How to Approach Your Honeymoon Budget

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A honeymoon is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation! So it should be unique to you as a couple and should create special memories that you’ll be talking about for years to come. Whether you’re dreaming of an overwater bungalow, a fairytale town, or a cabin in mountains, you’re also planning for a wedding, and you probably don’t want to break the bank along the way. So, how do you even begin to put a price on your trip of a lifetime and plan your honeymoon budget? 

Where you want to go, what you want to do, and what level of luxury you want to experience will all factor into the overall cost. And there are a few simple steps to figure out what is realistic and what you can afford. We’ve created a fun worksheet to get you started with the steps outlined below. Download our free Honeymoon Budget Worksheet here!


STEP 1: COMMUNICATION & THE BIG PICTURE

The foundation of every good relationship is communication. And budgeting for the perfect honeymoon requires a lot of it! You want to ensure that you’re both on the same page in terms of expectations. 

honeymoon couple sitting on a log in a rainbow in hawaii

Start with the big picture. You don’t have to decide where you’re going or what exactly you’ll do when you get there, yet. Instead, talk about what kinds of things you imagine doing and in what kinds of environments.

Are you walking hand-in-hand along a white sandy beach with ocean waves as your soundtrack? Wandering the cobblestone streets of Europe and feeling like you’ve stepped into a fairytale? Spending your days lounging in your luxury honeymoon suite with an awe-inspiring view? Did you travel far to get there or was it a quick flight to paradise?

[Photo Credit: Molly & Matt via Shared Adventures. Read about their Hawaiian Honeymoon here!]

Try starting the conversation by telling the story of your honeymoon. “I imagine we spend our honeymoon… sipping cocktails in lounge chairs on the beach…”

Once you agree on the general big picture, take some time to write down things you love to do together to give the trip a focus on who you are as a couple. Then write out your non-negotiables. Do you want to leave right after the wedding? Does the accommodation need to have a pool? Do you want to have an immersive local experience? Make sure you’re both clear on what your partner expects from this amazing vacation.

STEP 2: TIMING & LOCATION

Timing

Once you have the big picture, you can get into the details and the budget. First, consider how much time you have for the honeymoon. Most people have a certain amount of PTO and you will probably take some of that for the wedding. So, consider how many days you can realistically be away. 

If your dates are flexible and the destination is more important than the timing, you can skip the following step. 

honeymoon couple in the Dolomites Italy

Now, it’s time to consider the all-important seasonality. Many couples still travel right after the wedding, meaning a fixed time frame for their honeymoon. Consider which destinations are best at different times of the year, and look at whether your specific travel dates exclude any destinations because of poor weather conditions or too-high prices.

[Photo Credit: Shannon & Lou via Shared Adventures. Read about their winter honeymoon to Northern Italy here!]

Region

If you have a specific destination in mind then you can skip this step. However, if you’re still not sure exactly where you want to go, the next step is to figure out a general region. Ask yourself the following:

Do you want to stay close to home or travel farther abroad?
Are you looking for warm or cool weather?
Do you want somewhere on the coast with a beach? Or a big city?

Take a look at a map and talk about the different areas these questions bring to mind in connection with your dates. For example: if you’re looking to stay close to home, with warm weather, on a beach in early June, then you’ll stay in the northern hemisphere and might head to places like Mexico, the Caribbean, or the Bahamas. 

STEP 3: COST ESTIMATES

Flights

Airfare costs are generally fixed with very little wiggle room and can take up a good chunk of your budget. This makes them the best starting place. Even if you’re not set on a particular destination yet, look back at your time frame, and potential regions. Then start looking at average flight prices for those options. Finding the average flight cost will give you a good starting point for your budget. 

Remember to be realistic when you’re looking at flights. You’ll only want one connection and not the super-restrictive basic economy fares that involve all sorts of added fees for seats and bags. Looking at the average economy class fare will give you a better idea of what to build into your budget. And if you’re thinking about splurging on Business or First class for this trip of a lifetime, take a look at those prices too.

The Rest 

Once the estimated airfare is taken into account, it’s time to work out the details. The rest of your budget can fall into roughly three categories: Activities, Accommodations, and Meals. Put these in order of priority (for you) to figure out where you want to splurge and where you can save a little. Are you set on being awe-struck during a hot-air balloon ride? Does your mouth water at the thought of eating at a Michelin star restaurant? Do you want only the finest luxury resort? Whatever is most important, allocate more of your budget towards that key thing. You can make compromises on the pieces that aren’t as important to you. 

