Where, Why and How to Honeymoon in Style

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Where, Why and How to Honeymoon in Style

Honeymoons seem like an antiquated concept in 2023 – a holdover from an age when weddings signalled the first time a couple spent time alone together. Obviously, that’s not how modern relationships work. Still, you can’t throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. Honeymoons might not serve the same function today, but they’re still a fantastic excuse to get out into the world, celebrate your love for another person and unwind after a wild wedding.

Like any trip, it pays to strike a fine balance between preparation and spontaneity. You want to pack smartly enough and plan meticulously enough that you aren’t stranded outside a “no vacancies” hotel, sweating through your shirt. At the same time, you don’t really want to plan the trip to death; there have to be small surprises along the way.

Let’s strike that balance together. In this post, we tackle how to honeymoon in style: top destinations depending on your mood, advice for the best travel clothing, tips for elevating your honeymoon experience and more. Here’s everything you can do after saying “I do.”

Why Honeymoon? The Case for Taking Your Relationship on the Road

First, let’s make a short case for why you should honeymoon. Some couples are justifiably burnt out after a wedding. Their energy levels – not to mention their bank accounts – are depleted. But a honeymoon is more than just a hollow tradition. Here are a few reasons to take your love on the go:

  • Road-testing a relationship: Listen, you’re well past the stage where you need to “test” your relationship’s mettle; ostensibly, you did that well before delivering your vows. Still, traveling can unearth quirks, educate you on your partner’s proclivities and wants, and just generally strengthen that bond. If you haven’t traveled together yet, a honeymoon’s the perfect excuse.
  • Much-needed R&R: Weddings are stressful. When you aren’t juggling the administrative side, you’re fielding complaints from distant uncles about the food needing salt. After the high-flying intensity of a wedding, you’ll probably need some time alone with your loved one to relax and shut off.
  • Making memories: In thirty years, you’ll look back on your honeymoon photos with relish. Chances are, they’ll spark some funny story: the time a cab accidentally took you to a strip club instead of “the main strip,” the time a seabird tried stealing your pina colada, etc. Those are memories you just can’t make at home.
  • Striking off on your own path: Probably the best reason to honeymoon is that it’s just the two of you. You aren’t bumping into relatives or elbowing up to colleagues. Travel has a funny way of secluding you, making you feel like you're the only two people on earth – even as you venture into the wide world.

As if you needed convincing, those are our best reasons for honeymooning. Now, let’s tackle the how and where portions of our guide. Next stop, your honeymoon destination.

Where to Honeymoon

Truthfully, it depends on what you want from a honeymoon. No two couples are alike. Similarly, no two honeymoons should be alike. Don’t go for the stereotypical destination just because you feel like you should. Sure, you might ultimately choose Paris or Venice, but choose it because it’s right for you.

In this section, we break down our top honeymoon destinations by “genre”: relaxation, adventure and romance. If you don’t find your exact destination below, hopefully this list at least sparks the right kind of brainstorming.

The Crash After the Commotion: Honeymooning for Relaxation

Most couples opt for warm travel destinations, which makes perfect sense. As mentioned, weddings can tax your emotional, physical and mental capacity. At the end of it all, you might just want a warm breeze, white sand and a cold drink.

Here are a few of our favourite spots:

  • Mexico’s Southern Coast: Tulum is mega-popular for a reason. Same with Cancun, Oaxaca City and Puerto Vallarta. Mexico’s southern coastlines are gorgeous and balmy, surrounded by a cottage industry of food and drink purveyors that cater to relaxing tourists. A honeymoon in Mexico is a popular choice, but sometimes popular is good.
  • The Philippine Islands: The Philippine archipelago is home to thousands of islands, and countless more white sand beaches. The people are unbelievably friendly. The food’s unreal. And the landscape is dramatic. Critically, most Filipino islands receive far fewer tourists than other major beach centers (like Bali, Thailand, Mexico, etc.), which can make a honeymoon feel more intimate.
  • Palm Springs: In our roundup of warm destinations linked above, we shout out Palm Springs, a desert oasis teeming with old Hollywood Kitsch and Mid-Century Modern charm. The pool culture in Palm Springs is fantastic. And you’re never far from a zippy margarita.
  • The Greek Islands: The sun-bleached stucco and vibrant blue accents of a Greek island town are incredibly photogenic. And the pace of life is slow and methodical, focused on simple pleasures like grilled seafood, good wine and salty dips in the Mediterranean. Try lesser-known islands like Naxos, Ithaka or Ios to avoid the crowds.

If you’re heading into the heat, check out Unbound’s comfortable travel pants for men or leggings for women (covered in the packing section of the article).

Credit: ramann Via Freepik

Starting Your New Adventure Together, Literally

Then again, some couples don’t miss an opportunity for adventure. Some couples’ idea of a restorative vacation involves scaling mountains, hiking trails or urban adventuring. If you’re not the “sit idly by the beach” type, consider these adventure-forward destinations:  

  • The Canadian Rockies: Towering and dramatic, with ample opportunities for activity, the Canadian Rockies are a picturesque honeymoon spot at the North American doorstep. Check out hotspots like Banff, Jasper and Whistler.
  • Northern India: Here, you'll find the seat of the Kashmir Valley, Tibetan Plateau and Himalayan Mountain Range. Northern India is chock full of treks and scenic vistas, woefully under-visited by tourists.
  • Tanzania: If your idea of an adventurous honeymoon involves wildlife spotting, Tanzania is your place. The country’s also home to Mount Kilimanjaro and Lake Tanganyika – the highest and lowest points in Africa, respectively. It’s an outdoorsy couple’s dream.
  • Hong Kong and Macau: They aren’t serene; they aren’t filled with natural beauty; instead, Hong Kong and Macau’s charms lie in their frenetic urban energy. High-roll in Macau’s casinos, shop in Tsim Sha Tsui or take a romantic funicular up Central Hong Kong’s Peak Tram. Hong Kong also makes our list of the best layover cities, so consider tacking it on as a bonus destination.
  • Patagonia: Mountains, fjords, deserts, steppes, rainforests and glaciers – normally, you’d have to visit five different countries to see all of that. But the southern ends of Chile and Argentina contain it all as part of the vast Patagonian region.

