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How to Plan an Active Honeymoon Without Sacrificing Romance and Relaxation


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There's a reason newlyweds often flock to beaches where they can sip a cold cocktail while taking in views of the sea: Weddings are stressful and honeymoons are the ideal time to relax. But for couples who sweat together, a new kind of post-wedding jaunt has cropped up, too.

Research from Westin Hotels & Resorts this past year finds that 80 percent of couples reported being more active during their honeymoon than they usually are at home, and 40 percent of couples run together both to beat stress and to see a city in a new way (so why stop when on your honeymoon?).

But exercise is good for more than just runs with your S.O. and cardiovascular perks. Working out also has proven mental health benefits—lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol (much needed after the stress of planning a wedding) and improving mood (even fending off symptoms of depression). Spending a few hours out and about—even walking—can be enough to set a positive tone for the day.

Luckily, hotels, travel specialists, and guides are all catering to these new needs—beyond the gym. Think: Sky-high cliffside hikes along Italy's Amalfi Coast or private walking—and tasting—tours through some of the world's best foodie cities. (More interested in the outdoors? Check out these beautiful glamping resorts.)

Of course, planning the best hikes, day trips, and adventures for the two of you—while also leaving room for those poolside afternoons and romantic moments—takes a little bit of work.

Here, five ways to plan a fit-minded trip no matter where you're headed.

Consider waiting.

"Most brides and grooms picture themselves getting married and jetting off to their honeymoon destination the morning after—without taking into account the exhaustion," says Hailey Landers, a travel specialist with Audley Travel, a company that specializes in bespoke trips. Your wedding day will likely be everything you hope for, but it will also drain you. "Even delaying your departure for two to three days post-wedding day can be really beneficial—allowing you to catch up on some much-needed sleep, visit and celebrate with your relatives who have come a long way to see you, and simply reset the clock before a long travel day."

Relax on your first and last few days.

When you first arrive, you might want to hit the ground running. But Landers urges honeymooners who want to avoid exhaustion to keep day one (as well as the final days of your trip) plan-free. This'll help you adjust to a new place and a new time zone, and allow you to settle into relaxation mode (or prep for activities to come). Plus, "people usually remember the first and last few days of any vacation the most," she says. So book your splurge hotels at the beginning and end of your trip to make relaxing even more exciting.

Book half-day a.m. outings.

A 100-kilometer ride or an eight-hour trek (read: full days of activity) sound like fun, but planning half-day outings that include some stops along the way (a winery for a tasting or beautiful lookout for an afternoon picnic) will help provide more balance to your trip, says Dane Tredway, a trip designer at Butterfield & Robinson, a premier active travel company. "By stacking the activities earlier in the day, you also allow yourself a bit of breathing room in the afternoon."

Redefine "active."

Just because you bike to work and hit up group fitness classes at home doesn't mean that's what you should do on your honeymoon. "It's okay to be active every day—but 'active' might refer to hiking a mountain one day and doing a walking food tour the next, or it could mean doing a trek for three to four days toward the beginning of a trip and ending for six nights on an island or beach somewhere," says Landers. It's up to you and your other half to figure out what kind of an "active" you're going for—because, after all, this should be something you're both into.

Plan a few private outings.

"I always recommend private experiences over group ones," says Tredway. Shared tours can help you save cash (and introduce you to like-minded people), but you'll miss out on the intimacy of an experience.

Consider forgoing a guide every now and then, too. Says Landers: "There's something romantic and unique about exploring a new place with your significant other, without a guide. A guide can certainly be beneficial and a fabulous resource in the right areas, but there's something special about jumping in the car and hitting the open road together."


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