A Perfect Honeymoon in Tahiti

When Heather & Jesse asked about an October honeymoon to French Polynesia and Tahiti, we knew exactly what would fit them best! We planned an incredible two-week adventure that had a little bit of everything. From relaxing on the beach to a bucket list snorkeling experience to a private overwater bungalow! Here’s their in-depth review of their Tahitian Honeymoon!


We arrived at Papeete, Tahiti fresh off our destination wedding in South Carolina. And were simultaneously exhausted and excited for our upcoming Tahiti adventure.  We arrived at the Hilton hotel well ahead of our check-in time (and ahead of cocktail hour). So, we grabbed some coffees and sat outside by the pool.  The pool area at the Hilton is very nice – clean, well-appointed, and beautiful.  We spent most of the second day in a private two-person chair at the pool, overlooking the ocean.  The restaurant at the hotel was delicious, for dinner and breakfast.  And the service at the hotel in general was outstanding.  Our two-night stay at the Hilton in Tahiti was a great way to ease into the trip.

a stunning sunset over the pool and ocean at a resort in Tahiti
Sunset over the pool at the Hilton Papeete – Tahtiti

Next on our agenda was a ferry transfer from Tahiti to Moorea for a 6-night stay at the Hilton Moorea in a private bungalow.  Moorea’s green mountains and cliffs are stunning, as are the clear waters that surround it. 

It’s worth pointing out that on transfer days, you usually end up with some time to kill before check-in. We used this time to plan some outings with the concierge and lounge by the pool with a drink. While waiting, the staff also taught Jesse how to husk and open a coconut!

Once we checked in, we found our bungalow was a little weathered and not quite as pristine as the Hilton hotel on Papeete, Tahiti, but it was very private with our own little pool.  This first night we took advantage of one of the local restaurants that run shuttles to the hotel and had a nice authentic Moorea dinner.

Moorea Adventures

On our second day, we took an off-road truck tour to visit some of the tourist highlights of the island.  Our local guide Patrick was outstanding.  We went up the very steep road to Magic Mountain, which has great views, then on to the pearl shop and Juice factory for some tasty rums and fruit drinks. 

Tahiti - a honeymoon couple in front of a pineapple field with green mountains in the background in Tahiti

Patrick then took us to Belvedere lookout, which is exceptional, and pointed out the variety of fruit and nut trees that grow everywhere. He then showed us the remains of a religious temple and taught us some of the histories of the island natives, which was very moving. We then went to the pineapple fields in the interior of the caldera. Being in there reminded us of a green version of Zion national park.

For dinner, we ate at the creperie which is an overwater at the hotel and it was outstanding.

The next day Heather and I decided to set out on our own for a day of adventure.  We planned a hike using the Alltrails appLes Col des Trois Pinus via Tiki Park. 

The trailhead was about 5 miles from the hotel so we arranged for E-bikes with the concierge and rode these to the trailhead, which was a blast!  The hike was about a 5-mile hike through the jungle, past several of the religious temple remains, and up a moderate hill to the Col des Trois Pinus lookout point. 

The lookout not only has beautiful views of Moorea’s two bays below and the high peaks above, but it also has a wooden swing affixed to the trees! The return part of the loop took us back through the pineapple fields that we had seen the previous day.

Tahiti - a honeymoon couple standing at a lookout point in Tahiti overlooking the green island with tall mountains and just a glimpse of the ocean in the background

This bike & hike day was one of the highlights of the trip for us. 

This night we took a shuttle to Rudy’s restaurant, which was our favorite dining of the entire trip.  Classic, French style of cooking, geared toward local ingredients (the Parrotfish was amazing).  Rudy’s was so good we went back two nights later! 

Moorea Relaxation

The next day we lounged on the beach all day at the resort, a welcome day of relaxation.  The service and amenities were again outstanding.  Great snorkeling is available right from the hotel’s beachfront, and the pool is steps away as well.  The staff regularly checks in for drinks or food, without being intrusive.

 For dinner we did the buffet and Polynesian show, which we found to be a little underwhelming in terms of the food and the show. 

