How To Start A Successful Travel Business

Punta Cana

There’s more to being a travel agent than loving to travel — and every year, both the risks and the rewards seem to get bigger. We asked established travel advisors to share their best tips on how to get started in 2019. Here’s what they said:

Assess your skills and time
Before starting down the path, consider whether you have the skills to run your own business: attention to detail; willingness and energy to work hard; a customer-service mentality; computer skills; and communication, problem-solving and sales skills.

Be sure you have the funds and the time to invest until your business begins to pay off. Be prepared to not travel much in the ear


ly months of your career (but do travel as much as you can), and to spend three to five years before you really make a good living at it.

Try it out
Get the real scoop by talking to some agents, and then shadowing one for a day or two, to find out what it’s really like. Many agents suggested working in an office for a few hours a week; some suggested a real internship of two or three months. “Listen, help, file, field calls and just pick up what it takes,” says MaryAnn Fusco at MSW Travel in Miller Place, New York.

Research the opportunities
Do your due diligence. Research host agencies and franchises; interview the three that seem to be the best fit. ( has a lot of useful information.) Investigate the legal requirements in your state.

“A good host agency is one with: no or low fees, competitive commission splits (no more than 20 percent and options that are even less), supplier overrides, live and online training,” says Brian Blumhorst. “It also provides a community, with personal relationships with suppliers so you can give some extra flair and service to your clients, and a community of colleagues that give you that feeling of not being in this alone.”

Start small
Define a target audience, and determine how you will reach them. Find something you are passionate about to specialize in. Michelle Pharr, for example, started her travel agent career as a destination wedding specialist. “The quickest way to build a clientele is through groups, as they recommend others,” she says. “And I had just three go-to suppliers: I used Royal Caribbean, AMResorts and Pleasant Holidays.”

Get a formal education
“You will need training and lots of it,” says Cathy Udovch at Travelstore in California. “Look for schools or organizations that teach about the travel industry, or an agency that has a training program. Right now, start studying up on world geography, why someone would want to go to a country, what countries are nearby, and the top things to do there. Look at major cruise line and tour operator itineraries to get a feel for when it is a good time to go. If you can walk into an agency with that information in your head, that is one less thing you need someone to teach you.”

Consider joining an association like ASTA, which offers an online training course titled “How to Become a Travel Advisor.”

Conquer the devil in the details
Be sure you understand net versus commission, health insurance, E&O insurance, and tax and legal requirements in your state. Brush up on your business and sales skills. Write a business plan that lays out your costs, fees you plan to charge and commissions you will earn, so you see clearly how much you have to sell to make a living.

Think about branding and marketing
Research how to choose a name for your agency; it’s best to start out right rather than having to change midstream.

Start building a book of business
Start with friends and family with a mentor watching over you, suggests Denise Hangsleben, but don’t count on them. Get out there and meet potential customers. Join clubs, religious groups, the Chamber of Commerce, and talk travel everywhere you go. “People will talk to you if they see you regularly,” Hangsleben says.

Be ready for rejection
This is a sales job, and not everyone you speak with will buy. “Don’t cry in your coffee because clients booked themselves,” said one agent. “Make a voodoo doll and hope they miss their flight.”

A parting thought
One successful travel advisor had this to say: “Becoming a travel agent in 2019 is not a job, but rather starting your own business. The selling comes easy with time, experience and passion. But it will take time, strategy and perseverance. Most importantly, enjoy the fun and rewarding ride.”

Thanks to all the travel advisors whose thoughts are included here without direct attribution: Terrassa Asare, Tony Day, Mike Edic, David Tolman, Teri Hurley, W Will Medina, Lainie Melnick, Geoff Millar, Celeste Mitchell, Phyllis Samowitz, Ayasha Teague, Tracy Whipple, Paulie Wimbert and Susanne Griffing Yonts.

Complimentary Wedding in Paradise Package at Dreams Macao Beach Punta Cana

Receive the Dreams Wedding in Paradise Package (a $999 value) complimentary! From the ceremony to the cake, you’ll have everything you need to say “I do.”

This package is complimentary when booking at least seven nights in the required room category or higher, or if five rooms any category are booked for at least three nights. This package also applies for renewal of vows ceremony.

Your Dreams Wedding in Paradise will include:

  • Symbolic ceremony
  • Wedding organization and personal touch of on-site wedding coordinator
  • Preparation and ironing of couple’s wedding day attire
  • Complimentary room for one member of the wedding couple the night before the wedding (based on availability and upon request)
  • Bouquet(s) and/or boutonniere(s) for the wedding couple
  • Wedding cake and sparkling wine toast for up to 10 guests
  • Special turndown service the night of the wedding
  • 15% discount on all Spa treatments (boutique purchases not included)
  • Newlywed Package
    • Welcome letter
    • Fresh fruit
    • Bottle of sparkling wine
    • Breakfast in bed with mimosas (reservations must be made in advance with concierge)
  • Late checkout for the couple (based on availability and upon request)
  • Free anniversary nights (stay a minimum of five paid nights over first anniversary date and receive two additional nights free, or stay four paid nights over first anniversary date and receive one additional night free)
Terms & Conditions

All weddings, regardless of size, must be booked a minimum of 30 days in advance of the wedding date. Subject to availability and double occupancy only. Prices and package subject to change without notice. This package cannot be combined with the Dreams Eternity Honeymoon Package for both to be received complimentary and the free wedding package cannot be deducted when purchasing other packages. 15% discount on spa treatments cannot be applied to spa packages or combined with any other spa promotion or offer. Please note restrictions apply when combining the complimentary wedding package with the Group Savings for Every Season and Groups Savings that Clique promotions. See promotion terms and conditions for details.

Once wedding is confirmed, it cannot be canceled within six months of the date of the wedding without a fee. For weddings booked within six months of the wedding date, the wedding cannot be canceled without the penalty. The cancellation penalty is $100. The complimentary wedding package may not be available during all dates and times at the discretion of the resort.

*Additional fees apply for service of a judge or minister. These fees vary by resort and will be confirmed by the wedding coordinator.


Welcome to AMResorts
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Say “I Do” at The Fives Hotels & Residences

Travel insights from The Fives Hotels & Residences

Say “I Do” at The Fives Hotels & Residences

Tying the knot amidst the peaceful sound of the Caribbean waves, gentle sea breeze and stunning Playa del Carmen sunset is a dream come reality at The Fives Hotels & Residences; the collection of luxury hotels designed as refuge for the senses, with the best wedding experience in Playa del Carmen.

