Travel Agents Talk Current Honeymoon Trends
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Where are newlyweds going to celebrate their nuptials? Like most things, it depends on who you ask.
Westin Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, recently released a StudyLogic report on wedding and honeymoon trends in North America, which found that newlyweds are actually spending less time getting to their honeymoon destination, opting for trips closer to home that provide robust itineraries that pack a punch.
The study showed that three out of four couples are staying in the U.S. and Canada as part of their honeymoon, a sharp increase from more than five years ago. In fact, travel to Canada has tripled among North American honeymooners in the last five years and quadrupled in the western mountain region of the United States.
The report also states that active and wellness honeymoons are on the rise. Eighty percent of those surveyed reported being more active and health-conscious during their honeymoon than at home. SmartFlyer’s Katie Frederick, a wedding and honeymoon travel expert, sees a rise in combined adventure honeymoons mixed with a relaxation element. She said that many travelers are booking a combo of adventure and beach honeymoons, like a safari and Mozambique or New Zealand and Fiji or Chiang Mai and islands.
Susan Moynihan, founder of The Honeymoonist, Inc., and a member of VIRTUOSO said that her clients plan high-end honeymoons. “Most of my clients are couples who want to invest time and money in an amazing honeymoon and have a bucket list-type trip,” she said. “My clients are generally well-traveled, so they want to see as much as they can during their trip. They'll do Sri Lanka paired with the Maldives, or New Zealand paired with Fiji or Tahiti.”
Megan Velez, Vice President of Product at Destinations Weddings Travel Group said that South Africa, Bora Bora and New Zealand are emerging honeymoon destinations with her clientele. “With volunteer honeymoons on the rise as well, couples are loving the ability to give back during their trip, while also enjoying some of the luxuries of major cities like Cape Town,” she said.
Travel Leaders estimates that 1.4 million U.S. couples are planning a honeymoon each year and they advise the newlyweds to come up with a budget and a plan regardless if they want to vacation in the States or abroad.
“If the groom wants a fishing trip in Alaska and the bride wants an all-inclusive beach resort, it’s best to discuss these aspirations before your consultation,” said Justine Sjurseth, a Honeymoon and Romance Vacation travel agent expert with Travel Leaders in Brookings, South Dakota. “If you can’t come to a consensus, a good travel consultant will lead you to a trip that can satisfy all parties.”
Start booking your honeymoon package around nine to 10 months in advance. “But note, that’s for booking… A year-plus out is great for researching destinations, narrowing down all the places on your bucket list,” advised Melissa Gutting, a Honeymoon and Destination Wedding specialist from Travel Leaders in Maple Grove, Minnesota. “Some of the smaller, unique hotels, B&Bs and boutique resorts could fill up and sell out by nine months before your travel date. So you want to make sure you’re booking early.”
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