Snorkel Adventures

The following day we had arranged for a private ocean snorkeling tour with Moorea Ocean Adventures.  Neither of us knew really what to expect and we certainly couldn’t have anticipated how this day went.  The crew consisted of the captain, and wildlife specialist, and a professional photographer who happened to be on board doing some work for the company.  When we got on board, they were incredibly welcoming and tried to get a real feel for how adventurous we were.  They asked what sea life we wanted to see, and we said we were game for anything. 

They asked, “would you like to swim with humpback whales?”… ummm, yes!!

Apparently, French Polynesia is one of only 3 places in the world you can do this, and we just happened to be in the right time window for it.

Tahiti- a humpback whale underneath the waves in Tahiti
The Humpback whale that WE SWAM WITH!

  So we set out chasing humpbacks and listening for their calls for an hour or so until we finally got in the water near a whale that was “singing” non-stop.  Seeing the whale underwater within about 50 feet of us was absolutely surreal; a totally unique experience.  The photographer captured an amazing photo from our outing that he shared with us. 

After the whales, we went and swam with sea turtles, which was also incredible but seemed to pale in comparison.

We are overjoyed that Ann recommended this tour; it was worth every penny spent on it and then some!

Tahiti - blue waters and palm trees in a small Tahiti cove

The next morning we did a run/hike up Rotui (the trailhead is very close to the hotel), which rises very steep and provides great views of the hotel and ocean.  The trail is rather rugged and a guide was recommended to go all the way up, so we cut the hike short. 

a view of the Hilton Moorea resort from the hike up Mount Rotui. Green trees, blue waters and a perfect place for a Tahiti honeymoon

We decided to rent a car this day to tour the perimeter of the island.  Other than some souvenir shopping, this was a bust.  There’s really not much else to do or see via car, so we recommend against this. 

Moorea Overall Thoughts

a honeymoon couple toasts with a glass of wine in Tahiti

Some favorite foods and drink from our stay on Moorea: poisson cru, parrotfish at Rudy’s, mahi galette at the creperie, and always croissants at breakfast.

A few overall thoughts to share about the Hilton Moorea: On the positive side, the location is absolutely beautiful, the staff is very welcoming and attentive, there are a ton of great outings that the concierge will help book, the grounds are very clean, and the island itself is very friendly and welcoming and safe. 

On the negative side, the bungalows are a little weathered – in fact, our air conditioner broke on a couple of occasions.  The staff was very responsive in temporarily fixing it, but it was an inconvenience.  Additionally, the furniture around the pool and beach was dated, there was a fair amount of bird droppings on the grounds, the workout facilities were underwhelming,  and the food at the hotel was good, but not up to the quality of the Hilton Papeete, or the Taha’a resort still to come. 

Taha’a Pearl Resort & Overwater Bungalow

The next day was our plane-plane-boat transfer day to Taha’a for four nights in an overwater bungalow at Taha’a Pearl Resorts.  We first flew from Moorea back to Tahiti, where we had a long delay.  This was really the only bummer of the trip, having to wait in the Papeete airport for a couple extra hours for our flight to Raitea. 

looking down the walkway of a series of overwater bungalows in Taha'a  for a Tahiti honeymoon

When we finally did get to Raitea it was dark and we still had a boat ride to Taha’a Pearl Resorts, but as soon as we landed we got treated so well!  The resort staff was there to get our bags and load us onto the boat which was so charming.  We were then greeted on the dock at the resort and it was immediately clear that this resort was a step up. 

the view from inside a private overwater bungalow in Tahiti - wooded roof and a window overlooking the bay for a perfect Tahiti honeymoon

Our overwater bungalow was like something out of a magazine (or Instagram…). Private, incredible views and a window in the floor to watch the fish and rays.

Our first full day on Taha’a it was POURING.  So Heather booked a massage that was amazing. And we decided to book an excursion – a truck tour of the main island – for the next day since the weather looked a little ominous. 

fire dancers on the beach in Tahiti celebrating a Tahiti honeymoon

We took advantage of happy hour and then a buffet dinner and show. This time the buffet and show exceeded expectations and the fire dance was very impressive.

