Just the thought of jetting off on a sweet, sweet honeymoon can often get couples through the most stressful moments of wedding planning. However, carving out the time (and budget) to organize a life-changing trip while also organizing the biggest event of their lives? No small feat. So, we called in Michelle Manas, Founder & Owner of Uncorked Escapes, for some practical honeymoon advice that’s still very much fantastical (hint: safaris and “adventuremoons” are involved):
So, what’s the ideal booking timeline for people using a travel agent?
Ideally, nine months to a year in advance is best for premium locations. Booking this far out will afford the best pricing and availability to ensure that couples have a great selection at a great price!
And what about the ideal timeline for people doing it themselves?
If couples opt to book their own honeymoon, I would recommend starting at least a year in advance, longer if possible. It does take a lot of time to research online and sift through the overwhelming amount of information. I believe that the biggest luxury is time, and that’s one of the best values that an experienced travel advisor can add. Using a travel advisor for your honeymoon is just like using a wedding planner for your big day.
Where are some places people can save more money than they’d think on their honeymoon?
You could save by opting for shared tours instead of private experiences. How you choose to transfer in between destinations could help as well! Traveling by train in Europe is very affordable and a fun experience.
And where should they NEVER think of skimping?
When you are going to a destination for the view, don’t ever downgrade your room to the point where you can no longer appreciate the destination. For example, on the Amalfi Coast, ocean view rooms are a must.
What are some of the trending honeymoon locales you’re seeing this year?
Destinations that felt so special in the past now pop up daily on everyone’s social feed, so couples are really looking to be trendsetters within their network. Couples are leaning more towards adventurous locations offering active experiences, otherwise known as “adventuremoons” (and ending with R&R nearby). Iceland, New Zealand, and Argentina are some of the new IT destinations!
What kind of honeymoons do you think should start trending?
Safari honeymoons! Because safari trips in South Africa are more on the expensive side, many people think they need to save and go later in life. I would recommend asking guests to help fund your honeymoon to be able to afford the trip of a lifetime. The destination can also easily be paired with time on the coast in the Seychelles or Mozambique.
We hear you specialize in wine-related trips. What are your top 3 wine-lover’s destinations?
For me, Tuscany is the best of the best, with some of the most stunning wineries, private and romantic hillside resorts, and access to must-see towns all within a short drive. Then, another place that is really starting to trend is Portugal—the Douro Valley region offers wine tasting by boat along the river and it’s close to the northern region of Spain for a bonus trip. I also recently visited Chile and was completely blown away.
Picture this: one partner is the ultimate adventure junkie, and the other partner is obsessed laying on the beach. What do you suggest to this couple for a honeymoon that makes everyone happy?
Believe it or not, this is the case with many of my couples. I think one of the best destinations to satisfy each of their interests is Indonesia. Bali is one of the most popular islands, but some of the more “off the beaten path” islands are where you can find resorts that offer something for everyone. The food and culture is incredible, there are plenty of adventure, cultural, and animal experiences, and lots of beautiful coastline for beach lovers.
What are some great options for busy couples who only have time for a mini-moon after their big day?
The Caribbean is a great option for East Coasters–it’s easy to get to, but offers an incredible beach escape with stunning water! Some of my favorite islands are St. Lucia, Anguilla and Turks and Caicos! For West Coasters, I love the Riviera Maya stretch of Mexico. It offers beautiful luxury resorts with crystal clear blue water and white beaches. Can’t go wrong with that.