Under its All Senses Inclusive concept, The Fives Beach and The Fives Downtown make up the brand’s portfolio of one, two and three-bedroom properties that go beyond traditional lifestyle brands by delivering authentic local experiences for an unforgettable wedding or honeymoon. And with over 5,600 square-feet of indoor event space and spectacular outdoor venues, year-long sunny skies, beautiful beaches and world-class dining, The Fives Hotels & Residences is the perfect backdrop for your special day.

The Venues

With more than 11 venues to choose from, The Fives Beach Hotel & Residences provide guests with indoor and outdoor settings edging the sea, sand and sky. Amongst the favorite outdoor options include The Sky Deck, a fantastic location on the rooftop of the main beach building with a 260° panoramic view of the stunning waters of the Caribbean Sea, as well as The Beachfront Gazebo, a romantic wooded deck, based on a geometric structure that fits any type of décor.

For indoor options, couples love Club 82 Wine Bar, a beautiful space that overlooks the Mayan forest and is perfect for small weddings and The Fives Salon, an intimate glamorous venue that accommodates up to 140 wedding guests.

The Fives Downtown specializes in intimate settings including the Fives Rooftop, a venue that’s ideal for sunset weddings with endless views of the surrounding blue waters. In fact, people love this stunning view so much that The Fives Rooftop offers an “Over the Water” ceremony where couples say their vows while floating over the pool with paradise as the backdrop.

Were some friends and family unable to make the trip? No worries, select The Fives Hotels & Residences locations allow guests to watch the ceremony via Live Stream to share in on the fun.

The Food

The Fives Beach and The Fives Downtown boast numerous culinary creations that combine global cuisine with local flavors through an incredible collection of restaurants sure to awaken the senses. For weddings, selected menus are planned with each couple to ensure that the flavors and presentation reflect their preferences. The Banquet Kit contains a varied selection of menus for all tastes including three or four course meal services, family style or food display.

The Bridal Suite

Get ready in the Bridal Suite, a swanky waiting room fully equipped with mimosas, refreshments and a quick bite to eat for you and up to five of your closest friends and family members. The Bridal Suite also has a private shower, bath, treatment table and plenty of space for hair and makeup.

The Packages

The Fives Hotels & Residences has a variety of wedding packages fit to suit every budget and style. When you book a wedding package with The Fives you can expect modern altar decorations, fresh floral arrangements, private group dinners and exclusive spa discounts. And to ensure that your special day goes as smoothly as possible, The Fives will arrange for a wedding planner and an on-site wedding coordinator to help you every step of the way. The wedding planning team is ready to cater to your every wish, from special entrances on camelback to attending the needs of religious ceremonies, the resort’s well-experienced staff can bring every couple’s vision to life in a stress-free setting.

Not only do packages include distinctive and personalized services tailored to each couple’s dream wedding, they also include benefits to enjoy an unforgettable honeymoon. The Fives offers newlyweds the perfect place to relax after the excitement of the wedding. Guests can live an authentic honeymoon experience in Riviera Maya, Mexico, with spa services, decorated suites to highlight the romance and special discounts for popular tours and attractions.

Top 50 Honeymoon Destinations

From far-flung exotic locales to beautiful beaches and budget-friendly options—we have suggestions for any and every type of honeymoon.

Trying to figure out where to go on your much-deserved postwedding getaway? Whether you’re looking for some R & R with your new spouse or an adventure in an exciting locale, we’ve got you covered in our list of the top 50 places to honeymoon.

Search hot honeymoon spots by style:

10 Best Beach Honeymoons

10 Most Exotic Honeymoons

10 Most Adventurous Honeymoons

10 Best Budget Honeymoons

10 Most Romantic Beach Honeymoons

  1. Most Romantic: Bora Bora, French Polynesia

    Romantic honeymoon Bora Bora, French Polynesia

    WHY GO: It’s the stuff honeymoon fantasies are made of: crystal-clear waters, picturesque mountains and a coral reef swirling with colorful fish. No wonder it was recently voted one of the best islands in the world by US News and World Report.

    WHERE TO STAY: The Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora (from $919, is located on a coral reef that encloses a turquoise lagoon. Swoon!

    WHAT TO DO: Charter a helicopter to take you around towering Mount Otemanu, then touch down on a neighboring island for a tour of a black pearl or vanilla bean farm.

  2. Most Romantic: Bali, Indonesia

    Bali romantic honeymoon Indonesia

    WHY GO: There’s a reason its nickname is the “Isle of the Gods.” Even before the hit book and movie Eat, Pray, Love, the island had been a magnet for romance seekers for its mist-shrouded temples, beautiful mountain vistas and vivid arts scene.

    WHERE TO STAY: A recent filming locale for ABC’s The Bachelor, The Mulia, Mulia Resort & Villas (from $380, fronts Nusa Dua coastline, which is famous for white-sand beaches and calm blue waters.

    WHAT TO DO: Arrange a trip to Pura Luhur Uluwatu temple. Located atop a cliff rising 200 feet above the Indian Ocean, it has one of the most unforgettable sunset views in the world. Then, stay for the mesmerizing nightly kecak dance performance.

  3. Most Romantic: Sonoma, California

    Romantic honeymoon Sonoma, Califronia

    WHY GO: World-class wine, delicious food and unsurpassed scenery—what’s not to love about this pretty locale?

    WHERE TO STAY: Forestville’s Farmhouse Inn (from $595, just added cozy-chic barn rooms to its wooded grove. For the “In-Room Somm” program a sommelier will customize a wine tasting that will be brought right to your room. Cheers!

    WHAT TO DO: Guests at Farmhouse Inn get exclusive access to wineries not normally open to the public, such as Kistler and Kosta Browne. You’ll also want to indulge in the local fare—these California chefs were doing farm-to-table long before it was a trend.

  4. Most Romantic: Paris, France

    Romantic city honeymoon in Paris, France

    WHY GO: Paris is synonymous with romance. It’s a combination of the architecture, the food and the art that makes this city so special.

    WHERE TO STAY: When you stay at the elegant Hotel Plaza Athéneé (from $819,, splurge on a three-night Suite Life package and you’ll be greeted at the airport, escorted through customs and then chauffeured to the hotel. Does the place look familiar? The property was the backdrop for Carrie and Big’s reunion in the last season of Sex and the City.

    WHAT TO DO: The travel guides will talk about going to the Musée d’Orsay, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower—all definitely worth your time. But this is your honeymoon, so you also have to tie a ribbon (locks are discouraged now) on the Pont des Art bridge, which symbolizes your committed love to one another.

  5. Most Romantic: Orkney, Scotland

    Romantic honeymoon in Orkney, Scotland

    WHY GO: Indulge in all your Downton Abbey daydreams at this northern archipelago off the coast of Scotland with green-topped islands and sandstone cliffs.

    WHERE TO STAY: The family-run Kirkwall Hotel (from $143, is located in a storybook-perfect Victorian building that overlooks Kirkwall’s historic harbor and is steps from shopping.

