Honeymoons are the one type of vacation where you’re encouraged to take off big chunks of time, indulge in the best meals, and be pampered in every way possible. What’s not so romantic? The cost. Here, Millennial travel agent and expert Lia Batkin of In The Know Experiences, an experiential travel-planning company, shares 10 destinations that won’t break the bank.
Direct flights from most cities? Check. Beautiful beaches? Check. Activities galore? Check. You’ll get everything you want as the new Mr. and Mrs. — this region of Mexico is filled with a ton of accommodation options, so it’s competitively priced. Plus, many hotels like Unico 20˚87˚offer all-inclusive options — so you’ll get a luxury experience without worrying about racking up the bill during your stay. “With all of that money saved, you can spend it on adventures outside of the resorts,” says Batkin. “Check out attractions like the Mayan ruins and cool towns like Tulum.”
Who says you have to go to the Maldives or the Seychelles for a tropical getaway? “Jamaica has that true island flair, great food, and cool local experiences,” Batkin says. You can even get a private villa feel when staying at intimate hideaways likeRound Hill Hotel and Villas, which is nestled in the hills overlooking the Caribbean Sea. You’ll spend the night in Ralph Lauren-designed rooms, and if you book Villa 10, you’ll be a part of history — it’s where JFK and Jackie honeymooned.
“Sonoma has all of the benefits of the more expensive Napa, like vineyards and spas,” says Batkin. “But since it’s smaller and more up-and-coming, the prices aren’t as steep.” Use the Gaige House as your home base while you explore area wineries. After a long day of tasting, kick back at the cozy B&B, which offers an evening wine and cheese reception and has an onsite spa.
If you’re lucky enough to get a few weeks off for your honeymoon, you may want a destination a bit more exotic. “Sri Lanka is that perfect place for a longer honeymoon,” says Batkin. “It has beautiful beaches, interesting cities.” The Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort overlooks the Indian Ocean and has an Instagram-worthy infinity pool, spa services, and four on-site restaurants.
Who doesn’t want take an Italian honeymoon? It’s a classic choice for couples who love history and food, but it can be pricey to stay in famous places like Capri. “Puglia is basically the new Capri,” says Batkin, “without the high prices.” You’ll be treated to everything from views of picturesque towns built into the hills to the best seafood you have ever had. Stay at the Canne Bianche for an authentic Italian getaway and uninterrupted views of the Adriatic Sea.
A dude ranch might not be the first destination that springs to mind, but it’s actually one of the most romantic vacations ever. Stay at the Eaton’s Ranch, where you’ll spend your days together as newlyweds relaxing in nature and taking sunset horseback rides. Oh, and you can even opt to take a guided overnight pack trip for an adventurous start to your marriage. “Go on, let out your inner cowboy,” says Batkin.
While many tropical islands are at the mercy of the weather, Aruba is special in that it’s out of the hurricane zone altogether — so a sunny honeymoon is almost guaranteed, no matter what time of year you get married. Stay at the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino, where you can relax in a reserved private hut on the white sand beach. You’re also close to the main shopping district if you want a little more action.
There’s a reason Niagara Falls has been referred to as the “Honeymoon Capital of World.” Beyond the thunderous waterfall, explore the area’s secluded nooks and paths. You can eat, drink, cook, cruise, climb, and bike without dropping a ton of cash. Set up shop at the Niagara Crossing Hotel & Spa in the historically quaint Village of Lewiston, and enjoy a quiet romantic meal at nearby Wine on Third.
There may not be a better place to unwind from hectic wedding festivities than on Daufuskie Island. Located between Hilton Head, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia, the island is only accessible via ferry — and no cars are allowed. Roam around the 5-mile-long retreat, where you’ll spot historic buildings before calling it a night at either the Strachan Mansion or the 1873 Lighthouse. Bonus: Meals at both locations are prepared by Jim McLain, a chef who trained at Le Cordon Bleu in France.
Maybe sun and sand aren’t for you. Totally cool. Instead of whisking off to expensive locales like the Swiss Alps to indulge your inner ski bunny, head to Park City, Utah, for powder and great restaurants. “This is the ultimate spot for a ski honeymoon,” says Batkin. “There’s a fun town, lots of mountains, and fun cold-weather activities.” Hotel Park City has that classic lodge feel — think cozy fireplaces and mountain views. It’s also centrally located, so you can hop on and off the slopes easily.