Over the Moon Vacations is widely considered one of the top travel planning companies in the luxury travel planning market, and we are beyond grateful they took the time to share their expert opinion on 3 honeymoon destinations our readers should consider!
The 3 Best Exotic Honeymoon Destinations You Need to Consider for 2019
If you’re reading this, CONGRATULATIONS! You most likely just got engaged and are currently planning your wedding for 2019. The biggest question; What do we do now?? First things first, you need to hire Ankur & Skye @Our Perfect Night. Wedding planning can be extremely time consuming, & VERY stressful. You have enough to worry about with your own jobs, therefore hire the experts and let them take care of the rest. Step 2; Where should we go for our honeymoon? Here are 3 of the best destinations our friends @Over the Moon Vacations think should be towards the top of your list for this year.
1 – Thailand…. & the Maldives
Thailand has easily become the millennial hotspot for honeymooners in recent years. While our parents hit destinations like Hawaii & Acapulco, our generation is looking for exotic & over the top luxury without breaking the bank. Why Thailand? Here’s why:
Avatar? Nope, this is Rayavdee, a luxury 5-star hotel in Thailand’s Railay Beach.
Budget: Thailand is the perfect destination for people looking to ball out on a budget. While the flights to Southeast Asia can be costly, the rest of the trip is surprisingly affordable. 5-star hotels or more intimate properties with 3,000 square foot private pool villas can be had for anywhere from $400 – $700/night. Want a 75-minute couples’ massage? No problem! You can literally get one (or one per day!) for $10. And holy hell – you better brace yourself for the best Thai food of your lifetime, because even though your local noodle shop makes a mean Pad Thai, the best stuff still comes straight from the motherland. Breakfast is always included in Thailand hotel rates and local lunch & dinner spots can provide meals for around $10 with drinks – and that’s total, not per person!
Elephant Nature Park, a rescue camp in Chiang Mai, Thailand
For those couples looking for a bit more splurge-worthiness, the Maldives is a quick 4-hour flight from Bangkok. Now the Maldives isn’t as budget friendly as Thailand, so you’re looking at spending 3-5 days in an overwater bungalow for $900+/night. But fear not – the less expensive hotels in Thailand will help to keep your trip within a reasonable overall budget.
Experience: Thailand offers an experience second to none in the ENTIRE world. The Thai people are so warm and friendly and their hospitality is unparalleled. They can’t do enough to make you happy. Thailand has captivating beaches in destinations like Koh Samui, Phuket, Yao Noi & Railay Beach where it literally looks like you’re on the set of the movie Avatar. Looking for those crystal-clear waters and white-sand beaches? Check out Koh Phi Phi. Looking for adventure? Chiang Mai is the adventure capital of Thailand. From ziplining with monkeys in the jungle to sharing a special moment with majestic elephants, Chiang Mai will keep you on your toes.
Now back to those overwater bungalows…OTM wants to clear up a common misconception. Thailand does not have anywhere that offers an overwater bungalow. If you truly want that experience you will need to go to either French Polynesia (Bora Bora, Moorea, Tahiti), the Caribbean (Sandals has just opened first hotel in both St. Lucia & Jamaica to bring overwater bungalows closer to the U.S.) & of course, the Maldives. The resorts in the Maldives look like they’re giant swimming pools. The water is really that clear & blue… #nofilter.
Yes, the water really is that BLUE!
Private Pool? Yes, please!
2 – South Africa
South Africa is one of the most special countries in the entire world. While a safari doesn’t quite scream “honeymoon” for some, particularly those who are not morning people, the experience is VERY romantic. Love drinking wine? The Cape Winelands is one of the top wine regions of the entire world and while it is lesser known compared to regions like Napa & Tuscany, their wines are equally as good, if not better. Love great food? There’s a huge foodie scene in both Cape Town and in most safari lodges, with stellar chefs leading an all-star crew.
