Experience Over Expense: The Definition Of A Luxurious Honeymoon
In the last five years our expectations of what a luxurious honeymoon experience should offer have changed dramatically and so too have our perceptions of what luxury is. While the average cost of a honeymoon has increased, couples are choosing to spend their money differently. So what does luxury look like for newlyweds in 2017/18? Olivia Knight, Founder of Patchwork honeymoon fund, speaks to six travel industry experts to find out.
Experience over expense
Since first launching patchworkit.com we’ve found newlyweds are increasingly rejecting traditional ‘luxury beach honeymoons’ with 75% of couples asking their wedding guests to help fund a ‘once in a lifetime adventure’. Tom Marchant, Founder of Black Tomato, says “We’re seeing the rising trend of honeymooners seeking experiences over traditional luxury. Over the past year we’ve seen couples looking to embark on more adventurous and unique honeymoons together as opposed to just fly and flop beach style honeymoons.” Sam Collins from Ethos Travel points out, “while the luxury offer for honeymooners used to be about impeccable service, opulent accommodation and an element of bling, it’s now about providing the chance to see and experience something genuinely new.”
Luxury means ‘never done before’
Given that the average couple now wed at 32 and the majority have already lived and holidayed together before they get married, this is perhaps unsurprising. Most newlyweds will have seen a few beautiful beaches, spent the odd night in a luxury hotel, enjoyed silver service at some point and been to a spa once or twice, so their experience and expectations of luxury have changed. Whilst couples in the past might have been content with champagne by the pool in Mauritius, newlyweds now want to be drinking a cocktail whilst watching the Aurora Borealis in Iceland, enjoying a glass of Malbec around a campfire in Argentina or sipping sake during cherry blossom season in Japan.
Luxury means taking time out
For couples with demanding jobs and busy social lives, luxury is often just about taking time out. This might mean a chance to relax on a beach or be pampered in a spa. But it might equally be about taking the time to enjoy a new cultural experience or develop a new skill.
Luxury means simplicity
When designing bespoke trips for newlyweds, Turquoise Holidays consider every part of the honeymoon journey, with a personalised service at every possible point. But Grace Wright from Turquoise also recognises that luxury isn’t always about being waited on hand and foot. For a generation use to instant gratification and getting whatever we want at the tap of a button, luxury often means a return to the simpler things. A chance to get away from the crowd, to switch off, disconnect and enjoy some peace and privacy. Grace says “Petit St Vincent found in St Vincent and The Grenadines is the perfect spot for pure relaxation and luxury. The island proudly offers limited connectivity. With no phones, internet or tv it’s a genuine opportunity to relax. Honeymoon couples will happily swap their iPad for a book and the sofa for a hammock.”
Why not twin indulgence and experience?
After the excitement and intensity of the wedding, there’s no doubt that couples are looking to relax and unwind on their honeymoon. But with picture-postcard beaches offering very little stimulus once the initial wow factor has worn off, many couples find their private paradise can feel like a bit of an anti-climax. The answer? Black Tomato believe it’s all about combining twin destinations – one to unwind and indulge and one to stimulate the senses. Popular twin destinations providing a beach stop and culture trip include Sri Lanka and the Maldives, South Africa and Seychelles and California and Bora Bora.
Honeymoon Contribution OR wedding gifts?
There’s no getting away from it, travel is expensive and paying for your dream honeymoon as well as your wedding day can be a huge headache. One of the main reasons Patchwork honeymoon fund is so attractive to couples is because with guests giving cash gifts towards a travel experience, newlyweds are able to pay for a honeymoon adventure that they might not otherwise be able to afford.
But you don’t have to spend a fortune to experience luxury. You just have to prioritise. Think about what’s more important – the destination or the experience. Croatia is generally cheaper than Italy but offers equally beautiful beaches. Do you have to stay in a 5* hotel or would a super cool Airbnb apartment suffice? Does the size of your bedroom matter or would you prefer a room with a view? Lonely Planet produced a Honeymoon Handbook for the first time this year in response to the huge demand from couples wanting to plan their dream honeymoons on a shoestring budget and it’s packed full of useful tips and advice. “If you do your research and plan beforehand, there are ways to achieve your dream of luxury on honeymoon, even on a budget.”
Which of these is your idea of luxury?!
Huw from Travel Local
“My purest memory of luxury – something I splurged on that I will never forget – is being taken by mountain bike out across the paddyfields to a remote, semi-forgotten Angkorian temple in Cambodia, by ‘the best guide in the world’. No really, he had won a few awards. We were completely alone, surrounded by beautiful countryside, and to top it all off he cracked open two cold beers for my wife and I. That’s our 5 star!”
Emily from Lonely Planet
“It was one evening, whilst in the South African bush on our honeymoon. Our ranger pulled over at the top of a hill and we got out of the vehicle to watch the sun set and the giraffes walk past us below. It was this moment, when all we could hear were the animals roaming around us and the landscape stretching out as far as we could see that I knew this experience would stay with me forever.
Sam from Ethos Travel
“I visited Nihi Sumba Island in Indonesia. Despite it’s incredibly isolated location, it has the most stunning beachfront location with world class diving, surfing, dining and accommodation. Nihi Sumba Island was set-up in conjunction with the Sumba Foundation that works to lessen the consequences of poverty in the wilderness of Sumba – and has done an incredible job already reducing malaria and establishing access to clean water. I had less than 24 hours there – but the moment I arrived and stood on their sandy floored wave front restaurant I knew the next time I came back it would be for my honeymoon.”
Laurene from Pioneer Travel
“I’ll never forget the most romantic experience of my whole life. We were in the Indian Ocean at 5am on a deep dive to see hammerhead sharks just off the Maldives. The sea was black and all you could see was brilliant stars glowing from bioluminescence. There is nothing more luxurious than experiencing the true magic of the universe”.
Tom from Black Tomato
“Being flown to a remote plateau thousands of meters high in a mountain range and then setting out to walk the mountain ridge top without another soul in sight and thousands of feet drops either side. There were breathtaking views and utter silence but for the wind. It was spectacular and to be flown in and out of there by helicopter was extremely special”
Olivia Knight is Founder of Patchwork, a cash gift registry that lets you design your dream honeymoon and invite your wedding guests to fund it – piece by piece. patchworkit.com
What’s your idea of a luxurious honeymoon?!