(ARA) - After stressing out over the wedding location, the food, the guest list, the dress, the hair, the colors, the music and making five seating charts, your reward is to be whisked away for the best vacation of your life with your new better half. Though an amazing honeymoon can be expensive, here are some prime locations that are easy on the newlywed budget:
The most eastern island in the Caribbean, Barbados offers a lot of luxury-lodging bang for your buck relative to other Caribbean islands. And this tiny island, at only 21 miles long and a smile wide (as the locals say), is ripe with exciting and affordable activities to fill your days, from surfing the spot known as the Soup Bowl to playing through the more than 99 holes of golf to zip lining. If you're looking for endless white-sand beaches, stay on the west and south coasts of the island, from St. Lucy to Christ Church. But if you crave adventure, explore Harrison's Cave in St. Thomas or learn to windsurf on the eastern side of the island. With average temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees, Barbados is a year-round destination, which means that honeymooners can enjoy the sun and get a taste of the island's famous rum any time they please.
If climbing a mountain provides you with more post-wedding stress relief than just vegging out on the beach, then head north to the Canadian Rockies, says Alistair Wearmouth, senior editor at Away.com. "Visiting an outside-the-box, laid-back mountain town like Banff in Alberta will save you money compared to a place like Mexico or the Caribbean that specifically targets honeymooners." Lodging in the Rockies runs the gamut from affordable, cozy lodges to expensive, ritzy chalets. If you're honeymooning in the summer, plan on hiking in Banff National Park and canoeing on Lake Louise. Also consider taking the train from Vancouver; the ride features panoramic views of the mountains, meadows and wildlife. Wearmouth also recommends Banff and Lake Louise in the colder months. "If you go in winter, you'll have access to three world-class ski resorts within minutes of Banff, which is like a less-stuffy version of Aspen," he says.
Mexico's Riviera Maya is a sure bet for great deals this year, according to Orbitz.com's Insider Index. With the largest hotel infrastructure in Mexico, the Rivera Maya has a lot of hotel rooms to fill. And competition to stay full is fierce, which means newlyweds can often find a bargain for the beach honeymoon they always dreamed of. Staying at one of the many all-inclusive resorts will allow you to forget all the responsibilities and focus on each other, while enjoying amenities like swimming in the magnificent pools, catching rays on the white-sand beaches, or getting a massage as the ocean sounds calm your souls. The Riviera Maya also boasts the largest coral reef in the northern hemisphere, so plan a snorkeling or scuba diving trip to this underwater world.
Go on a cruise
The best thing about a cruise is that you get to visit several different destinations without repacking your suitcase multiple times. Plus, it's often pretty affordable. You'll have a few days to relax while the ship is at sea, and then a few days to explore the different ports where your ship docks. If you want to go all out, you can book a couples massage, special dinners and on-shore excursions, but you can still have a good time without all the extras. Like any vacation, do some research on the culture of a cruise line or ship; if you want a quiet, romantic honeymoon, stay away from the ships that focus on families and kiddos.