How do your values influence your honeymoon or destination wedding choices?

With Megan in Fiji this week, the time is perfect to discuss honeymoon destinations — specifically, how your ethics and values might play into the decision of where to go.

Fiji is a destination with some challenging political issues, and it's in good company when it comes to tourist destinations with sticky ethical challenges for visitors. Do you want to go to Mexico, knowing that your tourism dollars are going into a war zone controlled by the drug cartels? (Then again, are you punishing the local economy for the drug lord's crimes? Do sanctions work?) Do you travel to gorgeous Vietnam, with its child labor issues? What about lovely Thailand, and its sex trade? Irie Jamaica, with its homophobia? Maybe you go to colorful India, choosing to overlook its child beggers. You have to wonder if, during the Bush years, there were Europeans who opted against honeymooning in the United States. The mind boggles with the issues: does going on a cruise or staying at an all-inclusive resort even count as travel? Is all travel inherently wasteful? Should you just stay home?

As with many wedding decisions, where you go for your honeymoon boils down to a question of your personal priorities and values. For my honeymoon, I wanted a balance of international travel and cost … and so we went to the destinations (France and Spain) where we could couchsurf. We flew there (ignoring our carbon footprint) because we prioritized low-budged cultural exchange over our environmental concerns. We compromised.

For you, your priority might be on eco-tourism, so you head to a destination where you can make a low impact while learning about a lush local ecology. You might be super green and feel like flying anywhere is too wasteful, and so you and your parter plan a staycation where you bike between local wineries and lakeside towns. Your priority might be finally getting to explore a culture you've been curious about for years, whether it's Argentina or Portugal or Indonesia.

Then again, you might be a Type-A control freak who DIYed every single fucking thing for the wedding and for just once, for this one time, you want to take it easy. So you go for an all-inclusive package at a place where your only concerns are whether you want to have your froofy cocktail at the swim-up pool bar or on the beach. Sanity might be your priority. I totally respect that.

These priorities can get extra sticky when you have competing values — trying to balance your politics with your budget; your ethics with your need for relaxation; your dreams with our world's realities. Do you compromise a bit on your budget for the international destination you've been dreaming of? Do you compromise your environmental concerns to get in the cultural exchange you're craving? Only you can know which compromises feel right for you. (Balancing these competing values totally went into the decision to accept the Fiji trip. We totally respect that some of you might've made a different decision based on your personal values, and that's awesome.)

Rick Steves has a great perspective on balancing your values when selecting travel destinations, as excerpted from his book Travel As A Political Act:

I didn't go to Iran as a businessman or as a politician. I went as what I am — a travel writer. I went for the same reasons I travel anywhere: to get out of my own culture and learn, to go to a scary place and find it's not so scary, and to bring distant places to people who've yet to go there. To me, understanding people and their lives is what travel is about, no matter where you go. I have long held that travel can be a powerful force for peace. Travel promotes understanding at the expense of fear. And understanding bridges conflicts between nations.

Read the full excerpt

Only you know your values, and so only you can know what your specific priorities will be. We support our readers having a range of values and priorities, and totally respect everyone's ability to make their own decisions accordingly.

So, now I'm curious: how do your values play into YOUR honeymoon travel decisions? What are your personal priorities?

  1. Quite honestly, with the wedding and paying a mortgage we can't afford a honeymoon (plus we'd have to put our dog up in a boarding kennel, which gets pricey after a few days). I don't like traveling and I have too much to do here at home. We aren't taking one. We might take a "special vacation" in the fall (the wedding is in April 2011) but more than likely we'll just skip the whole thing.

    It's hard enough for me as it is to justify paying as much as we are for the wedding (which is mere pennies compared to most people!) I've always been uncomfortable paying a large amount of money for something that's not a necessity, so I'm just having a hard time in general. Like I said, maybe in the fall we'll take a large vacation, but with money being the issue I think I'd rather be able to maybe get a nice massage or something after the wedding rather than pay for a trip and go through the stress of traveling.

    2 agree
  2. Option B (the DIY control freak who opted for an all-inclusive package) described my honeymoon to a T. My husband and I are both more down & dirty travelers – camping in national parks, couch surfing in Europe, stuff like that – but Pete wisely suggested that we opt for a totally-unlike-us, culturally inauthentic Sandals resort because we'd be too tired and wound up to backpack, sightsee, and seek out local eateries. And he was right.

    I don't know if I'd ever go to a Sandals again, but for the purpose of bonding and relaxing, our decision-free, super mellow honeymoon was perfect. I read five books on the beach, drank about a million fruity drinks and glasses of champagne, and generally felt warm, fuzzy and chilled out as hell.

    4 agree
    • psst – thanks for linking. Ours was in St. Lucia, but it hardly matters because they're kind of the same everywhere. Hah!

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  3. I love to travel. I would have love to exposed my husband to somewhere new since he's never really gone anywhere. I would have loved to go back to Xalapa in Mexico, to London, or to Toronto, but we didn't have the money so we went to Ocean City, NJ. And we had fun! We'd always gone with family, but we'd never been there together, so it was awesome to just hang out there for a few days. We have years and years to save and travel.

    1 agrees
  4. I wanted to drink mother-f*cking whisky, after a year of wedding planning, so we went to Scotland.

    Also, I wanted to make a little statement to ourselves that, right this second, travel is more important than a downpayment. Because, really, do we need to buy an apartment and pay triple our rent in a mortgage for the exact same thing? Not right now. Right now we need whisky.