Around Taha’a

When we woke up to clear skies we were a little bummed that we weren’t just laying on the beach. But the truck tour ended up being totally worth it.  We were the only two on the truck with our lovely and charming guide Sylvie.  First stop was the Pari Pari distillery, which was fascinating and full of good smells and tastes.  The next stop was the Iaorana Pearl Farm which was such an incredible experience.  A transplant from New Zealand took a TON of time to explain to us the process of raising the oysters and how they form the famous black pearls.  Truly a unique and highly recommended stop. 

Sylvie then took us all around the island and showed us how to open coconuts before bringing us to the vanilla farm. There we learned about the processing of the famous vanilla beans.  The smells here were incredible too and we left with an armful of vanilla products.  On the return leg of the tour, it just so happened that the big outrigger canoe race was passing by Taha’a. So we got to enjoy the celebration that accompanies that race. 

We bid farewell to Sylvie and headed back to the resort for dinner.  We only ate at the main restaurant at the hotel, which was excellent, but we both wished we had a little more variety.  There is a second, fancier restaurant that is by reservation only and books fast. We recommend looking into that well in advance. 

Taha’a Relaxation

a honeymoon couple on vacation in Tahiti with blue water and overwater bungalows in the background

We spent the rest of our time on Taha’a at the resort on the beach, in the coral gardens, or just relaxing at our bungalow. This stay was really luxurious and beautiful and we loved the remoteness and privacy of Taha’a.

The resort sits on its own little island but has everything you need for a multi-night stay.  The grounds are immaculate and quite large.  There are multiple little private nooks and comfy sitting areas.  The pool is spectacular. And right next to it is a lunch restaurant where you can have your feet in the sand. 

All the little details – from an exceptional workout room to modern outdoor furniture, to ponchos and umbrellas provided when raining, to the friendliness of the staff when they ride by on their bicycles – put this resort over the top.

the Taha'a Pearls resort in Tahiti overwater bungalows and dining tables set up looking out over the blue water perfect for a Tahiti honeymoon

Finally, we boarded the boat from Taha’a Pearl Resort to return to Raitea Airport. Then from there a flight to Papeete airport.  We had about a 6-hour layover in Tahiti before our overnight flight back to Los Angeles.  So…we went for one more adventure and took a taxi back to our original stop of the Hilton Papeete hotel. Having one final excellent meal and bottle of wine, sitting by the pool, under the night sky, reveling our trip in French Polynesia. This was a much more enjoyable way to pass the time, rather than sitting in the airport!

Why use a Travel Agent for a Honeymoon in Tahiti?

Booking this trip with Ann was such a pleasant and stress-reducing experience.  All of her recommendations were excellent, and her knowledge of Tahiti and attention to detail with the itinerary was on point.  The island transfers and outing vouchers would be difficult to handle for a first-time visitor to Tahiti on their own, but Ann’s thorough day-by-day break down, information and preparation for us made this once in a lifetime experience seamless.

Spotlight on: Dubai

Top Reasons to Visit Dubai Pin
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Dubai is a city of contrasts. Between the old and new, between the glitzy and the humble, and the modern skyscrapers and the expansive desert. Whether you prefer a fast-moving pace or a slow quiet walk, you can find a little bit of everything in Dubai. Originally a trading port, Dubai’s culture is imbued with a deep sense of acceptance, hospitality, and growth. Don’t let the heat deter you. Dubai is a city that is carefully crafted for visitors. With plenty of indoor, sheltered, and water activities, Dubai’s bright sunny skies turn into a paradise. And, with winter temperatures in the 80s, you’ll be able to enjoy everything the city has to offer. Here is our little introductory guide to Dubai.

Getting Around

Dubai is a long, spread-out city on the gulf coast. Here you won’t find a traditional city center as much as a conglomeration of different neighborhoods to explore. Where you stay and spend most of your time will depend on what kind of trip you want to have, but the city accommodates getting from one end to the other.

It’s easy to walk within neighborhoods but it’s not so walkable between them. However, they have a fantastic metro system with wifi and comfortable seats. The metro is mostly above ground so you’ll pass by many of the iconic landmarks and it’s a great way to sightsee as you travel from place to place.

The city also boasts a decent bus line and an extensive network of taxis which you can hail or order through apps. 

So what kind of things can you do in Dubai?

