Though many people think beaches, white sand, and tropical weather for a honeymoon, you may be more of a city person with a love of bookstores, shopping, coffee, microbreweries, restaurants, and interesting people. If that is the case, consider going to Portland, Oregon. One bride and groom who recently went there on their honeymoon (as a last-minute decision because airfares were excellent) said that Portland by far exceeded their expectations. Here are a few reasons that Portland is one of the most unforgettable honeymoons:
The charming and inviting downtown area is filled with parks, fountains, hotels (some offer excellent honeymoon packages), shops, museums, and restaurants, and it has a mix of new and historic buildings. Portland is also extremely clean, and is known for being one of the “greenest” cities in the United States. You can ride the MAX, the Portland street car, for free here, as it is part of the Tri-Met’s Fareless Square route.
For a day trip, a drive to the Wilamette Valley is one of the most gorgeous honeymoon ideas because it has some of the most beautiful scenery in the Pacific Northwest. It is the heart of Oregon’s agricultural economy. There are also quite a few wineries and lodges, perfect for unforgettable honeymoons and extra romance. The Oregon coastline is also not far away.
If you are interested in Victorian architecture, Nob Hill (Northwest 23rd Avenue) is filled with cafes, restaurants, galleries and boutiques. It has been fashionable since the 1880s.
When it comes to romantic honeymoons, Maui is difficult to top. Here are a few reasons that Maui ranks high on the list of honeymoon spots:
Maui’s resorts provide some of the most pristine accommodations in the world. There are pools, restaurants, golf courses, swimming pools, and shopping everywhere you go. Whether you want to be active or simply lounge at the pool, you will be in heaven.
The famous Road to Hana is one of the world’s most beautiful drives. Though it takes a whole day in the car (and the road is very windy, at parts), it is completely worth it. The best way to do it is to take frequent stops along the way to get out and stretch your legs. Note to the adventurous—most people take the road to Hana, then turn around and head straight back the way they came. However, there is a back road that you can continue on (though it is not completely paved and potentially dangerous in some areas if it has rained a lot). However, this road is just as stunning (if not more so) than the main road. It is highly recommended for those who want to see some of the most gorgeous and desolate areas on the planet.
Lahaina Town (West Maui) and nearby Kaanapali Beach is one of the most fun and lively places on the island, perfect for romantic honeymoons and sunsets. You can find snorkeling trips, turtle watching excursions, fishing trips, and a wealth of great restaurants and bars.
One of the least likely places for newly weds to think of when considering honeymoon ideas is Panama. It should definitely be on your list of places to consider though! Not only is it easy to get to, the country is rich in history, culture, and adventure. Here are a few reasons to begin searching for honeymoon packages in Panama:
- Accessibility. Many major airlines fly to Panama, and because of that, flights there are getting cheaper. You can even take a boat ride from Colombia, or a bus ride from Costa Rica. Many of the people in Panama speak English, which is helpful, and the currency exchange is easy; Panama uses the U.S. dollar, officially called the Balboa.
- No matter when your honeymoon is, it will be summer weather in Panama! It does rain more often in some seasons than in others, but it is usually only in the tropical areas (and not for more than an hour a day).
- The people of Panama are warm and friendly, and the culture is rich, with influences from Spain and France. Seven Indian tribes still live in Panama, such as the Wounaan tribe, the Embera, Bribri tribe, and the Teribe tribe.
- Panama is one of the best honeymoon spots for adventure. You can go snorkeling or diving in the Pacific or in the Caribbean, hike trails in the jungle, go kayaking, surfing, or hike along a volcanic crater (at the top, you will have views of both oceans). Panama is full of activities and honeymoon ideas for those who like to stay active.
There are a ton of fun honeymoon ideas to help you add an element of surprise and romance to your special trip. There is one surprise in particular, called The Name Game, that starts the first night of your honeymoon and lasts every night until it’s time to pack up and head back home.