Budget: While South Africa is not a budget friendly destination, the value is still very much there. The USD is very strong compared to the South African Rand, so the dollar still goes a very long way. The most expensive aspect of this trip other than the flights is definitely the safari. 5-star safari experiences can range anywhere from $799 – $4000/night, but typically covers all of your meals, drinks and game drives. The level of luxury still offered at the bottom range is still very special. Picking & choose where to splurge can definitely help balance the budget. For example, in Cape Town, it may not be super necessary to stay at the VERY best hotel because you will most likely be out & about exploring the Cape. The Cape Winelands offers very affordable 5-star accommodations ranging anywhere from $175 – $300/night.
Experience: Another common misconception we’d like to clear up is the “zoo” theory. The game reserves in South Africa are under very strict regulations on what they can & cannot do. The experience you encounter with the animals is 100% authentic. There are no cages, boundaries, or feeding by the lodges. Essentially, this is their world & you’re just traveling through it on a safari jeep. There is also no guarantee of what you will & will not see, though most people get to feast their eyes on the Big 5 (lions, elephants, water buffalo, rhino & leopard).
Cape Town is such a special city with incredible beaches, a budding foodie scene, penguin beach (yes, I said penguins) Table Mountain, cape of good hope & so much more! Of course, the winelands, which is only a 45-minute car ride from Cape Town offers some of the best wine in the world. The only word to describe this experience is simply “magical”.
3 – Australia & New Zealand
While these two countries don’t usually come to mind when you think honeymoon destination, it actually checks all the boxes – cities bursting with culture, gorgeous beaches, wine country and countryside. One the biggest selling points especially for novice travelers, is that everyone speaks English! Cities like Sydney & Melbourne can also be very reminiscent of New York, Chicago & Los Angeles so the comfort level is very high.
This is Qualia, a luxury 5-star resort in Hamilton Island, Australia
Budget: Like South Africa, these destinations aren’t super budget friendly. While the USD is still pretty strong against the AUD & NZD, higher wages in both countries bring the value similar to what you would see for costs in the U.S. Flights from the U.S. to this side of the world can be quite expensive as well so we think this destination would be better suited for some of the more affluent clients who also have a good amount of time off. If you’re going that far and want to see both countries, 2-3 weeks is definitely a must.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Experience: Both countries offer so much from snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef to landing on top of a glacier in Queenstown and everything in between. If you love lounging on a beach, Hamilton island is the perfect gateway to Whitehaven beach which offers white powder sand & bright blue water. If you love being active, Queenstown is literally the adventure capital of the world. From hiking, mountain biking, ziplining, rides in speed boats, skiing, snowboarding (depending on season) you can even get pushed off a bridge in a chair if you wanted to – you really can do anything and everything to get that adrenaline rush. Looking for great wine? Both countries sport some of the world’s best wine regions. The Yarra Valley is a quick drive from Melbourne where you can get some of the world’s best pinot noir. Wahieke Island which is a short ferry ride from Auckland has a wine for every palate. Queenstown is also the gateway to the Otago wine region which is a red-wine drinker’s paradise. Not loving reds? Marlborough in New Zealand is the Sauvignon Blanc capital of the world. Convinced yet?
Landing atop a glacier one day, white sand beaches the next.
Bottom line: While this list is not all-inclusive, these three destinations are certainly for honeymooners looking to break the mold.
About the authors: This blog was guest written by Allison & Josh at Over the Moon Vacations. Over the Moon Vacations is a travel agency that specializes in custom-curated luxury trips and honeymoons. Each itinerary created by Over the Moon is bespoke to each individual client because in travel, there is no one size fits all. Over the Moon Vacations is a 100% free service and does not charge any fees at any time. How do they make money, you ask? The hotels pay their commission so the only thing they ask is that they can book their hotels on your behalf. With over 100 5-star Facebook reviews, it’s a no-brainer on why you should use Over the Moon Vacations to plan your honeymoon.
Still not convinced of where to go? Check out their destination guide: https://overthemoonvacations.com/otm-budget-destination-guide/
Ready to start planning your honeymoon? Get started here: https://overthemoonvacations.com/contact/