Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Top Honeymoon Destinations

Monday, January 16th, 2012

If you’re unsure where to head for your honeymoon, consider these top spots.  Some are unexpected but worth a look.  The old faithfuls are there, like Hawaii, Venice and some Caribbean spots, along with some surprises like Charleston, SC.

I love these fresh choices as the top destinations for 2012, from Destination Weddings and Honeymoons.  DW&H likes Thailand and Peru for your vacation of a lifetime.  I do too.

If you’re late in deciding where to go, don’t fret.  Last minute deals can save you hundreds.  Try deal sites like Travelzoo.  Looking for deals is a great way to brainstorm too.

Destination: Off the Beaten Path

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

Keep an eye out for the lesser known, smaller destinations for your honeymoon.  You just may find the attention to detail and quality of customer service is better than you’ll get from the mega resorts.  We’ve found this to be the case with friend-recommended Inn at Lake Joseph – a little known golden nugget in the Catskill Mountains of New York – where we got engaged and subsequently went back to for our 3 year anniversary.


We were personally greeted by the owners, shown the highlights of the Inn and surrounding area while being escorted to our suite.  The Inn is pet friendly and has a gratis kitchen in the lodge with snacks, desserts, sandwiches, salads and drinks.  The Lodge has a cozy library, with chessboards, a pool table, board games and comfy couches and chairs for reading and lounging.  There is a swimming pool, plenty of boats and other water sports equipment at the Lake, bonfire pits and swings dotted throughout the property for relaxing or reading under a shade tree.  They’ve designed the property with adult “relaxing getaway” in mind – no kids allowed!  It’s a great spot for foodies to take charge of their kitchens for dinners, since the inn is breakfast-only.  You can head to local restaurants if cooking isn’t for you.


So don’t always choose the beaten path – sometimes the road less traveled leads you to a better experience.  We believe that Smart Honeymoon fits this mold, and found Inn at Lake Joseph to do the same.  Pay attention to friend recommendations and use sites like Trip Advisor to help you decide on your own golden nugget.

The Honeymoon Capital of India!

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Looking for a unique and exotic honeymoon? We recently had the good fortune of visiting India, where we spent the better part of a week in Manali, a village in the Himalayas. Manali is something of a yesteryear, but modern, wild-west town, and is known to the Indian population as the honeymoon capital of India.

In May & June, thousands of happy newlyweds flock to this mountain village, breathe the clean air away from the city hubbub, hike lightly trodden trails or attempt some more strenuous Himalayan trekking, raft the rapids, absorb Indian culture by exploring local villages and temples, visit artisan shops and dine out in the various restaurants.

Don’t expect all the modern amenities. But if beauty and romance, peace and solitude are your touchstones, and you happen to have India on your radar, Manali just might be your honeymoon in the sky. Be sure to toast to your wedded bliss with India’s own Rhododendron wine.

Mexico’s Ridiculous Travel Deals!

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

In an attempt to lure vacation travelers back to Mexico, most resorts are offering astounding deals. By the looks of the pricing, it’s likely to work. Take a look at Apple Vacation’s huge deals on travel to Mexico. How does a Puerto Vallarta all-inclusive for $70 per night, airfare included, sound? They’re playing my tune. Travelzoo checks under the cushions of the web for great deals. $349 Cancun Oasis 7-night all-inclusive, air included, is a current offering.

In most cases, rates like these can be had if you’re willing to travel on specific deal dates, from specific places, but other dates and airports will be reduced as well. Run your city and dates through a site’s pricing engine and you’ll usually find a comparable reduction from what you’d normally expect. With prices like these, you might just add a week to that honeymoon!

Let me know how you do. Happy registering!

JetAmerica’s Fabulous $9 Flight Deal?

Friday, May 29th, 2009

For the high-spirited Disney World honeymoon for New Yorkers or for the New York City honeymoon for those near Minneapolis, Lansing, Toledo, South Bend or Melbourne/Orlando, a new airline is making a splash by advertising $9 flights. For the first nine to 19 seats sold on each of JetAmerica’s flights, the ticket price is just $9. Sound too good to be true? Taxes and fees bring the round trip total closer to $60 for the lucky few who land these coveted seats. You’ll need to stick to their challenging schedule, since the airline owns only a single jet. Then typically, you’ll find yourself spending closer to $150 r/t after the initial cheap fares have been gobbled up. Plan to spend extra if you want to check a bag. Nevertheless, it’s worth a visit to their site if you live near a city in JetAmerica’s network. The flight savings might justify your honeymoon suite upgrade!

