These honeymoon spots are popular for a reason; three travel agencies share why.
It's time to celebrate your wedding in a big way—with the honeymoon! Choosing the perfect location is key to making your honeymoon the most memorable trip you'll ever take. Where a couple decides to honeymoon depends on time, season, budget and personal preference, but a few destinations are consistent favorites among Central Ohio newlyweds.
“We continue to see all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico as the top destinations,” says Kimberly Schwind of AAA Ohio. In particular, couples are flocking to Riviera Maya—the tourist-heavy stretch of Mexico's Gulf Coast south of Cancún—for its beautiful all-inclusive resorts, white sand beaches and plethora of adventure and cultural activities, such as exploring nearby Mayan ruins.
Laura Frazier of Bliss Honeymoons agrees, citing the proximity and price as a perfect compromise for young couples. Mexico is a short flight away and tends to have affordable all-inclusive resorts, adding up to big savings for young couples.
And though some couples might be put off by the one-size fits all atmosphere of all-inclusive resorts, both Frazier and Schwind caution against this kind of thinking.
“All of the all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico are really well tailored to honeymoons,” says Schwind. “You get a big bang for your buck.” Many offer activities such as wine-tastings, cooking courses, excursions or romantic dinners, as well as discount packages.
When choosing a honeymoon destination, reconsider destinations you've previously discarded, as they might have had a renaissance since your last visit. This year, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic is one of the top international honeymoon destinations, both in Central Ohio and the nation as a whole, but it wasn't always so widely appreciated.
“When I first traveled to Punta Cana 10 years ago, I was not impressed,” says Caryn Coomer of Calyco Travel. “The beach was great, but the food wasn't all that good, and the infrastructure was horrible!”
Five years later, Coomer decided to revisit the tropical destination and was shocked by the differences she saw.
“Punta Cana has come a long way and is now easily one of our top locations for honeymoons and destination weddings,” she says. “It offers reasonable flights, beautiful beaches and a variety of price points.”
Honeymooners looking for something a bit more luxurious are heading to St. Lucia, in the southeastern Caribbean.
A bit farther away and a bit more expensive, the beauty of St. Lucia more than compensates for the extra effort. Relax on the island's splendid beaches, but be sure to explore beyond them as well. Couples can rent a bike or a dune buggy to tour the island, enjoying the local food, waterfalls and incredible panoramic views.
“St. Lucia is stunning,” Frazier says. “There's really no island like it in the Caribbean.”
Ohio couples seeking the truly exotic often opt to go further afield with unique destinations like Thailand and Iceland; Frazier says they're the perfect destinations for couples looking for something adventurous and unexpected.
The unique food, interesting culture and incredible scenery of Thailand fits the bill. Not only does it have great beaches, but plenty of culture and history to explore as well.
For Frazier's clients, both Thailand and Iceland are seen as emerging destinations that are both intriguing and relatively affordable.
“I think that honeymoon couples want experiences. They want to engage in things,” she says. “They want some beach time, obviously, but they also want to learn something new, to be challenged.”
Whatever the destination in mind, couples can look to travel agencies to help them make a final decision tailored to their needs, saving them from time-consuming research and stressful trip planning. A travel expert knows the area, resorts, high and low seasons and price points of a variety of destinations, which means he or she can help newlyweds navigate the reservations as well as any unexpected problems that may arise.
Schwind knows the benefits well: Her own honeymoon to Punta Cana fell directly during hurricane season and was threatened by a passing storm.
“We knew our travel agent could change plans for us, so we didn't have to worry about it [at the] last minute,” she says. “We were able to go, but our travel agent gave us that peace of mind.”