Honeymoon Smackdown: Which Destination Will Reign Supreme?
Guys, I have a confession to make: My wedding is in three months, and my fiancé and I haven't planned our honeymoon.
I know, I know. I'm a travel editor. I'm in the business of lovey-dovey, Instagram-worthy destinations. I wrote 10 Most Romantic Islands in the World. I wrote Honeymoon Paradise for Less, for crying out loud. And now I'm telling you that when it comes to my own ultimate romantic vacation, I've got nada.
OK, not exactly "nada." There are five destinations that my fiancé and I have been kicking around, but both of us have been too busy to research nitty-gritty specifics for our trip (oh, the irony). We want a beach vacation—the fewer people on aforementioned beach the better. He wants an overwater bungalow. (That's negotiable.) I want a remote destination where Wi-Fi isn't a guarantee, because the last thing I want to be doing with my new husband is crafting witty Facebook posts for my high-school friends. My deepest vacation fantasy is re-enacting that oddly prescient Corona commercial from a few years ago: throwing my phone into the ocean, never to answer it again.
So I need your help. I want your best memories, your horror stories, and your heartfelt recommendations to guide me. Our wedding is in October, and we'll be flying out of California, most likely LAX. My fiancé and I like chic properties at reasonable prices, beautiful beaches, and free-flowing drinks—and I want to learn how to surf. From a romance, value, activity, and style perspective, out of these five destinations, where should we go?
Pros: So many islands to choose from! Three hundred thirty-three, to be exact (not all of them inhabited). I dig the idea of having a picnic on a private beach, and the far-flung factor is there in spades. Cast Away was filmed here: That's the very definition of "getting away from it all."
Cons: The flight is almost 11 hours—not a short trip. And there are only a handful of overwater bungalows, which doesn't bother me, but my fiancé might take issue.
2. Bora Bora
Pros: Bora Bora is honeymoon central. Even Morello in Orange Is the New Black deeply understood the significance of "Bora Bora Bora." And as prevalance of overwater bungalows goes, Bora Bora has many, a fact my fiancé loves.
Cons: Bora Bora isn't exactly cheap. And because we've waited so long, we might have priced ourselves out of any stellar deals.
Pros: A lover of Paul Gaugin's art, I've always fantasized about the island of Tahiiti as an exotic destination (even though the his portrayal of the place didn't exactly mirror his experience). Birdwatching, gardenias, beaches... What more do you need?
Cons: Is the island of Tahiti too populated? Maybe we should consider going to Moorea instead, or elsewhere in French Polynesia, rather than hang out on the island proper.
4. Fiji + New Zealand
Pros: New Zealand is right there! Might as well hop over if we've gone all the way to Fiji, right?
Cons: This plan might be ambitious if what we really desire is relaxtion. The worst thing to do to yourself as a traveler is force yourself to do something that, deep down, you don't really want to do.
5. Honolulu, Hawaii
Pros: My fiancé and I are huge, unapologetic Mad Men fans, and ever since I wrote Mad Men Travel Destinations, I've been obsessed with the Royal Hawaiian, a.k.a. the "Pink Palace," the hotel Don and Megan Draper stayed at on their honeymoon. I hear it's just as fabulous as it was in the Drapers' heyday. Plus, the flights to Hawaii are cheaper than any other destination on our list.
Cons: Even though neither of us has been to Hawaii, staying in the U.S. isn't as exotic as either of us had envisioned. Plus, crowded beaches might be a concern.
Did you have a romantic experience on one of these islands that you'd recommend? Or am I totally missing an option I should be considering? I wanna hear from you! Vote in the poll below, and talk to me in the comments. But Lord knows I need to hear your advice fast...before time runs out.
