The only thing more fun than deciding on a honeymoon destination is shopping for one!
Following are some of my favorite romantic locales and tips on what to wear to each.
Be sure to check out the roundup at the end on 2013’s top honeymoon spots from Fodors.com, too.
Lets get started...
Scottsdale is a mini-metropolis smack in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, a 120,000-square-mile expanse packed with Saguaro cacti, exotic wildlife and generous desert vistas.
With its roots planted firmly in the Wild West, this is a place where you can walk in the footsteps of the mysterious Hohokam Indians or hit the trails on horseback, riding alongside a working cowboy.
The Sonoran Desert is more than just a pretty backdrop for your honeymoon photos.
It’s also host to an endless array of outdoor adventure.
Hike, bike or climb your way through the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, 21,400 acres of untouched desert landscape that will eventually save a third of Scottsdale’s land as public open space.
Or, take the fun on water with a rafting trip down the nearby Salt or Verde Rivers.
But if you want to be “in” with the locals, set aside some time to hike Camelback Mountain.
If you’re thinking, “The last thing I want to do on my honeymoon is go hike a freaking mountain” (like I was), don’t fret!
Scottsdale is as much about leisure as it is adventure.
Romantic spas, scenic desert golf, an inspired chef-led food scene – it’s all here.
Where to Stay
The Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North is a desert romance retreat with spectacular sunset views.
Catch one on your way to a private Celestial Picnic, a customized gourmet meal for two packed by the resort’s executive chef.
It comes paired with a bottle of wine and a constellation chart to navigate the night sky.
You could also take a page from Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s book and honeymoon at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa. (They’ve got to have decent taste, right?)
Sleek and modern, this mountainside resort is home to one of Scottsdale’s most celebrated restaurants, elements, where the chef is a star in his own right with several appearances on The Food Network and an Iron Chef win under his belt.
What to Wear
This is the West Coast, so things are a little more laidback but good style is standard in Scottsdale.
Keep your look fresh and effortless (you know, in a fashionable way).
Dress: Mossimo from Target
Jewelry: Heather Belle 5-Piece Bangle Set
What to Pack
There’s a reason the area surrounding Scottsdale is called the “Valley of the Sun!”
Don’t forget the sunscreen and shades.
And a good pair of tennis shoes is a must for outdoor activities.
Sunscreen: Clinique Broad Spectrum
Shades: Agadas from katespade
Shoes: Nike LunarGlide
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Located on the island’s northwestern side, Montego Bay (MoBay) is a popular Jamaican travel destination.
This is so partly because of its “Hip Strip” – a district full of shops, clubs and lavish resorts.
And while Gloucester Avenue is popular with the spring break crowd – for better or for worse – it’s also where you’ll find some of the region’s top restaurants.
But if you’re traveling to Jamaica for your honeymoon, I recommend staying slightly off the main drag, away from MoBay’s busy cruise ship port. (More on that later.)
Besides its beautiful beaches and lush scenery, MoBay’s draw is its storied and sometimes turbulent history.
There are plenty of opportunities for an insider’s look at the area’s landmarks like Bellefield Great House and Albert Town.
And a river rafting and plantation tour takes you downstream through the Jamaican countryside and its awesome gorges.
The main excursion company in the area seems to be Chukka and they offer a variety of activities, including off-road buggy tours, horseback rides to the pearly waters of the Caribbean Sea, and canopy tours through the rainforest.
But if I can make just one recommendation – shocker, it’s food related – it would be to visit Scotchie’s.
The traditional “jerk pit” is a favorite among locals and it’s likely you’ll find your resort chef hanging out there after work.
Where to Stay
For a luxury resort that’s friendly and relaxed, stay at Round Hill Hotel & Villas.
With just 36 rooms and 27 private cottages, you won’t be fighting other honeymooners for a spot on the beach.
The resort opened in 1953, hosting the 20th century’s societal elite like Jackie and John F. Kennedy.
The couple honeymooned at Round Hill and the president rehearsed his famous inaugural address in cottage 25!
Round Hill today feels more like a private club than a resort.
Out of its 220 full-time staff, 160 have been with Round Hill for more than 15 years.
They’re likely to remember not just your name, but maybe even where you’re from and how you like your drinks.
Spending the day seaside is recommended, but there’s also a beachfront spa, tennis, and complimentary water sports.
What to Wear
When you’re in a place as visually stunning as Jamaica, it’s only natural to celebrate its bright charm with a vibrant look.
Dress: Jarlo Belted Maxi
Jewelry: Just Acces Feel Necklace
Shoes: ALDO Mirallies Sandal
What to Pack
Great beach gear!
Preferably as cheerful and lively as MoBay’s people, flora and sunsets.
The beach at Round Hill is clean and quiet – ripe for romance.
Bathing Suit: Mossimo Women’s 2-Piece
It might sound cliché, but there’s a reason Paris is popular for honeymoons.
The City of Love seems made for couples – the Eiffel Tower, Bâteau-Mouche, the Tuileries gardens – not to mention some of the world’s finest museums, the Louvre and d’Orsay among them.
And, oh yes, the shopping!
Paris is a label-lover’s paradise with scores of couture houses serving as the backdrop to some seriously sleek street fashion.
When you’re done traversing the city, there are few things more romantic and Parisian than settling into a quiet street-side bistro for some cheese and wine.