    38 agree
    • I had to read this to my fiance who has Scottish genes, and he felt it to be the "holy gospel"… you cracked us both up! X-D

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  5. as someone planning on eventually living in thailand, someone who knows the language … i really don't think thailand should be boxed into the sex trade. if you aren't buying sex favors, you aren't contributing to that? thailand has beautiful land, culture, wildlife, language, dance, music, & amazing food.

    every country, even this one, does evil. staying home does not change that.

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    • Agreed completely. My point was less "Thailand is evil" and more "Every destination (including the United States) has its share of ethical challenges for visitors."

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      • yeah, my thought was just that that's a seriously easy one to avoid (i would hope) on your honeymoon unless you married a monster. know what i mean?

        for our honeymoon we just got a nice room in a posh hotel & had an amazing dinner. for me, the goal was being alone.

        1 agrees
  6. Our values played a huge role in our honeymoon choices. I refused to go to any resort where I would be sipping Mai Tais while the majority of people outside the resort struggled for food, potable water, sanitation, safety and a living wage. I was only willing to relent on this point if we spent at least half of our honeymoon volunteering in the community but we weren't spending a whole week on our honeymoon so when researching, I couldn't find any volunteer opportunities that were flexible enough to fit our travel schedule.

    I also refused to take a cruise because of the immense toll that cruise ships take on the environment.

    These were really the only non-U.S. destinations in our budget so we decided to stay stateside. We drove to New Orleans. It was close enough to avoid flying and it was a city that we both loved. I volunteered there after Hurricane Katrina and I often heard from locals that while they appreciated my time, what they really needed was tourism dollars. We stayed at a local b&b, ate local and entertained local so I could be sure that the money I spent there stayed in the community.

    Unfortunately, my hubby and I both contracted the swine flu and the majority of our honeymoon was ruined, but we both hope to go back and relive it soon. :)

    2 agree
  7. I love to travel, and very happily would have done a trip to Europe (specifically Ireland, where my family is from- and where we could surely get some free room and board for a few nights :)). See historic sites, meet new people! But my husband is more of a fun-loving homebody, and while I knew that he'd go for me, I knew he wouldn't enjoy himself as much. So we went to Disney instead for their Food and Wine Festival. We got engaged at Disney a few years earlier, and while I know what some people think of The Mouse, they ARE really good at treating their guests well and making sure they enjoy themselves. And we still drank around the world! :) So really, what mattered the most to us was going somewhere we'd have a good time together, being the little kids we are, and we still got to experience something new!

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    • We also got engaged at Disney and only had three days to spend there when we did (it was a surprise birthday/anniversary/Christmas gift to me since they all fall around the same time and that was the biggest chunk of time i had off from work that my fiance could plan it around. He's sneaky like that lol.) We are so incredibly excited to get to do all the things we didn't get to do because of time constraints last time. I agree that some people mightnot choose the same thing, but for big kids like my fiancé and myself, it's perfect. I hope you both had the best time, congrats and many blessings in your marriage!

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  8. Holy cow, I am dealing with this right now. I'm leaning toward a cruise (because I've been planning EVERYTHING) but cruises are SO. F-ING. EXPENSIVE!

    So I haven't answered the question yet on my honeymoon. But I'm glad I'm not alone.

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    • personal recommendation here: use cruisecompete.com once you've found a cruise you think you want to go on. various travel agencies can offer you different perks, be it cheaper fares, upgrades, cabin credits, etc. Not all cruise lines let TAs set prices, but you can definitely profit if you do some work!!

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      • Thanks so much for posting this! I just created an account and submitted a request for the exact cruise we have in mind. I am very appreciate of your sharing! :)

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    • I freaking LOVE cruises. Been on 4 so far. Did Hawaii for the honeymoon and 3 times around the Caribbean. I don't know if I'm allowed to put a website in here but, http://www.vacationstogo.com always has some pretty great discount deals. They can get pretty expensive, but it's pretty much like a floating Sandals type thing. They're awesome if you just want to veg out and sit at the pool with a frou frou drink, then spend the evening having fancy dinner and seeing a comedian or something. But the cruising to various locations part gives you the option of being a little adventurous in port (or, ya know…more lounging around). I highly recommend them :)

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  9. my biggest trouble with the honeymoon isn't ethics or money or politics. it's letting my control-freak nature go and giving my fiance the free reign he's begged me for to plan it himself.

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    • ENJOY IT! That's one of the wonderful parts of being married — having someone who you trust to make decisions as awesome (and sometimes even better!) than you'd make yourself. Relax and enjoy the ride!

      7 agree
  10. The hubby and I went to Southeast Asia, Vietnam and Cambodia specifically for our honeymoon. We went here because we knew we wanted to travel for awhile, the weather would be nice and warm, we had always wanted to see these countries after visiting Thailand, and most importantly, it allowed our dollar to stretch the farthest.

    Yes, there are LOADS of issues with poverty and exploitation in places like these. However, there are also LOTS of opportunities to make a positive impact with your travel.

    We stayed at only small local inns, nothing fancy. We ate many of our meals at local restaurants that supported projects for street children. We bought our souvenirs from markets and shops that support fair trade and disabled artisans. We shopped at local farmers markets. We may have gotten a couples massage, but we did so from an NGO that supports work for the blind.

    We had a fantastic time, and left feeling like we had learned from the local culture and contributed our fair share to the local economy in a positive way. The people we met were excited to have the business and we were happy to support them.

    6 agree
    • I am planning a Vietnam/Cambodia honeymoon and would love to know what resources you used to plan yours. How did you find out about the NGO, local inns, etc.? Thanks!

