The only thing most brides and grooms look forward to almost as much, if not more, than their actual wedding is their honeymoon—a time to leave all of the stress of wedding planning and excitement from the recent nuptials behind and kick off their lives together as a married couple. In addition to booking multi-week jaunts across the world, more and more couples are now adding a pre-honeymoon getaway into their itinerary, too.
In case you're not familiar with the pre-honeymoon getaway, it's a short trip or stopover that couples take en route to their actual honeymoon. "Think of a pre-honeymoon getaway as a way to level-up an already incredible honeymoon experience," says Lesley Cohen, luxury travel advisor at SmartFlyer. "Why start your honeymoon with a long stretch of travel when you can instead introduce an additional location to break up a long journey to a special destination location into more manageable travel 'bites'?" In other words, more places to make great memories and less length of time spent sitting on a plane.
Seriously considering booking a pre-honeymoon getaway for you and your new ball and chain? Here are some sensible stopovers en route to the hottest honeymoon destinations.
If you're heading on a Caribbean cruise: Stop in Miami, Florida
"From the untamed Everglades to the wild samba of Calle Ocho, nature and the beautiful people party side-by-side in Miami," says Teresa Belcher, founder of Honeymoon Islands, Inc. "With glorious beaches, art deco architecture, and hot nightspots, Miami, Florida, is truly a magical city." The city's tropical climate and easy access to the glistening waters of Miami Beach and South Beach are also not a bad perk! "As well as the beaches, water, and warmth, you'll find high-end shops, fine eateries and museums, beautiful gardens, and plenty of nightlife." She suggests strolling through the ten-acre Vizcaya Museum & Gardens on Biscayne Bay, where you'll find a European-inspired estate established in the 1910s that boasts a beautiful collection of rare orchids!
If you're heading to the Greek Islands: Stop in Athens, Greece
"This southern European city offers spectacular hilltop views, a fascinating history, and some of the most striking architecture in the world," says Belcher. "Athens is where ancient Greece meets the best of the modern world, so whether you want to brush up on your knowledge of ancient history and Greek mythology, or just learn about a new culture, Athens is the perfect destination." Her suggestions: Stroll through the Ancient Agora and the Academy of Athens, on the site where Socrates and Plato walked in flowing togas, debating philosophy. Marvel at the remains of ancient temples dedicated to the gods of Mount Olympus and take in stellar views from atop the Acropolis and Mount Lycabettus.
If you're heading to South Africa: Stop in London
Big Ben, Nelson's Column, the Tower of London, and Abbey Road—every corner in London has a tale to tell. "London is home to more than eight million people, including the world's most famous royal family," says Belcher. "It's also easy to navigate, in part due to the exceptional London Underground, red double-decker buses, and famous black cabs." Some of London's old-world gems include Westminster Abbey, the iconic Big Ben clock, and Tower Bridge. She suggests making a visit to the London Eye observation wheel for the perfect bird's-eye view of the city. "For art and science institutions, the city is a goldmine, so set aside at least a few hours for the British Museum, where treasures from around the world are on display."
If you're heading to Hawaii: Stop in San Francisco
"Streetcars rattle up and down the city famous for steep hills, hippie history, and the toughest place to make a jailbreak," says Belcher. "Once the center of the counterculture movement of the sixties, San Francisco is now one of the world's technology powerhouses and a hub for start-up companies." Although you'll no longer find Janis Joplin or the Grateful Dead singing to sold-out crowds, the laid-back liberal atmosphere remains. She suggests browsing bohemian bookshops and soaking up some music history in Haight-Ashbury. "Stroll through Union Square for some serious shopping, or hang onto your hat as you walk the iconic Golden Gate Bridge." The attractions here are as diverse as the weather.