    WHAT TO DO: Take a day trip and stand in awe at the Neolithic Ring of Brodgar, an ancient and eerie ring of standing stones, northeast of Stromness. Experts still don’t know how the stones were brought here or what the circle means. With the weather moving in and the water lapping at the shore, it makes for a supernatural sight.

  6. Most Romantic: Venice, Italy

    Venice, Italy romantic honeymoon

    WHY GO: Italy has long been a favorite honeymoon location for newlyweds. After all, nothing says “amore” quite like a gondola ride through the Grand Canal as you sail past historic buildings.

    WHERE TO STAY: The just-opened (read: stylish and modern) JW Marriott Venice (from $437, is located on a private island with stunning vistas of Piazza San Marco. Pretend you’re Hollywood royalty (like Amal Alamuddin and George Clooney) as you take the complimentary 15-minute ferry ride to Venice.

    WHAT TO DO: Take a romantic, leisurely stroll around Piazza San Marco to feel the true scale of the enormous domes of the Basilica di San Marco or the beautiful and ornate details of Palazzo Ducale. Then, escape the sights and sounds of the city with a dreamy boat ride to one of the unspoiled islands nearby.

  7. Most Romantic: Harbour Island, Bahamas

    Romantic honeymoon Harbour Island, Bahamas

    WHY GO: Chances are you’ve never seen anything like this pink-sand paradise. Plus, it’s loved by boldface names like designer Diane von Furstenberg, Mick Jagger, Bill Gates and supermodel Elle Macpherson, so it must be amazing!

    WHERE TO STAY: Tingum Village Hotel has just 19 airy one-bedroom suites (from $140, Each room opens to an outdoor patio or balcony, perfect for early-morning (or late-night) lounging.

    WHAT TO DO: Visit postcard-perfect Pink Sands Beach and settle in among the three-mile stretch of sand and turquoise waters. Above the beach, join the jet-set for an open-air lunch at Sip Sip (the fresh menu changes daily). Then shop for a flowy caftan or other souvenirs at India Hicks’s Sugar Mill Trading Co. shop.

  8. Most Romantic: Cape Town, South Africa

    Romantic honeymoon destination Cape Town, South Africa

    WHY GO: Can’t decide on what kind of honeymoon to take? Cape Town has you covered: glamorous beaches, big-city buzz, wild landscapes, and easy access to wine country and some of the world’s best safaris.

    WHERE TO STAY: The über-stylish and secluded Atlantic House (from $137, is set in trendy Camps Bay and has only five en-suite rooms for the ultimate privacy and romance. Throw open the doors to your elevated wood deck for an “Is this real life?” view.

    WHAT TO DO: Go to the ends of the earth with your honey and take a 90-minute drive to Cape of Good Hope and Cape Agulhas, located in the most southern parts of the African continent. On the way back, stop at Boulders Beach to visit the famed colony of warm-weather penguins.

  9. Most Romantic: Savannah, Georgia

    Romantic honeymoon Savannah, Georgia

    WHY GO: Get lost in the city’s slow-paced serenity—it’s the perfect antidote to any lingering wedding planning stress. Cozy inns and local restaurants flourish around the tree-shaded historic district.

    WHERE TO STAY: The Mansion on Forsyth Park (from $189, offers a top-notch art collection, a cooking school, spa, an outdoor relaxation pool and a popular restaurant on-site. You’ll be forgiven if you have honeymoon withdrawal when you leave.

    WHAT TO DO: Take a charming horse-drawn carriage tour around the squares. Or drive 30 minutes to kayak among dolphins off Tybee Island.

  10. Most Romantic: Santorini, Greece

    Romantic honeymoon destination Santorini, Greece

    WHY GO: This small volcanic island is known for its seriously gorgeous sunsets and pristine whitewashed villas.

    WHERE TO STAY: Reserve the Perivolas hotel’s (from $465, Perivolas Suite—its cliffside terrace provides an Instagram-worthy view of the Aegean Sea.

    WHAT TO DO: Even couples who get antsy after an hour of beach time will find lots to explore. Take a scooter to the red- and black-sand beaches, check out ancient sites—like the newly reopened Bronze Age settlement of Akrotíri (oftentimes called “Minoan Pompeii”)—visit wineries, go hiking and stop in the many boutiques.

    10 Best Beach Honeymoons

  11. Best Beaches: Koh Tao, Thailand

    Koh Tao, Thailand honeymoon destination with best beach

    WHY GO: Why settle for one breathtaking beach when you can experience a dozen? Rent a motorbike and search for your favorite with your partner.

    WHERE TO STAY: The adults-only resort Koh Tao Bamboo Huts (from $212, features 19 huts perched on rocks at the edge of the sea. All look out on the water, plus have an indoor and outdoor balcony and pavilion. You can also book one with a private swimming pool and Jacuzzi fit for two.

    WHAT TO DO: Relax on the property’s serene private beach, or get certified in scuba diving at the nearby dive center and take your new skills for a test-drive.

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  12. Best Beaches: Aruba

    Amazing beach honeymoon in Aruba, Caribbean Sea

    WHY GO: Nicknamed “One Happy Island” for its prime location outside the hurricane belt and average temperature of 82 degrees year-round, this country clocks the most sunny days in all of the Caribbean.

    WHERE TO STAY: Each room at the recently opened Ritz-Carlton Aruba (from $399, has a private balcony. Book one overlooking the Caribbean Sea for truly beautiful vistas.

    WHAT TO DO: Although this hotel and most others are located on Palm Beach—Aruba’s most famous—venture out one day to Arashi Beach for pure white sand and unforgettable snorkeling. Then, try your luck at the resort’s 15,000-square-foot casino.

  13. Best Beaches: Miami, Florida

    Miami beach

    WHY GO: You’ll feel the excitement and glamour in the air when you step out onto the city’s ultra-famous beaches—made even more gorgeous with palm trees and sunshine for days.

    WHERE TO STAY: The majestic and iconic Eden Roc Miami Beach is the go-to hotel for luxurious and memorable honeymoon stays.

    WHAT TO DO: Guests of the hotel may arrange for ultra-personalized experiences and excursions in Miami through the concierge, but if they prefer to relax, the Esencia Wellness spa and glam poolside cabanas will leave honeymooners feeling refreshed.

  14. Best Beaches: Florida Keys, Florida

    Florida Keys beach honeymoon

    WHY GO: The Florida Keys contain more than 1,000 islands stretched over 100 miles. The most famous is Key West, the favorite vacation spot of the kings of Spain and literary types like Ernest Hemingway (who had a home there) and Tennessee Williams.