Sunset beach Costa Rica Honeymoons

Pro Tip: If accommodations are important but the full trip in a high-end hotel is stretching your budget, try splitting the accommodations. Stay in a slightly cheaper hotel first and end the last few days on a high note at the luxury property!

[Photo Credit: Katey & Oliver via Shared Adventures. Read about their split-accommodation Costa Rican honeymoon here!]

After deciding which is most important, you can do a little research as to average costs. It doesn’t have to be exact, just a quick search to get a general idea. 

Honeymoon budget worksheet filled out with examples

STEP 4: SAVING

The final step, once you have a ballpark cost is to add 20%. This is your honeymoon and there are going to be many “treat-yourself-moments”! It’s best to build those into the budget early on. 

Finally, decide how you want to start saving! Consider a honeymoon registry to help fund all the extras. After establishing the basic framework for the trip, you can set up a wish list for guests to contribute to tours, activities, spa treatments, dinner on the beach, etc. Set aside a certain amount each month and start saving! 

Remember, this method only gives you an estimate, not a hard and fast exact cost. There is always some wiggle room.

WAYS TO SAVE

If you’re finding it hard to get everything on your wish list AND stay within your ideal budget there are a few things you can do to save money:

  1. Consider cutting a night (or two) to make it work. No one ever remembers how many nights they spent at a destination. It’s better to have exactly the experience you’re dreaming about, but for one less night. If you cut back on the overall experience just to stay longer, you’ll regret it.
  2. Keeping your dates flexible lets you take advantage of low-season travel and lower prices. Or head to a less-expensive and popular but no-less-amazing destination. 
  3. Talk with a travel agent! Travel agents have years of experience and know-how. If your final budget is just a little more than you want to spend, a travel agent can help. We might know a unique destination that has everything you’re looking for with a slightly lower price tag. We might be able to get you special rates and perks on accommodations. We have connections with tour guides, private drivers, and hoteliers all over the world, giving us the inside scoop on the best destinations for every size budget.

Even in money matters, travel planning should be fun and inspiring. After you fill out the worksheet, let us know what you discover about your dream honeymoon and we can get started!

The Best Honeymoon Destinations (by Month)

Honeymoons by Month Pin
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The majority of couples still take their honeymoons shortly after the wedding. Which means that honeymooners have to consider seasonality and find a destination that works well for their specific travel dates. But how do you know which places are the best at different times of year? Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered, with our handy guide to the best honeymoon destinations by month!


The Weather

Before we get to the months, there are a few criteria to keep in mind. First is, of course, the weather.

Sunset beach Costa Rica Honeymoons

Beachy and tropical islands often have just two seasons: Dry and Rainy. These seasons tend to be the opposite on different sides of the world. So no matter what month you travel in, you can find a beautiful beachy location somewhere.

[Photo Credit: Katey & Oliver via Shared Adventures – read about their Costa Rica Honeymoon here!]

The Crowds

a piazza in Rome full of tourists, ideal for Honeymoons

The other important factor to consider is crowds. Certain months see high crowds for a reason. Everyone is excited to experience the best weather the destination has to offer! Think about whether it’s more important to you to have the best weather possible (despite the crowds). Or would you prefer to risk some less-than-ideal days in exchange for having a sense of seclusion?

[Photo credit: Ann via Shared Adventures]

With these answers in mind, have a look at our monthly guide! We’ve split the destinations into two categories: “High-season” is the best weather with potentially the biggest crowds. “Best balance” has decent weather balanced with smaller crowds.

January

St. Lucia– high-season
Costa Rica- high-season
Aruba – high-season

Norway high-season
Swiss Alps- best balance

Beachy Honeymoons: For the best weather, look to the equator. Destinations in the Central America region ( including the Caribbean) will be beautiful. They will also be in peak season. January offers clear blue skies, warm seas, and a perfectly idyllic beach vacation. It’s just a bonus that you can escape from the cold!

Snowy Honeymoons: Consider just how cold you truly want it to be. The further north you go, the darker and colder it gets, which gives you the brilliant opportunity to see the Northern Lights. January also tends to be less busy than February in top ski destinations due to the shorter days.

