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Planning a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon is similar to finding the perfect life partner: Both benefit greatly from being in the right place at the right time. While the season in which you wed will play a role in deciding the places you might honeymoon, the wedding date is no longer the most important deciding factor. More couples than ever before are postponing their honeymoons in order to travel to their chosen destination during the ideal season.
Traveling at the right time can make a world of difference when it comes to scoring lower room rates, avoiding tourist crowds, capitalizing on ideal weather and more. For example, couples who get married in August might find exorbitant hotel rates and booked-up restaurants on their Amalfi Coast honeymoon. Waiting just one month, however, means shoulder-season discounts and a more pleasant overall experience as you sip Champagne on the hillsides of Positano.
So instead of jetting off for the honeymoon the Sunday after your wedding, read on for our calendar breakdown of the best honeymoon destinations by month.
Where to Go in January: Hawaii
There’s no more quintessential honeymoon destination than Hawaii, a Pacific Ocean paradise filled with golden-sand beaches, lush rainforests and colorful canyons. The state has no real low season, but couples who travel just after the festive period can take advantage of favorable airfare and hotel rates.
If you opt to fly through Honolulu, settle into Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani, the forthcoming sister property to Waikiki favorite, Halekulani. The Alexandra Champalimaud–designed resort will have just 288 rooms and suites, making it a boutique alternative to the towers that line the beach. Those who prefer more remote digs can plop down at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai (bonus points for the Nobu restaurant) or drive Maui’s historic Road to Hana to horseback ride, waterfall trek, or just plain relax at the bungalow-style Travaasa Hana.
If you’ve been saving up points for your Hawaiian honeymoon, consider the Andaz Maui (a Category 6 hotel available from 25,000 points per night) or, back on Oahu, the Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection property.
Where to Go in February: Belize
Thanks to increased flight service and an influx of new eco-conscious hotels and resorts, this tiny Central American country is finally stepping into the spotlight. Couples can plan a dual jungle-and-beach itinerary starting in the Cayo District, where ancient Mayan ruins and underwater caves lay hidden beneath lush rainforest canopies. It’s just a short flight to Placencia, home of the new beachfront Itz’ana Resort and Residences. Though every room is outfitted with tropical-chic interiors and Caribbean Sea views, the One Bedroom Solar Cottages actually float on top of the water.
Where to Go in March: St. Barts
This tony Caribbean isle has put devastating Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the rearview, as many of its chicest hotels, restaurants and shops reopened this past winter. While afternoons at Shellona and Nikki Beach St. Barth are musts, couples have their choice of luxurious accommodations — from the Cheval Blanc St.-Barth Isle de France (situated on sugar-soft Flamands Beach) to the newly expanded Hotel Le Toiny (where a souped-up Land Rover transports you to the private beach club) and the whitewashed Le Sereno (which offers a bevy of water sports in the quiet waters of Gran Cul De Sac).
Added air lift makes St. Barts easier than ever to reach, too, as American Airlines has amped up its service to the gateway island of St. Martin (SXM) with nonstop flight from Charlotte (CLT) and flights from New York-JFK and Philadelphia (PHL). St. Martin is just a quick puddle jump away from Gustaf III Airport (SBH) on St. Barts.
Where to Go in April: Thailand
The tail-end of the dry season (which lasts from November to April) is a less-touristed time to embark on a journey through Thailand. After a few days exploring Wat Pho and the Ayutthaya temples near Bangkok, hop a quick flight to provincial Chiang Rai. The infinity pool at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort is the perfect place to cool off after a Muay Thai boxing class with your significant other.
In the morning, prepare to walk among giants: The resort is home to habituated Asian elephants and their mahout handlers. After a few days in the Golden Triangle, it’s time to hit the beaches of Koh Samui, a more tranquil alternative to popular Phuket. You’ll find few other tourists on the beach at Six Senses Samui, which offers mind-bending views from its terrace restaurant, Dining on the Rocks, and world-class tension relief at the Six Senses Spa.
Where to Go in May: Japan
Couples can capitalize on lower rates at hotels as cherry blossom season comes to a close (don’t worry, you can still catch a few late-breaking blooms in places like Hokkaido). First-timers should look to travel specialists such as InsideJapan Tours to plan a custom itinerary — with plenty of Insta-worthy moments along the way (think: sunset helicopter cruise above the Tokyo skyline, sushi breakfast at Tsukiji Fish Market and onsen hot spring baths in Hakon).
It’s easy to redeem points for a premium flight to Tokyo, too. Your best bets are usually Japan Airlines, Delta and ANA, a Star Alliance flyer.
Where to Go in June: Greece
Traveling before the summer tourist crush allows for handheld strolls through the narrow streets of Santorini (without throwing any elbows) and day parties at Mykonos beach clubs (without the long wait).