      1 agrees
      • You will be able to find the NGO stuff in Vietnam and Cambodia really easily. They are all over the place and always seem to get a mention in the lonely planet etc. You can even do yoga at an NGO in Phnom Penh.

        By the way, anyone planning a trip to Cambodia before the wedding, think about having your dress made here. There are some seriously talented local designers and you'll get a custom fitted gorgeous silk dress for less than $500. I did ;)

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  11. We are traveling to California for the first wedding and honeymooning in Sonoma. I find the TSA's new grope search policy offensive to my privacy (health no low level x-rays thank you), but we booked those tix before the policy and we're still going.
    Using those examples of where people shouldn't go because the destination has some wrong then I guess one should never go to Chicago (vote early and often and even after you're dead). What location without sin gets to throw the 1st stone?

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    • I was just reading about the scanners earlier – someone tweeted about http://wewontfly.com/ which has lots of information about the policies and how you can opt out of the scanner (but that they will have to essentially frisk you and will pressure you into doing the scanner.) Scary stuff, but it helps to be informed!

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    • Chicago gets such a bad rep for politics! I've only ever voted once in every election, honest! :) One could rule out South Carolina and Louisiana for the same sort of political corruption.

      No destination is perfect. I think if we base everything on politics or human rights or whatever it is, no one would go anywhere – including the USA. There are plenty of poor people here in the US who need shelter, not just foreign countries that we think of as vacation destinations.

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  12. So far, the plan is to take the train to Montreal. I just couldn't stomach the thought of the carbon generated by flying – it would basically undo our efforts to reduce our footprint in other aspects of our lives. Plus, I love travelling on trains – the forced relaxation aspect really appeals to me.

    Resorts make me uncomfortable. I would just rather donate money.

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    • As a Montrealer, I approve of your honeymoon plan ;D It's a great city and my only "regret" about my upcoming wedding (in quotation marks because it's too harsh a word) is that I'll have to move away! I'm sure you'll have a blast.

      1 agrees
  13. Honestly my dream honeymoon was 4 months in Asia, politics be damned! I dreamt of visiting architectural wonders I have only seen in books by the architects I admire (Tadao Ando, etc)..now with a baby on the way and me going on Maternity leave until after the wedding, plus trying to get my grad school applications done, plus the cost of the wedding… honeymoon is a no go.

    Financially viable needed to be reality and it was the honeymoon that was the ultimate sacrifice. I don't regret it and I plan on travelling throughout Asia (perhaps after grad school), as well as Europe, Russia, etc. I don't travel (or not travel), because of political issues within a country…we all do wrong..I'm there to experience the culture and my own political beliefs take a backseat to the culture I get to experience.

    Granted, I do intend on taking a large percentage of my travel time and dedicating it to volunteer work (Architecture for Humanity, Global Volunteer Network, etc).

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  14. I think people who travel are doing it to see other countries' cultures, people, customs, food, landscape, languages, and everything else that a country may have to offer.

    And here's the deal:

    Every country is going to have it's dirty laundry. Every country. And to not travel to that place specifically because of that bad aspect is not respectful of that country or it's people who are trying to turn that part around for the better.

    Does that mean I'm not going to go to Japan because of it's restrictive social heirarchy? Or go to Germany because of the Nazi's and Hitler? Or go to Cambodia because of the Khmer Rouge and ongoing poverty? What about the US because of the Bush years? Or Canada (where I live) because of the seal hunts and oil? Or Australia in with their discrimination towards the aboriginals? Should I never see the Great Wall of China because of the strict communist regime?

    If that is the case, then I can never go anywhere.

    I think we should travel where ever we want, and to have a knowledgable backround of what that country's "dirty laundry" is, and if there is anything I should avoid or contribute to in order to help.

    25 agree
  15. Honestly, I did not even think about anything but ourselves. I feel bad now! The year and a half of DIY just about killed me so we wanted/NEEDED sun and alcohol and fun and just being together. I did think about just the ease of the USA vs trying to figure out what people are saying and what the hell are we eating?! Also we did not want to sight-see. We wanted to just be together, enjoy each other and NOT worry about anything or timelines or other people. This is pretty much the only time in your life that you can do this (unless you are super lucky wealthy) A week in Maui and a week at Disneyland was perfect.

    1 agrees
  16. We are planning on going to Maine for our honeymoon. Neither of us want to go to some big resort or hotel- we would be more comfortable at a bed and breakfast, though we are probably going to be very picky about the one we choose. We'll probably be taking the train up, since he is uncomfortable with flying (and we're in the northeast- not too long of a ride!)We would rather support a local business/restaurant/inn/bed and breakfast than something owned by a multimillion/billion (whatever the big number is nowadays…) dollar corporation. On top of which, both of us are uncomfortable in hotels. Most of them remind both of us of hospitals/mental hospitals. So, our decision was slightly based off of values (supporting smaller businesses), slightly off of comfort (Ew, hotels!), and slightly because he wants to stay in the Northeast, and slightly because we both like Maine.

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    • We just went to there for our first anniversary! Maine is beautiful, and Portland's a great foodie town (try Grace if you'll be there!)

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  17. We initially thought we would go to the Maldives for our honeymoon. It was far enough away that our adventurous spirit got the better of us, but close enough that we still knew the language, could get back to somewhere we knew about (namely Europe) if all else failed. Then of course, what happened next? Yup…the pirates started hanging out in the Indian Ocean. In lieu of that, we did opt for Fiji. We're outdoorsy people, and I'm obsessed with surfing, so it was one of those "we'd never get back here if we didn't just do this now".

