Fed up with the usual sun-and-sea honeymoons? Looking for something a bit different that will knock the socks off every other holiday you’ve ever had? Here’s my pick of a few unusual honeymoon ideas. The prices quoted below are for two people, and in most instances don’t include flights.
I’m a big softie when it comes to elephants, so this option, through Real Gap Experiences, is, unsurprisingly, one of my favourites. Situated two hours north of Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, you’ll be taught to care – from treating sick elephants to washing and feeding – for the elephants and help with the daily management of this conservation project. It’s a great chance to be involved with a community development project, working alongside locals and helping them improve their English skills, and also will provide a fascinating insight into the country (and these gentle giants). This would also make a great base from which to explore the island. You do need a fair bit of time, however – projects start at a minimum of four weeks. From £2198.
This is something really quite special. Astro Trails offers holidays to witness unusual astronomical events, such as total solar eclipses or planetary transits – even if you have little more than a passing interest in such things, these are likely to be really fascinating, exciting experiences that would really make your honeymoon feel special. Obviously, the nature of astronomical events is that they don’t happen every day – so chances are you’d have to time your honeymoon around them. In 2012, Astro Trails’ trips will include the annular eclipse and transit of Venus in late May/early June - the former can be experienced from West Coast USA, while the transit of Venus can be seen from Hawaii (with plenty of time to enjoy the beaches); the total solar eclipse, in Australia in November, which can also be combined with visits to Borneo and Indonesia; and the Northern Lights, seen on a cruise through the stunning Norwegian Fjords. From £1110.
If you’re after a luxurious honeymoon but want to feel like you’re actually making a positive impact on the country that you’re visiting, then this could be a great choice for you. ITC Classics, a luxury tour operator, has recently launched its ITC Giving “voluntourism” programme, in which your skills are matched with specific projects, such as teaching in a township in South Africa, or wildlife monitoring in Peru. The programmes are designed to be short term – usually around five or seven days – so perfect for combining with a bit of your own exploration, or a few days guilt-free relaxing on the beach. From £3960.
There’s nothing quite like the sense of freedom that heading off on the open road gives you – especially when you can rock up wherever you like and bed down for the night. Wicked Campers‘ colourful campervans look like a lot of fun – and would make a great honeymoon-on-a-budget option – and they come equipped with everything you could need, from your bed, cutlery, gas stove and cool box, to a CD player and iPod connection. With depots in London, Edinburgh and Belfast, they’re a great choice for UK honeymoons, but they’re also based on the Continent – in Amsterdam, Munich, Barcelona, Malaga and St Benedetto (Italy), so perfect for a bit of European exploring, especially as you could do a one-way hire (I quite like the idea of hiring from Amsterdam and heading down through France, into Spain). With prices starting from £216 for seven days in the UK, you could well afford to splash out on a couple of nights in a nice hotel or B&B if you didn’t fancy spending all of your time on honeymoon kipping down in a campervan.