[Photo Credit:Fredrik Ohlander via Unsplash]

Downtown Dubai

Downtown Dubai is an impressive jungle of glistening modern skyscrapers, promenades, luxury shopping, and pop-up markets. The modern construction is incredibly intentional, with a pedestrian-friendly design. While you walk down the boardwalk, with the fountain on one side, you’ll pass tempting restaurants and inviting stores, sprinkled with pockets of greenery and sculpture. Downtown Dubai is home to a unique concentration of world-record breakers — here you will find the largest observation wheel, the tallest fountain, and the tallest building.

Top Sites

The Burj Khalifa – At 160 stories tall, the world’s tallest building is an incredible feat of engineering. Visitors can ride the elevator to the 124th floor for breathtaking views. Or, head to the 148th floor to marvel at the views from the world’s highest observation deck. Because it sells out quickly, purchase your tickets in advance.

Ain Dubai – The world’s largest observation wheel allows you to enjoy sweeping views from over 250 meters in the air. It’s a perfect way to get a constantly shifting, unique perspective of the city.

Dubai Fountain with multiple, incredible shows every day, the Dubai fountain even outshines Vegas. Reaching unprecedented heights there are now viewing platforms allowing you to get even closer to the action.

Old Dubai

Just as Downtown Dubai is full of modern wonders, Old Dubai is bursting with key heritage sites. A collection of neighborhoods winds its way along Dubai creek, with low gypsum and coral buildings. They mark the site where the city was originally settled. And today they are a historic hub of typical Emirati culture. Wander the narrow winding streets, soaking in the fragrant spice souk and traditional cuisine. Here you can discover the traditional wind towers, art galleries, markets, and museums. You can dine in cafes tucked into scenic courtyards and in the evening, unwind with a sunset ride on an abra.

Top Sites

Al Fahidi Fort – built in 1787 for defense purposes, it now houses the Dubai Museum. Journey through the history of Dubai from its beginnings as a trade port to the glittering hub it is today. Learn about Emirati culture and the customs of the region.

XVA Art Gallery Hotel& Café an internationally acclaimed art gallery and restaurant. Specializing in contemporary works from established and emerging artists from the Arab world.

 Abra– a traditional wooden boat. Boats carry about 20 people. Gently float along Dubai Creek with the city as your backdrop. The trip is relatively quick and is particularly stunning at sunset.

[Photo Credit: Nikhita Singhal via Unsplash]

Luxury Shopping

Shopping in Dubai is its own adventure. Malls here are more than just a collection of shops. They have gaming zones, ski slopes, ice rinks, aquariums, cinemas, and VR experiences. You can spend an entire day exploring a wide range of exclusive shops and high-end brands. The Dubai Mall in downtown features over 1200 retail stores and hundreds of restaurants. The slightly smaller Mall of The Emirates promises a “shopping-resort” experience. This mall features fashion shows, family events, and the latest haute couture on display. Anyone who enjoys shopping will have an incredible time in Dubai.

Visit in January to enjoy the Shopping Festival and get in on all the best deals.

Souk Shopping

Souks or Bazaars are open marketplaces with multiple small stalls and shops. Bursting with sights, smells, and activity, you can find these traditional markets in the historic Bur Dubai neighborhood. Souks allow you to indulge all of your senses in a shopping experience. Run your hand over soft silk and delicately embroidered fabrics in the Textile Souk. Soak in the glittering lights and irresistible reflections as you browse the jewelry and watches in the Gold Souk. Or follow your nose to the aromatic Spice and Perfume Souks. Some souks hold specific wares, and some feature a little bit of everything. But, in all the markets, you’ll find friendly vendors waiting to haggle with you. In addition to a local bargain shopping experience, you can enjoy an expansive variety of street food and traditional restaurants.

[Photo Credit: Fadi al Shami via Unsplash]


Sitting on the gulf coast, Dubai has gone from a humble trading port to a vibrant beach destination. Adding to their already impressive soft sand beaches, they’ve created a series of man-made archipelagos. So, whether you prefer the luxurious Palm Islands full of underwater villas, overwater bungalows, and high-end beach resorts, or something with more of a chill So-Cal vibe, you can find it here. Stroll past bright-pink bougainvillea villas, trendy cafes, and chic beachfront shopping in the Jumeirah neighborhood. Make a beeline for Kite or Sunset beach to try your hand at a myriad of watersports. Or, spend the day with your family at the waterpark!