February

Mexico– high-season
New Zealand- high-season
Hawai’i – best balance

Swiss Alps- high-season
Norway- best balance
California- best balance

Beachy Honeymoons: February is a peak month for tropical travel. The Caribbean, and Mexico are popular with everyone trying to escape the winter cold, including families on school vacation breaks. Hawaii can be a good option, because the weather is temperate year round and spreads the crowds out. And French Polynesia might work, as long as you’re okay with some passing rain showers.

Snowy Honeymoons: How important is skiing? How cold is too cold? If you want to hit the slopes every day of your honeymoon, then February is prime ski season in many winter destinations! If you’re looking for other winter activities, you’ll find the extra cold temps mean a lot of opportunities to snuggle up, fewer crowds, and more daylight hours for adventuring!

March

The Maldives– best balance
New Zealand- best balance

Iceland- best balance (for snow)
Japan- high-season (mid-March)

Beachy Honeymoons: March is a great honeymoon month to avoid crowds if you don’t mind a little unpredictability. It’s the last month of the dry season in many places. So look more closely at the weather reports and consider spots where a few small showers and cooler nights will enhance your trip.

Snowy Honeymoons: This is the last opportunity of the year to enjoy a snowy destination! Consider what winter activities you’re most excited to experience. Because you start to get longer hours of daylight in March, find a destination that has a lot of outdoor adventures. 

a view of the siene, the eiffle tower and the paris skyline in Paris for Honeymoons
[Photo Credit: Ann via Shared Adventures – read about her April in Paris trip here!]

April

The Caribbean– best balance
Seychelles- best balance
South Africa- best for combining different regions

Australia- best balance
France- high-season
Napa, California- best balance

Beachy Honeymoons: April is the bridge between the dry and wet seasons. For the best weather, look into heading a bit further towards the southern hemisphere. If you’d rather stay closer to home, the Caribbean will have some unpredictability, but overall beautiful days and lower crowds. 

City Breaks: April is the beginning of perfectly romantic city breaks. Consider locations that you dream of strolling around, admiring the architecture and the flowers in bloom. Look to Europe and Japan for the most beautiful displays of spring blooms. 

May

Portugal– best balance
Malta- best balance
Costa Rica- best balance
Hawai’i- best balance

Fiji- best balance
Scotland- best balance
Ireland- best balance

Beachy Honeymoons: A perfect shoulder month. If you’re looking to stay closer to home, the Caribbean and Central America will have lower crowds without (yet) the summer rains. Otherwise, you can beat the summer crowds but enjoy the rising temperature on the other side of the globe. Southern Europe and the South Pacific are entering their dry season. Warm weather, low humidity, and the islands practically to yourselves — It makes the long plane trip worth it! 

Sightseeing and Exploring: If you’re not a sunseeker, look into northern Europe. A perfect combination of warm days, cool nights, green countryside, lower crowds, and maybe still a little snow on the utmost mountain peaks. 

lush green mountains of Hawaii an a blue bay on the road to hana. perfect for hawaii honeymoons
[Photo credit: Ann via Shared Adventures Travel]

June

Hawai’i– high-season
Antigua- best balance
St. Lucia- best balance

Fiji- high-season
Greece- best balance
Alaska- best balance

Beachy Honeymoons: June is the beginning of hurricane season in the Caribbean, but it’s still too early for major risk. This is a good month for sun-seekers. Look for spots where you can sneak in before the storm risk increases in late summer.

City Breaks: June is an excellent month for city breaks. Everything is open and waiting, but the true heat of summer hasn’t settled into the cobblestones yet. Look for cities that allow you to get out into nature a bit for a cool breeze.

July

French Polynesia– high-season
Malta- high-season
Italy- high-season

Ireland- high-season
Canada- high-season
Iceland-high-season

Beachy Honeymoons: French Polynesia and southern Europe swell to their peak popularity. Honeymooners in July will almost certainly have to share the beaches with plenty of other travelers.

Outdoorsy Honeymoons: July is the peak month for many cooler-weather destinations that are just coming into their own at this time of year. Look to the north to find green fields, hiking trails, cool mountain lakes, fresh breezes, and unending hours of daylight.

August

Kenya & Tanzania– high-season
Mozambique- high-season
Bali- high-season
Vietnam- high-season

Croatia- high-season
France-high-season

The sweltering temps are reaching their peak and everyone is looking for a beach. August is difficult to avoid crowds, especially in Europe where many countries have their summer vacations. Look to the islands in Southeast Asia and Southern Africa for the peak of the dry season. Beautiful beaches and beautiful clear skies await you there.

driving nin maine
[Photo credit: Liz via Shared Adventures Travel – read about a New England Roatrip here!]

