As bridal season moves into full swing, a new report just out shows a seismic shift in honeymoon travel trends in North America. In the last five years, rising wealth, digital connectivity and an increasing global demand for wellness have changed the way couples book, plan and experience their honeymoon.

The survey, conducted by Westin Hotels & Resorts in partnership with StudyLogic, found surprising results centered on the fact that couples are packing more into their honeymoon travels, which means seeking more active experiences and visiting more destinations in less time.

“Statistically, people are getting married later in life and, more often, have the flexibility to travel as a couple before the ‘big day;’ so what couples are looking for in a honeymoon has changed dramatically – from travel dates and ideal destinations to their desire to keep their wellness routine intact,” says Bob Jacobs, Vice President, Brand Management for Westin Hotels & Resorts. “In sync with today’s trends, Westin is uniquely positioned to deliver better vacation days through wellness, allowing guests to get the most out of the time they take off together – whether it is in Waikiki or Whistler.”

With time out of the office at a premium, it is no surprise that a growing number of couples are traveling more in less time. The number of couples who have visited more than one destination on their honeymoon has increased from 35% to 70% in the last five years.

Newlyweds are spending less time getting to their honeymoon destination, opting for trips closer to home that provide robust itineraries that pack a punch. Three out of four couples are staying in the U.S. and Canada as part of their honeymoon, a sharp increase from more than five years ago. In fact, travel to Canada has tripled among North American honeymooners in the last five years and quadrupled in the western mountain region of the United States – a trend that Westin hotels are seeing as well.


Mountain Moons

In summer and winter months, the Westin team noted that Beaver Creek and Blue Mountain have seen significant growth in honeymoon travel. At Whistler, couples may plan helicopter tours, skiing or cycling excursions before booking spa appointments and restaurant reservations. Similarly, The Westin Bear Mountain property in Victoria reports seeing a spike in requests about hiking, mountain climbing and Jeep tour outings for couples planning their honeymoon itinerary.

Given the growth of the global wellness industry and the fact that well-being has become a lifestyle, it makes sense that honeymooners have embraced well-being more holistically over the last five years. Eighty percent of those surveyed reported being more active and health-conscious during their honeymoon than at home. And, if given the opportunity to re-do their honeymoon, 44% would prefer to be even more active.

“We’re not saying it’s all about sweating it out in the gym, but Westin is about creating an experience that allows you to leave feeling better than when you arrived,” continued Jacobs. “Of course, couples are relaxing and enjoying the spa. In fact, 50% of couples say it makes their honeymoon more memorable, while 40% of honeymoon travelers are also running as a way to decompress, disconnect and be a tourist at the same time.”

Finally and unexpectedly, couples aren’t ditching their pre-wedding health routine post-nuptials. Everyone talks about the ‘wedding diet’ and the assumption that once the wedding is over, couples relax their healthy habits. The data showed something else: four out of five respondents increased their approach to active well-being and healthy food choices while on their honeymoon, creating a catalyst to continue their wellness routine following the wedding bells.

Where Honeymooners Go for Romance

Meanwhile, the honeymoon specialists at Virtuoso have been tapped by BRIDES for their expertise in the world’s most romantic destinations. The survey reveals what today’s upscale honeymooners seek for their trip of a lifetime.

The world’s 10 most romantic destinations:

  1. French Polynesia
  2. Italy
  3. St. Lucia
  4. Maui
  5. South Africa
  6. Maldives
  7. Mexico
  8. Fiji
  9. Kauai
  10. Seychelles

Favorite Recommended Honeymoon Hotels 

The top five picks for honeymoon hotels in Hawaii are:

  1. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Hawaii
  2. Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
  3. St. Regis Princeville Resort, Kauai
  4. Halekulani, Oahu
  5. Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort

The top five resorts in the Caribbean for romance and honeymoons:

  1. Jade Mountain, St. Lucia
  2. Amanyara, Turks & Caicos
  3. Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France, St. Barts
  4. Ladera, St. Lucia
  5. Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, St. Lucia

The top five South Pacific resorts for romance and honeymoons:

  1. Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, French Polynesia
  2. The Brando, Tetiaroa, French Polynesia
  3. St. Regis Bora Bora, French Polynesia
  4. Laucala Island, Fiji
  5. Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa, French Polynesia

The top five honeymoon hotels and resorts in Europe:

  1. Le Sirenuse, Positano, Italy
  2. Villa d’Este, Lake Como, Italy
  3. Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
  4. Palazzo Avino, Ravello, Italy
  5. The Gritti Palace, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice

The survey questioned total of 279 Virtuoso honeymoon specialists from across the US and Canada for their insights in January 2016.