Thanks to the pandemic, many couples have had to drastically change or postpone their original wedding plans. The reward of a honeymoon was likely put off too. But that doesn’t mean a special romantic trip has to be canceled outright. Who says a honeymoon can’t happen in year 2 of a marriage—or year 5, 15, or 37 for that matter? So no matter when you’re ready to make that memorable first (or 50th) trip as a married couple, know that pulling it together doesn’t have to be stressful, even if there are additional coronavirus concerns to think about. To inspire you, we’ve collected some of the most magical honeymoon trip reviews shared by our readers. All of these were designed and arranged by destination specialists on Wendy’s WOW List, and delivered the VIP treatment that all honeymooners deserve. Going forward, they’ll also deliver the safety and security that only the most plugged-in (and well-vetted) trip planners can offer. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for or who the right WOW Lister is for your needs, reach out to us at Ask Wendy for a personalized trip recommendation.
Australia and New Zealand—a cruise with private adventures and a WOW Moment
“At every stop on our honeymoon cruise in Australia and New Zealand, Stuart arranged for terrific local guides to meet us at the port, whisk us away on a private adventure, and deliver us back to the ship in time to move on to our next destination. Highlights included a day hiking in the Blue Mountains with locals who have lived there their entire lives and a day on Waiheke Island visiting three vineyards, all different in style. Thank you also to Wendy for a gorgeous WOW Moment: We had no idea what was happening until our driver delivered us to the Rose Bay Seaplane site for our flight over Sydney and the surrounding beaches. Tom and I were the only two passengers, so Tom sat in the co-pilot seat, enabling him to take fantastic photos of the beautiful city below us. Wendy, we have been fans of your WOW List for many years, using your trusted advisors all over the globe. You are providing a wonderful service to those of us who travel often and like to travel well.” —Susan Ketchum
Sri Lanka and the Maldives—for “relaxation, adventure, culture, food, and luxury”
“Miguel did an amazing job planning our honeymoon to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. We provided him with a rough idea of what we were looking for— a combination of relaxation, adventure, culture, food, and luxury—and he put together an outstanding trip. Not having to think about the itinerary, timing, schedule, etc., is a luxury in itself! We simply were told when to show up and where and then went along for the ride! Miguel and his team were also extremely helpful in arranging our accommodation in the Maldives, even negotiating an upgrade to half-board. And Sri Lanka, for those who are considering it, is a special country that blew us away. It is amazing how so much history, culture, and diverse scenery fit into one tiny island. The people and food (food!!) were also a delight. We traveled the end of September through the first week of October, which was considered ‘shoulder season.’ We had AMAZING weather that was not too hot/humid and only experienced a spot shower or two. The crowds were light, so we never felt like cattle call through the sites. I cannot recommend visiting this nation enough… especially before more catch on to its charm!” —Shelley Devinny
Portugal—where even 19 days will leave you wanting more
“Wendy calls it ‘The WOW List’ for a reason. Gonçalo crafted the trip of a lifetime for my new husband and me. We worked with him while deep in wedding planning, and he was extremely patient and responsive with us throughout the entire process, making our 19-day Portugal honeymoon the light at the end of the tunnel. I spoke with Gonçalo over the phone to kick things off, describing our interests and the cities we were wanting to visit. He was super kind and honest, letting us know what would be closed or perhaps unsafe to reach during the winter holiday (we traveled in the low season of December/January), but providing comparable options in other regions. We received the most well-thought-out and organized itinerary from him. It was the perfect balance of must-sees, off-the-beaten-path suggestions, and open days to relax and explore.