Top Sites

Palm Jumeirah – Soak up the sun as you lounge in luxury at the exclusive beach clubs. Watch the sea life swim past your villa. Or take in the stunning views from the world’s highest infinity pool. This palm-shaped archipelago spares no expense.

Palm Jebel Ali – This not-quite-completed archipelago is for adventurists. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you embark on the shooting range or motocross track. Then, cool down in the bright blue waters by kite-surfing or on a jet ski.

Deep-Dive Pool Enter another world, an underwater fantasy, in the world’s deepest diving pool. Descending 60.02 meters this pool offers divers a unique sunken city to explore. You can explore up to 12 meters down without any certification.


Contrasting the blue coastal waters are the brilliantly orange-red desert sands. The Dubai desert is both quintessential and full of surprises. Within the Dubai Conservation Reserve, you can step into ancient traditions with a camel ride and an Arabian feast in a Bedouin tent. Get your adrenaline pumping with quad bikes and sandboarding. Or relish the romance of luxury glamping under the stars and hot air balloon rides at sunrise.

Top Sites

Glamping Resorts – There are a few luxury glamping resorts in the Dubai desert. Featuring beautiful tents, private pools, and access to the best activities.

Safari– Your guide maneuvers over the dunes in a four-wheel drive Jeep while you keep a watchful eye on the sands. You’ll see the striking Oryx with their long, straight horns, herds of graceful gazelle, and many rare bird species.

Camel Racing– Dubai’s favorite sport and a unique experience. From the grandstand, you can cheer on your favorite as sixty camels rush down the track. Arrive before the race and take the opportunity to pet the camels and take photos.

Tips & Customs

Dubai is a very safe city to visit even as a solo traveler. As with any city or country, Dubai does have its own customs, traditions, and social rules. And, it is important to be respectful. Try to follow some of the unspoken rules to avoid social faux pas.

– Modesty is important. Try to wear clothing that doesn’t show too much skin, tattoos, or other body mods. Women should wear a headscarf when visiting a mosque. And tone down the PDA in public locations.

– Don’t take photos of the locals without asking their permission. Unsolicited pictures posted online can result in major fines.

– Because they take public safety seriously, public drunkenness isn’t allowed. It’s best not to ‘bar hop’ but rather stay in one licensed establishment as you party with the locals till 3 am.

– Electronic cigarettes and vapes will be confiscated at the airport.

– Remember to drink lots and lots of water. Even in winter, the temperatures are high. Therefore, it’s easy to underestimate what you need to stay hydrated.

– The weekend is Friday & Saturday while the work week begins on Sunday. It’s good to keep in mind when you’re planning popular weekend activities.

– The Dubai airport is huge. Therefore, it takes quite a bit of time to get from one side to the other, which is why we never plan any activities immediately after arriving.

Are you ready to explore the many sides of Dubai? Let us know! We’d love to help you plan the perfect itinerary.

Hawai’i Honeymoon

What can you expect on a Hawaiian Honeymoon? We helped Viki and Mike plan a whirlwind 3 island honeymoon to Hawai’i in May — and it was a dream come true! We balanced adventure and relaxation, with luxury, local guides, and plenty of free time. They had a truly incredible Hawaiian honeymoon and were more than happy to share their experience, so you can start visualizing your won romantic island adventure.

Traveling Overall

We had an amazing time on our Honeymoon to Hawai’i. It was a dream vacation for us both! Traveling for us went smoothly. There were no Covid restrictions, all our flights were on time, the car companies were efficient, and the check-in process at the hotels was quick. Considering we traveled to 3 islands and had 5 flights, I was pleasantly surprised by how well traveling went for us. We also had the best weather and were happy we chose May to visit Hawai’i! We also loved all the honeymoon perks our hotels offered, and the restaurants helped celebrate our honeymoon with complimentary dessert!