September

Hawai’i – best balance
French Polynesia- best balance
Bali- best balance
Greece- best balance

Croatia- best balance
Italy- best balance
Japan-best balance
The UKbest balance

Beachy Honeymoons: This is the perfect moment to swoop in and enjoy the last warm days without all the crowds. Look to the most popular summer beach destinations. You’ll find amazing weather, still-warm seas, and fewer people.

City Breaks: Like April, September is a perfect month for city breaks. The sweltering heat dissipates and the nights start to cool. Everything is still open and buzzing from summer, but the temperatures and crowd levels are much more pleasant. This is the time to visit Italy, Greece and Croatia!

October

Mauritius-high-season
Vietnam- best balance
Dubai- best balance
Zambia- high-season

France- best balance
Amsterdam- best balance
Canada-best balance
New England- high-season

Beachy Honeymoons: This is the best time to visit those destinations that are almost unbearably hot in summer. While October brings unpredictability, it also brings good opportunities to explore beyond the beach. 

Cool Honeymoons: Stunning fall foliage is the main focus of an October honeymoon in North America and Europe. While you may have a mixture of sun and rain, October’s quiet crispness in the cities will only add to the romantic atmosphere.

November

Thailand-best balance
The Maldives- high-season
Jamaica- best balance

Australia- high-season
Argentina- best balance
Chile- best balance

November is all about the Southern Hemisphere. While the north experiences rain and cloudy skies, the south is right at the beginning of summer. The weather isn’t too hot yet and the crowds aren’t too big, so overall you want to consider the bottom half of the world. It’s also a good time for the Caribbean, as the hurricane risk is nearly past, and crowds ten to be lower.

December

The Caribbean-high-season
Mexico– high-season
Thailand– high-season
Bali- high-season

Copenhagen- best holiday markets
Austria- best holiday markets
Prague- best holiday markets

Beachy Honeymoons: The holiday season sees everyone in the north escaping the cold for beautiful beaches. Consider places near to the equator on both sides of the world- South East Asia, The Caribbean, and Mexico are all in their stride. 

Snowy Honeymoons: The beginning of snow, cold temperatures, and beautiful holiday markets! While snow is a little unpredictable, consider those cold-weather cities with booming holiday markets as the perfect cozy romantic destinations. 

Where to find your Overwater Bungalow paradise

The brilliant idea of over-water hotel suites was first initiated in the 1960s and they have since become synonymous with romantic luxury. Whether you’re looking for a honeymoon, anniversary or just a romantic getaway, they’ve likely crossed your mind. Tropical islands, turquoise blue waters, incredible sea life, and jaw-dropping sunsets – these bungalows live up to their hype! But which overwater bungalow destination is right for you?

Where you choose to have your overwater bungalow experience depends on what kind of vacation you are looking for and what kind of traveler you are! We’ve created a quick-comparison table to help accentuate the big-picture differences.

quick comparision guide for overwater bungalow destinations

This is just the first glance. If you really want to dive into the details of what makes each location magical keep reading below. Or just reach out to us!


What can I expect from an OWB?

Overwater bungalows (OWBs) or overwater villas are essentially hotel suites built on stilts over the calm water of a lagoon in an atoll or a small island. Typically, the rooms are connected by a wooden walkway that leads out from the main beach. Depending on which destination and which resort you choose, you’ll find some differences between them but there are a few things that you can expect no matter where you go:

over water bungalows at the Hilton Moorea
The Hilton, Moorea ( Photo Credit: Shared Adventures Travel)
a couple sitting on the back terrace of their overwater bungalow with private jacuzzi and direct access to the sea in the Maldives

Seclusion & Privacy: With only a handful of neighbors, it’s easy to enjoy a feeling of privacy and exclusivity at an overwater bungalow resort. With access to the lagoon from your terrace, plus a personal jacuzzi or plunge pool, and an uninterrupted view of the sea, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into your own private oasis.

( Photo Credit: GlobalCareerBook.com via Unsplash)

Snorkeling & Diving: Since the overwater bungalows are often built near coral reefs you can expect some availability of snorkeling (and/or diving) just feet from your front door. But the amount and quality of sea life under your OWB does vary by destination and resort, so be sure to ask about this if it’s important to you.

