For couples used to traveling in luxury, the “fly-and-flop” honeymoons of yore just won’t do. Instead, the soon-to-be-betrothed are looking for adventure in all sorts of new places.
“Honeymoons were very basic,” said Renee Strauss, CEO of Wedaways.com, a wedding and honeymoon planning agency. “People didn’t do a lot of exploring on their honeymoons. They went to a tropical resort to relax and they just were not as hungry for experiences.”
But times have changed, and much of that change has been generational. Millennials are the ones altering the honeymoon paradise paradigm, bringing their famed mindset with them.
“This generation is more active and adventurous. They want experiences few previously thought of for a honeymoon, like going on safaris or trekking,” said Pamela Strauss-Goldman, chief operating officer of Wedaways.com (and daughter of Renee Strauss).
“Millennials are more experiential and they are willing to go farther for shorter lengths of time,” said Anthony Lessman, co-founder of UK-based travel agency Note Bene Global. Couples are now doing much more and venturing to the ends of the earth to see the northern lights or to go skiing in New Zealand’s South Island.
Where are they getting their ideas for trips? In large part, according to Strauss-Goldman, from Instagram. “Speaking for fellow millennials, bridal magazines mean nothing to us, truly. So, couples are no longer beholden to destinations advertised in wedding magazines. [Today] Instagram is a huge resource for couples. It’s a behemoth in itself and people are using it as their travel guide. They want to go on a one-of-a-kind getaway, in part for photo opportunities and bragging rights,” she said.
Mini-moons are starting to eclipse full-flung getaways immediately after the nuptials. “Many couples are splitting the honeymoon in two. There’s a brief trip right after the wedding to do some relaxing, and then they’ll take a more intelligent kind of trip later,” said Lessman.
For example, he advises couples that if they get married in the summer, they should “grab three or four days in a glamorous beach destination in Italy or France, then plan the great expedition for later on, but before you fully settle into married life.”
According to Sara Margulis, CEO of Honeyfund, a crowd-funding registry for honeymooners: “What we see is couples waiting to take the full-blown honeymoon. A lot will do a staycation or a local thing right after the wedding, but we see a lot of couples postponing [the big trip] until vacation times lines up.”
A delayed honeymoon strategy is also employed to get a better deal (even the well-heeled like to save money) or to experience a place at a specific time of year, like cherry blossom season in Japan or wine harvest in Italy.
When they finally do take the full-blown honeymoon, it’s increasingly common for couples to travel to several places in one extended trip. Often, these longer jaunts combine a highly adventurous destination with more relaxing ones, according to Lessman, like pairing the Seychelles with a safari.
As to up-and-coming honeymoon destinations, Strauss-Goldman said interest in Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines is growing — and “Japan is crazy hot.” Lessman said his clients are curious about South America, China, and Scandinavia. Margulis also sees new interest in South American destinations, plus Costa Rica and Croatia.