Saturday, April 25, 2009

How to Honeymoon - Part Numero Uno

I am going to write instructions on how to travel and therefore, how to Honeymoon. I think I've got enough Frequent Flier miles under my belt to be able to comfortably say, "I know how to freakin' travel." I swear, I could kick some serious ass on The Amazing Race.

How did I become so savvy, you ask? Well, when you travel overseas 3 times a year for a month at time, touching down in Europe, India, Vietnam, Thailand, China and The Philippines along the way, you sort of figure it out. I've been doing this kind of thing for the last 10 years, at different intervals, for different time periods and different companies. When I travel, I am lucky enough to go first/business class and to stay in 4 or 5 star international hotels. I eat at 4 and 5 star restaurants around the world. Most times, I am blown away by the life I lead. Some of the time, it's glamorous. Most of the time, it's not. There is nothing sexy about flying 28 hours to get to a final destination. Nothing is glamorous about peeing in the Jaipur, India, airport. And there is nothing funny about a 5'10" woman flying coach on China Southern Airlines. I might as well just eat my knees, the seats are so small.

What has this got to do with a honeymoon? I'll tell you. It has to do with what you want to do on your honeymoon. My main objective when I go on holiday is to make sure I have plenty of nothing planned. I might schedule a nap, if I feel like getting crazy. Happily, The Candyman is excellent at doing nothing and enjoys this as well. I want to be warm, I want to see a beach and I want to do nothing on that beach for a week. Now, I can pay thousands of dollars for that to happen. Or, I can pay less. Much less.

If you are the type of couple who want the all-inclusive, spa-type hotel honeymoon, you might want to stop reading (but please don't!). If you are the type of couple who wants to go zip-lining in Belize, this might not be your best read either. However, if you want a nice place to stay and to
relax, keep on!

I do not want a fancy hotel to vacation in. I stay in fancy hotels enough and they are totally overrated. I want to lounge in bed all day and not have a hotel maid disturb me even though I put the 'Do Not Disturb' sign out. I want to make peanut-butter toast and sit in bed with my new husband and chill and talk and drink coffee on the beach, on by the pool.

You can do this if you rent a house. This is not hard to do. Two of my most favorite websites in the entire Internet are Home Away and VRBO. These websites offer rentals in locations around the world. It really is amazing and the deals are out of this world.

The first time I used Home Away, I went on my first solo vacation in 2004. I had just run my first marathon and I wanted to reward myself for all the hard work.
I'm in the red shirt and green hat. Can you find me? Photo courtesy of my dad.

At the time, there was no way I could afford that kind of trip without my frequent flier miles. I did have that massive perk. Anyway, I lived in Hawaii when I was a kid and had always wanted to go back. I had looked into it, but had no desire to go stay in some cheap hotel in Waikiki. I wanted to stay in my town, where I lived and kick it on my beach. I wasn't a tourist so I felt I wanted to go local. After hitting the Internet hard, I found Home Away and also found my first Hawaiian get-away!

Through Chris and Rochelle, the owners of Beachwalk Cottage in Kailua, Hawaii, I found my own private paradise! Basically, it was a mother-in-law type house set away from a main house with private access. Their rates have gone up in the last few years but in 2004, I paid $95 a night. There were some cleaning fees and tax and that's it. It was an 8 minute walk to Kailua Beach, one of the world's best beaches. Here's the cottage I stayed in:

The bead was super comfy!

The living room area. The satellite TV had every single channel known to man. The one night I stayed in I nearly killed myself with movie-watching.
The gated entrance was just to the left. This was my little private yard.

The other side of the yard. There's a little waterfall in the corner you can turn on. Nice.

A little desk area looking out to the patio and the bathroom on the left.

Tiny kitchen that did the trick!

It was clean, quiet and had everything that I needed. Kailua is a sleepy little town with all the stuff you would need, plus some, to have a wonderful Hawaiian vacation. Minus airfaire, I paid about $1250 to stay in Hawaii for a week - including food, drink, entertainment, Jeep rental, gas and a suitcase full of Kona coffee, Li Hing Mui and Guava Jam to give as Chritmas gifts!

Coming up.....Home Away takes T30SB and The Candyman back to Hawaii in 2008. We've booked again for our honeymoon...but where?!? Check in later and find out!

Where are YOU going on your honeymoon? What is your dream vacation?

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