For most newlyweds, your honeymoon is the trip of a lifetime. You may end up taking bigger or wilder trips down the road, probably with your growing family, but the first post-wedding getaway is epic. It allows you time to enjoy each other with all the planning and stress behind you. It sets the tone for the adventures you’ll have in your future, and it provides memories that will last your lifetime. Whether you’re lie-on-a-beach-with-a-coconut people, vineyard lovers, adventure seekers, sunset chasers or city folk, there are incredible places near and far that will indulge your personal idea of romance. We’ve collected a few of our favorites from Brides.com and some helpful tips we found from Tripadvisor!
Though it’s off the coast of Venezuela, Aruba is a Dutch constituent and has a heavy Caribbean influence, too. With European-inspired architecture, Dutch gables, pastel hues and brilliant turquoise water, it’s a quintessential spot for intense R&R. Enjoy the powdery sand and cool trade winds with a tropical cocktail in hand at The Ritz-Carlton Aruba, which sits alongside Palm Beach and boasts a 24-hour casino, for those who enjoy a bit of gambling.
- GETTING THERE:Major flights arrive at Queen Beatrix International Airport, with non-stop and one-stop flights from cities all over the world. Expect a four-hour flight from NYC and just 2.5 hours from Miami.
- GETTING AROUND: Taxis are easy to find (Look for TX on the license plate) but set the fare before entering.
- CLIMATE: Average year round temperature is 82°.
- A BIG BONUS:Upon departure, American citizens clear customs in Aruba, which means there are no more customs or immigration formalities when you land.
- LANGUAGE:The local language is a melodic mix of Dutch, Spanish and English called Papiamento but everyone speaks English.
- CURRENCY:The official currency is the Aruban Florin, which is tied to the US dollar, so US currency is accepted everywhere, but change might be given in Florins.
HELPFUL HONEYMOON HINTS
- TIPPING:If a Service Charge is not included, a 10% tip is customary.
- BOOK IN ADVANCE: Aruba is a very popular island for honeymooners. Book your room at least 6 months in advance.
- HUNT FOR SPECIALS: Some local businesses give honeymooners special discounts. Look for the “One Cool Honeymoon” program.
A honeymoon in Bali is pure magic. The Indonesian island—the only one in the huge country that’s Hindu—is a perfect place for passion. With a bit more of an exotic feel than the tropical islands closer to the US, Bali doesn’t only offer unspoiled beaches, surfing, snorkeling and massages, it’s full of culture, art, music, rice terraces and temples, many, many temples. Nature is celebrated here, and it’s easy to get into the spirit at lush, authentic properties such as Four Seasons Bali at Sayan and Uluwatu Surf Villas.
FAST FACTS AND TIPS & ADVICE:
- LANGUAGE: Indonesian
- AREA CODE: +62
- CURRENCY: The Indonesian Rupiah
- TIMEZONE: UTC +9
- ELECTRICITY: 220-240 volts. Adapter plugs are recommended when traveling.
- HOW TO GET THERE: Currently, there are no direct flights to Indonesia from the U.S. The best connections are through any of the major Asian hubs. East coasters may find shorter routes via Europe or the Middle East. Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport and Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport are the main gateways for Indonesia.
- GETTING AROUND: Blue Bird Taxi Is the most popular and reliable options.
- BEST TIME TO VISIT: “Peak” season in Bali is around the holidays, from late December to early January, as well as from July through September. Humidity levels will be low with cool breezes during the day and pleasant nights. Hotel rates and bookings will be at their lower price points between February and July, as well as October and November.
- WEATHER: The island is a great retreat any time of year offering sunny, tropical days and breezy nights. Mostly warm and humid, Bali basically has two seasons. The wet seasons is between October and April with intermittent downpours. Dry season is between May and September.
- ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Travelers must be in possession of a passport valid for at least six months from the date of arrival, as wells proof of return travel. At this time, visas are not required for those citizens of the United States.
The coastal city of Bordeaux, in southwestern France, has gothic cathedrals, art museums and manicured public gardens lining its picturesque river, but those attractions are not the true reason people make pilgrimages to the region. Wine, of course, is the big draw. And if you’re a couple of oenophiles it’s a must-go. There are more than 100,000—yes, you read that right—vineyards, so you won’t even make a dent, but with a plush room at the 19th-century mansion-cum-hotel Yndo in downtown or vineyard-view Le Relais de Franc Mayne to keep you well-rested, you can make a strong effort.
