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Honeymoon Hints

Wedding Week 2008: Click for Special Report

Planning the wedding is a big enough job. But add the stress of putting together a never-to-be-forgotten honeymoon, and it's enough to put even the most organized couple over the top.

Choosing a destination is the top priority. It sometimes helps to see what's popular, either to be part of the trends, or to avoid the obvious. Each year, Modern Bride magazine comes out with a top 10 honeymoon list based on their survey of thousands of travel agents. For 2008, here's the list, with our budget-friendly ideas:

1. Italy gets top spot for the second year running. It's romantic, but expensive. One way to save a few bucks is to book a package. Companies such as offer fairly cheap independent travel packages ($2,278 per couple recently for a winter trip to Rome, Florence & Venice).

2. Hawaii was bumped from the top spot by Italy in 2007. Bed-and-breakfast inns are usually less expensive than hotels: Take a look at Global Adventure Travel.

3. Tahiti comes in at #3 for the third year running. January-March is the low season. Packages are often cheaper than independent travel. Try Air Tahiti for deals.

4. Mexico, which is always in the top 10, is a good budget choice, especially if you stick to the Cancun and Riviera Maya areas. Tour companies such as Vacation Express and Apple Vacations offer decent package deals. USA 3000 often has cheap airfare.

5. Greece shot up the #10 to #5 spot. It's a bit less expensive than many other countries in Europe. Cruising may save even more money. Many of the big lines offer cruise itineraries: Try Fyly Yachting or Viking Yacht Cruises for something different.

6. Costa Rica, down from the #4 spot, offers lots of luxury lodges, but it can be done inexpensively. Stay at smaller, family-run hotels, visit the rainforest instead of the beaches, and, if you don't mind a little rain, travel May-November. Info: Costa Rica Tourism.

7. Bali makes the top 10 list for the first time. The Jimbaran Bay area is a top spot, with all the usual luxury resorts, but it also offers some cheaper hotels: Look at Hotel Puri Bambu.

8. Fiji has been in the top 10 for several years. It offers exclusive resorts, such as Turtle Island, but you can get reasonable package deals (try Pleasant Holidays).

9. France got knocked down from the #6 spot. But it gets high marks for food, night life and culture. Late fall travel offers a good value. Rent an apartment instead of a staying at a hotel: Try Rentals in Paris.

10. Turks & Caicos gets the last spot. It is chock-a-block with pricey resorts, but you can get deals. Get a list from, and then go to the individual resort Web sites for Web-only offers.

By Carol Sottili |  September 12, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Carol Sottili , Europe , Hawaii , Wedding Travel
Previous: Act Now: Short-lived Airfare Deals | Next: Please Sir, May I Have Another (Plane)?

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Posted by: Chasmosaur | September 12, 2008 9:18 AM

I was thinking the same thing! The hub & I honeymooned in San Francisco 20 years ago, and we're heading back (trying Virgin America) in 2 weeks for our 20th anniversary. I have a feeling the activities will be slightly different this time around!

Posted by: kbockl | September 12, 2008 11:23 AM

Remind me, what country is Hawaii in?

Posted by: h3 | September 12, 2008 11:26 AM

I would choose none of the listed ones. My husband and I used my parents 32 foot motorhome and went out to Montana, we had our own food so we saved hugely there, and it was before this gas crunch. It was beautiful and totally worth it. There's so much natural beauty in this country, it really is a shame that more people are not open to that.

Posted by: amw | September 12, 2008 1:41 PM

Virgin America is a great airline! Flew it to L.A. two weeks ago. Also, I would say none of the above as well. Only been married 15 months, took my husband's convertible at the time (since he's sold it for yes a minivan) and went to the Outerbanks. Beautiful little b&b and took a great day trip to Ocracoke. What a beatiful place!

Posted by: lsac | September 12, 2008 1:50 PM

Okay, one US site.

The point I was trying to make is that there are plenty of places to honeymoon inside the US. Some even feature nice beaches and such.

I think it's a larger part of the Wedding Industry - not only must you have an extravagant wedding, you have to have an extravagant honeymoon.

Except about 2/3 of our friends did the beach/resort thing and ended up with foul weather and nothing to do, some got some form of Montezuma's Revenge, and/or had horrendous flight/airport stories.

We drove to Niagara Falls and NY's Finger Lakes, had a fabulous time, spent very little and never got rained on. And it was actually more quiet and private and romantic than any resort - very honeymoon-y.

Posted by: Chasmosaur | September 12, 2008 2:29 PM

We took a cruise and are so glad we did. We did all the planning/execution of the wedding stuff ourselves and the last thing we wanted to have to do was plan where we were going, what were we going to do, etc. for the honeymoon.

Obviously we picked a cruise that suited our interests and did pick shore excursions but all the hassle factor was gone.

Plus the concept of unpacking only once and being taken from place to place by the ship.

I really recommend it - expecially if you're like us and not into beach-style vacations.

Posted by: Rockville | September 12, 2008 4:34 PM

If you have a couple of thousands euros you can have your proposal back lit up under the Eiffel Tours or take a journey into the French forest and rescue your loved one from bandits. I saw this ideas at apoteosurpise if not there's some lovely romantic Paris restaurants at

Posted by: Alison Wallace | September 13, 2008 2:58 AM

What about Niagra Falls? Seriously, why do people have to travel to an exotic location for their honeymoon. Used to first sex was the selling point for a honeymoon, but I guess intimacy is old hat by the time people get married these days. Can remember when people used to honeymoon at a motel on the edge of town and have a baby nine months later. Now people require the stimulation of exotic travel because they are so bored with their new spouse.

Posted by: Tom | September 13, 2008 11:34 AM

Hubby and I honeymooned in Greece and Germany last year. We had a great time. Some people do an exotic honeymoon because it's a once in a lifetime trip or they love to travel, not because they're "bored." Even with an extra long honeymoon to more than one country, our wedding and honeymoon COMBINED cost less than most people spend on the wedding alone.

Posted by: jenn | September 15, 2008 11:42 AM

Chasmosaur, I take your point. :) I think it's fairly obvious that if you ask travel agents - and that's who was surveyed to come up with this list - they're going to name hot destinations that people might actually ask a travel agent for help with. Most of us can get ourselves to Niagara Falls, Montana, or the motel at the edge of town without help from a certified travel professional.

Posted by: h3 | September 15, 2008 1:23 PM

It seems a little omissive to be touting Turks and Caicos without mentioning that it's just been pounded to hell by two hurricanes.

Posted by: Tom T. | September 16, 2008 12:56 PM

Re: Comment on Turks and Caicos. While the outlying islands of Grand Turk, Salt Cay and South Caicos did sustain heavy damage from Hurricane Ike, there was very little damage in Providenciales. Here's a statement from the government there:
"We are fortunate the majority of our tourism infrastructure on Providenciales is intact as no resorts, restaurants or other structures have suffered significant damage. Many of our hotel and restaurant partners are expected to reopen this week."

Posted by: Carol Sottili | September 16, 2008 1:23 PM

Only go to another country after you've finished seeing the sites in the US. It's best value. Why pay more for the same fun?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 17, 2008 3:34 PM

I am a travel agent and do my utmost to make sure my clients get the dream trip they want, not the one I want to sell. When surveys are taken, we know what has sold most and respond accordingly. Another point of view with regard to using a travel agent is that they may have traveled to a destination and will gladly share tips with their clients on where to go and what to see. Additionally, they an be a traveler's best advocate, should something go wrong with a trip.

Posted by: Judith | September 18, 2008 1:26 AM

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