While the traditional vows endure, the ways to celebrate a marriage have changed right along with the travel industry. Today’s honeymooner may be looking for value, adventure, or variety and searching for a getaway that’s as exotic as a stay in a private European castle or nearby as a local bed-and-breakfast inn.
One constant is that couples are willing to spend money on a honeymoon – an average of $ 1,402 per couple compared to $ 421 spent annually on regular trips according to the Travel Industry Association of America. Young couples, age 18 to 24 years, spend the most on honeymoons, averaging $ 1,873. And as many as one-third of all honeymooners spend over $ 2,500 for that once-in-a-lifetime trip. Multiplied by the 2.4 million newlywed couples the U.S. Census records annually, and you have a major force in the tourism industry.
The trend toward honeymoons follows the rising emphasis on traditional weddings. And while the move is back toward the traditional wedding and honeymoon associated with earlier generations, today’s newlyweds are a far cry from the travelers of earlier days. “They’re looking more for luxurious and romantic places, like the little out-of-the-way small hotels and inns and private castles,” points out Sylvie del Giudice, spokeswoman for Les Romantiques Hotels. “They’re ready for a different experience. It’s the experience of a lifetime. They are choosing to go further away on their honeymoon to a different environment and that includes everything: a different language, culture, and food.”
Today’s couples are finding new ways to celebrate their union, creating honeymoon trends that are being felt throughout the industry.
Started in Jamaica but spread throughout the Caribbean and Mexico and into some other regions as well, the all-inclusive vacation is becoming ever more popular with honeymooners – and their families. Their “one price pays all” policy makes the all-inclusive trip more and more convenient for parents purchasing a honeymoon package as a gift for newlyweds. Air, transfers, meals, drinks, watersports, and even tips are included in the tab at all-inclusive resorts.
As work schedules become more and more hectic, many couples are choosing to honeymoon close to home, enjoying a long weekend at local bed-and-breakfasts and country inns. Karen Adler, publisher of the Day Trips America guidebook series, notes that, “Today often both husband and wife are working full time and if one of them has children then the cost of child care is a factor. To take a day trip for an overnight or a short weekend honeymoon makes economic sense as well as time sense.”
For some couples, a chance to enjoy the romance of a big city and the elegance of fine dining makes major cities a honeymoon destination. A recent study by the American Society of Travel Agents showed that the most popular city was Las Vegas. Orlando, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles were other top choices.
The current trend toward adventure and eco-tourism vacations hasn’t overlooked the honeymoon industry. “We have seen a number of newlyweds go on dude ranch vacations as well as our other trips like the cattle drives,” says Dave Wiggins, president of Boulder, Colorado-based American Wilderness Experience. “It’s the kind of thing for couples who are looking for something inspiring, something they can come back and say ‘guess what we did on our honeymoon.'”
Although Wiggins has sold many honeymooners rugged adventure packages, ranging from a 10-day safari in Alaska to sea kayaking in Baja Mexico to river rafting along Idaho’s Salmon River, many honeymooners favor soft adventure. “The lodge-based vacations tend to be more popular with honeymooners because they have a bed and roof over their head and a hot shower,” points out Wiggins.
“We’re seeing more and more soft adventure travel so we have more deluxe lodge-based options,” points out Wiggins. Whether honeymooners overnight in a mountain cabin or in a seaside tent, however, he explains the popularity of adventure travel with today’s travelers. “At a resort there’s a lot to pick and choose, but you can find yourself being a spectator and watching the action go around. On an adventure trip, you’re smack dab in the action. There’s no sitting back and watching the action go by in front of you – you are the action on an adventure tour.”
Finding that special quality is up to the individual honeymooners themselves. With the myriad of choices and a selection of atmosphere that ranges from white-knuckle adventure to hedonistic laziness, there’s something for everybody.
HGTV – HHI 2009 – In the Market for a Vacation Retreat in Bali.
House Hunters International June 9, 2009 Bali Episode #1
My first experience with reality TV behind and in front of the camera.
The special series HGTV Fantasy Location Countdown #4 Bali, Indonesia: June 9, 2009
Pietown Productions Funny when the crew arrived I went to high school with the camera operator! Thank you Randy and Susan husband and wife amazing midas touch team. This is the REAL reality and love when synchronicity strikes.