If your post-wedding travels have been altered, postponed or canceled altogether due to the pandemic, you’re not alone. According to a recent study by travel app Expedia, 97% of honeymoon plans were affected by COVID-19, meaning nearly every newlywed couple had to cancel or change their original trip during the last two years. However, with weddings back in force, people are ready to travel again – and they’re going bigger than ever. In fact, as Expedia’s survey says, this has led to the rise of “mega-moon” travel: “More than half (53%) [of those polled] plan to spend more on their honeymoon than they originally budgeted and 59% are now more interested in going to a bucket list destination,” the brand’s report said.
What exactly does this look like? “Coming out of the pandemic, couples are clearly determined to have an epic honeymoon,” said Christie Hudson, head of US public relations for Expedia. “For many couples that will include flights, luxury accommodations and even romantic activities at the destination.”
However, while these are the elements that will make up many mega-moons, the destination is up to you. This is a time to get creative and personal and dream up the ultimate journey for you and your partner. If you’re already planning one, chances are you have some ideas of your own. But if you are overwhelmed by the choice? TZR reached out to some travel experts to find out where they’d go if they were planning an epic honeymoon. Here are their ideal itineraries so you can follow them if you choose.
A trip through Morocco
Countries: Jennifer McClymont, associate travel expert at Naya Traveler, says her mega-moon would have to include the planned La Route du Sud, or Southern Road trip, in Morocco. To make your trip memorable, she recommends arriving in Marrakesh and traveling to the Ourika Valley (an hour away) for two nights in a kasbah or lodge. “You then begin your six-night journey on the Southern Route ending in the Skoura Valley at Dar Ahlam Residence. I would then suggest staying two to three nights in Marrakech before returning home.”
Activities: For McClymont, the “dream” would be “to spend a night in a Bedouin desert camp under dazzling starlit skies, letting emotions and romance flourish.” She also suggests watching the sun rise in a hot air balloon or taking a desert camel ride in Marrakesh for other epic experiences. And last but not least? “Of course, it’s a must to end your honeymoon with the ultimate Moroccan hammam experience designed to refresh and rejuvenate body and soul.”
Accommodations: “Private residences on this trip are traditional red-brick houses and adobe castle-like palaces overlooking vast valleys and located in small Berber villages; a very authentic experience”, says the travel expert. McClymont again mentions Dar Ahlam, which he says offers “very comfortable rooms with harmonious facilities and excellent activities”. And, she continues: “I would end this trip enjoying the mix of Moorish traditions and colorful modernity in riads in a medina or Villa des Orangers in Marrakesh.”
A European exploration
Countries: Oleema Miller, co-founder of swim and resort brand MIKOH, says she just returned from a whirlwind trip to Europe (where she also got engaged). So, she says it would feel more appropriate to go back there for a mega-moon. “Even though we traveled through France and Italy for three weeks, we barely scratched the surface of all that Europe has to offer,” she tells TZR. “Discovering more of the south of France, the north of Italy, Greece and the countryside of England are all still on my bucket list and would be the ultimate honeymoon adventure.”
Activities: Miller says that for him, a combination of relaxation and adventure is the perfect mix. “There is nothing I love more than a relaxing day at sea, an afternoon at the spa and a rose at sunset to be followed by an exciting day on a boat.” Miller also shares that, being a lover of antiques, one of her favorite things to do is scour flea markets and shops for gems. “Having these special memories to bring back allows you to relive your memories day after day when you’re able to enjoy them at home.”
Accommodations: “I’m not going to lie, I love myself a nice hotel, especially one with an ocean view,” says Miller. “I’m constantly cleaning, organizing and moving things around the house so I can be somewhere I can rest, breathe and have a big, fluffy bed to crawl into every night after filling up on the local fare – nothing beats that.” Some properties she’s loved recently?Le Sirenuse in Positano, Italy and Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Cap d’Antibes, South of France are both favorites.
A journey across continents
Countries: If you’re a serious adventurer, you’ll love the dream honeymoon plans of Dr. Terika Haynes, owner of Dynamite Travel. She tells TZR that for her trip as a couple, she would choose “five different continents to symbolize the number of years we’ve known each other” and spend a week on each. These will include Asia (Philippines), Africa (Cape Town, South Africa), South America (Peru), Australia (Cairns) and Europe (Cinque Terre, Italy).
Activities: Dr. Haynes shares a different activity she’d like to do in each destination on this epic honeymoon. In the Philippines, she would visit Palawan to explore the underwater river in Puerto Princesa. In South Africa, she says she would volunteer with iKhaya Le Themba, a non-profit organization based in Hout Bay that has holistic after-school care programs for children in need. For the Peru leg, Dr. Haynes would take the Andean explorer, a Belmond train, to see Cusco, the Andes and Lake Titicaca. Once in Cairns, the travel expert would dive into the Great Barrier Reef. And finally, in Cinque Terre, she would charter a luxury yacht.
In addition to these plans, Dr. Haynes has several activities he would include in any country. They include bringing dice to decide what and where to eat, hiring a photographer at each destination, leaving surprise elements for her partner to see their true excitement, and including an extraordinary activity at each destination for send them away. of their comfort zone.
Accommodations: Dr. Haynes has accommodation preferences for each country. The luxurious Amanpulo would be her choice in Palawan, and in Cape Town, she would stay at the One&Only Cape Town. When in Peru, she would go to the Sanctuary Lodge; when visiting Cairns, she would check into Lizard Island; and in Cinque Terre, she would choose Portovenere Grand.
An Italian adventure
Countries: Janine Seale, co-founder of the recommendation-based travel app, says her mega-moon would be looking to spend a month in Italy visiting some of the places she’s never been. “I was going to spend part of my honeymoon in Tuscany, visit Sardinia and nearby islands and finish it off with time in Puglia,” she explains.
Activities: Seale’s list of activities is simple. According to the co-founder, her itinerary would include a mix of beach, relaxation and wine. “All my favorite things,” she says.
Accommodations: When it comes to hotels, Seale knows exactly what he wants. “I would like to stay at Castello di Casole, A Belmond Hotel in Tuscany and Masseria San Domenico in Puglia,” she shares. “Both are supposed to be amazing and perfect for a once-in-a-lifetime mega-moon.”