    WHERE TO STAY: The Marker Waterfront Resort (from $279, opened last winter and is the first new hotel built in Key West’s historic Old Town in 20 years (and it’s a luxe one at that!).

    WHAT TO DO: Rent bikes and pedal around Old Town, filled with 19th-century architecture. Head to Mallory Square around dusk to witness the nightly sunset celebration and watch street performers as the sky turns a pretty, fiery hue.

  15. Best Beaches: Fiji

    Beach honeymoon Yasawa Island, Fiji

    WHY GO: The islands that make up Fiji are surrounded by coral reefs resulting in warm lagoons and beautiful coral beaches.

    WHERE TO STAY: Likuliku Lagoon Resort Fiji (all-inclusive from $875, on Malolo Island is the only resortin Fiji with overwater thatched-roof bungalows that are built in traditional Fijian style with local materials.

    WHAT TO DO: Stroll along quiet nature trails that lead to spectacular views of the Mamanuca Islands. Visit the nearby village and immerse yourself in the rich culture and explore ancient sites.

  16. Best Beaches: Little Cayman, Cayman Islands

    Best beach honeymoon Little Cayman, Cayman Islands

    WHY GO: The smallest and least developed (read: tranquil) of the three Cayman Islands, Little Cayman has a population of about 170 people—meaning that most of it is basically uninhabited beach bliss.

    WHERE TO STAY: Snag a one-bedroom villa with its own ocean panorama at The Club at Little Cayman (from $350, and lounge on the property’s secluded beach or cuddle up on a beachfront hammock.

    WHAT TO DO: Venture to remote South Hole Sound lagoon for a just-you-two swim. Or row your love boat out to tiny, deserted Owen Island to behold nature in its most pristine form. You’ll feel like you’re the only two people in the world.

  17. Best Beaches: Maui, Hawaii

    Maui, Hawaii beach honeymoon

    WHY GO: The island’s clear waters, tropical sunsets and lush greenery make Hawaii a no-brainer for a romantic getaway. New luxury resorts on Maui mean the island is suddenly buzzworthy again (for the record, we never stopped loving it).

    WHERE TO STAY: Staff at the all-suite Montage Kapalua Bay (from $775, can arrange snorkeling trips and dreamy horseback rides along the beach. And each suite has its own balcony.

    WHAT TO DO: Watch the sunrise while wrapped in a blanket at the top of Haleakala Crater, or gaze at the sunset as you cruise along the Kihei coastline. Instant romance.

  18. Best Beaches: Ibiza, Spain

    Ibiza Spain beach honeymoon

    WHY GO: There’s more to Ibiza than the infamously wild, up-all-night parties. Just a few miles from the throbbing city center, you’ll find sleepy hill villages, lush forests, rolling orchards and hippie-chic farmhouses, perfect for couples looking for a little R & R.

    WHERE TO STAY: The new Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza (from $222, boasts the longest stretch of palm-fringed beach on the island, plus a spa and two restaurants from a Michelin-starred chef.

    WHAT TO DO: Take a 30-minute boat ride to the more mellow island of Formentera to find unspoiled, hidden beaches where the waters are a beautiful turquoise blue and bathing suits for you and your new spouse are sometimes optional.

  19. Best Beaches: Punta del Este, Uruguay

    Beach honeymoon Punta del Este Uruguay

    WHY GO: The once-sleepy fishing village is now the St. Tropez of South America, attracting international socialites, millionaires and celebrities. Latin pop star Shakira, Argentine polo champion Nacho Figueras and British novelist Martin Amis have all been spotted vacationing here.

    WHERE TO STAY: Nautical leaning, The Grand Hotel (from $260, opened on Brava Beach, one of Punta del Este’s most beautiful beaches, and is nearby the shopping areas.

    WHAT TO DO: Take a trip to nearby José Ignacio for a more laid-back, boho beach scene. Or hop on a daily boat tour to visit Isla de Lobos’s colony of sea lions. In the summer, ask about the many music festivals featuring world-class performers.

  20. Best Beaches: St. Barts

    Beach honeymoon St. Barts

    WHY GO: This island is one of the most upscale destinations in the Caribbean and its French background provides an elegant appeal similar to the French Riviera.

    WHERE TO STAY: All the suites and villas at the intimate Le Sereno (from $702, have private terraces and gardens—and most have an ocean view.

    WHAT TO DO: Pack a picnic basket, swimsuits and beach towels and head to the insanely beautiful Colombier beach (the water is the most gorgeous shade of aquamarine you’ve ever seen), which is only accessible via boat or by foot.

    10 Most Exotic Honeymoons

  21. Most Exotic: Myanmar

    Exotic honeymoon Myanmar

    WHY GO: Where does the couple who has been everywhere go for their honeymoon? Myanmar. Up until recently, this Southeast Asian country was shrouded in secrecy and closed off to the outside world.

    WHERE TO STAY: Belmond (from $2,520 for a 4-day journey, just added a second river Belmond Orcaella cruiser to its existing Myanmar route.

    WHAT TO DO: Visit ancient temples and marvel at places untouched by globalization. For wow-worthy selfies, take a hot air balloon ride over the plains around Bagan.

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  22. Most Exotic: Panama City, Panama

    Exotic honeymoon Panama City

    WHY GO: This Central American nation has the best of everything: tropical rain forests, beautiful mountain vistas, two coasts for Caribbean- and Pacific-style beaches, more than 1,000 islands, a sophisticated capital city, a vibrant nightlife, full-service resorts, exotic off-the-beaten-path getaways and historic sites. Seriously, what more could you possibly ask for?

    WHERE TO STAY: The newly opened American Trade Hotel (from $279, occupies a beautifully restored landmark building, providing the perfect mix of local culture and modern luxury. Book one of the top floor “Panorama” rooms for floor-to-ceiling windows that offer 180-degree views of Casco Viejo, Panama City and Panama Bay.

    WHAT TO DO: Spend a day on expansive Gatun Lake where you may come face-to-face with monkeys and other wild animals. Get your blood pumping with an intense hike to the top of 650-foot Cerro Ancón or take an afternoon to explore the historic streets of Casco Viejo. At night, slip into the hotel’s Danilo’s Jazz Club for world-class music with an intimate atmosphere.

  23. Most Exotic: Marrakesh, Morocco

    Exotic honeymoon Marrakesh, Morocco

    WHY GO: Rock stars and fashion designers have been going to this North African city for decades to find inspiration. You’ll feel like you wandered onto a movie set complete with snake charmers, belly dancers, horse-drawn carriage rides andan extensive maze of markets.

    WHERE TO STAY: Less than 10 minutes from the airport and the ancient Medina, the sultry and sumptuously appointed Selman Marrakech (from $424, offers a view of the Atlas Mountains.