About the game:
This honeymoon surprise is kind of like a game, hence the name. What you need to play this game on your honeymoon is different lingerie outfits, or sultry undergarments for each night that you’ll be on your honeymoon. For example, if you and your husband are staying for seven nights in Hawaii, then you’ll need seven different lingerie outfits.
How to prepare & play:
About two months prior to your bachelorette party, ask your party guests if they wouldn’t mind contributing to this game by bringing a lingerie outfit as your bachelorette gift. If you feel uncomfortable doing this, then request that your maid of honor send out an email telling the girls about the game. Since they’ll most likely buy you a gift anyway, this gives them direction and specifics on what to get, which actually makes it easier for them to pick out something you’ll love. Then, after you open each gift, have your guests collectively name each outfit, and write the name on two small labels. For example, one name could be “Pure Romance.” Let the style of the outfit inspire the name.
Make sure to have two labels per lingerie outfit. One that goes in a bag that your hubby will pick from each night, and one that is attached to the outfit itself.
You and your husband will experience these honeymoon surprises every single night of your trip. Each night, ask your husband to pick a label out of a bag and read the name out loud. Once he does this, then it’s your job to go find that outfit, and to wear it that night to bed.
If you're looking for great honeymoon locations in South America, Colombia is an excellent choice—especially if you love coffee, mountain or water sports, and touring old colonial cities. Here are a few reasons to include Colombia in your top honeymoon locations:
- Colombia is home to a large number of resorts of impeccable quality, so you get the most out of your money.
- There are many gorgeous small towns and colonial cities for those who love history, including Cartagena, Barichara, Villa de Leiva, Popoyan, GIron, Mongui, and Guane. You can spend hours roaming the streets and enjoying beautiful hillside views. Much of the architecture in these towns has been well preserved. For those who love to hike, there is a stone path connecting Barichara to Guane.
- The Zona Cafetera, or coffee country, is located around the village of Salento, where you can tour coffee farms (often run by families), hike in the Corcora Valley, and of course, sip a cup of excellent coffee.
- Colombia’s Caribbean Coast is full of white sand beaches, gorgeous bays, and even the stunning Tayrona National Park.
- The people of Colombia are warm, welcoming and friendly, and the food is incredible. When it comes to affordable honeymoons, Colombia is difficult to beat.
Cancun is one of the top honeymoon destinations in the world. Pristine white sand beaches, incredible food, and luxurious hotels and resorts await you. Here are a few reasons to choose honeymoons in Cancun:
- Many resorts and hotels feature all-inclusive honeymoon packages at discounted rates. You can get some amazing deals if you spend some time researching.
- The food in Cancun is incredible, with many high quality restaurants serving menus with fresh ingredients. You can get some amazing steaks, delicious guacamole, and lots of fresh fruit and produce. Many of Cancun’s best restaurants are located on Cancun Island, one of the more touristy sections yet boasting the most waterfront restaurants (make sure to book some dinners at sunset—this time of day is absolutely magical!)
- If you are active and enjoy sports, Cancun is perfect for you. Not only are there several gorgeous golf courses to choose from, there is plenty of opportunity for water sports such as snorkeling, water skiing, and fishing. Also, you can take a day trip to Rio Secreto, an underground river that has been largely unexplored until recently.
Newlyweds who have taken honeymoons in Cancun have—without spending a fortune—come back relaxed and recuperated from their wedding (and with great tans!) What more can you ask for?
Iceland is a stunningly gorgeous country, and those who are not interested in the typical honeymoon ideas should seriously consider it. Honeymoons in Europe—to places such as Italy or France—can be expensive, but Icelandair constantly runs great deals. Here are a few reasons to visit Iceland:
- There is something very mystical about Iceland. Many of the Icelandic people—who are a combination of Celtic and Norse descent—believe in Trolls (who live in the Hills) and the Hidden People, who make mischief among the population. When you go to Iceland and see the dramatic landscape, it is not difficult to imagine why natives would believe in trolls and elves! The sky also has a distinctive light to it, as if it were completely enshrouded by the moon.
