Don’t expect honeymooners to be sitting predictably under a beach umbrella sipping together out of a tender coconut shell. They are more likely to be jumping down a sinkhole or watching the Northern Lights from an igloo. “Indian honeymooners are increasingly opting for offbeat destinations, breaking the traditional mould. Newly-weds are looking to curate special experiences by customising their holidays,” shares Daniel D'Souza, President and Country Head Leisure at SOTC Travel. With multiple couples looking for adventure-based activities and using their honeymoon for well-earned rest and relaxation, engaging in local experiences has become an important aspect.
Interestingly, Veena World Managing Director, Veena Patil points out that unlike earlier, instead of just one honeymoon, newly-weds prefer travelling several times a year. “The problem in doing an extended honeymoon at one time is that you end up spending a big amount and all your leave in one single trip. Couples today are taking multiple trips, and don’t mind travelling in the winter to Scandinavia, New York City and adventure destinations around the world.”
This growing trend is seconded by Rajeev Kale, President and Country Head – Holiday, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd, who dubs it the ‘mini moon’. “Owing to their hectic work commitments couples follow up the shorter honeymoon with a full fledged one spanning over 10 days during the year.” Kale adds that cruise holidays have also emerged as a preferred choice especially for weddings taking place towards the latter half of the year with Mediterranean and Caribbean cruises seeing an uptake among millennial honeymooners.
Traditional thinking is a thing of the past, points out Zelam Chaubal, Director, Kesari Tours. “For starters, deciding on the honeymoon destination itself is the choice of the couple rather than a family decision. The trend now is to explore and experience the place and indulge in various engaging activities.”
From a quiet we-time vacation, the honeymoon is now more energetic. “A trend that's picking up amongst honeymooners today is to plan an itinerary that has more experiences than just staying in the hotel with the same old stock rooms and standard menus,” voices Ramesh Ramanathan, CMD, Sterling Holidays. “Many couples want to indulge in activities that are couple inclusive like adventure sports, couple spas and intimate as well as private dining experiences like sundowners by the beaches. They want time alone but also want time together to explore the destination the local way.”
Vineet Ranjan, Co-founder, ScoutMyTrip explains, “Couples prefer off beat destinations where they can relax and be under no pressure to visit extended families. They can explore at their own pace, click pictures for a lifetime and treasure the little moments.”
It is difficult to deny the draw of a romantic and relaxing cruise on the Seine river, or a leisurely houseboat staycation in Kerala. Some destinations simply drip romance. However, the offbeat is beckoning now. “Indian travellers have become bolder in their travel patterns and opting for places like Tromso in Norway, Reykjavik in Iceland, Belfast in Northern Ireland, Rothernberg in Germany. Along with this Vietnam, Cambodia, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Russia and Egypt are other offbeat destinations that are delighting honeymooners,” vouches Daniel D’Souza.
“If the couple likes the beach and doesn’t mind travelling, then Maldives, which is very close to India is a trending destination among honeymooners. One should also check-out Philippines, as this is also an amazing destination,” shares Veena Patil. She also recommends Oman, which has a long coastline and is still a hidden gem, as also Tunisia, Malta, Namibia and Zanzibar with the rest of Tanzania. “Wildlife safaris also make for a perfect honeymoon getaway. Into the wild and close to nature, it’s probably one of the most stress-free experiences ever, when you get to spend much quality time together,” she points out.
Vineet Ranjan wishes to draw attention to some hidden gems like the quaint little town of Mechuka situated at about 6000 ft above sea level in the Shi-Yomi district of Arunachal Pradesh. “A lesser known hub for adventure sports like paragliding, mountain biking, zorbing and more. So, couples who enjoy a little bit of an adrenalin rush can kick-start their new journey in an adventurous way!” Other faves include Kasol in the hills, and historical Orchha in MP.
While Zelam Chaubal recommends destinations as diverse as Croatia, Antalya, Udaipur and Kumarakom, Ramesh Ramanathan swears by Palavelli or Konasema by the lap of the river Godavari for the water babies, and Periyar (Thekkady), Anaikatti, Wayanad and Yeracaud for the evergreen hill station experience.
Varied luxe experiences rule, and automatically come with Insta glory. “With social media powering the demand for brag-worthy experiences, honeymooners are choosing indulgent elements galore,” shares Rajeev Kale. These could be shark cave diving in South Africa to kayaking under the stars in the Andamans. It is clearly time to not just think but soar out of the box!