Here’s How Couples are Rethinking their 2020 Honeymoons

Honeymoon postponed? 2020 Couples are making shorter, closer, and more affordable First Moons a new wedding tradition.

By The Zola Team

the ranch at laguna beach
Photo by The Ranch at Laguna Beach

For many engaged couples, COVID-19 not only upended wedding plans but also many dream honeymoons. And, while we totally understand that a postponed vacation may feel insignificant as we’ve turned our attention to this global pandemic, we also understand that, for our affected couples, this experience is stressful and, of course, disappointing. It’s not all bleak, though. In fact, just as couples are pivoting their wedding plans and rethinking safer (but no less stunning) ways to celebrate, they’re also rethinking their travel priorities—and still planning to get away.

In partnership with Travelzoo, we surveyed over 500 engaged couples with original wedding dates in 2020 and found that about ½ of couples are still planning a quick trip this year.

Welcome First Moons, the latest wedding tradition to come as a result of COVID-19. A First Moon is a getaway on or around the original wedding date for those couples with postponed honeymoon plans. These trips are shorter, closer, and more affordable than what most couples originally planned, but still romantic, special, and memorable—and, according to our survey, ⅓ of couples plan to take one. Travelzoo even curated a collection of First Moon ideas to help couples in their search for affordable and flexible travel ideas.

Our survey, which was executed in our Facebook Community, also offered unique insights about other ways couples are continuing to plan and re-plan their honeymoons, how their travel priorities have shifted, and where they’re going. Here are the full results:

Here’s How COVID-19 Affected Honeymoon Plans for 95% of Couples

  • 46% of couples are still planning to travel this year
  • 30% postponed their honeymoon, but they are taking an First Moon this year
  • 11% of couples are honeymooning this year, but to somewhere closer to home and more convenient
  • 5% are still embarking on the honeymoon they had originally planned
  • 26% of couples are in a “wait and see” pattern and have delayed booking
  • 19% postponed their entire honeymoon to a later date
  • 9% of couples canceled their original honeymoon and are waiting to rebook

When it comes to re-planning, flexibility is now a top priority.

  • 95% of couples said it’s important to them to book a flexible trip that can be easily changed
  • 90% said they would be more likely to book a trip this year that was fully refundable with no cancellation fees

Trips in 2020 are on average shorter, more budget-conscious, and closer to home.

  • The average First Moon is 4-6 nights
  • Couples are spending between $1,000 - $3,000, compared to the average of $5,000 spent on a traditional honeymoon

Regardless of when and where they’re traveling, celebrating with their partner is their #1 priority.

Their other top priorities are:

  1. Traveling safely
  2. Booking flexible travel
  3. Ultimately, taking the trip of a lifetime they’ve always dreamed of
  4. Taking a First Moon this year and a honeymoon next year

88% of rescheduled honeymoons and First Moons are in the U.S, compared to only 20% of honeymoons that were originally booked in the U.S.

Regional and domestic destinations are perfect for First Moon trips because they are easy to plan, easy to budget, and allow couples to have solid control of their getaway. When it comes to First Moons:

  • 55% of couples plan to travel within the same region where they live
  • 35% said they would travel anywhere in the country
  • 12% are comfortable traveling to a nearby overseas escape
  • The vast majority of couples prefer to drive over traveling by plane

Here’s a look at the top original honeymoon destinations couples planned to travel to in 2020, compared to their rebooked destinations:

Top original honeymoon destinations

  1. Europe
  2. Caribbean
  3. Hawaii
  4. Mexico
  5. Asia

Top rebooked 2020 travel destinations

  1. Continental US
  2. Mexico
  3. Alaska
  4. Hawaii
  5. Caribbean

Just like weddings are moving outdoors, so are honeymoons and First Moons.

Here’s how couples are comfortable traveling this year:

  • Participating in outdoor activities: 90%
  • Driving to a domestic destination: 85%
  • Renting a private home: 77%
  • Staying in a hotel or staying with friends and family: 63%
  • Dining at restaurants: 53%
  • Renting an RV: 35%
  • Traveling by plane: 31%
  • Participating in indoor activities: 26%
  • Taking a cruise: 3%

Despite major planning changes, couples are still looking to dream about and book their honeymoon.

  • 27% of couples said that they stayed positive during this tough year by dreaming about their honeymoon

As a company, we believe that health and wellbeing is the top priority, and so we urge all couples to check with the CDC’s latest guidelines regarding safe travel.