Over the course of the trip, we stayed at four properties, three of which were booked through Gonçalo (one was through my job, as I work at a hotel company) and, boy, were we treated like royalty. The properties were not only gorgeous and in prime locations, but we were upgraded to suites at each of them because they knew it was our honeymoon. We were also left various treats in our room on multiple occasions at each of the properties. To this day, we’re still talking about it! It was very important to us to be able to experience Portugal’s wine regions, as Portuguese wines are our favorite to drink at home. Gonçalo arranged for three private tastings and tours for us, including a very special morning at Taylors in Porto. To explore Lisbon and Porto, Gonçalo arranged for private tour guides to show us around in style. For the sheer length of our trip and all that we did and indulged in, we felt that the prices were incredibly reasonable. Now we’re aching to go back — we experienced a sampling of the country via this tour, from Vidago all the way in the north, to most of the Algarve region in the south and Lisbon, Porto, Fatima, Sintra, and Coimbra in between. We will absolutely be consulting Gonçalo and his team again for years to come. Portugal is a very, very special place, and we have Gonçalo to thank for showing us the best of it. Forever grateful.” —Danielle Berman
Tuscany and Florence—because all honeymooners should get to sleep in a medieval tower
“With all the details we had to consider for the wedding, I didn’t want to feel overwhelmed by also researching and planning a big trip. Wendy Perrin’s WOW List made it easy to find a travel expert for Italy, and then it was simply a matter of describing my dream trip and hitting the submit button. Maria then emailed me to set up a phone call so we could discuss in more detail what we wanted to accomplish. Trying delicious food and wine were at the top of our list, but we also wanted to see the top landmarks and achieve a nice balance of art, culture, architecture and history. The itinerary she sent back was perfect and took all the stress out of the equation. Maria also provided location guides for both Rome and Florence, with suggestions for sightseeing, shopping and restaurants during our leisure time. When we walked into our hotel room in Florence, in a 13th-century medieval tower, we jumped up and down because it was so awesome. The hotel even surprised us with a bottle of champagne on ice and snacks. Our favorite experiences of the trip included a lunch at a small family-owned vineyard and a cooking class in a private olive grove. Without the help of Maria and her team, we wouldn’t have access to special experiences like these. Everything in our itinerary went according to plan, and we never had to worry about a thing. We are so happy we splurged, and are already dreaming of our next trip to Italy.” —Megan Sullivan
Tropical Asia—for an adventure “perfect in concept, orchestration, imagination, and detail”
“Sandy planned a honeymoon trip for me and my bride to Cambodia, Laos, the southern islands of Thailand, and Bangkok. The experience he crafted was perfect: perfect in concept, orchestration, imagination and detail. I say this as a veteran traveler—I speak French and Spanish, have worked and lived in Paris, and have traveled throughout Europe, South and Central America, and to Hong Kong. Sandy’s work was the best I’ve had yet, and his in-country guides are thoughtful, dedicated folk who add their own magical touches to the experience. It is clear that he is very close to them and their families and cares a great deal about them. It is also very clear that he worked closely with them to make our experience into the adventure we’d hoped for. I thought it might be helpful to describe a few of his guides that met us along our journey. Kheleur, our guide to Angkor Wat and Cambodia—welcoming, gentle, accommodating and masterful in his plans, and a subject matter expert in the temples. We loved how he created seamless transitions between touring and our wild events (for example, candle-lit dinners on rural tropical estates, sunset cocktails on the water about Angkor Thom) as much as we loved the archeological tours, evening cruises and dinners themselves. The boat tour and the villa dinner merit special praise—he made them appear as if magically created. The midday respite to allow for physical training (and swimming and napping) was brilliant. Ek and Paan, our guides in Luang Prabang and the Laos countryside—warm, kind, absurdly welcoming. We were treated as family—I felt unworthy! They gave us love and generosity. Ek sparkles with goodwill and joie-de-vivre. He also seems to know every single person in town. When we threw a wrench into the plans he had made for us (we changed a lunch site and some afternoon touring) he cheerfully accommodated—and facilitated—our wishes as if it were nothing at all. We loved Pablo, our guide in Thailand and Bangkok. Enthusiastic, a careful listener, an eager and engaged teacher of Thai culture and history, a gentleman whose goodwill and blithe spirit are as radiant as his smile. I am sure he has brought hundreds to the same five temples, has taken the same longboat cruise every week for years, and could apply for permanent citizenship at the flower market. You would be unable to tell—at each stop of the white van, he would genuinely brighten as he shared our discovery of each new scene. Truly, the journey Sandy crafted for us was educational, exciting, restorative. Cannot recommend highly enough.” —Charlie Mize
Costa Rica—for “an authentic and adventurous trip”