The World's Cleanest Airlines
This article originally appeared on Fox News Travel. It's never fun to find crumbs on your airline seat or old coffee cups in your seatback pocket. If a clean aircraft is a must when purchasing a ticket, you may want to consider flying on Asian carriers. All of the top 10 airlines in Skytrax's annual World Airline Awards for cleanliest cabins were Asian. Taiwan-based EVA Air took top honors in the category, winning the award for tidiest seats, tables, carpets and lavatories. Let's be clear. Skytrax didn't test for bacteria content on tray tables or inside the bathrooms. Rather, it surveyed responses from more than 18 million passengers on over 245 airlines to get its ranking. Here is the complete list: 1. EVA Air 2. Singapore Airlines 3. ANA All Nippon Airways 4. Cathay Pacific 5. Asiana Airlines 6. Garuda Indonesia 7. Japan Airlines 8. Hainan Airlines 9. Korean Air 10. Hong Kong Airlines And if you really want to find out where germs lurk most on aircraft, watch this. More From Fox News Travel: The scariest water slide ever may be in Texas Why America's air travel liberation may finally take flight this year The most hated hotel chains in the US, according to social media Virgin Cruises to launch in Miami in 2020
Our Favorite Random Act of Travel Kindness
I could totally relate when I read last week about how 6-year-old Owen left his favorite stuffed animal, a tiger named Hobbes, at Tampa International Airport. When I was Owen's age, I had a beloved teddy bear (who still sits by my desk, a little worse for wear and tear, and watches me while i write). Owen’s mom, seeing how upset her child was, called the airport’s Lost and Found, and Hobbes was quickly located near a children’s play area. But what an airport official did before Owen and his family returned to Tampa was pretty amazing. Tampa’s Airport Operations Center Manager Tony D’Aiuto spent his lunch hour taking Owen’s toy tiger for a tour of the airport, snapping photos all along the way: at the air traffic control tower, at a gelato stand, in the airport employee gym, visiting the airport’s firefighters, swinging in the Marriott pool hammock, and taking a ride on a luggage cart. If D’Aiuto hasn’t already zoomed to the top of your travel-professional-of-the-month list, consider this: He used a Walgreens coupon code to print a hardcover book of photos, along with a story, that was waiting for Owen’s family at the Lost and Found when they returned to pick up the toy. “Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” –Henry James
Where To Find The Best Pizza in Cusco, Peru
When it comes to food, what often strikes people are the things that just aren't eaten at home. In Cusco, Peru, what often strikes people is the number of places that offer pizza, especially for an area that has not seen a high influx of expats from either Italy or New York City. If all the hawking around town leaves you craving that cheesy pie, here are the three best places to satisfy your hunger. Justina, Calle Palacio 110; Open Mon-Sat, Dinner only, from 6 p.m. Relaxed and chill are the best ways to describe this small, out of the way pizza place. You have to enter a colonial courtyard where half of the building is in romantic ruin. Although I know renovation is inevitable, I can't help hoping it stays that way forever. The pizza place is in the back of the courtyard with a couple of outdoor tables and an additional five inside and upstairs. Seating is limited and the place is popular so it's worth getting there early. Choose from a wide variety of toppings; the price of a pie is quite reasonable, especially for the quality. Yummy garlic bread is served while you wait for your pizza to be cooked, served with a spicy salsa and garlic mayonnaise. Another reason this place is one of my favorites is the extremely reasonably priced wine. For drinks, you can also choose beer, soda or water; food options are limited to pizza and pizza alone. La Bodega 138, Herrajes 138; Open Mon-Sat, from 12 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Just down the street from Justina is La Bodega. (Please note that Cusco streets frequently have different names depending on the block you're on). Equally delicious, La Bodega features a slightly different style of crust as well as some different varieties of toppings. One of my personal favorites includes bacon, blue cheese, and sauco, a type of elderberry. La Bodega also gives you more choices than pizza: pasta, really superb salads, soups, and desserts are on the menu as well. Fairly priced wine also makes its appearance, with greater variety than those on the Justina list. Seating is not quite as comfortable