    WHAT TO DO: Visit Yves Saint Laurent’s former home and gardens and stop by the Galerie “Love”—a collection of all of the designer’s collage posters with the word “love” scrawled on each one.

  24. Most Exotic: Sri lanka

    Sri Lanka Exotic honeymoon

    WHY GO: Marco Polo described Sri Lanka as one of the finest islands of its size in the world. Located just south of India, it’s an up-and-coming destination for Europeans—and is now catching on around the globe.

    WHERE TO STAY: The River House (from $280, in Sri Lanka’s southern province is a river-crossed, jungle-strewn, ocean-side escape. Book the spectacular Menik Suite with its plunge pool for two—seriously sexy.

    WHAT TO DO: Hang out at the hotel’s pool, ensconced within the jungle greenery. It feels wonderfully private, except for the monkeys swinging from the trees.

  25. Most Exotic: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

    Exotic honeymoon Dubai, United Arab Emirates

    WHY GO: Get the best of both worlds: Enjoy a taste of the glamorous city life for a few days and then head out to the desert for tranquility and romance.

    WHERE TO STAY: You’ll feel like royalty at Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort and Spa (from $817, Settle into your ultra-luxurious tent accommodations, equipped with a private pool and wood deck.

    WHAT TO DO: Indulge in a sunset camel ride that takes you to the crest of a dune, where you’ll pause for champagne, snacks and fruit as the light changes.

  26. Most Exotic: Maldives

    Exotic honeymoon destination Maldives

    WHY GO: This remote Indian Ocean archipelago greets honeymooners with white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, atolls and secluded resorts.

    WHERE TO STAY: Niyama Maldives (from $857, has it all—no, really. Just a few of the highlights include a coral nursery, an underwater nightclub, a restaurant reachable only by boat and a spa where you can book a couple’s massage.

    WHAT TO DO: Join the resort’s resident marine biologist and explore the underwater world during a nighttime snorkel tour. As the sun sets, you’ll observe feeding corals catching plankton and see the micro marine life glow in the dark.

  27. Most Exotic: Cappadocia, Turkey

    Exotic honeymoon Cappadocia, Turkey

    WHY GO: Located less than four hours from Turkey’s capital city, the wind-carved landscapes of Cappadocia are otherworldly.

    WHERE TO STAY: Argos in Cappadocia (from $200, is on the site of an ancient monastery with rooms that have been restored from the remains of underground tunnels and caves.

    WHAT TO DO: Whether it’s high up in a hot air balloon or on foot or horseback, there is a ton of ways to explore Cappadocia’s magical valleys full of caves and rock formations, or “fairy chimneys.”

  28. Most Exotic: Udaipur, India

    Exotic Caribbean honeymoon Udaipur, India

    WHY GO: Known as the Venice of the East, this city of palace-like hotels sits on the picturesque Lake Pichola.

    WHERE TO STAY: The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur (from $835, overlooks pristine water and lush gardens.

    WHAT TO DO: Honeymooners receive a traditional welcome with a showering of rose petals, plus a complimentary 30-minute couple’s massage.

  29. Most Exotic: Kyoto, Japan

    Exotic honeymoon Kyoto, Japan

    WHY GO: Compared with the frenetic energy of Japan’s capital city Tokyo, Kyoto moves at a languid pace. Relax and reflect at hundreds of shrines and temples or stroll through peaceful traditional gardens.

    WHERE TO STAY: Take a private boat ride to the picture-perfect Hoshinoya Kyoto (starting at $516, that’s perched on the calm Ooi River.

    WHAT TO DO: Visit during the spring or fall. In spring, the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom, while fall reveals a beautiful mix of classic autumn colors. Before it gets dark, enjoy a leisurely walk around Gion, past machiya (wood townhouses), teahouses and the Shirakawa canal.

  30. Most Exotic: Machu Picchu Pueblo, Peru

    Exotic honeymoon Machu Picchu, Peru

    WHY GO: If you want adventure, look no further. Peru is home to some of the world’s greatest sites (Andes, Cloud Forests, Machu Picchu Citadel), making it truly the trip of a lifetime.

    WHERE TO STAY: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (from $249, is set on 12 secluded acres at the base of Machu Picchu and offers all the luxury amenities, as well as a vow renewal ceremony performed by a local shaman.

    WHAT TO DO: A sunrise trek is totally worth the early morning wake-up call. Insider tip: The first trainload of tourists arrives around noon, but before that, the place is all yours. It’s just you, the mysterious and mist-covered ancient city and some resident llamas. The city of Cusco is also a popular pit stop for tourists heading to Machu Picchu, but it’s still full of authentic Peruvian charm.

    10 Most Adventurous Honeymoons

  31. Most Adventurous: Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

    Adventurous honeymoon Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

    WHY GO: The bucolic Galápagos Islands provide an unparalleled wildlife experience and are home to animals and plants found nowhere else on Earth.

    WHERE TO STAY: The 14-room Pikaia Lodge (all-inclusive, 3-night exploration package from $7,560, is located on a giant tortoise reserve on Santa Cruz Island. A leisurely walk around the grounds will bring you face to face with a wild giant tortoise.

    WHAT TO DO: Go island-hopping on one of the hotel’s private yachts and explore the surrounding locales. Or book a scuba diving trip—the Galápagos are one of the seven underwater wonders of the world.

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  32. Most Adventurous: Greenough, Montana

    Adventurous honeymoon Greenough, Montana

    WHY GO: Outdoorsy couples will swoon over the pristine Montana wilderness and all it has to offer—from horseback riding to river adventures and fly fishing.

    WHERE TO STAY: The Resort at Paws Up (all-inclusive from $1,255, invented the “glamping” concept. Book a honeymoon tent (yes, a tent), complete with a gorgeous copper tub set in the middle—perfect for an indulgent soak.

    WHAT TO DO: Have an enchanting private candlelit picnic dinner at Cliffside Camp, where you’ll be serenaded by sounds of the rushing Blackfoot River.

  33. Most Adventurous: St. Lucia

    Adventurous honeymoon St. Lucia

    WHY GO: From black-sand beaches to the wooded peaks of the Pitons, this Caribbean gem isn’t short on breathtaking landscapes. Also noteworthy are its vast cocoa plantations and charming Creole villages.

    WHERE TO STAY: Each of Ladera Resort’s suites (from $450, has only three walls, with an open fourth wall facing a spectacular, Instagram-worthy view of the Pitons and the sea, connecting you with nature but still allowing complete privacy for you and your new spouse.

    WHAT TO DO: Take a piece of your honeymoon home and preorder a handcrafted bed, carved with your names or initials, which will be in the suite upon arrival and shipped to your home the day you depart. The beds are customized by the hotel’s on-site local craftsmen.