“When we approached Irene in order to plan our trip to Costa Rica, she asked us in great detail about our lives, hobbies, and passions. We wanted an authentic and adventurous trip where we could immerse ourselves in the local culture and experience the stunning nature and wildlife. We began our trip by going to Irene’s mother’s house on the way to the Arenal volcano region. She was so welcoming and taught us how to make homemade tortillas and prepared an amazing Costa Rican lunch filled with Gallo pintos, chicken, yucca, etc. In the Arenal region, Irene arranged for a beautiful hotel at the base of the volcano amongst the natural hot springs. It was an authentic Tico experience—Pura Vida all the way. We went ziplining, white water rafting, rappelling, and on a hanging bridge and wildlife tour. All in three days. It was amazing!!! We then headed to Costa Rica’s Pacific side and to Nosara, a vibrant local beach village without major resorts or attractions but with everything we wanted. We surfed every day and stayed in an open-air hotel right on the beach, with a different menu each day and amazing staff. We also got to see thousands of sea turtles arriving to lay their eggs, which only happens once or twice a year, for a few days! Irene ensured we got the perfect honeymoon and that it was entirely hassle-free. We now are hoping to make this trip at least every two years and would not dream of doing so without her.” —John Allen Mixon
South Africa and Mauritius—for a two-week safari-beach combo
“My wife and I used Julian to plan our honeymoon to South Africa. We went away for two full weeks, and Julian provided thoughtful recommendations that met all our needs, from city exploration to adventure to relaxation. Our trip started in Cape Town, where we stayed at the gorgeous Cape Grace, then we headed to Kruger National Park where we stayed four nights on safari at Arathusa and Tintswalo—beautiful game reserves with excellent service and incredible sights. Then we stayed one night in Johannesburg at the African Rock Hotel, a gorgeous boutique hotel. Finally, we finished in Mauritius on the most beautiful beach at the One & Only. From start to finish, every single detail was accounted for, and all our transfers were seamless. We didn’t have to worry about a thing.” —William Giordano
Australia—where luxury on a newlywed budget is possible
“Stuart did an incredible job planning our dream honeymoon. After describing our travel style and preferences to Stuart, he immediately provided us with an impeccable itinerary that incorporated all of our must-sees along with other great suggestions that we hadn’t known about. It also balanced the level of luxury we were seeking with our budget as newlyweds. Not only did we have an incredible time exploring Australia, but every detail was accounted for along the way—all of our connections, reservations, pickups and tours were executed perfectly and promptly. We can’t say enough good things about the level of professionalism and care that was provided by Stuart. Thank you!” —Jaime Lee
Bali—for gorgeous scenery, snorkeling, cooking classes…
“My husband and I just returned from the most fabulous honeymoon in Bali. Diane arranged the perfect trip—which had us stay in three different parts of the island to enjoy all the activities we were interested in. Both her planning and hotel suggestions were fabulous. From snorkeling to cooking classes, we enjoyed so much on this gorgeous island. We had a wonderful guide who enlightened and took great care of us. The Ubud Village Resort and Hotel Tugu are two of the most incredible places I have ever stayed and I would recommend both Diane and those gorgeous properties to anyone.” —Amy Rosoff
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico—for a beautiful beach all-inclusive
“Zach and his team, did an amazing job helping us plan our honeymoon to Mexico. They provided us many options to choose from in different areas of Mexico, with great tips on places to go and stay, and things to do in each place. It was through their vigilance that we found our eventual resort, Hotel Mousai. This particular resort was not even on our radar until they brought it to our attention. But it completely blew us away with how amazingly beautiful it was, especially with its views of the coast surrounding the Puerto Vallarta area. They arranged for our stay, as well as our transportation to and from the airport, including transportation to and from the maritime terminal. Overall, we had a great experience on our trip, in large part because of Zach’s excellent service.” —Patrick Kirkendall
Fiji—where the splurge is worth it
“My parents have booked a handful of trips from Wendy Perrin’s WOW List before (two of which I was a part of). They suggested I go for it—splurge for the honeymoon to get a truly amazing experience. By a week into working on this trip with Lynette, the planning experience had already exceeded my expectations. I thought, This must be why my parents love The WOW List so much and will talk about it every chance they get: the ease of setting up a trip with an experienced professional, the trust and confidence that the trip will be spectacular, and the utmost level of customer service with the planning phase.
We discovered later that in addition to doing the planning, Lynette had also been working behind the scenes during the trip to make sure everything was going smoothly, checking in with the resorts that she had booked us in to make sure we arrived well and were cared for. Her staff was friendly and professional and the experiences were what we had been hoping for. Thanks for such a great trip!!” —Robbie Cross
We’re Here to Help
If you’re thinking about a trip during Covid, write to Ask Wendy. We know which trip-planning specialists have up-to-the-minute intel for your destination and can ensure that your entire trip is safe, smart, and extraordinary. Check out Real Trips Right Now to see the difference that this makes. For future (post-Covid) trips, use The WOW List to find the best destination specialist for your needs.
Be a smarter traveler: Read real travelers’ reviews of Wendy’s WOW List and use it to plan your next trip. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter @wendyperrin, and Instagram @wendyperrin, and sign up for her weekly newsletter to stay in the know.