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Daydreaming about the honeymoon

July 17, 2009

I’m totally over wedding planning (note:  that doesn’t mean it is done!) and have moved onto the more exciting event of… Honeymoon planning!

If I had to choose a wedding or a honeymoon (+ courtroom marriage), I’d choose honeymoon, hands down.  Selfish, but it’s the truth!   Luckily, we can do both.  Though imagine the kind of vacation we could go on if we had no wedding!

Budget:  Starting with $2k a head… We’ll see, this is our first “shot in the dark” number.  We haven’t gone on any major (read: international) vacations since 2006, so this is going to be a Big Deal.

Length:  As long as I can possible get off work for.  I want to do 2 weeks, but that may not be realistic.  But maybe!!!

Style:  Adventure + budget + at least a couple nights in a more luxurious setting.  I’m not too snobbish for hostels (private room please) and five star travel seems so ridiculous/silly.  Don’t want Caribbean style resorts/beaches, as we have a beach a stones throw away.  (Though not as nice, I must admit.)

I’m very wary of tours and cruises, but may be open to a cruise, depending on ports (like Greek Isles, not Caribbean/Mexican).  We do like to explore cities and see “the sights”, but we are considering trying to do some trekking as well, since it is what we are really into right now.

Initial ideas:
Thailand, etc.:
Tickets are pricey, but once we were there, we could live like kings.  Tropical, beautiful, could fulfill my dream of Cambodia/Laos or other nearby awesome destinations.  Butwe’ve been there!  Who goes to Thailand 2-3 times, yet barely has seen Europe???   Also, there is other stuff to do, but it is most famous for beaches.

South America (yes, very specific, huh?): Nearby (tickets are expensive still), cheap (I think?), mostly Spanish speaking (??) which T claims he knows.   Honestly, I don’t know much about S. America yet.  We’d have a lot of research to do before.  Safety? Where to go?  Argentina?

Europe: So many options here!  And the countries are all smashed together, so if we do a long trip, we could see at least two, or see many cities in one.  Italy, France, Spain and Greece top my mental list right now.

My Backpacker magazine profiled a gorgeous trek in France (Pyrenees Gr10), and you stay in little cottages along the way (so not so grungy), then maybe we could also swing by Paris and Italy or Spain?  I was looking at The walkers Haute route, but it seems to be more days than I want to spend on a trekking portion (1 week max).  Anyway, I need to do some research on this. We also probably would have to wait until July (wedding = April)…

Africa: Probably waaay too expensive, but we used to talk, way back when, that our dream was to be married on a beach and then go on a safari.  I’m not so sure this is my dream anymore though.  I want to to Kilimanjaro some day, but not for a honeymoon.

What thoughts do you guys have, world travelers and world traveler wannabes? I’m leaning towards Europe, because… I’ve just been to Germany, and I was 17.  But I haven’t got as far as picking the countries…  And I imagine Europe would be a bit of a budget challenge (food + lodging).

9 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2009 12:36 pm

    What about Australia or New Zealand. Plenty of nature but still some big cities to experience. Not cheap though 😦

  2. July 17, 2009 1:23 pm

    I studied abroad in Spain in college. I loved it! We visited an island called Ibiza in the Mediterranean. You might have heard of it because I think a lot of celebs vacation there. Anyways, it was the most beautiful and romantic place I’ve ever seen (if you get off the beaten-nightclub path that is). The beaches were amazing and the water was so clear that I could see all the way down to the bottom (like 30+ feet!) really far out! Anyways, I always said I wanted to go there on my Honeymoon, but I’m not sure if I could ever convince Lloyd to do that!! 😀 Can’t wait to hear where you choose!

  3. July 17, 2009 3:53 pm

    Here are my picks, keep in mind I am not an adventure traveler.

    Kenya: you can fly to Nairobi, and you have access to the best safaris in the world, Kilimanjaro, and beaches (Mombasa) all in one shot. It is expensive (and somewhat complicated) to get there, but not obscene. Safari costs around $100/day (all inclusive), if you camp, double that if you stay in lodge (safaris are somewhat boring and slow-paced; I wouldn’t do it for more than about 4 days, but being out in the true wilderness is spectacular). Anywhere else everything is very cheap. Kilimanjaro is quite cheap as far as I recall, you cannot walk down one city block in Nairobi without 10 different guides offering to take you there. And everything is in English! People you meet will be very happy & excited as soon as they found out you are American, this may not be true after 4-8 years.

    Australia: there are probably several direct flights to SYD from LAX (I believe AA has one, also probably Qantas), Sydney will be freezing then, but where else can you see Euro-flair winter fashion in July? The northeast (e.g. Cairns & vicinity) is tropical has some of the best adventure travel on the planet, and beaches, – Great Barrier Reef, skydiving, all sorts of trekking, aborigines, native animals, etc. etc. This also puts within 1 hour flight of Papua New Guinea which is one of the most adventurous countries on the planet, also New Zealand.

    Philippines: much cheaper and much less touristy than Thailand, and with some of the finest beaches in the world. Just a hop, skip, and jump away from LAX, very easy to get to and cheap to fly into, very accessible. There are tens of thousands of islands, largely untouched and unexplored, one of the cheapest English-speaking destinations on the planet. Also puts you close to Cambodia and Laos.