here, but it definitely has a more upscale feel. When it's crowded, it can be a bit difficult to hear so if you're purposely looking forward to dinner conversation, this pizza place may not be the best choice. There can be a wait so if you try here and you can't get in, walk down the street to Justina. Another plus side is that, unlike my other two favorite pizza restaurants, La Bodega is open for lunch. La Cantina, Saphy 554; Daily from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. No mention of the best pizza in Cusco could be complete without including La Cantina. Although it is primarily a wine bar, people do go here just for the pizza—Italian style with a delicate wafer crust and featuring all Italian cheeses and meats (veggie options available as well). The pizza oven is small, only fitting one at a time and, despite being large in diameter, they are so light that they are personal-sized for a hungry person. Try some different toppings between the group so you can sample some of the varieties. In addition to the pizza, there are also cheese and meat plates, lasagna, and tiramisu for dessert. Most importantly, there is a huge selection of wines from Italy. As it is first and foremost a wine bar, the friendly and obliging staff are happy to open a bottle of whatever you like, even if you want just a single cup. However, the wine is so good, you're unlikely to be able to stick to just one! Originally from the U.S., Maureen Santucci now calls the ancient Peruvian capital of Cusco home, where she has lived for almost six years, working as a travel consultant and writing for Fodors Travel Guide. This article was written on behalf of Tucan Travel, experts in adventure tours to Machu Picchu and all over Peru.
15 Dances to Learn Around the World
This article was written by the Viator Travel Team on behalf of Viator.com. Great art isn’t always found in museums. Dance varies from place to place, yet remains a constant way for people to express themselves. Whether performed in a grand theater or on a street corner, dance can be emotional, tell tales, or be a way to celebrate. Whatever the reason or venue, the rhythm is out to get you. Grab your passport and take on a calorie burning challenge with these dances to watch and learn around the world. Samba in Brazil Brazil’s national dance, the Samba is actually African in origin, brought to the country by slaves. It has many variations, but the samba is lively, rhythmic, and often colorfully costumed. Its speedy steps can make the learning curve a bit steep. Samba is popular in Rio, especially during Carnival, but performances like the Plataforma Samba Show in Rio de Janeiro take place throughout the year. Flamenco in Spain Fast and lively, this Spanish dance is said to have originated in Andalusia. Vigorous hand clapping, heel clicking, and arm movements come together to create flamenco’s expressive identity. The rhythms and moves are challenging for most first timers, but at the same time typically a whole lot of fun. Experience Seville: Learn How to Dance Flamenco is open to dance enthusiasts with or without a partner. One-on-one coaching will enable even beginners to hone their skills and take home a new talent. Tango in Argentina It takes two to Tango. An Argentinean dance, couples need good balance to make long pauses in difficult positions. It’s believed the Tango got its start in the poorer neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the late 1800s. Timing is key; knowing when and how fast to walk, and just as important, when to freeze. Buenos Aires Tango Shows will get you excited, but a Buenos Aires Tango Show, Dinner and Dance Lessons will give you a first-hand taste. Mexican Hat Dance Sometimes called Jarabe Tapatio, the famous Mexican Hat Dance is a courtship folk dance. At first the woman is not interested, but with time warms up to the convincing suitor. Men traditionally dress as a charro, in black with decorative silver trim. Women wear blouses and long, full skirts that are also heavily decorated or embroidered. The dance and the costumes have become easily recognizable and representative of Mexico. The Mexican Hat dance can pop up when you least expect it; seemingly easier to pick up than other dances from around the world, onlookers are sometimes encouraged to join in. Kecak Dance in Bali A combination of dance, drama, and chanting, the Kecak dance was created to entertain tourists. Always performed just before sunset, it tells the Hindu story of Prince Rama and how he defeats an evil king to rescue his princess. As storytellers weave the tale, a choir of sometimes 100-plus men sitting in circles chant while swaying back and forth