Resort-like Amenities: In addition to your own private space in the bungalow, you’ll have access to all the typical resort amenities — including restaurants, pools, spa treatments, room service, and sometimes even a private butler! 

A window under the sea: Most overwater bungalows have a glass panel in the floor with a light so you can watch the marine life underneath your bungalow from inside the room. You don’t have to get wet to see the fish! 

the balcony view of an over water bungalow in Moorea

A View: You are guaranteed a room with a view and personal ocean-front loungers! It’s easy to stay connected to the beach and the water when the sea is under your feet!

(Photo Credit: Meagan & Cameron via Shared Adventures Travel)

An overwater bungalow will always give you a connection to the water like none other, a sense of romantic seclusion and luxury amenities. Now, where should you go to get this incredible experience?

The Maldives

If relaxing on a soft white sand beach or chilling on the terrace with a good book and your feet trailing in the water is your idea of a perfect vacation, then the Maldives are for you. The focus of these islands is one word: Relaxation. 

aerial shot of a private island with overwater bungalows in a deep blue sea in the Maldives

Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, this collection of islands is perfect for overwater bungalows. Flat, with plenty of white-sand beaches that give off desert island vibes, you can count on a wide uninterrupted view of the sea. Since many of these resorts are on their own private islands, you won’t do too much external adventuring.

(Photo Credit:Ahmed Raavi via Unsplash)

aerial shot of overwater villas with waterslides in the Maldives

The Maldives are home to two-thirds of the world’s overwater bungalows. This gives you a huge range of styles to choose from. From simple, rustic, budget-friendly options to huge luxury villas with a waterslide! The sky is the limit in the Maldives. More options also means more types of travelers — you can expect to find a mix of honeymooners, families, and groups at these resorts.

(Photo Credit: Ishan via Unsplash)

The Caribbean & Mexico

Brand new to the game, the Caribbean and Mexico have recently started to offer a few overwater bungalows. Now you can have everything you already love about the Caribbean or Mexico plus those perfect Instagram pics. You’ll be able to hop on a flight in the morning and have a piña colada in your hand by dinner!

aerial shot of overwater bungalows with a heart shaped walkway in Jamaica

The overwater bungalows are attached to already existing resorts so along with a few more neighbors comes all the amenities, beaches, and facilities the resort usually provides. Overwater bungalows in this area are also more likely to come with private butler service!

(Photo Credit: Juan Jose via Unsplash)

Long stretches of beach mean long romantic walks are always available and you’ll have a good balance of peaceful relaxation and outside excursions or adventures. While you’ll save money on the flight, the bungalows themselves are every bit as expensive as their far-flung counterparts. So if you’re looking for the experience (and the photo opportunities) but are more budget-conscious, we recommend a split-stay. Stay a few nights in the resort’s beach-front suites and end the trip with a few nights in the overwater bungalow. 

French Polynesia

The original, the quintessential, and (some would say) the best. Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora were the first islands to have overwater bungalows and they continue to improve and expand today. With exteriors in the style of traditional Tahitian huts, but with all the modern luxuries of a sleek hotel inside, these overwater bungalows will give you a classic overwater experience. But don’t just take it from us — clients Meagan and Cameron recently celebrated their honeymoon in Moorea and called it “the definition of paradise!”

a view of the Moorea mountains from the sea

The French Polynesian Islands formed from volcanic activity, which resulted in a stunning and varied landscape. Some islands (like Moorea) feature lush green mountains rising out of the sea. Others (like Bora Bora) are atolls with a ring of tiny islands surrounding a placid lagoon. Most visitors island-hop to at least two different locations to get the best and broadest experience.

(Photo Credit: Meagan and Cameron via Shared Adventures Travel)


If you’re ready to fine-tune which OWB resort is a perfect match for you and your partner let us know! There are only about 200 OWB resorts in the world, so if you’re excited to try this incredible, romantic, one-of-a-kind experience we recommend planning well in advance! 

How to (safely) go on a Beach Vacation this Summer

how to safely take a beach vacation this summer pin
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As we move into August and the scorching summer heat, a beach vacation sounds irresistible. Many Caribbean islands and parts of Mexico are opening their doors to American tourists this summer, but with safety regulations and protocols in place.