    Our ignorance didn't know about the political climate until we got back. The 2nd place we stayed on Viti Levu had some political tension surrounding it. The main islands are raught (I think that's right) with political tension, largely due to the vast amount of poverty that emerges. We did what we could, supported the local merchants, ate local cuisine, etc. We did our best to support the local villages, despite the so called resort that said we should just stay there. 4 days of rain will promote anyone to get out and about. When you're out on the islands though, that's a completely different experience. It was completely and I mean COMPLETELY self contained, and there was nothing, not a thing you could do except get airplaned off the island if you had a medical emergency, something happened violently, etc. You'd have to just swim for it. It sure was beautiful though. The Fijians frown upon tipping, but we did when we felt like the service was exceptional. I think the people appreciated it.

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  18. I think being aware of global issues while traveling is important, whether it is a honeymoon or a family vacation. Especially if you are wanting to embrace & experience the culture. Instead of being shocked by statistics or allowing research to scare, you be an influence. Roll up your sleeves while you're there. A honeymoon is a chance to relax but giving back even for a few hours to country that has welcomed you will not only put a smile on your face but show love that goes beyond the Newlyweds.

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  19. I live in Tucson. We have human trafficing, sex trade of any and all kinds, probably slavery, certaily intentured slavery with illegals, drugs, murders in the streets, water waste, and most likely terrorist ties and money that goes to some meany. So, as far as I am concerened, if going to the supermarket is supporting all that, anywhere else in the world would probably be less damaging to the world.

    4 agree
  20. We are going to Madeira (Portuguese island out the coast of Africa in Atlantic Ocean).

    I try to be concious on how/where we go on holiday, especially the means of transportation. I feel flying is not right for pleasure, because of the carbon foot print. So usually when we go on holiday by train and foot (or we go sailing, wind energy rules!). But our honeymoon is in the winter, which means snow/cold all over Europe. We talked about taking the train to Budapest, but realized we really wanted to see the sun and nice temperatures. You can only fly to Madeira. So yes, we are flying. Flying to celebrate this huge step in our lives with a relaxed, sunny vacation.
    I hope it is worth it. And that our lifestyles will permit this one time splurge.

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    • I highly recommend the Portuguese Islands. I haven't been to Madeira, but São Miguel is gorgeous, and it's something like a four hour flight from the East Coast of the US and two hours out of Iberia. And everyone I met there was paid a living wage. The one problem I foresee is that if you don't look at all Portuguese, you might get stares. My tall, blonde friend was stared at a decent amount both on the islands and the mainland.

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  21. I just wanted to say thanks for posting this. I was a little worried when I saw the post about the trip last week, and these questions have made everything all right in the off-beat world.

    5 agree
  22. If money were no object, my intended and myself would LOVE to travel to Sark, one of the Channel Islands. We never go anywhere and are so intrigued by their society. Tourism is also basically their entire economy and there is no where to stay but small local business. We would probably even save up for it even on our meager budget were it not for our puppy dog. He is a rescue, he is extremely attached to us, and we will never board him. We would not visit or move anywhere requiring a quarantine period for him. We also will never fly with him because he is JUST big enough to not be allowed in the cabin and there are too many horror stories about pets on planes. (Sidebar: In my opinion treating animals as cargo is unconscionable.)

    So, small road trip with the little dude it will be!

    We don't think about carbon that much to be honest, but I do love train travel. If they allow dogs, we would go for that in a second!

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    • If you're interested in Sark you could stay in France and maybe just go to Sark for a day or two? The Channel Islands are very expensive and Sark is teeny weeny

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  23. Here's some honesty: My priority for the honeymoon is not political or financial or even completely emotional. It's sexual. See, I plan on having sex on my honeymoon. Lots of sex. Sweet sex. Crazy sex. Painful sex. Sexy, sexy sex. So traveling to a different country and immersing myself in a new culture is rad and all, but we'd probably spend the whole week not leaving our hotel room anyway…

    So, we're doing the staycation deal. Any money we would have spent traveling is being put into sexy time things, which include massage oils, delivery pizza, and video games. Like I said: sexy.

    14 agree
    • I had a (actually very conservative) friend tell me that it's best not to go anywhere special for the honeymoon because you should spend that time having tons of sex :P

      (She said to go somewhere special for the one year anniversary so you actually will be willing to leave the room :P)

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  24. i'm marrying gay, and i am thinking a lot about our honeymoon destination. only this year i started seeing everything from a political point of view, and my travel (and therefore also honeymoon) plans are strongly influenced by that too. i wouldn't travel anywhere where homosexuality is illegal, for instance. partly to not spend money in a country that doesn't recognize me as a human being with rights like any other, partly because i can never keep my hands off my girl in public and i'd rather not be arrested in a foreign country for that. since we live and are getting married in sweden, we will be actually legally married, so for my honeymoon i'd very much like us to go someplace where our marriage will be recognized, or at least where homosexuals have the option of a civil union/registered partnership.
    with the budget restrictions, we might have to settle for a small honeymoon in sweden though. i don't really care, as long as i get to make lots of love and relax with my lovely :D

    4 agree
    • That's a huge reason I didn't want to go back to Jamaica. I went with a friend when I was 21 (her mom works for the Nature Conservancy and was there on business) and loved it, but immediately felt guilty because I know that my brother, for example, wouldn't be able to go with a boyfriend if he wanted to. The whole of the Caribbean can be unfortunately iffy about the whole tolerance/acceptance issue. I hope you find the perfect honeymoon destination! (check out http://www.soyoureengayged.com — they have tons of gay-friendly vendors, and I bet travel destinations are among them!)

