the traditional vows endure, the ways to celebrate
a marriage have changed right along with the travel
industry. Today's honeymooner may be looking for
value, adventure, or variety and searching for
a getaway that's as exotic as a stay in a private
European castle or nearby as a local bed-and-breakfast
constant is that couples are willing to spend
money on a honeymoon - an average of $1,402 per
couple compared to $421 spent annually on regular
trips according to the Travel Industry Association
of America. Young couples, age 18 to 24 years,
spend the most on honeymoons, averaging $1,873.
And as many as one-third of all honeymooners spend
over $2,500 for that once-in-a-lifetime trip.
while the move is back toward the traditional
wedding and honeymoon associated with earlier
generations, today's newlyweds are a far cry from
the travelers of earlier days. "They're looking
more for luxurious and romantic places, like the
little out-of-the-way small hotels and inns and
private castles," points out Sylvie del Giudice,
spokeswoman for Les Romantiques Hotels. "They're
ready for a different experience. It's the experience
of a lifetime. They are choosing to go further
away on their honeymoon to a different environment
and that includes everything: a different language,
culture, and food."
couples are finding new ways to celebrate their
union, creating honeymoon trends that are being
felt throughout the industry.
in Jamaica but spread throughout the Caribbean
and Mexico and into some other regions as well,
the all-inclusive vacation is becoming ever more
popular with honeymooners - and their families.
Their "one price pays all" policy makes
the all-inclusive trip more and more convenient
for parents purchasing a honeymoon package as
a gift for newlyweds. Air, transfers, meals, drinks,
watersports, and even tips are included in the
tab at all-inclusive resorts.
MARRIED ON YOUR HONEYMOON
married on your honeymoon is also an increasingly
popular concept in the Caribbean, where resort
packages provide everything from wedding cake
to music. At some properties like SuperClubs (http://www.superclubs.com),
guests can enjoy a free wedding, including the
minister's fee and marriage license.
devaluation of Canada and Mexico's currencies
mean an increase in honeymoon business for financial
reasons. Canada is also gaining popularity as
a honeymoon hotspot. Couples looking for a white
honeymoon find it in ski areas such as Banff,
Whistler, and Jasper, and those seeking big city
culture seek out cities like Toronto, Montreal,
and Vancouver. The current strength of the American
dollar against the Canadian also makes our northern
neighbor an attractive honeymoon destination.
"Canada is extremely popular as a honeymoon
destination," explains Judy Love Rondeau
from the office of the Canadian Consulate General
in Dallas. "Your money goes 40% further in
Canada. Also, honeymooners like the cities of
Montreal and Quebec City because they are like
going to Paris without going so far and spending
so much money."
some couples, a chance to enjoy the romance of
a big city and the elegance of fine dining makes
major cities a honeymoon destination. A recent
study by the American Society of Travel Agents
showed that the most popular city was Las Vegas.
Orlando, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles
were other top choices.
some couples choose to vacation close to home,
conserving both time and money, others see a honeymoon
as a chance for a once-in-a-lifetime trip. For
these travelers, it's the time for a fantasy journey
to destinations whose very names mean romance.
For these lucky honeymooners, the American Society
of Travel Agents has found that Great Britain
is the top European destination, followed by France
see more and more honeymooners going to Europe
versus the Caribbean," says Les Romantiques
Hotels' Sylvie del Giudice. "People are getting
married older, and they're more interested in
the culture and the experience and the discovery
of Europe. Or they want to go back to Europe.
I deal a lot with people who went to Paris once
and now want to show it to their spouse.
usually combine romantic cities like Paris, Florence,
or Rome with a resort escape like the Riviera
or Normandy or the Amalfi coast of Italy so they
have the best of both worlds," explains del
Giudice. "We have also noticed that honeymooners
are becoming more and more adventurous and discovering
for new European experiences is also bringing
more honeymooners to less traditional destinations.
Destinations like Portugal, Malta, and Turkey
are gaining popularity.
current trend toward adventure and eco-tourism
vacations hasn't overlooked the honeymoon industry.
"We have seen a number of newlyweds go on
dude ranch vacations as well as our other trips
like the cattle drives," says Dave Wiggins,
president of Boulder, Colorado-based American
Wilderness Experience. "It's the kind of
thing for couples who are looking for something
inspiring, something they can come back and say
'guess what we did on our honeymoon.'"
Wiggins has sold many honeymooners rugged adventure
packages, ranging from a 10-day safari in Alaska
to sea kayaking in Baja Mexico to river rafting
along Idaho's Salmon River, many honeymooners
favor soft adventure. "The lodge-based vacations
tend to be more popular with honeymooners because
they have a bed and roof over their head and a
hot shower," points out Wiggins.
seeing more and more soft adventure travel so
we have more deluxe lodge-based options,"
points out Wiggins. Whether honeymooners overnight
in a mountain cabin or in a seaside tent, however,
he explains the popularity of adventure travel
with today's travelers. "At a resort there's
a lot to pick and choose, but you can find yourself
being a spectator and watching the action go around.
On an adventure trip, you're smack dab in the
action. There's no sitting back and watching the
action go by in front of you - you are the action
on an adventure tour."
that special quality is up to the individual honeymooners
themselves. With the myriad of choices and a selection
of atmosphere that ranges from white-knuckle adventure
to hedonistic laziness, there's something for
and wife team Paris Permenter and John Bigley
have authored over 20 guidebooks and also edit
Lovetripper.com, a romantic travel magazine
featuring worldwide destinations.
Paris Permenter and John Bigley