All of the islands have a few more entry forms you’ll need to fill out, they will take your temperature at the airport, and they require masks to be worn at all times in the airports and on all flights. Like the rest of the world, masks, social distancing, and frequent hand-washing are always encouraged but each destination also has its own twist on their coronavirus safety efforts. Here’s what you need to know about traveling to the beach this summer {and please keep in mind that this information is accurate as of July 20th and may evolve over the coming weeks}:


Cancun & Riviera Maya, Mexico

over water bungalows on punta maroma mexico
[Photo credit: Ann Petronio, Annie’s Escapes]

Getting There

The requirements for flying into Cancun are pretty minimal. Currently, there are no restrictions on air travel to Mexico from the U.S. However, when you arrive you’ll need to complete a COVID-19 risk questionnaire. All travelers must undergo thermal screening, and if you exhibit symptoms upon arrival you’ll have to go through further screening and a potential quarantine. When you depart you will have to upload a second COVID-19 questionnaire. This can be tricky with the Cancun airport wifi so it’s best to complete it before leaving your resort.

On Vacation

Once you’ve landed you’ll find that business openings are dependent upon strict sanitary protocols, social distancing, and hygienic guidelines. Bars, casinos, and nightclubs remain closed but hotels, resorts, and restaurants that have received the Clean & Safe Check certification can open at 30% occupancy to facilitate social distancing. Staff will always be wearing masks and gloves, and depending on the resort you may be asked to do a temperature check at check-in. Many hotels also have a new app that allows guests to scan a QR code to see the restaurant menu on their phones to limit contact. The most notable differences in your Cancun or Riviera Maya experience will be having no buffets, lots of cleaning, and social distancing markers.

two shots of tequila and cribbage on vacation in Mexico
[Photo credit: Paige Van Norstrand via Annie’s Escapes]

In general, masks are required in all public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible. However, masks are not required in private areas like your hotel rooms and on the beach. The public beaches in the area are currently closed but resort beaches are open to their guests so you can still get plenty of sun and sand. If you’re looking for something more active, many water sports and private tours are still operating. Xcaret, Xel Ha, and Xplor are all open with limited capacity and required reservations.

The biggest focus in Quintana Roo is social distancing, so it’s still fairly easy to enjoy the warm sea and soft sand of these exquisite beaches as long as you’re far enough away from fellow guests.

ANTIGUA

stunning areal of the bay in antigua
[Photo credit: Rick Jamison via Unsplash]

Getting There

Antigua’s focus on the safety of locals and tourists means they are requiring everyone who enters to be tested for COVID-19. Knowing that your fellow travelers tested negative certainly offers greater peace-of-mind while relaxing on the beach.

Travelers heading to Antigua must upload a negative COVID-19 test certificate taken within a week before their arrival date. Every incoming traveler must be tested for COVID-19. So if they do not have a recent negative test certificate, it will cost around $100 to be tested upon arrival. Tests administered at the airport will take about 15 minutes to complete and results will be available within 48 hours (during which time you will have to quarantine at your resort).

Before traveling you must fill out traveler registration and traveler accommodation forms. Upon arrival, besides the regular immigration form, you will have to fill out a health declaration with coronavirus risk-related questions. When leaving the airport for your resort, you must use authorized certified ground transportation to help increase the effectiveness of contact tracing.

three beach chairs in antigua
[Photo credit: Danielle Acampora via Annie’s Escapes]

On Vacation

Antigua is taking the safety of locals and visitors very seriously so they can provide a safe environment for your vacation. There is strict mask enforcement in public locations throughout the island. Failure to wear a mask in public places and those places where social distancing is not possible can result in a fine up to $5,000 or 6 months in jail. Washing or sanitizing your hands before entering a new location such as a restaurant, grocery store, or hotel is also strictly enforced.

However, face masks are not required on the beaches when social distance can be maintained. While vendors and other staff will be wearing face masks and gloves at all times, beachgoers can enjoy the ocean unencumbered. All the beaches will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and there is a general mobility curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Guests are asked to, generally, stay inside their resort property and participate only in activities arranged by their resort. However, dependent on their negative test results, arrangements can be made to rent a car through the hotel.  

JAMAICA

Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica
[Photo credit: Ann Petronio, Annie’s Escapes]

Getting There

All travelers to Jamaica must complete a Travel Authorization Screening within 5 days of their arrival date and present the result at the airport. The response is usually generated within 10 minutes after submitting the form. You will not be granted permission to travel if the COVID-19 risk is considered too great. On arrival, if you are considered high risk or exhibit symptoms, they may ask you to take a COVID-19 test and place you in quarantine until the results are available (usually within 48 hours).