But there’s plenty to see in Paris, so don’t stay put for too long.
One of the best ways to explore the city is like a local – on bike.
Pedal your way from Notre-Dame to the Arc de Triomphe and everywhere in between on a three-speed from Vélib’, a popular bike-sharing program with 1,000 self-service docking stations around the city.
According to Brides magazine’s Paris travel guide, April, May, June, September and October are the best months for a honeymoon in Paris.
It’s when the weather is at its best and crowds are few and far between.
In July and August (prime tourist season), many Parisians leave town for summer vacation so you risk running into closed-down restaurants and shops.
Where to Stay
Paris has an endless array of ultra-lux and romantic hotels to fit its character.
But if you really want to experience Paris in a fresh way, consider renting a private apartment through Parisian Home.
Their rates can sometimes fall well below those of nearby hotels and they offer a wide selection of fully furnished spots in just about any neighborhood in central Paris.
Styles range from modest to downright opulent.
And you can book with confidence, too, knowing that Parisian Homes’ agents visit the rental properties regularly to ensure quality.
What to Wear
As one of the world’s greatest fashion capitals, Paris requires a well-edited honeymoon wardrobe.
Keep it classy and chic.
Think Audrey Hepburn or Jackie O.
Dress: Mariella from katespade
Jewelry: Pieces Gros Stud Earrings
Shoes: BC Footwear Flats
What to Pack
A honeymoon in Paris is the perfect excuse to accessorize.
Play dress-up with your favorite ladylike trappings!
The LUXE City Guide will ensure you’re hitting all of the best shopping spots.
City Guide: LUXE Paris
European charm and big-city attractions are what draws couples to a honeymoon in London.
If you live on the United States’ east coast, it’s a relatively quick flight – about seven hours – to the world-famous architecture, parks and pubs of the United Kingdom’s capital.
First-time visitors will no doubt want to hit the staples: Harrods for shopping, the Victoria & Albert Museum for art spanning the Renaissance to 20th century, and of course, Buckingham and Kensington Palaces.
The latter received a $19 million renovation last year and is the future home of Will and Kate.
Kensington Palace has housed six other British monarchs over the years including Princess Diana.
Its ground-floor display of her dresses is still the palace’s most famous exhibit.
Afternoon tea followed by an evening stroll along the Southbank and Thames River is another London must, as is a walk across the iconic Tower Bridge.
And you can’t leave London without taking in a play at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.
Definitely make time to explore London’s many neighborhoods, which are each unique in style and offerings.
There’s luxurious Mayfair, South Kensington that’s a favorite for celebrities, and the cosmopolitan Notting Hill, which is home to 1,500 antique dealers at its Portobello Market.
Where to Stay
The Ampersand Hotel in South Kensington is a new boutique hotel that’s stylish but unpretentious.
Its eclectic design is based on the concepts of botany, music, geometry, astronomy and ornithology (the study of birds).
It’s all an homage to the neighborhood’s arts and cultural history, says the hotel.
There’s an all-day restaurant and bar, Apero, in the hotel’s vaulted cellars that specializes in Mediterranean dishes.
It’s a relaxed and easy-going restaurant with sharing menus and handcrafted cocktails.
For afternoon tea head to The Drawing Rooms at The Ampersand Hotel.
Here, large windows look onto a bustling London street scene.
Staying at The Ampersand Hotel puts you within reach of nearby Brompton Cross, Knightsbridge and Chelsea, as well as the museum district on Cromwell Road.
What to Wear
Channel your inner Kate Middleton by pairing a stylish trench with some classic heels, in this case: a bright shade for some romantic flair.
Jewelry: Mango Wide Scratch Effect Ring
What to Pack
London weather is warmest in July (also the busiest season) and November is the wettest, but a smart traveler should always be (fashionably) prepared for some rain.
Umbrella: Totes Mini Black from Target
Boots: Hunter Regent Carlyle
Best Honeymoon Destinations in 2013
Fodors.com quizzed its editors and conducted some serious research on this year’s most popular honeymoon destinations.
Here’s what they came up with:
-- For Adventure: Costa Rica’s captivating flora and fauna is a favorite among outdoor-loving couples and so are its eco lodges like the solar-powered Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge.
-- For Foodies: Italy is still a top honeymoon destination for wine and food enthusiasts, particularly Tuscany’s rolling hill country and the Amalfi Coast for its remarkable views and inspired meals.
-- For Spa-aahing: There’s no better way to wind-down post-wedding than with a honeymoon on Bora Bora’s white sand beaches and a seaweed treatment at InterContinental Bora Bora’s Thalasso Spa, says Fodors.com.
-- For Fun: Want to celebrate your first days as husband and wife with nothing but surf and sand? Head to Mexico’s Riviera Maya and do it right with a luxurious stay at Viceroy Riviera Maya.
-- For Tradition: Hawaii is a classic honeymoon destination that still tops the list year after year as one of the most popular. The Big Island is an essential Hawaiian experience.
-- For All: I told you Paris was a big one! Fodors.com praises the French escape as a popular honeymoon locale because of its varied offerings: romance, food and wine, culture, and everything in between.
-- For Glamour: Thailand’s star continues to rise thanks to a wave of trendsetters who have vacationed in Southeast Asia in recent years. Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle is remote but completely luxurious.
What is your top pick for a honeymoon destination?
Share your tips & ideas below...