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      • wow, i never even stumbled across that site. thank you! :D

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  25. We'll be going to Barcelona, Madrid and Granada. I went backpacking through Spain, solo, the first summer that Future Mr. Winterbymorning and I were dating. We decided to honeymoon there because I absolutely loved the trip and have been looking for an excuse to go back ever since, and he really loved my nightly phone calls describing all my adventures to him.

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  26. Simply put, I'm terrified of flying (for more reasons than just heights, none of which having to do with terrorism). This instantly shortens our prospective honeymoon destinations. I think the only country my fiancé and I would have ethical objections to would be the UK or Australia/New Zealand, mostly due to his objections to their stringent gun laws. This pretty much leaves us with staying within the states so…

    we're going to Vegas. :D We're both pretty simple/cheap type of people, so just this once, I want to stay in a ridiculously expensive hotel room, order room service, and gamble recklessly. The bonus is we'd only be a couple hours drive from home.

    1 agrees
    • That's interesting, I've never thought that somebody wouldn't want to visit the UK due to our gun laws, seeing as practically nobody here wants a gun (there are gun licenses, you can get guns for hunting though it isn't popular).

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    • This is ridiculously late, but I'm curious as to how stringent gun laws would be something that someone would have ethical objections to? I'm from New Zealand, and those very gun laws mean we have a very safe country.

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  27. I am a Spanish teacher, so going to a Spanish-speaking country has been high priority, coupled with budget. Right now I'm looking at Puerto Rico (which, of course, is a territory, but you get the point), The Dominican Republic, and Mexico.

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    • The dominican republic left me feeling conflicted as all hell. It was beautiful and the service was amazing. But if you had ten minutes to talk to your staff, you found out what kind of conditions they lived in. My family also took some mopeds through town, and it was poverty like you see in children's funds commercials.
      On one hand, I felt like a total heel for having so much when they had so little. On the other hand, my bartender wanted me to know that he really appreciated every tourist, because most of the people in the country relied on tourism to make a living, and he found most people to be very generous. Everyone working at the resort was very happy, and it was true that most of them lived better than everyone else by having a job at the resorts. So there you are, feeling guilty for having the money, but feeling good that you went there and gave all your vacation cash to good people.
      And you can bet we tipped very very generously.

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      • Exactly…even if you stay at resorts (we didn't, with one notable exception), if you make a concerted effort to see that your dollars help those living locally, it's far more than you can do if you never went at all.

        Those children's fund programs and other charities, honestly, they're great. But I prefer generously tipping staff, buying souvenirs locally, hiring local guides etc. – those people benefit immediately in salary and tips. That's something…even if it comes with a side serving of guilt (which it does).

        I say this as someone who has lived in developing countries (India and China) and traveled to others without staying in resorts – I try to stay in locally run places, which is of course really hard to do in the Caribbean.

        1 agrees
  28. This is really interesting.

    I'm in Australia and chose not to holiday in Fiji because of the political situation. I did struggle with the issue of denying the actual people on the ground my money, but equally, my money would be supporting the economy of a regime I cannot endorse.

    Instead, we went to Samoa, and it was delightful. Though we stayed in a resort we chose one in the capital (Aggie Grey's) so that we could get out and about, and buy all our (non-breakfast) food from vendors outside of the hotel. As it turned out, we were there just two weeks after half the country had been hit by a tsunami. They really needed our money and I was happy to be parting with it.

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  29. I always knew I wasn't going to spend my honeymoon at a resort in a poverty-stricken country. I spent a summer in Mexico with my dad taking care of my sick grandfather a few years ago. After he passed away, we got in a car and drove along the coast to get away for a few days. We ended up driving into a resort town through the back way, and it was the most tragically heart breaking experience of my life. Spending so much money when there were so many people just a few blocks away who were barely surviving? You can hear about it all day long, but it is so much more real seeing it in person.

    Instead we are staying in the states. I know the government isn't perfect here either, but at least it's mine. We are going to Southern California and spending at least part of it with some of my family that won't be coming to the wedding (yay free room and board).

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  30. @ Gesche — come to NZ, we legalised gay marriage about 3/4 years ago :D

    As for my honeymoon, it's all about budget. We're young, want to buy a house in couple of years, have many many bills … so we're travelling to Kaikoura — about a 3 hour drive from where we live. I know the area as I lived there for about 9 months about 5 years ago, which helped in the decision. And they're one of the greenest towns in the world :D

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    • New Zealand is actually quite on the top of our list of possible destinations ;D we both really want to go, but it might fall through because of the flight prices there. But then we'll go there some other time.

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  31. We didn't think of any of these concerns. I don't feel badly at all! We wanted to spend a tiny portion of our budget on our wedding and reception and the vast majority on our honeymoon. We only really took our own safety in to consideration- we decided on skipping one destination b/c of a dicey political situation. We are doing a month in Europe and our destinations were chosen based on three criteria. 1. Deliciousness of local cuisine 2. Caliber of museums 3. Beautifulness of scenery. My fiance just put us through the hell of three years of law school (which also required me to quit my job, move to a new city and find a new job in an extraordinarily competitive field). We feel a litte selfishness is in order!

    2 agree
  32. I would choose not to go to America right now because of the current president, not the former!

    That said, I (and my partner) have chosen to honeymoon in our own country, so that we can return to the place where we first lived as husband and wife when anniversaries roll around, without having to break the bank!