One of the best things we did was download the Gypsy App. We purchased the Hawai’i Bundle and it was well worth it. It was perfect Oahu and Road to Hana in Maui. We loved how we could start anywhere on the island, and go in any direction, and found the guide tips super helpful. It felt like without the app, we would’ve missed out on seeing some of our favorite spots!

I also want to note, that Hawai’i has implemented reservations for some popular tourist attractions and parks. For us, we did not want our trip planned out every day. We only made reservations for Diamond Head State Monument. We had no issue getting our desired date and time.

The USS Arizona Memorial encourages purchasing tickets in advance. We did not and did wait in a 2-hour standby line. Thankfully the weather cooperated and we didn’t have any other planned activities for the day.  

Here are more details by island to share : 


The Lotus Honolulu at Diamond Head worked well for our stay, mainly because we spent most of our time exploring the island. The hotel wasn’t anything fancy, but it was clean and the room was nice.

a woman standing on the resort balcony on her Hawaii Honeymoon

They did accommodate our partial ocean & Diamond head view request. However, most of our ocean view was of the next door’s hotel parking lot. I wish we asked for a high-rise level floor. The hotel wasn’t beachfront, but it was a minute walk to a very nice and quiet beach.

Our favorite restaurants we ate in Oahu were : 

  • Michel’s at Colony Surf – perfect for a fancy oceanfront dinner and next to our hotel
  • Sweet E’s Cafe – is a great local brunch spot located in Honolulu. It was a short 10-minute drive from our hotel. Both Mike & I loved their pancakes!
Hawaii Honeymoon couple in Oahu with helmet on surrounded by green mountains

A few highlights from our time in Oahu included

  • 2 Hour ATV Tour at Kualoa Ranch – such a thrill & we loved seeing so many Hollywood movie site locations
  • Hiking Diamond Head
  • Oahu’s Beaches & Volcanoes Loop (South-East corner)
  • North Shore Loop
  • Visited Pearl Harbor & USS Arizona Memorial


The Sheraton Kauai Resort was our favorite hotel! The resort really went the extra mile by upgrading us for free to the “Hibiscus Suite”. The suite was a newly renovated top floor oceanfront & pool front suite. We had 3 balconies, a dining room, living room, master bedroom, and bathroom. They also offered us a complimentary bottle of champagne. We plan to request this specific suite on a future anniversary trip! We did not want to leave!

The Sheraton Kuai resort in Hawaii with glowing pool

After our busy agenda in Oahu, we spent some much-needed R&R in Kauai. We loved the ocean views from Poipu Beach and the on-site amenities the Sheraton offered. On the last day, we treated ourselves to one of the beachside cabanas. We also spent much of our time at the resort’s restaurant, Lava’s. The staff was super friendly and had yummy poolside cocktails!

Our Doors Off Private Helicopter Tour with Mauna Loa Helicopters in Kauai was our favorite adventure! We flew over the coast of Kauai including the beautiful Na Pali! Our tour guide was so knowledgeable and he made us feel comfortable. This was an experience of a lifetime!

the view of Hawaiian islands from a helicopter

We also did the 8 Line Poipu Zipline Adventure with Skyline Eco Adventures in Kauai. We enjoyed seeing the different parts of Kauai and zipping around the island. However, we do wish we saw more tropical forests and that the lines were longer. This was our 3rd time ziplining together so for us I think next time we’d prefer a challenging course and more views! On the plus side, we did like that it was a small tour and our tour guides were awesome!

Our favorite restaurants in Kauai were all within a 5 to 10-minute drive of our resort :  

  • The Beach House Restaurant – a nice beachfront restaurant where we could watch the surfers. Probably my favorite restaurant in Hawai’i. 
  • Keoki’s Paradise – an open-air restaurant with a laid-back Hawaiian vibe.
  • Living Foods – located in the cutest outdoor shopping mall, The Shops At Kukuiula.  


The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa was a tropical paradise! The staff made us feel welcome with a bottle of champagne and a lei greeting upon check-in. Our hotel room was very nice and we had a gorgeous view of one of the many resort pools. It was also convenient having so many restaurants on site. I loved the poke & fish tacos they offered! The sunsets on the beach were also breathtaking being on the West Side of the island. The amenities at the resort were endless, and we saw many honeymooners like ourselves. 