Travelers from New York, Florida, Arizona, and Texas are considered high-risk and must have a negative COVID-19 test result from an accredited laboratory taken within 10 days of their arrival date before being allowed to board the flight.

enjoy a glass of champagne overlooking the resort pool and ocean with palm trees in Jamaica
[Photo Credit: Anne Marie McLaughlin via Annie’s Escapes]

On Vacation

Jamaica is asking that you remain within your resort bubble and comply with the face mask and social distancing requirements. They have created a “resilient corridor” on the north coast to manage the movement of tourists. Resorts and hotels in this corridor may only open after receiving a COVID-19 readiness certificate so you know they are following the 120-page hospitality guide. The hospitality guidelines include sanitation and temperature checks upon arrival, luggage sanitization, face masks and PPE for employees.

As long as social distance can be observed, masks are not required on Jamaica’s beaches. To help facilitate this, beaches will be restricted to 70% capacity with designated entrances. Like Antigua, there is a general mobility curfew on the whole island from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. but that shouldn’t affect your beach vacation too much.

ARUBA

ocean sunset with sailboat in Aruba
[Photo credit: Helen Pereira via Annie’s Escapes]

Getting There

Aruba has four main requirements for entry. Basic travel information, Personal Health Assessment, negative PCR test, and insurance. All of the forms and information are consolidated onto a digital ED card. Aside from the usual basic information, passengers must fill out a Personal Health Assessment with COVID-19 risk-related questions between 72 and 4 hours before boarding.

Residents from 20 high-risk states [AL, AZ, AR, CA, CO, FL, GA, ID, IA, KS, LA, MS, NV, NC, OH, OK, OR, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WI, WY] must upload proof of a negative test result from an accredited laboratory taken between 12 and 72 hours before flying. Other states’ residents have the option of uploading the test or having one taken at the airport in Oranjestad for $75. If the test is taken at the airport then travelers are required to quarantine at their booked accommodation (remaining in their room and avoiding all contact with others) for 24 hours while awaiting results.

Finally, all travelers must purchase mandatory Aruba Visitors Insurance which costs around $15 per person per day and covers up to $75,000 in expenses should they test positive during their stay.

private beach umbrellas under the palm trees in aruba
[Photo credit: Paulo Evangelista via Unsplash]

On Vacation

The requirements to enter Aruba are greater than some of the other islands, but once there you can feel secure knowing everyone there has had a negative test result and you can relax at your resort. Like the other islands, hotels in Aruba are following protocols for extra cleaning, luggage sanitization, elevator safety, and contactless check-ins. Though social distancing and masks are not mandatory outside the airport, they are heavily encouraged in all public spaces.

ST LUCIA

couple enjoying their plunge pool in St. Lucia
[Photo credit: Nicole Fiero via Annie’s Escapes]

Getting There

Visitors to St. Lucia must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the past 7 days. They will also have to complete a travel registration form. At the airport, each passenger will be screened and their temperature will be taken. Anyone showing symptoms will be tested and quarantined at their expense. Travelers must also show confirmations for their stay at a COVID-19 certified accommodation before boarding the plane.

the ocean view from a beach-side cabana in St. Lucia
[Photo credit: Sara O’Brien via Annie’s Escapes]

On Vacation

To protect the locals and minimize risk, St. Lucia is restricting guests to an approved list of resorts that are cooperating with strict COVID-19 protocols, and is not allowing multi-resort stays (you have to remain at one property for the duration of your vacation). Throughout the properties, there will be sanitization stations and they have implemented strict cleaning protocols.

St. Lucia asks that you not explore the island on your own, but a small number of tours will be available through the resorts. Masks are required in public spaces and hotels are implementing limited contact check-in and check-out protocols. Additionally, hotels are required to check guests’ temperatures at each meal-time. As with the other islands, masks are not required on the beach as long as social distance is maintained.


Although a relaxing island vacation will require a few more steps than usual this summer, most of the Caribbean has seen low coronavirus numbers. That combined with their commitment to sanitization and testing should give you great peace-of-mind as you head to the beach. Fantastic resorts and all-inclusives usually mean you don’t want to leave your resort anyway. So, if you’re excited by the idea of soaking in the sun and enjoying the waves let us know and we can help you navigate the new rules and regulations for wherever you want to go!

You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)