    2 agree
  33. I think the fiance and I will be staying in our own country. Not only does it go right back to supporting our economy, but I don't have to worry as much about flying (sorry body scanners and pat-downs, but you scare the bejesus out of me). Also, it gives us a chance to check out what the job market and housing market is like somewhere we might want to move to. I'd like to be able to feel a place out before I just up and move there, far away from my family.

    1 agrees
  34. As a voracious and passionate traveler (honeymooned in Morocco), I just want to second a few of the things that have already been said here in my own words. I don't think that by NOT going somewhere based on an ethical stand I'm doing anybody any favors.

    Certainly no country/culture is without blame, and if I travel with an open mind, I might just realize that some of what I stood so hard for is a pre-conceived notion that could stand to be re-examined. To me the whole point of traveling is being exposed to a different point of view; being challenged, learning and absorbing. None of that can be achieved by staying on one side of the fence saying: I don't like that one thing you do.

    Having ethical standards, taking a postion – are very important; however, if I don't allow myself some flexibility in my ethics code, in the end I'll find that I'm either 1) a huge hypocrite, or 2) living a sterile life devoid of any meaningful experience, because there's some evil at the root of all things.

    If in my travels something truly riles me (as it has), I can make a more informed decision, take more informed action, and maybe even do something to create change for the better. Ultimately I try to focus on the good/unique/informative aspects of a new place (because they each have that too).

    4 agree
    • Agreed, this goes for political objections. But is does not take away the objection of pollution through travel (in my opinion). You see, travel for holidays/honeymoon is for pleasure. If you are flying (just to name something), you are contributing to a world wide environmental problem. Without things for pleasure, it will be hard enough to solve environmental problems and make sure that there is enough to eat and enough resources on the earth. Experiences are great, but ultimately not a first necessity. I feel that protecting our environment comes in that sense before pleasure. And that's why I feel conflicted about flying to my honeymoon island. That's not a matter of having an open mind and making informed choices, but a matter of trying to take my responsibility.

      1 agrees
      • Hannah – if I may respectfully disagree – we all pollute by our sheer existence. Some of us have a larger carbon foot-print than others, but every single one of us contributes to the problem. Saying that it’s wrong to fly for pleasure is like saying it’s wrong to take a road trip, or enjoy a day on amusement park rides. Might as well throw in passing a good fart into that list, because that depletes the ozone too. I’m not going to feel guilty for enjoying travel, because unfortunately, there’s just no way for me to get from Texas to Tunisia without a whole lot of carbon emissions. I do what I can for the environment – I bike everywhere, recycle religiously, watch what I purchase – but when it comes to long-distance travel, I have no alternatives. As soon as there’s a commercial airline flying on biofuels, I will gladly pay a premium to fly that; until then, I will continue to do what I can to offset my travel. Obviously that’s just my personal position, but I do think my original point about flexibility applies to this as well.

        5 agree
        • Also, there are those of us that are barely polluters in our daily lives. I don't even own a car. I walk everywhere. If it's a long way away, I get a bus, or a train.

          I recycle, even my own clothes, and the only reason I don't have a compost heap is because I don't own my own house so there is no point to gardening. Or 'garden' is a weed-strewn patch of gravel.

          In that case, would it have really been so bad if I got on a plane for the third time in 25 years in order to go somewhere new and exciting for my honeymoon?

          As it was, we couldn't afford that, and the Icelandish volcano would have stopped us even if we could, so we hired a car and drove to the forest of dean, where we spent a week exploring and driving all around. That was probably bad for the environment too, but damned if I was going to stay in my tiny little city for my honeymoon.

          And the place we were staying had no trainstation or bus service, either.

          Sure, you're contributing to a problem,. but people who rarely fly or pollute aren't the people to blame for the problem. We all have a duty to do something about it, but we all have a duty to ourselves, too.

          1 agrees
  35. For us the choice has been tough in a way, but at the end of the day we're happy with it. We're flying to Maldives, for 10 nights, with an all-inclusive package.
    In general we're environnement friendly, political conscious etc. people… But this time….
    Well we have been living a long distance relationship for a year and an half and I am going to live with my fiance only after the wedding. So we need to be togother, full time, at least for 10 days, and nights, I am so looking forward to the nights!
    Those islands will probably be under the water in 10 to 20 years, so let's go and enjoy them till they're here (even if it means a high carbon foot print that contributes to their sinking… well I didnot say it was going to be logical)
    My fiance never travelled abroad before me and the trip we made in March to Martinique (in my family, so it costed us the flight and food only) in the Carribean was his first long-haul flight. He so enjoyed to be able to look at fishes in the warm water (even if there the corals and the cliffs did not yet really recover from El Nino, La Nina and overfishing). Maldives was the perfect destination for him, and for me, and we both always dream to be on these houses with stilts. It is the kind of travel you're doing once in a lifetime and honeymoon seemed to be the perfect time.

    I feel concerned by the concern about going to the States during the Bush's years. I did, in 2005. Because a country is not resumed by its politicians, and it is a marvelous place to go. But I travelled with my Swiss passport and NEVER mentionned that I had a French passport as well (I let it at home anyway) because it was quite touchy at the time.

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  36. We're cruising it up. We were graciously gifted a honeymoon by the in-laws (my in-laws) and we couldn't be more excited (or grateful) about the trip they have planned for us.
    Also, we did tweak the flights a little to add three days of Disney time (on our dime) before the boat leaves. We are the most gigantic children and cannot wait for our first trip to Disney as married folk. Long live splash mountain!

