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Sara Graham, world-traveller and editor at thetravelpresse.com, offers five fun and affordable honeymoon ideas, perfect for couples who want the best of the best -- at a watered-down price.
1. Honeymoon for the foodies
"I know one Canadian power couple who got married in New Orleans," says Graham. "They keep going back for the laid-back atmosphere and the great cuisine."
If you and your other half fancy fantastic food and are self-proclaimed foodies, this surprise destination might just be for you. So when is the best time to go?
"At the end of May," Graham advises. "The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience offers a five-day feast for the senses," she explains. The event features over 175 wineries collaborating with dozens of international wine and food experts to raise funds for local charities.
2. Honeymoon for fantasy lovers
You don't need to travel too far for a unique and fun-filled honeymoon experience. Nestled in a historic village in New York State's Catskill Mountains, there's a boutique hotel worthy of a romantic road trip, says Graham.
"The Roxbury is a fantastical escape that has been bringing sexy back to the roadside motel with themed rooms loosely inspired by TV shows, films or cartoons from the 1960s and '70s," says Graham. Rooms include Fred's Lair (that is, Fred Flintstone), The Mod Pod, Golightly-a-Go-Go and Genie's Bottle.
3. For a peaceful and quiet honeymoon
Want to get lost in paradise? Tofino, B.C., located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, gets nature lovers up close and personal with some of the world's best wilderness, says Graham. The five-hour drive from Victoria offers epic scenery and quaint stops along the way.
Long Beach Lodge is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary with packages to suit surfers, foodies and whale watchers alike, she says.
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4. Honeymoon spots for history buffs and beach bums
Pensacola, Florida, was the very first European settlement in America. The Spanish abandoned the town after it was devastated by a hurricane in 1559, but the sunny spot boasts much in the way of history and culture.
"In Pensacola today, a historic village remains downtown, while white sand and sparkling surf lure sun worshippers," says Graham. "The storm-watching is pretty epic as well -- from the safety of a seaside condo, of course!"
Whether you want to relax on the beach, get in a few rounds of golf, swim, snorkel or soak up the rich history, there's something for every couple here, she advises.
5. Honeymoon hot spots for the Europhiles
Portugal continues to land itself on multiple must-visit lists and it makes an ideal -- and affordable -- honeymoon spot, says Graham. Northern Portugal in particular delivers old world charm, romance and incredible food and wine. The Douro Valley region offers history, as well as stunning scenery, to put it on par with top European hot spots like Tuscany and Provence.
"It's a first-class cultural experience for about half the price of its aforementioned neighbours," she says.
Many couples choose an all-inclusive resort for their honeymoon because it seems like an easy option. But Graham points out that these packages may not be the best choice.
"Don't get me wrong, all-inclusive packages have their place, but most water down the cultural experience and those buffets can get a bit boring after a couple of days," she says.
If you insist on heading to a large-scale resort, Graham suggests staying as close to a town as possible. You'll be subjected to better food and a more well-rounded experience, and you'll feel more like locals. On the flip side, there are some spots that do the all-inclusive very well, such as Couples Swept Away Negril in Jamaica, which Graham says has a reputation for being the best in the business.
"For those wanting to save money on accommodations and eating out every day, airbnb.com is an essential resource," suggests Graham. From apartments in Paris to beachfront condos, the website offers a home away from home in countless destinations around the world.
Whether you want to stick closer to home or go a bit further afield, there is a honeymoon option to suit your needs and your budget.
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