  34. Most Adventurous: Hayman Island, Australia

    Adventurous honeymoon Hayman Island, Australia

    WHY GO: This private island resort located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef may be far but it’s totally worth it. (The cast of Modern Family was recently spotted filming there!)

    WHERE TO STAY: The staff at One&Only Hayman Island (from $686, helps you schedule daily activities like snorkeling, diving charters, catamaran sailings and kayaking, as well as treatments at the resort’s spa.

    WHAT TO DO: Ask about the Whitsunday Dream Tour, where you helicopter over the Reef (don’t miss the spectacular Heart Reef) out to Whitehaven Beach for refreshments or Hook Island for some of the best inner-reef snorkeling. Explore the island up close on one of the resort’s incredible hikes to Blue Pearl Bay or Dolphin Point.

  35. Most Adventurous: Iceland

    Adventurous honeymoon Iceland

    WHY GO: Largely uninhabited, Iceland changes scenery every few minutes. You can go from volcanic, lunar-looking landscapes or grassy, green Middle Earth to shattering waterfalls and soaring geysers or massive Blue Lagoon hot springs.

    WHERE TO STAY: Chase the Northern Lights at the sophisticated and remote-feeling Hotel Búdir (from $186, It’s only a few hours drive from the capital city of Reykjavik (which also has an airport) and is set at the edge of the Snaefellsjökull National Park with animposing glacier at the center. Snaefellsjökull became well known whenit was used as the “gateway to the center of the earth” in Jules Verne’s famous book Journey to the Center of the Earth.

    WHAT TO DO: Head over to the picturesque Snaefellsjökull National Park to see some of nature’s most beautiful creations, including two massive lava formations and a dreamy hidden waterfall. Then stop by the Blue Lagoon and dip in and out of the various pools and hot springs with your sweetheart. Don’t miss the opportunity for an in-the-water couple’s massage where you’ll mix a bit of adventure with romance.

  36. Most Adventurous: Namibia

    Adventurous honeymoon Namibia

    WHY GO: You’ll experience a quintessential African safari—imagine sleeping underthe stars among red desert sand dunes, surrounded by a vast mountain range.

    WHERE TO STAY: Reconnect at the tranquil Sossusvlei Desert Lodge (from $451,, located within the NamibRand Nature Reserve.

    WHAT TO DO: Each room at the lodge comes with a skylight above the bed, so you can stargaze while you relax. Or head to the observatory and ask the resident astronomer to point out the brightest and most gorgeous constellations. Want something a little more active for daytime? Go on a quad biking adventure or hike around the property—it will allow you to explore the breathtaking scenery.

  37. Most Adventurous: Vancouver Island, Canada

    Adventurous honeymoon Vancouver Island, Canada

    WHY GO: Love sea sports? Landlubbers? This hot spot has something for you. Surrounded by mountains on the Pacific Ocean, this city offers tons of adventure.

    WHERE TO STAY: While known for its stunning beaches, surfing hot spots and outdoor adventures, the district of Tofino on Vancouver Island is the most exciting from November through February. At The Wickaninnish Inn (from $240,, cuddle up to the sounds of powerful roaring waves from the comfort of your room. Each guest room features a fireplace, private balcony and view of the ocean or beach. The sounds of the wind and waves can be hypnotizing, creating a magical mood.

    WHAT TO DO: Stay active during the day, hiking, biking or sailing, and head to the heart of the city at night for a cosmopolitan scene. And don’t miss an opportunity to heat things up in the hot springs in nearby Maquinna Marine Provincial Park, which is only reachable by boat.

  38. Most Adventurous: Papagayo Peninsula, Costa Rica

    Adventurous honeymoon Papagayo Peninsula, Costa Rica

    WHY GO: With the recent expansion of the Liberia airport, access to this part of the country has become much easier. And now couples even have their pick of luxe, modern lodgings to go with the unblemished beach and rain forest adventures.

    WHERE TO STAY: The new Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort (from $450, combines modern and precolonial design and offers both mountain and ocean vistas.

    WHAT TO DO: Try your luck in the waters with the hotel’s “How to Surf Costa Rica” guide created by twin brothers Alex and Mike Faherty, the surf enthusiasts behind clothing line Faherty Brand. Then take a two-hour day trip to the most innovative zip-lining course at Rio Perdido.

  39. Most Adventurous: Dominica

    Adventurous honeymoon Dominica

    WHY GO: Dubbed “nature island” because of its vast rain forests, which occupy more than half of this Caribbean locale, Dominica also boasts Morne Trois Pitons National Park and the world’s second-largest hot lake of its kind, aptly known as Boiling Lake.

    WHERE TO STAY: Book one of only six private villas and bungalows at the eco-luxury boutique resort Secret Bay (from $452,, which is nestled into a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea. (Yes, it’s as dreamy as it sounds.)

    WHAT TO DO: A visit to the Waitukubuli National Trail is a must at this hiker heaven. With 14 different paths stretching 115 miles, there’s a trail for every experience level, from novice to seasoned trekker. Then soothe your legs in one of the island’s many natural hot lakes.

  40. Most Adventurous: Sedona, Arizona

    Adventurous honeymoon Sedona, Arizona

    WHY GO: Romance seekers have flocked to Sedona’s alluring redrocks for years for the ultimate spa, wellness and outdoor adventure.

    WHERE TO STAY: Nestled in a canyon within Sedona’s red rocks, Mii amo (all-inclusive, 3-night journey package from $2,520, offers an experience grounded in Native American traditions. Enjoy spa treatments themed around moon phases, walks to the “Vortex” energy center and even a meditation labyrinth.

    WHAT TO DO: Book the Inner Quest, a 60-minute treatment where you’re wrapped in a blanket—mimicking the warmth of a sweat lodge—while sweetgrass is burned.

    10 Best Budget Honeymoons

  41. Best Budget: Palm Springs, California

    Bargain honeymoon Palm Springs, California

    WHY GO: This West Coast destination has always been hip. From the 1940s to the 1970s, actors and musicians like Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack were regulars. This desert oasis was also super-popular with architects. Today, their mid-century modern masterpieces are the hallmark of this retro-fun city.

    WHERE TO STAY: Newly restored hipster boutique hotel Sparrows Lodge (from $115, has barn-style rooms with redwood walls, pebbled floors, butterfly chairs and even horse troughs as bathtubs. Most rooms have private terraces, or you can mingle with other guests by the lively pool or outdoor fire pit.

    WHAT TO DO: Make a reservation at The Purple Room, one of the city’s original supper clubs (Sinatra used to hold court there). Soak up the atmosphere and enjoy live entertainment over a martini and snacks at a stage-side table or at a ringside seat at the famous bar.