    2 agree
  37. We were really lucky and ended up with a one month (yes, you read that right, one month!) honeymoon. We LOVE travel – we love it so much that we work abroad so we can feel like we're traveling every day – and we used the money we got as wedding gifts towards a monthlong extravaganza across Central America. We had an open-jaw ticket, flying into Panama City (the safest choice) and leaving from Guatemala City (not quite the least safe – Tegucigalpa gets that honor – but still pretty dodgy).

    Who we are affected our plans: I can't relax in an all-inclusive place. I just can't. The constant service, the foofy drinks…it weirds me out a bit and rather than chill out I feel…nervous. So, having to stretch our funds over four weeks was perfect because we basically had to go midrange.

    We did stay in one resort in Costa Rica (in that country you may as well – it's so touristy that you can't really escape) but we made sure to pick an eco-friendly resort built on renewable and green principles, one that hired locals for not only day jobs there but also as guides for various activities. Built in the jungle, so seamlessly integrated that we could watch monkeys frolicking from our cabin's balcony, so close that they watched us as much as we watched them! We took eco-friendly hikes with local guides and tried our best to stay in locally-run pensions and hospedajes. (The resort stop was foreign-run but employed so many locals in good positions that we felt it sufficiently gave back to the community).

    I'm so happy we had the chance to go – if we hadn't, I would never know about the dynamic development of Panama (or its amazing coffee) first hand, I would have never seen, firsthand, the evidence of Nicaragua's struggle for democracy with the USA as its enemy, I would have never appreciated the stunning natural scenery and intricate Mayan ruins of Honduras (nor would I have had the experience of being frisked and photographed just to board a bus…that's how bad crime can be). I wouldn't have seen a howler monkey in person or learned that Costa Rica can be more than bikinis and hostels reeking of pot. I would have never wandered the streets and tragic ruins of Antigua or seen how deeply Mayan culture still influences Guatemala.

    It reflected our values in two ways:

    First, we're huge travelers who try to stay green on the ground, but realize that if you want to go anywhere, anywhere at all, you've simply got to fly. We get a bit restless locally and, living in Taiwan, can't drive or go by land to a lot of destinations. If we did live in the USA we'd have a bigger range, but not enough time off to make it really happen (it IS possible to drive to Panama from New York…just…err…yeah). As huge travelers, we felt that this was a fine way to spend our very much appreciated wedding gifts. We don't need or want a house (or car, or apartment) right now, but we are young and relatively unfettered, and making a big, long shebang out of it was 100% totally worth it. Like extroverts who get their energy from interacting with others, I get my energy from crazy travel, as does my husband.

    Second – I read an interview with a Nicaraguan in our guidebook that said, basically, "I don't hold the politics of the United States against its people. If we all blamed regular folks for the acts of their government, even if elected, how would we Nicaraguans be judged?" Giving back by trying to stay in local establishments, eating at local restaurants, using local transport and hiring local guides was a way to help the people, without lending too much support-by-association with their government (which is democratic…in a sense). I refuse to blame people for their government and try to travel using local resources to underscore this point.

    If anything, doing this in large enough numbers will improve the economy in those countries enough to allow locals to stand up and fight more rigorously for better rule. I say this as someone who has been, no joke, to almost every country Ariel just listed (India – lived there for a time. Thailand, Indonesia etc. – visited).

    The only country I refuse to visit until it's government changes is Myanmar/Burma. The gov't controls the tourism trade to such an extent that there's no way to spend money "locally" without benefiting the local junta cronies. So…I just won't go.

    1 agrees
  38. My experience went like this:
    Got married in France in my grandparents' yard
    Cycled down to the mediterranean coast for a couple days, with a just tent and sleeping bags.
    On the coast, we had our "real" luggage waiting for us (sent by family) and we caught a boat to Greece.
    Spent two weeks on an island among sheep, in a cabin with no electricity.
    Apart from sunburn, it was riduculously cheap, hippie, perfect and we were so in love…

    2 agree
  39. Ours? Ha. Leftover cash and me having to "work" for part of the trip (a (nonmandatory) professional conference was a few days after the wedding, so we worked our "mini-moon" around that). We like to stay in bed and breakfasts and support the local economy as much as possible. I'm not one for all inclusive resorts, because if I just wanted to lie around and drink fruity cocktails, I can just turn off my cell phone and do that at home (no, not on a beach, but I'm Irish and that's bad for my health, anyway!).

    When we go on our "real" honeymoon (whenever we can afford it) we want to go on some kind of adventure. It may or may not involve hiking up a volcano.

    0 agree
  40. For our honeymoon we crossed one state line and went camping in Colorado! But I guess it says something that we didn't choose to cross into Arizona instead…

    1 agrees
  41. While planning, we've decided we can't go international for our honeymoon. We just don't have the thousands of dollars required to pay for a honeymoon to Greece (which is kinda where we wanted to go). So we're saving that one for when we have more money, and we're staying local – specifically, the mountains that are only hours away.

    But we'll be staying at a resort this time. No tents.

    Nothing like a place that was built off of (practically) slave labor!

    I think as long as you know, and respect the history of a given locale, then you should be able to travel there. Otherwise, you wouldn't be able to travel, AT ALL.

