Forget all that "building a family and future together" mumbo-jumbo. We know the real reason you're looking forward to your wedding: the honeymoon! After the frenzy that unavoidably accompanies wedding planning, we're sure you are in dire need of a week or two away from your responsibilities.
Hold off on picking the first destination that comes to mind, though. Instead, take some time to huddle around the computer and to peruse travel brochures to find the perfect destination and itinerary. There's a honeymoon out there for every type of couple, from lazy and luxurious types to wild and crazy pairs. Keep reading for our 10 take on honeymoon destinations for couples of all persuasions.
The Classic Beach Trip
Nothing says "relaxation" quite like a beachside honeymoon. Many couples select the tried and true resorts of Mexico, the Caribbean or Hawaii. If you want to hit the beach somewhere more off the beaten path, you might elect to visit Fernando de Noronha, Brazil; Koh Tao, Thailand or Nantucket, Massachusetts. The upside to selecting one of these exquisite destinations is that they aren't major tourist traps (yet), so you'll get the full local culture without the overwhelming crowds.
On the flip side, getting to less-traveled places is often quite a trek, with multiple plane connections, bus trips and even some ferry rides thrown in for good measure.
Full-service resorts are nice and all, but Mr. and Mrs. Indiana Jones would probably rather honeymoon somewhere that gets their adrenaline rushing.
For adventure-loving couples, the truly difficult part of the honeymoon will be deciding what challenge to select in the first place. The possibilities are endless! You can trek across the Gobi desert in Mongolia, take a safari in Africa, cruise the Nile River, zip-line through the rain forest in Costa Rica, climb Mount Fuji in Japan, explore the Egyptian pyramids, ski the world-famous Swiss Alps -- you get the picture.
Although adventurous honeymoons come with a lot of excitement, it can be pretty difficult to add romance into the mix. Mosquitos, sleeping bags and frozen toes aren't exactly a recipe for love, especially if you're camping out next to a dozen other tourists.
Roller Coaster of Love
Do you and your man celebrate your birthdays at Chuck E. Cheese? Do you enjoy those "Rock Band" video games just a little too much? Just because you're technically adults doesn't mean you can't enjoy a honeymoon meant for kids at heart. There certainly is no shortage of theme parks to choose from, plus they tend to be grouped closely together, allowing you to visit several in one fell swoop.
Orlando probably offers the most bang for your buck, with all of Walt Disney World's many offerings, including Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Throw in a couple of Disney water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon), as well as nearby Sea World, Universal Studios Florida and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and you easily have at least a week's worth of entertainment for the fun-loving newlywed couple.
Hitting up some theme parks is an ideal option for couples with children who want to start the family bonding process right away. If privacy is a concern, you can always look into renting a suite with multiple rooms or even a property located near the parks.
Old World Romance
If your beloved brings you roses just because (or without getting in trouble first) or regularly makes other unsolicited loving gestures, a trip to one or more legendary romantic cities might be the right honeymoon for you.
Europe is full of entrancing countrysides, stunning castles and elegant languages, all of which contribute to an atmosphere perfect for amoré. Classically romantic cities such as Paris, Rome, Florence and Venice are all within a train ride of one another. Tons of smaller cities surround these epicenters, perfect for day trips for the couple looking to become immersed in the local culture.
At Your Service
Socially conscious couples sometimes forego the traditional honeymoon getaway in favor of a volunteer trip. Whether your visit is to assist with the aftermath of a natural disaster (like the earthquakes that struck Haiti or Chile) or a man-made catastrophe (such as the oil spill in the Gulf), there are plenty of options to choose from. Your visit doesn't have to come in the wake of a disaster, either. Some couples travel all the way to Africa to perform missionary work, or stay close to home to participate in a Habitat for Humanity project.
Whatever part of the world you choose to visit, be sure to hook up with a legitimate volunteer organization before making the trip. Experts with a reputable group will be able to suggest possible roles for the two of you based on your skill sets, arrange temporary housing and help out with the other miscellaneous details of your trip.
Tourists around the world flock to vineyards every day to sample the best that the wine industry has to offer. For the wine-loving couple, a honeymoon spent touring some of the most famous and picturesque wineries around the world is a relaxing and delicious way to kick off a marriage.
Sonoma Valley and Napa Valley, both located in California, are possibly the most revered winery locations in the continental United States. Couples with a little extra cash and a taste for European wines can hop from vineyard to vineyard across Europe via bus tours, rental car or train. There's no shortage of wineries to choose from, and most feature tours, quaint souvenir shops and restaurants on the property.
One striking option is the Castello Banfi Estate, which is an ideal day trip for couples honeymooning near Florence, Italy. This lavish estate features more than 7,000 acres of vineyards and an 11th-century castle. Plan ahead to confirm tour hours, restrictions and seasonal closures. No one wants to hop across the pond only to find out that the best wineries are closed for an extended vacation.
Couples looking to embrace their inner nomads can forego the friendly skies in favor of a road trip. You can opt to rent an RV complete with bathroom, bed and kitchenette, or simply hop in the car and take the roadside hotel route. This honeymoon is perfect for people who have a sightseeing checklist (Mount Rushmore, anyone?). Couples yearning for a more spontaneous experience might select destinations and routes at random, or organize their journey around kitschy diners and tourist traps.
However much or little you decide to plan, there are plenty of great places to start. Coastal California is full of scenery, excellent food and tourist attractions. Cruise through the state in a convertible for the full experience. Believe it or not, Tennessee is one of the most popular honeymoon locations in the continental United States, thanks to the picturesque Great Smoky Mountains, variety of activities available to adventurous couples and cities full of rich, musical heritage like Nashville and Memphis. Cozy up to your sweetie in a pickup truck as you watch the sun set over the Smokies.
Cruises have everything the newly wedded couple could possibly want -- excellent food, entertainment, accommodations, casinos and full-service bars. They also have the added bonuses of being relatively affordable compared to other vacations, plus the option of exploring two or three port cities during day trips.
So, what's not to love? In addition to the threat of seasickness, cruises come with the caveat that true privacy can be a difficult to come by, except within the confines of a typically tiny cabin. Fortunately, most cruise lines make every effort to encourage privacy by providing adults-only pool, dining and entertainment areas.
Culture-loving men are few and far between, so if you've managed to marry one, take advantage of it! Most major cities offer a professional ballet, opera, symphony and museums for the cultural couple to enjoy. New York City corners the museum market with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim and the American Museum of Natural History, to name a few. Throw in Broadway and every other performing art you can think of, and you have a cultural mecca.
Of course, Old World cities like Rome, Paris and London aren't too shabby, either. In fact, they have something impossible to find in the U.S.: thousands of years of historically significant art and architectural history. Make time during your honeymoon to visit the Louvre in Paris, the Colosseum in Rome and the Globe Theatre in London.
Many of us abandon our inner artist for a more sensible, stable career. So, take a holiday from your left-brain day-to-day life and use your honeymoon to indulge your creative sides!
Would-be chefs can learn the fine (and delicious) art of Italian cooking from accomplished chefs while honeymooning in picturesque Tuscany. Budding artists can learn the finer points of painting, sculpting or photography by attending workshops nearly anywhere in the world, from the Grand Canyon to Amsterdam, wherever your budget allows. As an added bonus, you'll probably have some really unique souvenirs to bring home.
HowStuffWorks looks at the rising trend of destination weddings, what guests think of them and how bridal couples should manage them.
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