The average age of a newlywed couple is 30, according the TheKnot.com, which means most honeymooners fall directly in that savvy traveling Millennial mindset. Chances are they may be looking for something beyond a beach resort stay, preferring more of an experiential, even life-changing getaway in some highly Instagram-worthy place their friends have never been too.
Agent-exclusive tour operator Avanti Destinations, for one, has noticed that couples are increasingly choosing less traditional, more exotic destinations for their honeymoons.
“While the classics are still strong sellers, we’ve seen a steady growth in bookings to less conventional destinations for romance travel,” said Harry Dalgaard, president and CEO of Avanti, in a written release. “To create the ideal romantic trip, you first need to know your clients’ tastes. Do they prefer the classically romantic — like Paris, a Tuscan wine villa, Santorini, Bali? Or something completely new and different — like Bolivia, Lapland, a castle in the Czech countryside, Tibet?”
Private tours and transfers are also something agents should consider when building their clients’ romantic vacations, Dalgaard said. More of the operator’s FIT bookings for all demographic types include private options, rather than shared tours and transfers. Avanti recommends basic itineraries that are designed to be customized.
In addition to romantic getaways to such popular countries as France, Italy, Greece and Switzerland, Avanti offers such intriguing honeymoon options as “Bolivia - Salt Flats in Deluxe Airstream,” and “Tibet - Lhasa Highlights.” The former includes lodging and transportation in a private deluxe camper and a hike to Coquesa Mummies, while a highlight of the latter is Potala Palace, built in AD 637 by the Tibetan emperor for his princess bride.
Extraordinary Journeys has listed its top “Buddymoon” getaways in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and the Seychelles. Designed as a honeymoon for newlyweds and their closest friends, “buddymoons” prioritize shared experiences over seclusion and constant romance. To cater to this growing trend, Extraordinary Journeys has identified eight exclusive-use villas, lodges and private islands where shared accommodations and experiences are the focus of the trip.
The private island retreat of Thanda off the coast of Tanzania, for example, includes an indoor aquarium, grand piano, wine collection, cigar humidor, glass rim-flow swimming pool and a wrap-around dining area with 180-degree views of the ocean. Guests can visit the white-sand beaches for snorkeling, sailing and kayaking or simply for relaxation and sunbathing. Travelers can also add in excursions to neighboring islands to explore 11th-century ruins and get to know local communities and their traditions. Thanda Island’s five suites can house 10 guests.
Family owned and operated since 1989, Perfect Honeymoons is solely dedicated to planning honeymoons and luxury getaways. The company, which constantly travels the globe seeking out the newest and hottest honeymoon and vacation spots, dedicates an entire section of its website to “Off The Beaten Path,” highlighting getaways for newlyweds to Nicaragua, Chile, South Africa, Bali, the Maldives and Seychelles. Fun Fact: Over the last several years, Seychelles has hosted such high-profile honeymoon couples as Prince William and Kate Middleton; George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin; Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade; and Salma Hayek and Francois-Henri Pinault.
A 13-day Seychelles - South Africa combination is one of several off-the-beaten path honeymoon options from Zicasso. Other intriguing choices include a 13-day “Grand Galapagos Honeymoon & Yacht Cruise,” 11-day “An Adventurers Honeymoon to Zambia, five-day “Sea Kayaking Dubrovnik and Elafiti Islands” and 12-day “Complete Patagonia: Buenos Aires, Peninsula Valdes, Ushuaia/Tierra del Fuego and Glaciers.”