- PASSPORT: You will need passports to enter France.
- CURRENCY: Euro.
- GETTING AROUND: Renting a car is the best way to see the country and do more in less time. If you plan to stay in a major city such as Paris or Marseilles, public transportation will be your best option. Like most world centers, you’ll find taxis, buses, subways and other forms of hired transportation can be on the expensive side, so budget accordingly.
- BEST TIME TO GO: With a country this wonderful, there really is no bad time to go. However, climate-wise, late summer and early fall are best to visit Paris and points south. Winters up north can be a cold, gloomy affair, but also offer fewer crowds.
With travel restrictions getting lifted this year, Cuba now seems like a no-brainer for newlyweds who tick any of these boxes: love the Caribbean, have an appreciation for vintage cars, enjoy a good cigar or Cuba libre, desire to hear amazing music and stories about its rich history. Beyonce and Jay Z paved the way and made it glamorous to visit the large island of white-sand beaches, tobacco plantations, rolling hills and colorful Spanish colonial architecture. Splurge on the Hotel Saratoga, which is a bit more modernized than most accommodations.
- PASSPORT: You will need passports to enter Cuba.
- CURRENCY: Convertible pesos (CUC$) and Cuban pesos (moneda nacional)
- EXCHANGING MONEY: For most tourists moneda nacional has little relevance since most, if not all of their expenditure will be in CUCs. This includes accommodation, food in most restaurants, taxis, bus tickets, nightclub entrances, tips and so on. Things, which can be paid for in local currency, include fruit and vegetables at the agricultural market, street food (such as pizza and peanuts) as well as local buses. Even at the agricultural market the prices are such that a pound of tomatoes may cost CUC 1 or 24 Cuban Pesos (i.e. the same). There are some restaurants and bars/cafes, which charge in Cuban Pesos although the quality is generally poor. Current CUC is 1:1 with the dollar. Cash is king in Cuba. Except in major hotels you should not count on paying for goods or services with a credit card anywhere in Cuba.
- BEST TIME TO GO: The best time to visit is from December to May, when you can expect dry, sunny days and plenty of blue skies. The wet season begins in June and, previously, visitors to Cuba would have avoided travel entirely between August and October, when there is also a risk of hurricanes.
Harbour Island, Bahamas
There’s something special about the sand on Harbour Island. On some beaches, it’s the whitest you’ve likely ever seen, and on the Atlantic side it’s famously pink, light blush in the day and vibrant rose during the sunset. (For the best access to those pink beaches, try the adjacent Dunmore Hotel.) The historic Caribbean island paradise is a getaway where you can do nothing but enjoy the simple pleasures of life or, if you’re a little more ambitious, swim, fish, play tennis and scuba dive.
- GETTING THERE: The largest airports are in of Nassau, Freeport and New Providence. Flights from NYC and Chicago take about 6 hours, and from LA about 8.25 hours.
- GETTING AROUND: Buses known as jitneys can take you all around Nassau and New Providence, and taxis are available on other major islands but are fairly expensive. The best way to shuttle between islands is by boat. Windward Islands is one of the premier yacht charters in the Bahamas.
- DUTY FREE:Tax-free goods can be found at 25-50% off US prices.To get real bargains, price items at home before you go so you know what your actual savings will be.
- TIPPING:Tip 10-15% of the bill, but first check to see if a Service Charge has already been included.
- WEATHER: Soft trade winds blow year round to produce a gentle, warm climate. Average year round temperature Sept.-May is 70-75 degrees F; 80-85 degrees F the rest of the year. May-Oct. is the rainy season but showers are usually short. Out Island temperatures are a bit hotter with high humidity in summer months.
HELPFUL HONEYMOON HINTS
- DRESS:Jackets are required in most good restaurants. Take a wrap or sweater for cool evenings. Beach clothes cannot be worn on the streets of larger towns.
- DRIVING:You can use your US drivers’ license but British rules apply. Drive on the left and look right before crossing the street.
- MONEY:Bahamian and US money are inter-changeable, but not all Out Islands have ATMs.