  42. Best Budget: Whitehouse, Jamaica

    Bargain honeymoon Whitehouse, Jamaica

    WHY GO: Jamaica is known for being home to a slew of super-luxurious all-inclusives, which means you get a five-star honeymoon experience without breaking the bank.

    WHERE TO STAY: All rooms at Sandals Whitehouse (all-inclusive from $234, face the beach, and the resort is nestled into a 500-acre nature preserve. Couples who book a stay receive a free honeymoon package, which includes a bottle of chilled sparkling wine, special turndown service and breakfast in bed.

    WHAT TO DO: You already took the plunge—now go deep with your hubby and learn to scuba dive (for free). Sandals includes certification, gear rental and diving in the resort fee.

  43. Best Budget: Québec City, Canada

    Bargain honeymoon Quebec City, Canada

    WHY GO: Ooh la la! You’ll feel like you’re in Paris, from the romantic cafés to the charming cobblestone streets and fashionable boutiques—just without the international flight fare.

    WHERE TO STAY: Auberge Saint-Antoine (from $239, is ideally situated at the heart of Québec City’s Old Port and across from the St. Lawrence River. It’s also a few steps from the fortifications, museums and bustling streets of the historic Quartier Petit Champlain.

    WHAT TO DO: The hotel can arrange for a personal photo shoot around the Old City with a professional photographer and turn the images into a gorgeous coffee table book you’ll treasure forever.

  44. Best Budget: Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Bargain honeymoon Buenos Aires, Argentina

    WHY GO: It feels like Europe, but with a Latin American twist—and it costs far less.

    WHERE TO STAY: Pull the old-fashioned elevator gate and ascend to Bed and Breakfast Ada & Valentyn (from $75,, a lovely inn with high ceilings, wood floors and vintage furniture that has been painstakingly restored by the owners.

    WHAT TO DO: Take in the tango, Argentina’s famed dance that’s been described as “making love in the vertical position” (yow!) at a nearby dance hall.

  45. Best Budget: Tulum, Mexico

    Bargain honeymoon Tulum, Mexico

    WHY GO: The city of Tulum has a lot going for it: It’s an hour and a half from the airport in Cancun, it’s home to an ancient Mayan village, and it won’t break a budget already strained from paying for a wedding. Oh, and did we mention the amazing beaches?

    WHERE TO STAY: Book a Sea Front or Jungle View room with an outdoor jet tub at the adults-only Mi Amor hotel (from $375, The modern, luxury resort also features a 24-hour concierge to organize your stay and a poolside restaurant from a famed New York City chef.

    WHAT TO DO: Take a break from beach bumming to tour the ruins of the pre-Columbian Maya walled city. But make sure you still bring your bathing suit: A staircase nearby leads down to a slice of beach where you can swim and sunbathe.

  46. Best Budget: Nantucket, Massachusetts

    Bargain honeymoon Nantucket, Massachusetts

    WHY GO: The island is a favorite summer vacation spot of successful politicians and CEOs, but couples on a budget can still enjoy its beachside ambience.

    WHERE TO STAY: The eight-room Sherburne Inn (from $105, bed-and-breakfast is hidden away on a quiet one-way street in Nantucket’s historic district and has been charming visitors for more than 140 years.

    WHAT TO DO: Book a seal cruise or a whale-watching excursion for some on-the-water fun. Then get away to Great Point for a secluded picnic for two on the beach. The only others around? Maybe just some seagulls and a fisherman off the coast, far in the distance.

  47. Best Budget: Palawan, Philippines

    Bargain honeymoon Palawan, Philippines

    WHY GO: It’s the country’s final frontier—an unspoiled province of jaw-dropping waterscape scenery and tropical beauty.

    WHERE TO STAY: Save green and be green at Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa (from $137,, an eco-resort nestled between mountain ranges and the West Philippine Sea.

    WHAT TO DO: Kayak the Puerto Princesa Underground River, a navigable underground river and one of the new Seven Wonders of Nature in the world.

  48. Best Budget: Vieques, Puerto Rico

    Bargain honeymoon Vieques, Puerto Rico

    WHY GO: The island has a charmingly laid-back atmosphere that’s hard to find elsewhere. Case in point: There are no traffic lights, and its beaches are quiet and unspoiled by high-rise buildings. Although the island is about 21 miles long, there’s no shortage of beaches. The idyllic paradise boasts around 40!

    WHERE TO STAY: The newly opened design hotel El Blok (from $180, will make you do a double-take with its playful and oh-so-modern aesthetic.

    WHAT TO DO: Check out the natural neon light show at Puerto Mosquito in the bay off the southern shore of the island. Each gallon of water holds more than 700,000 bioluminescent microscopic organisms that glow blue-white when they are disturbed—either by a kayak paddle or your limbs when you dive in for a leisurely swim.

  49. Best Budget: Rovinj, Croatia

    Bargain honeymoon Rovinj, Croatia

    WHY GO: Dreaming of an Italian honeymoon but interested in getting more for your money? Look no further than Rovinj, where pastel homes line narrow winding streets and an active fishing port provides great people watching.

    WHERE TO STAY: The sleek Hotel Lone (from $163, is a chic seaside property overlooking Zlatnirt forest park. Each of the modern rooms (think: black-and-white décor, glass walls and stone details) includes a spacious terrace.

    WHAT TO DO: The historic town center is completely contained within an oval peninsula. Take a walk on the seaside promenade along the harbor to browse shops and check out a variety of bars and restaurants. Or enjoy the pleasant shade of their native trees and explore the grounds on foot or by bike.

  50. Best Budget: Asheville, North Carolina

    Bargain honeymoon Asheville, North Carolina

    WHY GO: Two words: Biltmore Estate (from $199, It’s one of the most amazing castles in America with gorgeous lush grounds that seem to go on forever.

    WHERE TO STAY: George Vanderbilt built the aforementioned iconic and ultra-romantic estate. Whether you book a room in the inn, complete with a relaxing spa, or stay in the cottage on the grounds, both promise a charming stay.

    WHAT TO DO: Arrange for a horse-drawn carriage ride or head to downtown Asheville, where you can pop into galleries, antique shops and quirky boutiques.

8 Destinations You Should Add To Your Bucketlist

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In a world of over-visited tourist attractions, a smart traveler’s bucket list is malleable and changing often. More travelers than ever are swapping busy Rome for Amman, Mexico for Colombia, and Thailand for Vietnam—opting to see the path less-traveled before the crowds find them. Plus, new access and affordability like emerging air routes can also shake up your travel priorities—how many people went to Iceland before WOW air launched its budget flights?

New Destinations for Your Bucket List

Last year I shared the unexpected places that had moved up on my bucket list, and now there are even more new destinations to uncover.