    Peru: (I have never been) this is the standard destination for first-timer to S. America, Macchu Pichu is supposed to be one of the romantic places on the planet. I can’t comment on the price, but I doubt it’s that expensive. On the other side of the continent you have Brazil e.g. Rio which is truly spectacular although unfortunately very expensive, and expensive to get to, supposedly the NE (e.g. Bahia region) is much cheaper I don’t know for sure. I do not like Bueno Aires, it is pure Euro-trash, probably very cold in July also.

    Also I assume you have been to Costa Rica? That is cheaper to get to than any of these and has all of the adventure plus beaches, highly accessible, you could also sneak a trip to Nicaragua (very, very cheap and lots of adventure, e.g. Isla de Ometepe and beaches such as San Juan del Sur) & Panama into that also.

  4. cuteellaisbold permalink
    July 21, 2009 9:41 am

    Oh the options are really endless. During my travel agent life, I sent people to Israel, Eastern Europe (both had family heritage from that region and we managed to set up day tours to the family village!) Macchu Pichu and a trip to Easter Island (Easter Island adds a good chunk of $, but was well worth it for them.) Fairytale Trail (story book villages through Germany for two literary buffs) and a cruise of the Greek Isles with exploring time in each port.

    Email me if you’d like to chat. CuteEllaisbold(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. Bonnie permalink
    July 21, 2009 10:17 am

    I found Scotland to be amazing, and it was much cheaper than say, London or Paris. (Not ‘cheap’ really, but reasonable for what you’re getting.) Also, have you considered Canada? Toronto, for example, is an incredibly fun, hip, and friendly city, and you have any outdoor adventure you want at your fingertips, plus old-school Niagara Falls within an easy drive. BF and I went there two years ago (lucky us, he has family there), and we LOVED it. Our hotel was very nice, reasonably priced, and downtown.

  6. Christine permalink
    July 23, 2009 2:59 pm

    I’m going to be the realistic commentor. 🙂

    If you want to go somewhere for two weeks and your budget is $2000, I would not be looking at Africa or Australia. Asia and Europe are borderline. Your best bet is South and Central America. You’re going to get the most bang for your buck there with the exchange rates and the flight costs. I do an international trip at least once a year, so I’m saying this from experience.

    I’ve done two trips to South America: Peru’s Cusco area, and Patagonia.

    Peru was about 1.5 weeks long, and cost ~$2200. We flew to Lima and from there flew directly to Cusco. For both flights, it cost about $1000. I’ve had a lot of friends visit Peru recently, however, and flights were super cheap (~$300-500). We did a 4-5 day supported trek to Machu Picchu that cost around $300. We also explored the surrounding area, going to museums, mountain biking, etc.

    Patagonia was done over 2 weeks, with 5 days spent in Buenos Aires. The trip was also in the low $2k’s. We went to both the Argentinean and Chilean sides of Patagonia, hiking El Chalten and Torres del Paine. Because we were hiking and doing a mixture of camping and staying at refugios (hostel type places in the wilderness), it was an affordable trip considering the length of time. Argentina is an incredible value. We did have an internal flight on this trip which tends to drive costs up. However, if you decide to stay closer to Buenos Aires, that would save money and still be amazing I’m sure. Buenos Aires has fantastic food at 1/3 of the cost in the States. It’s definitely one of my favorite cities (despite the comment on the amount of euro-trash there by frugal bachelor, to each his own).

    The most common destinations in S. America are pretty safe. I never felt threatened.

    I would also look into Costa Rica and Belize. I have friends who’ve been and you can definitely find a great combination of adventure/budget/comfort.

    • July 23, 2009 3:12 pm

      @Christine – Thanks for the suggestions, especially re: south/central America. I will definitely look into it more, especially the places you mentioned. Patagonia for around 2k for 2 weeks? Sounds right up my alley — honestly I just don’t know enough about the area.

      2k is a starting budget. Parts of Asia are very cheap, and flights to S America don’t really seem to be any less expensive. I think asia is doable on that budget, but is out because I’ve been to parts of it. I want to explore something new.

      I do agree Europe may be a stretch, but we aren’t above hostels for most of the trip, so we (maybe) can pull it off. The trek I’m looking at has huts that would run about $60/nt each for 5-6 days, flights will be at least $700, maybe much more. We could camp on the trek part, but that would mean we’d have to carry the tent.

      Thanks for the push to S. America–it does sound quite perfect. Perhaps I’ll plan and price out two trips and go from there.

      • Christine permalink
        July 24, 2009 11:14 pm

        It’s true about Asia being cheap once you get there. I think my cost comments for Asia maybe aren’t so accurate for a person living in LA. 🙂

        For Europe, the exchange rates just aren’t looking so great right now. But, it might be a better choice depending on when you want to do your trip.

        For some ideas on Patagonia, you can take a look at my flickr set. I commented on the location at the very least, so hopefully it’ll be helpful for you!
        It’s absolutely gorgeous there! By the way, you fly into El Calafate to do the treks that we did. We went in February which was “perfect” weather. The weather there is pretty unpredictable but in general it was perfect trekking weather. Just bring a lot of layers. It was very summer in Buenos Aires so you’ll want light and airy clothing for there.

  7. August 28, 2009 10:45 pm

    I’ll second Argentina. We loved Patagonia. If you wanted to avoid the internal flight to Patagonia from BA, you could bus to Iguassu Falls and explore the NE part of the country as well. Also consider a ferry trip to Uruguay from BA.

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