Dream Destinations

Tips for planning your honeymoon.

Illustration by Jasu Hu

It’s no secret that the pandemic decimated travel in 2020. So, just as couples reworked their lavish nuptials into micro-weddings, they abandoned exotic honeymoon plans in favor of staycations and weekend getaways. Unless another major lockdown occurs, though, the options for planning a honeymoon now are largely the same as ever—but while the limiting factor is usually budget, now it’s risk. Talk to your partner and establish your mutual comfort level. Some may not be ready for trains or planes, and that’s OK! You can always save the big vacation for your first anniversary. There are plenty of options for enjoying a memorable and romantic honeymoon. Here’s how.

Stay Home

You know that restaurant you’ve been dying to try? The historic home you keep meaning to visit? If you’re really uncomfortable traveling, take the opportunity to play tourist in your hometown. What you lose in distance, you’ll gain in a new appreciation for your own stomping grounds. Finally take that hike, test out the new ice cream place, and grab a photo in front of the freshly painted outdoor mural. Eat out or get takeout, depending on your comfort level, and consider checking into a local hotel for a few nights. Finally, to preserve your privacy and make your couple time feel more special, set your phones to “Do not disturb.” 

Explore the State

If you’re eager to get away but aren’t ready to get on a plane, you’re in luck: Virginia and its neighboring states are known for history, natural beauty, and fabulous foodie scenes; choose a city or two and explore. Sites like Tripadvisor and the local tourism boards (often named things like “Visit Harrisonburg”) will have a list of things to do along with up-to-date event calendars for planning your stay. The Virginia Tourism Board’s website, Virginia.org, is a great resource for everything from luxury resorts to camping, beaches to mountains, and historic sites to dog-friendly diners. 

Relax at a Resort

There’s nothing like relaxing on the beach with craft cocktails and gourmet goodies, especially after the whirlwind of a wedding. Go ahead and book your dream destination—but do your homework first. We’re all hoping that the worst is behind us, but it pays to be prepared. For example, even within the U.S., some states have restricted travel over the past year, and many foreign countries are not yet welcoming Americans; check the guidelines before you book. Be prepared to present a recent COVID-19 test when you arrive; some countries also require quarantining. Know the airline and hotel cancellation and refund rules, and consider buying trip insurance. (If you do, be sure to check if the policy applies in the pandemic.) 

Getting There

Once you decide your destination, you have to figure out how to get there. 

  • Rent a cool car. Even if you’re just tooling around your hometown, rent a luxury car for the week. Many rental agencies offer convertibles and sports cars, making getting there half the fun. 
  • Rent an RV. Traveling in your own private, sanitized space has become really popular in the past year. Book both the vehicle and your campsites ahead of time—and be sure you and your sweetie know how to drive the rig.
  • Take the train. Train travel has come back in vogue, and Amtrak has elevated their sanitization safety standards in response. Fortunately, our state is well-serviced by Amtrak, so you can board in Virginia and ride to destinations all over the United States as you watch its landscapes slide by.
  • Get on a plane. Statistically, flying is safer than driving—and the pandemic hasn’t changed that. Airlines are sanitizing surfaces and monitoring filters to ensure cabin safety, and wearing a mask both onboard the plane and in the airport will help you avoid germs, too.
Where to Stay

Hotels, resorts, and even Airbnbs are all held to higher cleanliness standards than you are at home—and their existence depends on delivering on their safety promises. Most places are eager to reassure travelers, but if you can’t find information about sanitization practices on your accommodation’s website, call and ask. That said, let your own comfort be your guide. If you or your partner is nervous or high risk, maybe an RV is the way to go. If you’re careful but not concerned, you might feel OK about a hotel or resort. 

When in Doubt…

Talk to a travel agent. It’s their job to know where you can go, how to get there, and what you can do. They can advise you on travel restrictions, refund policies, trip insurance, and other details to ensure your honeymoon is relaxing and carefree.

This article originally appeared in the February 2021 issue.

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