Sao Paulo, Brazil

sao paulo brazil
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Newly accessible and affordable for Americans, Brazil recently began offering eVisas online for about $40—a big change from the $160 fee and in-person appointment that were previously required. And airlines are following suit: Chilean carrier LATAMand new budget airline Air Italy both now offer flights to Brazil, with Sao Paulo being the main hub for LATAM (and pretty much all U.S.-based airlines). And while Brazil might make you think of rainforests and Rio beaches, an introduction to Brazil should begin in its concrete jungle: Sao Paulo.

The largest city in South America, Sao Paulo offers affordable luxury thanks to an advantageous exchange rate for Americans that turns Michelin-star restaurants and shopping on fashionable Oscar Freire Street into bargain experiences. Sao Paulo is famously international, from the Japanese sushi in Liberdade and the Italian food in Bela Vista—but you can also get a hearty helping of Brazilian food in at a churrascaria or buffet. Nearby beaches like Praia Grande are only a couple of hours away for a change of pace on a day trip, but spoiling yourself in Sao Paulo can easily be the main event of your first visit to Brazil.

Where to Stay: Located in Sao Paulo’s trendy Jardins neighborhood, the high-end Renaissance Sao Paulo Hotel has sprawling views of Sao Paulo’s endless skyline. Upgrade to a roomy business suite to lock down a sky-high view, and for added access to a sleek lounge serving unlimited hors d’oeuvres and bar specialties on the top floor.

Suzhou, China

suzhou china
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If you’ve never heard of the “Venice of China,” Suzhou is about to take over your day dreams. This city of 10 million is accessible via bullet train from Shanghai, but it looks a world away. Bridged canals and manicured gardens meld Chinese cultural icons (think temples and pagodas) with Venetian-style waterways. Cruise the Suzhou Ancient Grand Canal on a sightseeing ship, or take a rickshaw-style boat ride for a more intimate guided experience.

Where to Stay: Affordable China is the perfect place to get a lot of luxury for a crazy-affordable hotel. Hotel Soul Suzhou has sleek, modern interiors that will break up the pattern of the city’s traditional gardens and architecture for just $50 per night.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

jackson hole wyoming
Kevin Cass/Shutterstock

If Wyoming seems like an underwhelming spot for bucket list, you’ve probably never considered Yellowstone-adjacent Jackson Hole. The forest-nestled valley is on the rise after recent recognition from big-name artists like Kanye West, who made it his newest recording location. Its reputation has been updated from winter ski town to opulent year-round relaxation getaway.

Dubbed by Vogue as the Serengeti of North America for safari-style glamping and wildlife safaris, Jackson Hole also offers hot-air balloon adventures, fine dining, hot springs, and a burgeoning collection of art galleries for equal parts family-fun and romance options.

Where to Stay: Hotel Terra Jackson Hole is a favorite for its spa, infinity pool, frontiersman-inspired glam interiors, and a fine dining restaurant with a pizza oven and impressive wine bar.

Tallinn, Estonia

talinn estonia
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Europe’s most hidden gems are rising in popularity thanks to over-tourism in Western Europe hotspots like Barcelona and Venice, but there are still plenty of new destinations tourists haven’t overtaken quite yet. For a unique European getaway that will take your back in time to the Middle Ages, opt for Estonia’s colorful old towns, medieval castles, and surprising array of national parks. The capital of Tallinn exudes the charms of Russia with a Western European touch, and is a favorite stop on Viking Ocean Cruises that include the Baltic Sea.

Where to Stay: If you’re more of a landlubber than a cruiser, stay a while in one of Tallinn’s surprisingly affordable five-star hotels. Hotel Telegraaf puts visitors in the city center (and the lap of luxury) for under $200 per night.

Bawah Reserve, Singapore

Bawah reserve singapore

Singapore has moved up on many a bucket list as a new destination thanks to the Crazy Rich Asians movie, but you might not have the island state’s tiny Bawah Reserve on your radar just yet. Located off the coast of Singapore, the Bawah Reserve is made up of six private islands that string together a rare ecosystem of lagoons, beaches, coral reefs, and private overwater bungalows.

The reserve has only been open to tourists since 2012 when this part of the Anambas Archipelago was transformed into a secluded sustainability retreat.

Where to Stay: The Bawah Island Resort’s 35 luxury suites attract adventure travelers with a taste for the finer things and extreme privacy. Upscale dining, a spa, and private swim decks make it a worthy alternative to busy Bali—but be prepared to pay just as much, if not more.

Amman, Jordan

ammman jordan

Jordan is having a moment for its hiking trails and the worldwide appeal of Petra, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World—but it’s capital, Amman, is equally deserving of a visit. Easily doable in a weekend before heading south to take a dip in the Dead Sea and explore the ancient ruins of this small desert nation, you can hit up Amman’s world-class museums, Roman amphitheater and citadel, art cafes, and shawarma shops for an affordable cultural getaway. Walking and cheap taxis will easily allow you to see everything, from mosques and ruins to trendy Rainbow Street eateries and a beloved Jordanian microbrewery, Carakale Brewing, for tasty craft beer and far-flung views of the surrounding biblical landscape.

Where to Stay: Affordability is the name of the game in central Amman. There are small hotels and boutique hotels from $40 nightly, plus larger, comfortable options like The Boulevard Arjaan by Rotana for as little as $130 per night.

The Falkland Islands

falkland islands
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If you’re dreaming of getting to the Antarctic without spending thousands on a polar cruise, simply hopping a flight to the tip of South America could soon be the best way to make it a reality.

Travelers looking for a hiking paradise even more remote than Patagonia might soon be able to fly to the Falkland Islands thanks to emerging demand for a new air route to the Archipelago: LATAM was just named by the local government the “preferred operator” for the prospect of new weekly flights to the islands. With the Chilean airline already expanding across South America in 2019, it seems we’ll soon be closer than ever to spotting penguins in their natural habitat.

Where to Stay: Once you’re there, hotels like Malvina House Hotel, located near the Falkand Islands Museum and a sprinkling of restaurants, are far and few.

Dry Tortugas National Park: Key West, Florida

dry tortugas national park key west
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A bucket list spot you’ll want to see before it disappears, Dry Tortugas National Park sits 70 miles west of Key West, Florida, and is a piece of military history floating in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico’s rising sea waters. The hexagonal fortress that sits on tiny Dry Tortugas island is deteriorating from weather, storm damage, and lack of maintenance—but its brick interior can still be toured today. The white sand beaches of Dry Tortugas are a popular for snorkeling, camping, and scuba diving. You can also walk  the seawalls of the fort, which will put you right over the shallow turquoise waters. 

Where to Stay: You’ll have to stay on or near Key West to access this isolated island on a Dry Tortugas day-trip tour that requires a two-hour boat ride.

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