedroom villa with private pool. At Las Terrazas, we were upgraded from a one-bedroom to a three-bedroom suite, thanks to our agent. We had a sunset cruise, fished, snorkeled with sharks around Caye Caulker, and enjoyed another couple’s massage. Loved those!
Favorite part of the resort and or destination: Ka’ana – Other than the many excursions we booked through our travel agent before the trip (which made everything so much easier), the staff was unforgettable. They were very accommodating to our plans and were looking for any way to help make our honeymoon memorable. They made sure the experience was personal; every member knew our names. There was no question that they were wanting us to have the best time. Las Terrazas – Taking a golf cart to San Pedro Town. The streets were filled with golf carts of all kinds, transporting kids to school, people to work, and others, like us, to shops. It was a fun way to get around!
Most memorable moment: Ka’ana – Forming relationships with staff and locals in the city of San Ignacio. Las Terrazas – Catching fish and eating it an hour later at the resort’s restaurant.
Anything you would do different or advice to give other couples? Although we had many excursions and adventures, it is important to schedule days to relax and avoid overwhelming yourself with events.
Patti & Taylor
Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Honeymoon: Italy—Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, Sorrento, Rome
How did you and your fiancé choose this location? Taylor studied abroad there seven years ago. We decided it would be a great place to go back to for our honeymoon so he could show me all the fun places he had been to.
Favorite part of your honeymoon: Patti: Venice by far was the best! It is such an interesting place being completely on the water, and there were never any cars, which was great for walking around all day! Taylor: Everything in Rome! Rome has by far the best tourist spots, hidden gems and variety of food in Italy. We spent a lot of our time walking around the side streets.
Anything special you added to the honeymoon to make it more special? We took a day trip to Capri, which was amazing and completely worth it! We also did a private tour of the Vatican, which was completely worth the time and money to get all the details behind everything. Make sure you try the fantastic pizza in Naples—true original Margherita pizza!
Favorite part of the destination: The food… we loved all of the restaurants that we went to, and went back to many of them several times, during our stay. It was also a huge benefit that all of our hotels had breakfast for us in the morning. I think we ate pizza every day! Make sure you ask the hotels for their advice on what restaurants they recommend.
Most memorable moment: The gondola ride in Venice—it’s something that you can’t do anywhere else!
Anything you would do different or advice to give other couples? We would recommend using a travel agent. It was a great experience to not have to spend time planning all of the hotels and train tickets. We knew everything would be done for us, and if we had any questions or issues, we could call or email our travel agent and she would handle it right away!
Megan & Daniel
Hometown: St. Michael, MN
Honeymoon: Disney World
How did you and your fiancé choose this location? Ever since we can remember, we’ve always wanted to go to Disney World together. Megan is an avid Disney movie lover, so it was only fitting to spend our honeymoon in the “Happiest Place on Earth.”
Anything special you added to the honeymoon to make it more special? We were lucky enough to have quite a few of our wedding guests contribute to our honeymoon via a honeymoon registry. So we enjoyed their wonderful gifts on our honeymoon, including a sunset carriage ride, personalized Mickey and Minnie ears, champagne delivered to our hotel room and so much more. When planning our honeymoon, we wanted to make time to go to Universal Studios for two of the days. Heidi, our travel agent, was a big help in setting up transportation to and from (in a Corvette!), accessing the tickets and passes, and creating a schedule for us.
Favorite part of the resort or destination: There’s too many to choose from! Every day we went to a different Disney Park, and every evening we got to experience delicious five-star dinners! One of our favorite things was the convenience of being able to hop on a boat at our resort and take it to Disney Springs for fun, food and entertainment!
Most memorable moment: Our most memorable moment of our honeymoon was probably the Magic Kingdom firework spectacular. It’s a classic Disney event, and it was a MUST for us to see it. There’s something so special about being in Disney World with the love of your life, watching the most amazing firework show you’ll ever see. It was truly magical.
Anything you would do differently or advice to give other couples? Make time to relax. There is so much to do in Disney World that you kind of forget you’re there to relax and enjoy your vacation. We were constantly go-go-go and didn’t take a moment to sit down and take it in. Be sure to have that moment.