- Iceland's landscape is incredible, with volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls, and sprawling green countrysides. For those who love to bike or hike, there is plenty to keep you active. For the more adventurous, glacier trekking is also an option.
- The capital, Reykjavik, is a bustling center of culture, art and music. The music scene in Reykjavik is thriving, and there are plenty of high quality restaurants, edgy shopping boutiques, and interesting art museums and galleries.
A honeymoon in Iceland gives you what many honeymoon spots (including many honeymoons in Europe) cannot: a truly unique experience.
After planning a wedding, the thought of an expensive honeymoon is difficult to deal with. Consider choosing from affordable honeymoon packages at one of the following locations.
This is one of the best kept secrets when it comes to honeymoon vacation packages. South Carolina is full of gorgeous beaches, excellent seafood, beach front rental properties, and quaint bed and breakfasts (at some excellent prices). When honeymoon planning, consider activities bike riding, golfing, hiking, or exploring plantations.
This is one of the most mystical, fun and unique cities in the United States (in fact, you will hardly feel like you are in the U.S.!) There are tons of festivals, including Mardi Gras and an annual Jazz festival. The French quarter is full of history, culture, and cafés selling the signature beignets (fried dough topped with powdered sugar) and coffee. There are many excellent restaurants downtown, and you can have amazing Cajun food for some excellent prices (or you can take a cooking class as newlyweds and learn how to make authentic dishes yourselves). In the evening, listen to live jazz music in the many clubs and bars.
Countless people who have taken Alaskan cruises say that the beauty of Alaska is unrivaled. You can find some affordable honeymoon packages if you are flexible with your dates. With cruises, you don’t have to hassle with rentals cars or figuring out where you are going to eat; everything is already taken care of.
The idea of taking a honeymoon directly after a wedding celebration is relatively new. Fifty years ago, typical newlyweds might book a couple nights in a hotel not far from their home; their honeymoon planning rarely consisted of an elaborate ten days in Maui. Here are a few reasons newlyweds (especially ones who are paying for their own wedding and honeymoon) should not succumb to the pressures to take a long vacation right after their wedding:
- Wedding budget: Most couples, because of wedding expenses, are on a pretty tight budget. Going on a big trip right after the wedding is not always the wisest financial decision.
- You will be exhausted after the wedding: physically, mentally and emotionally. Many couples say that they sleep for days straight after their wedding. If you planned a honeymoon in Spain, you can enjoy it more if you have had time process the recent events of the wedding.
- You will have more time to enjoy the honeymoon planning after you have settled into married life and caught up financially. Even just two months can make a big difference. (Remember that you can book a hotel for a couple nights right after the wedding to escape from the chaos and catch up on sleep, knowing that in a few months you will have a cruise to look forward to, or a week in Italy).
Many people consider cruises a luxury, and therefore, outside their budget. But this is not the case! Cruises can actually be one of best options for cheap honeymoon packages. You just need to be smart about your honeymoon planning (and know a bit about the way the travel industry works) in order to land the best deal possible!
Cruise lines often offer inexpensive packages last minute. However, if you have your heart set on a certain cruise line, type of cabin (or type of cruise you want to take), you should probably book at least eight months in advance. Many cruise lines offer early booking discounts.
First, you need to decide whether you have flexibility of dates. If you want to take your honeymoon right after your wedding, then you should book your cruise as early as possible. However, if you are okay with taking your cruise within the six months after your wedding and have some flexibility, you will have a better chance of finding great honeymoon vacation packages. (This is especially true with cruises to the Bahamas and the Caribbean).
If you are interested in an Alaskan cruise, honeymoon planning bargains will start in September and go through October, November and even early December. January is probably your best bet for a last minute bargain, and you can usually find excellent cabin space within two months of the cruise dates.