Most likely when you think of The Caribbean, your mind conjures up an image of a pristine white sand beach, picturesque palms, and warm, sultry breezes. It’s true it’s hard not to find ideal island scenery just about anywhere you go in the Caribbean. But, The Caribbean actually represents a vast area with over 700 islands reaching from the Gulf of Mexico to the north of South America. What separates the islands the most is the culture. The customs, language, currency, even the side of the road you drive on is different from island to island depending on their sovereignty. So, we know you want that white sand beach, but what else will make your honeymoon stay picture-perfect? How do you know which island is right for you? Here’s a quiz to help you decide.

  1. I speak, or am at least comfortable conversing in the following languages:
    1. Spanish
    2. Dutch
    3. English
    4. All of the above
  1. We might want to catch a game while we’re there, our preference would be:
    1. Baseball
    2. Soccer
    3. Cricket
  1. You should see our killer (fill in the blank) dance moves:
    1. Merengue
    2. Club-style
    3. Dirty
  1. Our idea of adventure is:
    1. Horseback riding and zip-lining
    2. Discovering a shipwreck
    3. Taking our chances at the casino
    4. Driving on the left-hand side of the road
    5. Taking a nature hike (complete with monkeys!)

Add up your points:

A’s = 1

B’s = 2

C’s = 3

D’s = 4

E’s = 5

If you scored 4-5 points, the Dominican Republic and/or Cancun is perfect for you. There is no shortage of thrill-seeking adventure either place. The beaches are spectacular, the food spicy, and the nightlife abounds with Spanish rhythm.

If you scored 6-7 points, you’ll love the Dutch ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao). The culture is laid back, yet thrilling. Whether you’re scuba diving through a shipwreck or putting it all on black at the casino, you’ll fill your days and nights with lifelong memories.

If you scored 8+ points, you are the type of person that wants it all. We recommend island-hopping, but if that’s not in the plan you should definitely check out Barbados, the Bahamas or the Cayman Islands! These islands offer adventure at every turn, unparalleled beaches, nightlife that’ll keep you going well into the next day, and they speak English!

We’ve got a sweet deal for you now too. The Marriott has gorgeous beachfront properties on the Caribbean destination of your choice, and are offering the following specials!

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Summer marks the beginning of wedding season, which means that honeymoon season has made its arrival, too. Last year at this time, I was caught in the whirlwind of both. And while wedding planning was my own unique version of hell, mapping out that honeymoon was one of my favorite hobbies on Earth.

So, my husband and I made an executive decision to take one honeymoon per year. That’s right, one luxury trip where, depending on how much we stick to the theme, we’ll tell everyone it’s our honeymoon and reap in the rewards. Can I get a rewind? So if you’re literally or figuratively honeymooning, or just plain in the mood for an over-the-top, luxury vacation, these tips are for you.


Choose a destination where the dollar is strong

Southeast Asia is perfect for this, meals cost about $2, activities like cooking classes and market tours are between $20-$30 per person, and souvenirs are pretty much always negotiable. A few other destinations also make a lot of sense right now, like Europe while the Euro is at an all-time low. Think Portugal and Spain, which offer a mix of vibrant cities and laid-back beaches, with cuisine catering to all budgets. South America is also on the table, especially for steak-loving foodies who can appreciate a delicious (and cheap!) bottle of wine.

Airline miles are everything

We became religious followers of The Points Guy, a blogger who lays out exactly what you need to do to fly anywhere in the world for free. The site highly recommended opening the Chase Sapphire card, which allows 1:1 point transfers to a variety of frequent flyer programs including United, Singapore Air, Virgin Atlantic, Marriott and more. You receive a 45,000 mile sign-up bonus, and I planned to rack up a healthy amount of points with all of my wedding purchases. With about 80,000 points in tow and 80,000 miles already in my Mileage Plus account, we had enough to fly from Miami to Bali in business. We then each opened a Citi AAdvantage card for 100,000 combined miles and booked Cathay Pacific flights home from Thailand to Miami, all in business and first class. Free flights: CHECK!

Choose locally owned hotels over international chains

In addition to staying in a place that captures the vibe and culture of the city you’re in, prices are often much more affordable. U.S. and European hotel brands tend to have prices that you’d expect in those countries, while locally owned hotels offer prices that are more in line with the local currency.

Nearby hotels are great

We found that luxe hotels in the Phi Phi Islands were way out of our price range. Rather than staying on the island itself, we lodged nearby and opted for a full-day island-hopping tour. This way, we got to experience the magic of the Phi Phi islands without going over budget. Similarly, we decided to stay in Kowloon at the stunning Hotel Madera instead of a hotel in Central Hong Kong. By staying in Kowloon, we got the most bang for our buck, a gorgeous, apartment-style hotel room with its own private sun deck. The hotel was also home to a rooftop bar with sweeping skyline views that we would never have seen from Central Hong Kong. It was still super easy to get around, with subway stations sprinkled throughout the city.

Be flexible

Try not to get attached to any one hotel or brand, pick out a few spots that look awesome to you, and then let the price dictate which one to go with. Shameless plug, but we have international Travelzoo sites, too, that sometimes offer different deals than we have in the U.S. Travelzoo Asia site has some pretty incredible offers throughout a variety of Southeast countries, think villas with your own private pool for under $200 per night. To see all the different Travelzoo sites, go to the top right corner of your browser where it says U.S. and all of the dropdown options will appear. These websites also hold the keys to international local deals, which will give you spa days, authentic tours and restaurant experiences at a fraction of the normal price.

Splurge a little

After you count the thousands of dollars you’ve saved, see what’s left in the budget. Then, take that extra money and treat yourselves. We became obsessed with Rayavadee on Railay Beach, one of Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best hotels, but the price was double what we wanted to pay. After finding a little wiggle room in our wallets, we searched for the best rate and then splurged on two nights. The hotel was beyond our wildest expectations, built amid cascading limestone cliffs surrounded by emerald-green and blue waters, Thai long boats and lush foliage. Use your splurge hotel as the cherry on top of all your hard money-saving work.

So dream big, no honeymoon dream is off the table. In seven cities and 21 days we learned to cook Thai food, swam with Nemo fish, nurtured rescue elephants, fed bananas to monkeys, hiked through rice fields, toured temples, ate countless plates of fried rice, kayaked through emerald lagoons, tasted the most expensive coffee in the world, got many $5 massages, lived in the lap of luxury in a two-story beach house and most importantly, stayed on budget.

Enter Honeyfund and Travelzoo’s search for love contest for a chance to win a romantic 6-night Bali vacation.

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