and waving their arms and hands. Visit Bali and you can see the Kecak dance at many locations, but the performance at Uluwatu Temple gets rave reviews. Waltz in Vienna There are many variations of the waltz, but one could argue the whirling Viennese waltz is the most famous. Continuously turning left and right while moving counterclockwise around the dance floor, dancers move fluidly to slow, melodic music. “The Waltz King,” composer Johann Strauss was famous for his Viennese waltzes. He wrote nearly 500 dance pieces during his lifetime in Vienna, of which more than 150 were waltzes. Studios around the world offer dance lessons, but traveling couples can learn the basics of the dance Strauss helped make famous when in Vienna by taking Viennese Waltz Dance Lesson for Couples. Irish Step Dance Riverdance and Lord of the Dance helped modern Irish Step Dance gain popularity and recognition. Done solo or by a group, dancers keep their upper bodies stiff while performing quick and fancy footwork. Costumes play a large part, and girls costumes are known for being decorative and costly. Two types of shoes are worn, soft and hard. When hard shoes are worn, a noise similar to that of tap dancing is made. You don’t have to be in Ireland to see a show. Due to the dance’s popularity, performances can be seen all over the world. Belly Dancing in Egypt and Turkey Performed on stages and restaurants around the world, belly dancing is said to be a Western coined phrase for the Middle Eastern dance Raqs Sharqi. Though it can be performed by men, it’s most commonly done by women; it’s a sensual dance in which abdominal movements typically wow the crowd. Shakira makes it look easy, but if you’re up to shaking your hips, you can learn the stomach ripple too. Dancers of all levels can shake up their vacation with a Belly Dancing Lesson in Istanbul with Optional Dinner and Show. Fandango in Portugal and Spain Believed to be a Spanish courtship dance with Moorish origins, Fandango is popular in Portugal and Spain. It’s lively and upbeat; dancers tap their feet and quickly change positions. It can also be danced by two men as a contest of skill. The first dancer sets the rhythm and steps, then the second tries to take the dance up a notch. Hopak in Ukraine / Gopak in Russia This Ukrainian folk dance is full of improvised acrobatic feats including jumps, spins and squats. Traditionally danced in the Ukraine and Russia by men, modern versions can include all. Energetic and almost infectious, it’s hard to sit still during a performance. Lessons can be found, but strength and fitness are essential. Zulu Dance in South Africa There are more than half a dozen types of Zulu dances, each steeped in culture and tradition. The dances represent many aspects of daily Zulu life; hunting, war, coming of age, or weddings. Drums and whistles often accompany the dances. Local tribe dancing is performed at the Shakaland—Zulu Cultural Center in South Africa. Haka in New Zealand Sports fans may know this dance as part of the pregame preparations of New Zealand’s rugby team the All Blacks. A traditional Maori dance, the Haka can be performed in times of war and peace. There’s foot stamping, loud chanting and body slapping. In addition to All Blacks rugby games, the Haka is performed at villages and museums throughout New Zealand, along with city sightseeing tours in Auckland. Hula in Hawaii Hula has come to symbolize Hawaiian culture. Like other dances, there are many types and styles. Along with festivals and competitions, Hula performances are held regularly at hotels and resorts. Hula lessons, often free, are a fairly common activity in Hawaii’s popular tourist areas and brave guests at Maui Luaus are often brought on stage to show off their dance skills. Clogging in the Netherlands Most people in the Netherlands, dancers included, don’t wear clogs anymore. Clogging was once done in wooden shoes, but today a more modern, yet equally noisy shoe is used. Clogging involves fast footwork and is somewhat of a mix of tap and line dancing. Polka in Czech Republic and Poland American bandleader Lawrence Welk introduced fans to all types of easy listening music; from his famous champagne music to upbeat polkas. A lively dance with Bohemian origins, its history differs depending on who is doing the telling. Though many believe the polka is polish, the dance did not originate in Poland. Some say it is a Czech folk dance, but refers to a Polish woman. Polish immigrants who moved to the U.S. after World War II adopted it as their own, helping it become fashionable in America. Either way, its popularity spread throughout the world and is still being danced today.