No travel dream is more important than someone’s honeymoon. Honeymoons don’t just happen; they have to be carefully planned. It is the beginning of your life and often the first big decision you make together as a couple.

According to Conde Nast, honeymooners spend twice as much (over $5,000 on average) and stay twice as long as the average U.S. vacationer. This should be a once in a lifetime event for a couple, so they shouldn’t be afraid to splurge on a few extras. It could be his and hers massages, or a romantic candlelit dinner on the beach followed by horseback riding, or a sunset sail.

When I first meet with a honeymoon couple, I try to determine if they have a specific place in mind. Many couples have already evaluated destinations on the internet, which can be a useful tool to research locations and gather information. However, it’s not the best way to make a final booking. When making honeymoon plans, it’s best to use a travel specialist who has the expertise and knowledge that is needed—at no additional cost. Since this is a trip of a lifetime, the last thing anyone wants to encounter is some unpleasant surprises!

Explore Actual Honeymoon Itineraries!

Honeymoons come in all shapes and sizes — a beach vacation, a safari, a ski trip — and are based more on the couple’s joint-personality than on tradition. The requests I get are vast and varied, but I will try to enlighten you on some of the hottest honeymoon destinations — from sunny beaches to castles in Ireland. Depending on the time of year, I have listed below a few of the most well-known spots for lovers.

Turks and Caicos

Just a short flight from Miami, Turks and Caicos is relatively unspoiled by travelers. Beaches are uncrowded and the coral reefs are undisturbed. And there is no shortage of amazing properties to spend your honeymoon. Privacy, of course, tends to be a crucial concern for honeymooners, and resorts are increasingly catering to solitude seekers with stand-alone villas, suites separated from public areas of the hotel, and access to exclusive beaches or other natural features. Certain villas at Parrot Cay, in Turks and Caicos, for instance, have direct access onto the beach from their terraces and honeymooners are greeted with a complimentary bottle of champagne and, on request, rose petals will be scattered around the room.

St Lucia

Even though it’s only a three-hour fight from Miami, St. Lucia feels very far away. It’s been a trendy destination for a while, but the island has yet to be overrun by travelers; Two of the more popular resorts there are Jade Mountain Resort, which overlooks the striking twin Piton mountains and the Caribbean Sea. All rooms have just 3 walls, so that each room opens out to its own infinity pool giving guest’s undisrupted views. Also nestled in the hillside of St Lucia is Ladera , which is slightly less expensive than the Jade Mountain , but each of the six villa suites and 21 rooms also has an ‘open wall’ and its own private pool.

Bora Bora

The islands of French Polynesia are the epitome of a tropical paradise, and Bora Bora is a fabulous choice if a couple has both the time and money to travel to this idyllic destination. Overwater bungalows, which are situated on stilts over a lagoon, are a standard feature of most Bora Bora resorts. And the incredible views and privacy are unparalleled.

The most impressive accommodations in the South Pacific elevate The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort to a new level of splendor. The Resort features 83 luxurious villas and estates. The St. Regis Butler can assist in arranging a Polynesian Wedding ceremony, a romantic flower petal turndown or even a day on your very own private island.

Costa Rica and Belize

Two of the most “up and coming” honeymoon destinations right now are Costa Rica and Belize.
Traditionally people go to the beach, but now people are trying to do something a bit different…. and eco-tourism is becoming more and more popular.
Costa Rica is a great spot for active couples. It’s well known for its zip line tours, which send visitors swinging through the forest’s treetop canopy via a cable and a harness – not to mention the great surfing. The Four Seasons Resort in Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo has plenty of other options, including two beaches, a fully equipped spa, and a championship golf course.

In Belize, honeymooners can also tour the jungle, swim under waterfalls and explore ancient Mayan ruins. The Turtle Inn in Belize, owned by Francis Ford Coppola, has thatched villas that are set on 650 feet of beach near a small fishing village. There is a honeymoon cottage, with a private garden and Japanese bath.

All-Inclusive Resorts

A great option for honeymooners is to consider all-inclusive resorts. If you book a stay at an all-inclusive resort, your trip is practically worry-free. One rate will take care of the costs of your entire stay. This includes not only meals and drinks, but also entertainment, tips, taxes, airport transfers and more. What all of this means is that you will not have any surprise costs and you will avoid reaching into pockets for tips. There are many to choose from and to suit your budget. Among the top all-inclusive resorts I like to recommend are:

Dominican Republic, Zoetry Agua Punta Cana

Just a few steps from the Caribbean Sea, this all-suite oasis of cane-thatched sanctuaries is perfect for the active couple. Included in the rates are luxurious oceanfront suites with terraces, most providing direct access to the private beach; daily breakfast, lunch and dinner gourmet dining options with an assortment of organic food and beverage selections; unlimited worldwide calling; and complimentary horseback riding.

Mexico, Royal Hideaway

Another great site for active couples or even those who like to just sit back and relax is Royal Hideaway in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Activities that include hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, volleyball, and swimming are sure to keep restless couples busy. The spa at the resort will appease those just looking for pure relaxation.

Ireland & England

If countryside and castles are your idea of romance, then Ireland might be a perfect honeymoon destination. Couples can either enjoy the peace and seclusion of a castle and its gardens or take up golf, tennis, hunting or salmon and trout fishing on the beautiful grounds of Dromoland Castle and continue on to Dublin which is a lively center for music, arts and culture. Don’t miss a stay at the luxurious boutique hotel, The Merrion, which is ideally located to walk to all of the major sights of Dublin.
And from Dublin, take a short flight to London. And why not stay at The Goring Hotel where many of the guests (including the bride’s family) stayed before the recent Royal Wedding.

Paris or Venice

These romantic cities are famous for many reasons, and when you are looking at going to one of these cities, you won’t be disappointed. Many people consider Paris to be one of the most romantic in the entire world, and it’s been a favorite destination for many lovers. It has a lot of spectacular natural beauty with intimate candlelit cafes and restaurants. It truly is a relaxing and magical location. One hotel I recommend is the romantic Esprit Saint Germain which is located in the heart of the ultrachic Saint Germain des Prés in the 6th arrondissement of Paris and is set on a small upscale street with wonderful boutiques and close to many good restaurants.
Venice is known for its enchanting waterways and leisurely gondola cruise boats. It’s not only among the most unique cities in the world; it is an excellent spot for a couple to spend a romantic and unforgettable honeymoon. I would recommend the Hotel Gritti Palace which is one of the world’s most celebrated hotels
These are some of the most well-known and tried and tested spots for lovers. With all the stress surrounding a wedding, it’s nice to step into a marriage with a perfectly tailored honeymoon that will set the tone for exploring the world together as a couple. However it is a personal choice, and with a little diligence and research, the perfect getaway for a honeymoon of a lifetime can be arranged.