We had a great time at the Drums of The Pacific Luau at our hotel! Our seats were close to the stage, and the venue seemed pretty booked. I’m glad we purchased our tickets far in advance. The food servings were large and we enjoyed the open bar as well as the entertainment. 

a honeymoon couple in front of dried lava flow in Hawaii

We’re also happy to report we survived the Road To Hana in Maui! We did the Original Route with 620 Curves and 59 One Way Bridges. It took us about 12 hours to fully complete by following the Gypsy Guide. We saw so many tropical rainforests, waterfalls, and beaches!

On our last day, we did the Lanai Snorkel Tour & Dolphin Watch With Pac-Whale Eco Adventures. It wasn’t the best snorkeling day at Lanai sadly. During the 5 hours, we didn’t see any dolphins and not a large variety of fish. The boat ride was long and we would have preferred a smaller group tour. We originally booked the small group Honolua Bay trip, but they canceled that specific tour the day prior. Next visit to Maui I’d love to snorkel Molokini Crater!

a couple in Hawaii on their honeymoon with green lawns and sunset in the background

On one of our last nights in Maui, we treated ourselves to a nice dinner at The Plantation House in Lahaina. The restaurant offers breathtaking views of the Kapalua Golf Course and the ocean. We were lucky to be at the restaurant during sunset. I enjoyed the Catch of The Day and Mike said his Filet was the best meal he had on our whole trip. 


Overall, if we had to choose our favorite island it would be Kauai and then Maui! We still loved Oahu, but Honolulu was very crowded being a city. Traveling to 3 islands was an adventure and we saw a lot with not a ton of relaxation so we’re glad traveling was seamless. Next time, we’d choose just 1 or 2 islands so we can see more but have plenty of time to relax on the beach. 

We’re so happy we delayed our trip by 2 years. No covid restrictions allowed us to be free of testing, and minimize wait times to fully enjoy our time.

We thank you Ann, and your team for all your time and dedication to helping us plan our dream Hawaiian Honeymoon! We look forward to planning a future trip together!

-Vicki & Mike

12 Little Travel Splurges That Are Totally Worth It

12 Little Luxury Travel Splurges that are totally worth it pin
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Given the chance, we’d all love to travel in luxury, with the most comfortable, memorable, and unique experiences possible. But many of us struggle to strike the balance between luxury travel and reasonable spending. We don’t all have a never-ending budget to indulge in every luxury available. So how do you decide which luxury travel splurges are worth it? Consider if it will save you time, make you more comfortable, or improve your experience. Here’s our list of top travel splurges that we think are worth every penny:

Splurges to Increase Your Comfort

1. Airport lounges– If you have a long layover, buy a day pass for the airport lounge. Enjoy some comfy chairs, free food, and drinks, and wait in a relaxed style. Alternatively, for an even lengthier layover, book an airport hotel to grab a couple of hours of sleep and a shower. If you happen to be spending one of your valuable vacation days in the airport, it’s worth treating it like part of the fun. Plus, indulging in some pampering at the airport will start your trip with a sense of relaxation and comfort.

2. Business Class – For those long flights, try upgrading to Business Class. More leg-room and seat space will ensure you catch some sleep and land in your new destination with a spring in your step. Plus, you’ll enjoy upgraded meals, drinks, and amenities while you’re on board.

Pro-Tip: If you’d rather book just one leg in Business Class, make it the overnight flight so you can sleep comfortably. ( Usually the one to Europe or home from Hawaii)

a beautiful balcony overlooking the sea
Photo Credit: Andrea & Eric via Shared Adventures – read about their epic adventure to Greece & London here!
king corner hotel room in Block Island Rhode Island set in blue tones with two windows
Photo Credit: Annie via Shared Adventures – read about here mini-adventure to Block Island, RI here!

3. A Room with a view- If you’re staying more than a few days in one location, your hotel room becomes a big part of your vacation! On a cruise ship with a small cabin, at a beautiful beach resort, or in the heart of the city, a stunning view — or maybe even a private balcony or terrace — is worth the splurge. After a long day of exploring, you’ll return each night to a lovely space where you can enjoy a glass of wine and toast to your adventure.