Most of the natural destinations above stay relatively chilly throughout the year, so pack those men's travel hoodies and long sleeve shirts for women.

Keeping the Romance Alive: Dreamy Destinations for a Honeymoon

Then, there are couples who don’t want the lackadaisical beaches or natural wonders. They want romance – pure, uncut romance. What exactly constitutes a “romantic” destination is subjective, mostly dependent on your personal notions of passion and intrigue. Still, here are some solid choices for a romantic honeymoon getaway:  

  • Paris: What more can we say, it’s Paris. It’s pretty much synonymous with romance.
  • Porto: It’s got the Atlantic Ocean. It’s got the majestic Douro River. It has an impressive medieval Old Town. And to cap it off, Porto’s sloping hills feature sprawling port wineries where you can sample the local quaff for an afternoon.
  • Kyoto: Stately and picturesque, Japan’s cultural capital doesn’t exude the brash passion of Paris; it’s a quieter kind of romance here. It helps that Kyoto features, pound for pound, some of the finest dining experiences in the world.
  • Quebec: If you want France without the cost of a transatlantic ticket, head up to Quebec, Canada’s francophone province. Montreal features a vibrant mix of cafes, tavernes, boulangeries and restaurants, while Quebec City packs the old-world charm into a scaled-down network of cobblestone streets.

This is an incomplete list, obviously. If you can think of an ultra-romantic destination we didn’t cover above – perhaps somewhere you went on honeymoon – share it in the comments section below.

How to Honeymoon in Style: Packing and Travel Tips

It doesn’t matter if you’re scaling the Rocky Mountains or lounging on a Mexican beach – you should be comfortable on your honeymoon. You shouldn’t feel sweaty, smelly, sticky or otherwise uncomfortable. A honeymoon is a significant moment in your life, immortalized in pictures and enjoyed in memories. For most people, it’s also a rare foray into the luxurious life.

Below, let’s explore how to pack for a comfortable honeymoon, how to (hopefully) upgrade to first-class, and how to vie for free stuff on your honeymoon.

Credit: sorapop Via Freepik

Packing for a Honeymoon

As mentioned, we need you comfortable. We also want to ensure that you look classy enough for at least a couple of fancy dinners on the town. The goldilocks option is Unbound Merino’s line of minimal travel clothing.

Our clothes are sleek enough for a cocktail bar, soft enough for a day spent in bed, insulating enough for a mountain trek and breathable enough for a sweltering beach day. We built them for versatility. Crucially, merino wool stays fresh and wrinkle-resistant despite sweat and transit. Because merino wool is naturally antibacterial, it actively resists odours – so you never feel less than sexy on your honeymoon.

Men only need a couple of Unbound tees, a couple pairs of underwear and socks, and maybe a hoodie (depending on the weather). Women can pack a couple of our merino crew neck tees, women's merino wool leggings, and maybe a mock neck long-sleeve for nights out.

Aside from Unbound Merino, pack sun-safe gear for a warm weather destination; sunburns put a damper on a romantic getaway. Or pack a warm outer layer like a down jacket or rain shell for colder spots. If you have room, pack one utilitarian pair of footwear (like sneakers, flats, loafers or sandals) and a slightly upmarket option for fancy excursions.

Finally, we’ll leave the electronics up to you. Some couples like to unplug for their romantic vacation. Others can’t fathom being far from social media and streaming sites. Talk it over with your significant other to decide what’s best – it might be the first of many compromises in your marriage!

Upgrading to First Class

Long gone are the days when you could surreptitiously tell a gate attendant that it’s your honeymoon and expect a first-class upgrade. Some airlines consider it a punishable offense for attendants to upgrade passengers for “personal” reasons. So, don’t expect preferential treatment – even if you flash your new wedding ring.

However, you can eke through to first class a couple of other ways. If you have some lead time before your big trip, consider stockpiling points on your credit card or Air Miles. Put every single wedding expense on your card; the thousands of dollars you spend on catering, photography, flowers, etc., should earn you enough points for an upgrade.

If you’re short on points (or your card doesn’t feature a rewards structure), you can sometimes upgrade to first class with patience. When airlines overbook a flight, they ask for volunteers to delay their flight. Often (though not always), they reward those volunteers with a business class upgrade. Depending on the flight length, it can be worth delaying your trip by a few hours longer to live in luxury for eight-plus hours.

Free Stuff

You should never expect free stuff on your honeymoon. But when it happens, it’s a beautiful perk. The key here is to be brazen about telling people it’s your honeymoon. If you book a hotel over the phone, tell them it’s your honeymoon. When you reserve a table for dinner, let them know the occasion. When you get gelato, tacos, cocktails or surf lessons – tell them it’s your honeymoon. At worst, they’ll smile and congratulate you. At best, you’ll enjoy a few special upgrades befitting your special trip.

Wedding season is fast approaching, which means that honeymoon season isn’t far behind. Plan your post-wedding jaunt soon, and stockpile your merino wool travel clothing for a comforting first trip together.

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