Friends since high school, Ansley Thomas and Owen Gaddis two both work in travel – Thomas as a Virtuoso travel advisor in Atlanta, Georgia, and Gaddis as a manager with Virtuoso partner Absolute Travel. When Gaddis confided that he was proposing to his girlfriend, Thomas asked to plan the honeymoon.
The Mystery Moon
The surprising thing wasn’t that Gaddis said yes. It was that he and his fiancée agreed to let Thomas keep everything about the honeymoon, even the location, a mystery.
“I told them a beach would be involved, that I wanted an extreme sports angle for Owen, and horseback riding for the bride,” Thomas details. The trip wound up being a three-continent, two-week journey to Istanbul, Tanzania, Dubai and Oman, with five-star accommodations at every stop.
Surprising Romantic Travel Itineraries
Though a “mystery moon” is rare, it’s one example of a growing romantic travel trend: surprising and unconventional itineraries. A client of Virtuoso travel advisor Sandy Staples in Folsom, California wanted to inject mystery into a romantic travel experience. She asked Staples to organize a surprise tour of Germany and Poland for her husband’s 50th birthday.
“He didn’t find out until two days before they left,” Staples recounts. “They started with a private tour of Auschwitz, because he was a history buff, then they went to Berlin, drove the romantic road near Heidelberg, and ended with three days at Oktoberfest.”
Other romantic travel twists stem from variations on trends. Babymoons – vacations where expecting parents celebrate their final kid-free days – continue their popularity, but Staples says couples are now embarking on them before they’re with child. “Couples I planned babymoons for recently told me they were doing this because they were going to be pregnant when they went or wanted to have children very soon,” she observes.
The Celebration Year
Staples has spotted another new romantic travel angle: couples are taking an entire year to commemorate milestones rather than just one vacation.
“People are saying, ‘This is our anniversary year,’ and book several trips in that year,” she explains. “One couple has done a European cruise, now they’re doing an Asia to Alaska cruise, then a U.S. national parks trip, and then they go to Mexico for three or four weeks over Christmas.”
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