    0 agree
  42. My dude and I just did a major trip to London for my research so another big trip is not in the cards. Moreover, the dude discovered he doesn't do well in huge cities and isn't nearly the travel-loving vagabond that he thought he was. Throw in that while I love travel, it stresses me out to be the one organizing everything, and we voted for something easy and somewhat familiar. So we are heading to Edmonton, AB to stay at the Fantasyland Hotel and play at the West Edmonton Mall in the water park, go to IKEA (and pick up some furniture for the house), go to jazz clubs, etc. We'll be driving so we can haul things back. Minimizes major travel and makes our lives easier. Low stress was definitely our big motivating factor. We get out of the city so we have privacy, but we aren't out of our comfort zone.

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  43. Our local tourism industry has been struggling since the onset of the GFC (and now, while the AUD is equal to the USD), so we decided to honeymoon in Australia. We figure that we live in such an incredible country, that we should support and nurture our own industry before going overseas again.

    0 agree
  44. Although we haven't decided 100%, we're probably going to Canada. The most important thing for us was not flying. Flying is a very unpleasant experience. The airport is terrible. There are always delays. The staff is rude (at least on the flight where I traveled).

    Overall, I'll do almost anything to avoid the airport. So, we're probably taking a train to our destination. There is something nostalgic about the train. If we don't go to Canada, we'll take a cruise. All of this goes with the assumption that we'll be able to afford a honeymoon. At the moment, we're not sure.

    0 agree
  45. We went to India! And yes, we totally considered many of the aspects, but when it came down to it, I've wanted to go since I was 11, and it was a dream come true. Three weeks in the country that's enchanted you for over a decade? Yes, please.

    BUT, just because I have to say it, we did make a point to buy lots of candy and give that to the kids. Most of the time, whoever is in charge of the child beggars just takes the money and the kids never see a dime. With candy, they get to bliss out all day on it, share it with their friends, barter it, whatever, but they don't have to give it to anyone if they don't want to. It was our way to very feebly try to balance a disturbing situation.

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  46. Wow, um, so this will probably get lost among the throngs of other replies, but here's what we were faced with.

    I'm from Canada. He's from Spain. We met in Glasgow, Scotland. Both of us have had cultural love affairs with Japan for a long, long time, but a look at our budget told us that was never going to happen.

    So we reevaluated things, and realized that we'd have just as much a blast (if not more) by staying in Canada, where we live now, and travelling it by train. Yes, we flew to the coasts to start/end the trip, but the majority of our trip was actually on a train.

    When it came to values, I'm sure they had a say in our decisions, but we realised that our tastes and interests usually lined up with our values. Restaurants featuring local food. Walking or public transit instead of renting a car. Learning about the country we live in and contributing to its economy. They all seemed to line up to make a very awesome honeymoon. I think that's the trick – finding the harmony between what you do because you want to and what you do because you feel you need to.

    Actually… that sounds like a wedding! So by that logic if you're authentic to yourself and your own priorities, I think your honeymoon will be a success. Great dialogue, everyone!

    1 agrees
  47. The boy and I are more travellers at heart – he's hiked and travelled all over Europe, and I've lived and worked in Africa, and we both have a lot of travelling dreams that we share. We have a couple of ideas for potential honeymoon locations so far, which will depend a lot on our financial situation (we're both graduate students and we have a 6 year old child), timing of the wedding compared to school (which we haven't figured out yet and are happily putting off until we feel like making real plans), and how we feel closer to the time-of. Our number one criteria is a place neither of us has gone before. We're so excited to adventure together, as most of our other travels were before we met. Our second criteria is no resorts and no all-inclusives and no plans organized by anyone else. We're DIY travellers. We stay at hostels, we wander aimlessly with only a mental map in our heads, and we stop when we want to stop, so anything pre-ordained just wouldn't work for us. We've tossed around Morocco, a long and lazy backpacking trip around South America, a wander around the Indian subcontinent. We're just excited to wander together (and to test out travel locations to bring our kids to later on!)

    0 agree
  48. we are getting married 1 year after finishing graduate school and, given that i was never in Brazil, where my boyfriend is from, we thought it would be a nice honey moon destination and an occasion for me to know his country, ending with a week with his family. We intended to organize everything ourselves and use the internet for booking small pousadas and so on…Then we took a look at the costs and realized it would be just too expensive.

    Since we live in Europe, we chose Corsica instead – we could have the beach, if we so wanted and we could hike in the mountains and we could visit parts of the island by bike and we would not be in an island infested by big hotels and without any small businesses or restaurants.

    0 agree
  49. It became fairly easy for my husband and i to decide on where to go for our honeymoon. His mom had given us a week's stay a Hilton as a weeding gift because she's a member of their time-share program (i previously had no idea they had a time-share program). She lives in Costa Rica which made our decision to get married in Costa Rica something of a no-brainer because we wanted a small, memorable wedding and getting married on the beach seemed perfect.

    So, we were married and honey-mooned at the same resort. I also liked that Costa Rica doesn't maintain an army, a third of their GNP is from tourism, and that they have the highest literacy rate in Latin America (becuase they spend their money on education rather than military). I wanted our wedding and honey-moon to be easy and relaxing.

    I felt "guilty" about doing so much flying but i just had to suspend those concerns, relax, and enjoy myself.

    1 agrees
  50. To be honest, I wouldn't/don't feel guilty about staying at say a Sandals or a resort while locals may be living in shacks only a few miles away. I live in NYC so how would that be any different than me buying a $10 sandwich for lunch while there's a homeless guy standing outside the shop? Helping the industry of that area would probably be more beneficial than dropping a quarter in someones cup.

    0 agree
  51. We're planning on driving up to the Canadian Rockies for a week or two. My fiance has great memories of family vacations there, and wants to show me what it's all about.

    0 agree

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