On Santorini, stay at Oia’s Adronis Arcadia, a 58-suite resort that opens in June, or retreat to Imerovigli’s beloved Iconic Santorini. Take the high-speed ferry to Mykonos (or fly straight there using points and miles on a seasonal summer flight from Europe) for rosé all day at trendy Nammos Mykonos (don’t miss the sushi and simply grilled octopus), before capping the trip at Amanzoe, a Peloponnese hilltop retreat where yoga classes are taught in a classic Greek amphitheater.
Where to Go in July: Botswana
From June to August, the Okavango Delta springs to life as seasonal floods from the Angolan highlands turn grassy plains into lush lagoons and channels. Situated on an island in the middle of the Delta, the newly renovated Mombo Camp — which means “Place of Plenty” in Tswana — offers one of the most game-rich experiences in the country. You’ll spot prides of lion, leopard, white and black rhino, spotted hyena, elephants and maybe even endangered wild dogs on twice-daily game drives.
During your Botswana honeymoon, you can also fly to the Makgadikgadi Pans, one of the world’s largest salt flats. This year, Jack’s Camp will undergo a tip-to-toe renovation (in the interim, stay at seasonal sister San Camp, open from mid-April to mid-October). Race each other on ATVs as you ride out on to the Pan to experience the Mars-like desert wasteland.
Where to Go in August: French Polynesia
Tahiti and her islands offer some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes, which are best enjoyed when temperatures are mild, rainstorms are less frequent and whale-watching season is at its peak. From the garden-green hillsides of Moorea to the towering mountains of Bora Bora and the untouched coral reefs of Rangiroa and Fakarava, there’s something to explore at every turn.
Make a bee-line for the queen bee isle, Bora Bora, where the Mount Otemanu–facing Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora is undergoing a property-wide refresh (take advantage of the Citi Prestige Card’s 4th Night Free benefit for this stay) while calving humpback whales can be spotted just beyond the shores of the Conrad Bora Bora Nui. Another honeymoon-worthy points hotel option is the St. Regis Bora Bora, now a Category 8 property.
Where to Go in September: Italy
Between the centuries-old architecture, the charming countrysides and the dazzling Mediterranean coastline — not to mention the (drool-worthy) pasta and pizza — Italy is a honeymoon home-run. Wait until the summertime hordes clear out before touring an ancient capital like Rome or Florence (who wants to bump sweaty shoulders in the galleries of the Uffizi?) and, after your city break, descend on the Amalfi Coast for wine and spaghetti afternoons at La Fontelina Capri. Another option is to head instead to the heel of the boot, Puglia. When the 40-room Masseria Torre Maizza, a Rocco Forte Hotel, opens this May, there will be even more reasons to check out the less-traveled but no-less-charming Adriatic region.
Where to Go in October: Mexico
As hurricane season draws to a close, couples can take advantage of lower occupancy on the Baja Peninsula and many other parts of Mexico. Los Cabos saw hallmark resort developments in 2018 (Montage Los Cabos, Solaz, a Luxury Collection Resort), with a Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos, Amanvari, Nobu Hotel Los Cabos and Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve on the way. After you’ve settled into your digs, make for the epicurean mecca that is Flora Farms to sample delicious date-night plates like marinated catch of the day, wood-fired pizza and braised shank pappardelle. Afterward, stop by Acre Baja for tequila Negroni nightcaps.
Where to Go in November: The Seychelles
Located approximately 1,000 miles off the coast of East Africa, this Indian Ocean archipelago offers one of the world’s most remote post-nuptial getaways. Though you could spend a blissful week on the main island of Mahé (a hilltop villa at the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles; an oceanview rooom at Le Méridien Fisherman’s Cove from 50,000 points per night), it’s worth hopping around now that crowds are few and far between. Fly by helicopter to Fregate Island Private, which has just 17 thatched-roof villas on 300 blissfully untamed tropical acres. There’s no more romantic activity than a picnic lunch on Anse Macquereau, a powder-soft white-sand beach that’s exclusively yours for the day — so long as you remember to hang the “beach in use” sign.
And don’t worry: There are plenty of ways to use points to get to this far-flung beach destination.
Where to Go in December: Chile
While couples should definitely prioritize a few nights in Chilean Patagonia (you’ll find out who’s really in wedding shape once you climb the snow-dusted mountains of Torres del Paine National Park), there’s more to explore in Chile than ever before. The Lake District is home to a new adventure lodge, andBeyond Vira Vira, while Santiago is staking its claim as a culinary capital. Sample chef Mitsuharu Tsumura’s Japanese-Peruvian fusion at Karai or the haute-cuisine flavors of Ambrosía Bistro (kimchi bao, short-rib tortellini), and you’ll understand why.
Fortunately, you’ll almost certainly fly into the Chilean capital, so make it more than a quick stopover. Stay at the former Hotel Santiago, which will reposition itself as a Mandarin Oriental by the end of 2019.
Featured image of Puglia, Italy by Giulia Gasperini via Unsplash.
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