Your honeymoon is the trip of a lifetime, but there’s also a chance it’s your first big vacation together. This trip will be chock-full of memories you’ll cherish forever, but it can also be a major learning experience as you figure out your travel styles and spend a lot of uninterrupted time together (in an unfamiliar place, no less!). Heading on your honeymoon is totally exciting, but it can also be stressful — or lead to disaster! — if you don’t prepare before you head to the airport.
We chatted with a few travel experts who happen to be couples themselves for their top tips for your first vacation together, as well as how to avoid the most common pitfalls.
“It’s easy to want to pack your honeymoon schedule to make the most of your time off of work, but your first vacation together as a married couple is really a time for you to slow down and enjoy life as newlyweds,” say husband-and-wife travel experts Collette and Scott Stohler of Roamaroo. “You just planned a wedding, so take some time to relax!” The Stohlers recommend leaving your first day wide open so you can sleep in, nap, or just take some time to wander around your destination. “Make sure to get out into the sunlight, which will help you acclimate to the time zone,” says Collette Stohler. Want to plan a walking tour or activity? Schedule one every other day so you have some downtime (and freedom!) in between.
Pare Down the List of Destinations
It can be tempting to try to hit as many cities or locaations as you can, but that can lead to a totally hectic first vacation together where you don’t quite get the feeling for any of the places you visit. “Spend more time in fewer destinations,” says Scott Stohler. “You’ll be able to relax, recover from jet lag, and immerse yourselves in the local culture so much more.
Think Outside the Box
Your married friends will all have suggestions for the perfect honeymoon destination, but you don’t have to take their advice! “If your friends all loved Mexico or Jamaica, but going on a safari is at the top of your bucket list, head to Africa instead,” suggest Adam and Hannah Lukaszewicz, the husband-and-wife team behind Getting Stamped. “You can have that adventurous safari honeymoon, and then spend a few days on the beach in Zanzibar for a little relaxation! We took a two-week honeymoon in Thailand and spent less money than all of our friends did on their one-week getaways, and had an epic adventure.”
Don't Go All-Out With the All-Inclusive
Yes, the deals might be great, but all-inclusive properties really encourage you to, well, stay on the property. Says Hannah Lukaszewicz, “Consider spending at least some of your time at a smaller boutique hotel. That way you can get off the resort, see more of your destination, and try things like local restaurants and activities.”
Learn to Compromise
Planning an extended first vacation together will quickly highlight any differences in your travel styles, meaning you and your partner will have to start compromising right off the bat. “One partner may love hiking, camping, and other outdoor adventures, while the other might prefer more relaxing, luxurious activities,” say Alesha Bradford and Jarryd Salem of NOMADasaurus. So you’ll have to find a happy medium where you’ll both get what you’re looking for.
Embrace Alone Time
“It’s important to let one another enjoy the things they love, rather than holding each other back,” Bradford says. “If that means spending a few hours apart, embrace it! Traveling together is amazing, but only if both parties are happy.” And hey, you’ll reunite for dinner that evening with all sorts of stories and pictures to share!