Bridal Industry Q&A’s with…
Covid-19 has undoubtedly affected honeymoon plans, with many cancelled and postponed. I thought this would be a great opportunity to reach out to an old friend and get some sound advice and inspiration on the endless incredible honeymoon options available to you.
Check out below her top recommendations for city breaks and faraway trips, season by season recommendations, her favourite hidden gems around the world, and the benefits of booking through an independent travel adviser.
Who’s the face behind the travel counsellor? And how did you get into the travel industry?
I have worked in the Travel industry for over 20 years now and in 2014 I became an owner of my own Travel Business as a Personal Travel Counsellor.
I had always wanted to work in travel from being a child, but my family were always of the opinion I should have a profession. Therefore, I went to University, passed my Degree with first class honours and went on to teach in secondary schools.
In 2000, I had a health scare, so I left teaching and followed my dreams, joining travel with Airtours as a customer services manager and have never looked back.
For couples looking to book their honeymoons, what is the benefit of booking a honeymoon with an independent travel expert such as yourself over booking with a local travel agent?
- I would be their personal concierge who will get to know them personally by meeting the couple and ascertaining what their exact requirements would be.
- I would be their constant point of contact and available at times that suit them, even after normal office hours, when high street travel agents are closed
- I have a wide variety of suppliers, including destination specialists around the world, to help you create a very unique experience.
Are holiday bookings through independent travel advisers financially protected in the same way that they would be booking with a large agent?
Clients who book through me are better protected than they would be with a high street agent, through the Travel Counsellors 100% financial protection.
Is there a travel insurance that specialises in honeymoons? And would you recommend this type of insurance to couples looking to travel for their honeymoon?
I am not an insurance specialist, but we do have an amazing preferred supplier that I use. In the light of the Covid -19 pandemic many insurers are reviewing their policies. I would assist my clients in this regard.
How can you help the couples seeking a once in a lifetime experience for their honeymoon?
For the unique experiences, I use my ground handlers around the world. They are based in the country and can organise really unusual and unique experiences. They are very well vetted and to be honest, you wouldn’t get a better service elsewhere. I speak to them about my client, what they love and enjoy and they’ll come back with masses of ideas. They really are amazing.
What is the safest way to book expeditions and activities? Can you book these at the time of booking the trip or is it best to be book on arrival?
I would always suggest booking activities during the booking process, otherwise these may be fully booked upon arrival.
Working with destination specialists around the world, we can source unusual activities to make your honeymoon extra special.
I would also have a chat with the destination supplier before their arrival to ensure that they are aware that my clients are VIP’s and see if there are any upgrades available!
What should couples consider when choosing their honeymoon destination?
I would cover this during our chat, to find out if they are just wanting to relax for the whole time or they may be very active and adventurous. They could even book a dual or even multi centre honeymoon to incorporate everything they would love. One of my favourite honeymoons was a couple travelling for 12 weeks around the Far East.
Time of year is very important to consider.
Other considerations for same sex couples would also need to be taken into account in some countries.
Have you seen an increase of city breaks for honeymoons, or are many couples still looking for tropical getaways?
Interestingly, many of my honeymooners might have a ‘mini-moon’ city or weekend break after their wedding, with a view to enjoying their ‘main’ romantic honeymoon at a later date.
Or we can mix a city break with a tropical paradise eg stop off in Dubai en route to the Indian Ocean.
Have there been any destinations that have increased in popularity in 2019/early 2020?
Oh yes, I’m seeing more couples trying something different such as hiking to Machu Picchu, Scuba Diving in the Maldives or a Road-trip across the USA on route 66, these usually finish with a relaxing few days at the end, in a luxury resort before flying home.
Are there any destinations that you think will increase in popularity for 2021 couples?
In the light of COVID, we’re seeing a real shift in how people look to travel in the future including being more environmentally aware and wanting to explore more.
The Maldives is always popular, alongside Mauritius – for that white sand, tropical paradise, but I’m seeing a hunger for experiential travel – experiencing a country, city or particular place by actively engaging with its history, people, culture, food and environment.
For short haul, you cannot beat the Greek Islands. I work with a fabulous company who specialise in some amazing, romantic villas where you can meander to a local taverna, have a dip in the pool, book a boat for the day and have a picnic on a secluded beach. Pure heaven
Which cities would you suggest for a beautiful city break honeymoon?
For a city break, which is approx. 2-3 days you would really not travel too far, so Rome, Venice and Barcelona are popular. Or, for somewhere a bit different but gorgeous, Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia.
Which tropical destinations would you suggest for an idyllic faraway honeymoon?
Mexico, Maldives, Mauritius, Bali and Sri Lanka are popular Tropical destinations, but not all of our honeymooners have preferred tropical destinations. Some have gone skiing in Canada, cruising to Alaska or to Iceland for the Northern Lights.
With the seasonal variations, could you offer some suggestions of honeymoon destinations for;
Spring– The Amalfi Coast, Italy in May when the weather is pleasant but less busy.
Summer– Antigua, it’s carnival time and with an amazing choice of luxury resorts and hotels.
Autumn– California USA, still warm and quieter.
Winter– Tenerife or how about vibrant Cuba?
During your time travelling, you must have discovered some incredible hidden gems. Which have been your favourite?
For all the fellow animal lovers, Tanzania has hit the travel radar recently where you could enjoy a safari and a relaxing romantic honeymoon on the coast.
Costa Rica, also with its rich green jungle, exotic birds and animals along with its amazing beaches and fabulous luxury resorts.
I fell in love with Thailand – the country and the people. I would NEVER EVER go and eat at the hotel – the food is amazing and very cost effective – it’s also part of the fun. Whilst there, Elephant Hills is a must – one of my very favourite places.
And lastly what top 5 pieces would you recommend a couple to pack, that typically get forgotten about?
- I once forget my phone charger – never again!
- Mosquito repellent
- A good video camera/GoPro (waterproof)
- I have to add this one, as I used to love the Chris Evans programme – don’t forget your toothbrush!
To be honest, unless you are really travelling off the beaten track, you can usually pick up what you need overseas. If it’s important to you to have a particular brand, then make it top of your packing list.
Feel free to contact Lizzie on her details below, she’s always happy to help!