All listings featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. If you book something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
The days of the weeklong “fly and flop” honeymoon are over. For many well-traveled couples (especially those who have waited two ulcer-inducing years to celebrate), the vacation has become the new trip of a lifetime. Sorry, white sand beaches. “The pandemic has really opened people’s eyes that time is limited and it’s valuable,” says Conde Nast Traveler specialist Grace Cular Yee of Pineapple7. “Couples now view splurging on the honeymoon as an investment in themselves.”
This mindset may translate into extending the length of the trip (anywhere from two to four weeks); cashing in on savings and honeymoon funds (for room upgrades and private drivers); and choosing more unexpected, far-flung locales. “That’s particularly the case with our LGBTQ+ clients, who have been together longer before getting married,” says David Rubin of DavidTravel. “They’ve already done the romantic, veg-out trips. Now it’s a Galapagos cruise or an African safari.”
For now, ever-evolving entry requirements are motivating many couples to limit their itineraries to a single country. But streamlined doesn’t have to mean boring: Yee’s clients have requested island-hopping in the British Virgin Islands, Hawaii, and French Polynesia. “They’re spending more time in the destination instead of wasting it in transit.” As a result, honeymooners are able to dive deeper into local cultures. Neufville Travel founder Tisha Neufville is arranging immersive experiences, like Muay Thai boxing at a professionally equipped facility in Bangkok, a food tour of Tokyo’s depachika (department-store-basement food halls) with chef-author Yukari Sakamoto, and an evening cruise through Norwegian fjords aboard a traditional wooden sailing vessel.
Eager as engaged couples are to pack their bags, the pandemic has taught them the merits of patience. Many experts say couples have been going somewhere close to home after the ceremony while planning a bigger trip down the line. Of course, waiting too long can lead to surprises: Destination wedding–travel specialist April Schmitt, of Travel by Divine, has had couples get pregnant in between the wedding and the honeymoon—which doesn’t mean they’re canceling their plans. “People still want to take two or three weeks and do something huge before the baby comes,” she says. Call it the honeybabymoon.
This article appeared in the March 2022 issue of Conde Nast Traveler. Subscribe to the magazine here.