Do-it-yourself Hawaii

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

For most of us here in the US, the expense of a trip to Hawaii lies primarily in the transportation and lodging categories. Here is an article from a couple who did it the other way around. This couple cut corners on their air and hotel budget and instead decided to spend their money living it up after they arrived. Their total travel time might have been on the high end, but they can confidently claim the title of “Do-It-Yourself Travelers”. Great money saving strategies for ALL destinations include using sites like Expedia and Travelocity, but this couple expanded their search to include the travel departments of Sam’s and Costco, as well as checkng the deal site for the occasional rock bottom sale. While not everyone will find success in the nooks and crannies of the travel market, it’s important not to rely on just one or two sources for the best deals. Check directly with the airlines and hotels as well. Then check Trip Advisor for traveler recommendations for activities once you arrive (they’re great for hotel reviews as well). Happy traveling!

The Caribbean - if you needed some reasons to go…

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

The New York Times recently published this overview of hot new spots in the Caribbean in their Travel section. Whatever your fancy, you’ll find it listed in this article that includes over 20 links to great honeymoon destinations. For example, for nature lovers, a new boutique resort is opening in late January on Dominica, with introductory rates through June (can you say $200?). Or the Bacolet Beach Club for a nice hideaway on beautiful Tobago. If you’re a diver, you’ll find new spots on Grand Cayman and Antigua. Don’t forget your suntan lotion!

Do-it-yourself US honeymoon!

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

If your honeymoon is red (roses), white (dress) and (something) blue, then check out this comprehensive site called TripCart. It covers a huge range of destinations in the US, including a great Hawaii section. They say “Finding romance in Hawaii is like finding sand on the beach”. Plus it lists can’t-miss activities for your destination that you can include in your registry if something strikes your fancy. Need ideas? Check out the romance tab on their homepage for some great honeymoon destinations or just click on the map region where you want to go. Be sure to take the tour, which shows you how to put together an itinerary easily. Then, of course, go to Smart Honeymoon and add those items to your registry.

Happy planning!!

Travel hotspots! Savvy Honeymoon Destinations in Asia!

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Treat yourself to an exciting and different honeymoon! This New York Times article lists a few of the many great destinations in Asia. Many of these resorts don’t skimp on the pampering. Be sure to comparison shop onine for best pricing.

Happy travels!!

Cheap Airfare Ideas: My Approach. What’s Yours?

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Finding the cheapest airfare is as much an art as a science. There are nuances aplenty in this hourly-changing industry. The large travel search sites like Travelocity and Orbitz are no longer your one-stop-shop, though don’t think you should avoid them. Those larger sites should still be part of your overall strategy. You can find specials there that the faster moving and harder working little guys haven’t uncovered yet.

My general strategy for finding the best airfare is a multi-step process. It’s a filter down approach starting with the big airfare search engines, especially when I’m researching destinations. If you know when you’re going but not where (like our honeymoon couples, often), then this is a great place to start. You can fairly reliably find out which destinations are running discounts for your dates by doing an Orbitz, Travelocity, Kayak or Sidestep type search, or any of the like. They are all very different; try them out and tell me your favorite! Try Farecast too - Farecast may take this segment by storm if they can work out the kinks. Add a day or two of flexibility to your search to see how much you can save (we began our honeymoon to South-East Asia on a Tuesday, rather than Sunday or Monday, and saved hundreds). Then check the airlines that you may not find in these searches, the Southwest’s and the Jet Blue’s of the world. Jet Blue is starting to appear in most of these searches finally, so check out the one you’re using. Southwest remains adamantly independent. You can often find specials directly through all the airlines’ websites too. Then look for deals through budget sites, like Travelzoo. I’ve used Travelzoo several times for their great hotel specials. Airfarewatchdog is unreal for truly last minute deals. They have some super insider tips too. I’m not opposed to using travel agents for airfare, but you need to find a hungry one that will check several times each day, which is the frequency with which airlines change their fares.

I know that many of you have little golden nuggets to share. What are your tested strategies that can really pay off? Visit us at Smart Honeymoon and drop me an email. If you had 20 minutes to book a flight, who would you use? What was your best “score”? I once paid $6 o/w to fly from Sandakan to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia (June, 2006). The only way to get that was to walk into the Air Malaysia office in Sandakan.

Happy traveling!