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Destinations: Grand Escapes

Long-distance honeymooners head to the far reaches for extended adventures | By Laura Cassidy

SMBG_W15_Destinations_Thailand

Krabi, Thailand

It wasn’t that long ago that we were, in these very pages, defining and outlining the now practically defunct term “mini-moon” and suggesting ways to reel in wedding budgets by cutting honeymoon corners. There was, back around 2009, a sobering call to save. And while frugality and practicality are always in style, the latest trend in post-nuptial travel is to really get out there. Far out there.

If you’re the type who likes scientific research, you’ll want to know that a recent study by Brides magazine found significant evidence that the current crop of soon-to-be-weds have “the desire to travel further and for more time.” An informal poll of local wedding planners yields the same data.

“This is definitely the year of the honeymoon for my couples,” says Clutch Events head Megan Clark. “I have clients going to Africa, Spain, and to Germany for Oktoberfest.”

“We are seeing a number of our couples take rail trips across Europe and extra-long honeymoons to Fiji, New Zealand, and other exotic locales,” say Nick and Aleah Valley, the husband-and-wife logistics and design team behind Valley and Co.

Kimberly Person of Alante Photography told us about a couple who jetted off to Thailand for three weeks and even got matching tattoos while they were there. Katie Aweida of Wonderstruck Event Design knows of three new pairs who took over a month to explore Europe or the South Pacific, and Holly Patton of Perfectly Posh Events agrees that Asia has been really popular, noting that a trend-within-a-trend is to wait until the Northwest gray settles in before jetting off for a few weeks. Photographer Barbie Hull has Asia-bound clients as well, and a couple going to Croatia. “Bigger, faster, longer,” she quips.

If you’re sensing the need for a true trek, if you’re hearing a call to cut loose in a major way, keep reading. We gathered five Seattle couples who tuned into the travel zeitgeist and just plain got lost.

Rovinj, Croatia

Rovinj, Croatia

Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

Pisac Market, Peru

Pisac Market, Peru

Honeymoons Are the Travel Version of a Gateway Drug

Oh, you think you have a travel bug now? Just wait. Most of our couples reported that their post-nuptial getaway inspired them to travel together even more.

»“We always knew we wanted to take an extended trip, and our time in Thailand put us in full planning mode once we returned home,” Ashley Boero told me. She and Peter Hisken were married at Sodo Park on October 12, 2013, and left for their Southeast Asian honeymoon four days later. And then, not even a year after their return, they took off for a six-month trek through South America.

»“We’ve found our show does great on the road,” remarked Angela Garbes, who married Will Pittz on Guemes Island on September 24, 2011. “Traveling anywhere now—the San Juans or Mexico—doesn’t seem hard. It’s something we know how to do well together. We are having a baby this fall and are planning a monthlong trip to Asia as a family of three.”

Though most of the couples we spoke to said they basically haven’t stopped moving since that initial trip, one has had a hard time leaving town at all; Justin Johnson and Shelly Guzman report being “still broke” from their November 2013 extended honeymoon trip to Africa, though the incredible adventure was worth every penny. No more travel for them—at least for a while.

Ko Phi Phi, Thailand

Ko Phi Phi, Thailand

Ko Phi Phi, Thailand

Ko Phi Phi, Thailand

Kantoke Meal

Kantoke Meal

You’ll Spend, You’ll Save, You’ll Give, You’ll Take

The two of you are no doubt learning a lot about budgeting these days, so while you count up the costs of catering and floral arrangements, don’t forget to factor flight plans and hotel stays.

»“Once you arrive in Thailand, it’s very affordable,” says Boero. “We stayed in beautiful hotels, ate at wonderful restaurants, and didn’t skimp on scuba diving, snorkeling, or massages—and spent a total of about $180 a day.”

»“We were gifted money from one set of parents to use however we thought best. Saving for a house would have been reasonable, but after debate and inspiration from the movie Up, we went with adventure,” say Johnson and Guzman, who report spending $20,000.

»“We saved for two-and-a-half years and our wedding, gift-wise, was essentially our crowd-sourced honeymoon fundraiser,” says Garbes of financing their 10-month trip around the world. “Our registry allowed people to contribute to specific destinations and experiences. Without these gifts we couldn’t have pulled it off.”

Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Sure, your honeymoon is bound to be romantic no matter what, but there’s something about getting out of your comfort zone that really engenders a new level of closeness.

»“Traveling far away certainly makes it easier to disconnect from life back home and spend quality time together,” says Boero. Thinking you’ll take a 10-day jaunt? Consider rounding up to make it an even two weeks. The marketing manager advises adding three to four days to whatever you initially agree on. “You will not be ready to come home before that!” she insists.

»“We actually went on our honeymoon before we got married,” says photographer Nicole Firestone. She and Nate Vaughn spent three weeks pre-mooning in France and then continued the adventure with a destination wedding in Palm Springs on August 23, 2013. “There was a certain sweetness in knowing we would be having a celebration a few months later. It allowed us to relax and be present,” she adds. “We learned we travel really well together. I think far-flung trips help you grow and depend on each other more.”


Out of Dodge

Get away from it all at one of these three hot spots:

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Exploreans Ngorongoro Lodge

Tanzania

Exploreans Ngorongoro Lodgeat Ngorono Crater

ngorongorolodge.exploreans.com

On the doorstep of the Ngorono Crater and conservation area, this luxurious all-inclusive resort has 20 individual cottages with fireplaces, plus a pool and a full-service spa for kicking back after a day on safari. (Rates from $275/night.)

SMBG_W15_Destinations_OutriggerResort

Outrigger Phi Phi Island Resort

Thailand

Outrigger Resort on Ko Phi Phi Don

outrigger.com

Ashley Boero and Peter Hisken insist, “The Phi Phi Islands were the highlight of our trip; it’s the most beautiful, serene place.” Check into the resort’s private bungalows with stunning views of the Andaman Sea. (Rates from $146/night.)

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Saint-Tropez

France

Hôtel Le Bailli de Suffren in Saint-Tropez

lebaillidesuffren.com

Cozied up to an inlet on the Gulf of Saint-Tropez, you’ll get the celebrity treatment in this boutique hotel’s très chic guestrooms and oceanfront pool. (Rates from $185/night.)