Pro-Tip: If the bigger room is just a bit too much for the entire trip, split your stay between two hotels. Start in the more budget hotel, then end your trip in luxury with a more expensive suite. 

4. Book the hotel a day early – Is your plane landing in the wee hours of the morning? Most hotels have late-afternoon check-in times, and it’s no fun to have to kill the day waiting to get into a room. However, if you want to go straight to your hotel room for a shower, a soft pillow, and a fresh change of clothes, book your hotel starting the night prior so you can get right in. No need to wait around!

Splurges to Save You Time

Time is your most valuable commodity on vacation! Anything that lets you spend more time enjoying your adventure, experiencing the destination, or relaxing on the beach is worth the extra expense.

5. TSA precheck – Not stressing about waiting in line at the airport can save you so much time and energy. You won’t need to worry if you’ll make it to the plane in time. Or spend the first part of your adventure waiting in a long line. For smooth, easy, and fast comfort, consider one of the many ways to fast-track airport security.

6. Airport to Hotel Transfer – When you finally arrive at your destination, you’re often a bit tired, disoriented, and ready for a shower. Navigating public transportation in this state is no way to start your journey, certainly. Splurging on a private transfer is well worth it. Walk into the Arrivals Hall, look for the driver holding a sign with your name on it, and off you go. Confident secure, and at ease.

Photo Credit: Maxime Steckle via Unsplash
Photo Credit: Mia & Matt via Shared Adventures – read about their Italian honeymoon with a fabulous private tour guide here!

7. Skip-the-line passes – What if you are finally in Paris for your big Parisian adventure and so excited to see it all, but you only have a few days? Spending hours outside the Louvre, just waiting to get inside is not ideal, for instance. Getting a skip-the-line pass for major sites maximizes your efficiency. And leaves you more time to explore the rest of the city!

8. Private Driver –Splurging on a private driver for the day will save you time and enhance your experience. There’s no better intro to a destination than having a knowledgeable local take you to all the best places. Especially if you’re visiting several towns close together, like the Amalfi Coast. Sure, you could probably navigate the multiple trains and busses, but having someone to take you to each spot is well worth the cost.

Travel Splurges to Enhance Your Experience

9. Once-in-a-lifetime experiences – Unique experiences that you can’t have anywhere else are expensive for a reason. You’re not going to have another chance to do them. So take that helicopter ride over Hawaii or dine inside a volcano in Iceland. It will be a memory that you keep forever, the highlight of your trip, what you always tell people about, and what you’ll never regret doing.

10. Professional photos – This is one of those great travel splurges if you are traveling with a group or on your honeymoon! Having a professional follow you around for an hour or an afternoon will give you travel photos like you never knew you could have. Almost certainly, they’ll end up being your favorite vacation photos. And if you’re in a group, it means having everyone in the pictures. Instead of always missing one person or having a poorly taken every-one-is-blinking photo by passing strangers, consider this splurge.

Photo Credit: Matteo Innocenti Photography via Shared Adventures – read about Ann’s luxury trip to Tuscany, Italy here!
hawaii jack harter doorless helicopter ride
Photo Credit: Molly & Matt via Shared Adventures – read about their Hawaiian honeymoon here!

11. Small group tours – The best thing about using a tour guide is getting context for your surroundings. Even if you have a guidebook, a knowledgeable local guide offers something more. There is often a history, some little details, or folk-lore stories that only a local guide can tell you. But it can be hard to hear that story amid a big tour group. And, feeling like cattle as you are shepherded from one spot to another adds more negatives than positives to the adventure. Having a small or private group not only saves time (no waiting for stragglers), but it also allows you to ask questions and get individual attention. It gives you the sense of a friend showing you their hometown.

12. Amazing meals– Food is an important and unique part of every culture. Even if you don’t consider yourself a “foodie”, enjoying a good meal will make you smile. Learn about the culture through the food and bring home a taste memory to talk about for years.

Pro Tip: If you are in love with a specific high-end restaurant, but not the price tag, make a reservation for lunch instead of dinner

Are you ready to add a touch of luxury to your next adventure? Let us know! We’re always excited to help you decide which extra details and travel splurges will lift your adventure to the next level!

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)