Annette Nero Stellhorn of Accent On Travel shares the answers she provides to her clients interested in a memorable, destination vacation
1. When is the best time to travel to an exotic destination? If you have your heart set on one of the destinations that are ‘seasonal,’ and we would definitely alert you to avoid rainy seasons. The good news is that many destinations lend themselves to year-round travel. No matter when a couple chooses to celebrate this special trip, we will ensure you go somewhere perfectly fitting to the time you want to travel and the experiences you want to enjoy are memorable for a lifetime.
2. How do I select the best destination?
Many decisions go into choosing the best destination for the most memorable trip of your life. Deciding whether relaxing, sightseeing, adventure or a combo of all three is just the start of narrowing down the options for the perfect honeymoon. It’s great to ‘envision’ yourselves somewhere and then work with the experts in zoning in on your preferences both in experiences and ‘styles’ of travel.
Do you see you two in a luxurious suite with a dipping pool on a lagoon in Bora Bora, on a Costa Rican hillside glamping, being food critics for the week in Italy, Morocco or Japan? Your travel advisor’s job is to help hone this down, curate the trip and then manage the components through travel. Thankfully, we have questions that truly vet your preferences for the “wow moments” that you may not even realized were available to you.
3. How long should our vacation be?
My quick answer is, as much time as you can take away from other priorities. We have organized weekend getaways in an Irish castle when work constraints are tough, and we have also filled in several weeks of tooling around New Zealand wineries. Time does not have to be a limiting factor, but it does weigh in.
For example, Bora Bora may not be the best option if a couple only has four nights to travel. The good news is as a travel advisor we can still give you that same over the water bungalow dream without the 15 hours flight time! The important thing to remember is that a romantic getaway is not always about how much time, but the quality of the time you have together to make your getaway one of the best memories of your lives.
4. How much should we budget?
Similar to the amount of time a couple has, the amount of money spent on a dream vacation is really determined by the couple’s wants and needs. The national average spent is about $6,000 for the traditional Caribbean or Disney 7-day getaway, while a destination or activities driven luxury getaway could range between $10,000.00 to $50,000, depending on what experience they want to enjoy. It could be that foodie trip to Peru or the bucket list private journey into Africa or the Galapagos. As a travel advisor, we work with our couples to set realistic expectations based on the best experience at the destination.
5. What are your recommendations for the most romantic destinations?
My storybook romance destinations locations include:
* Tahiti (French Polynesia) — a specific favorite of ours is Bora Bora with accommodations at the St. Regis or the Intercontinental Thalasso Bora Bora.
* Italy — Le Sirenuse Positano
* Hawaii — The Grand Hyatt Kauai
* Africa — Cape Town’s Twelve Apostles (pictured above) & Botswana’s Kings Camp
* Thailand — Four Seasons Tented Camp or Ritz Carlton Reserve Phulay Bay
* Morocco — Amanjena, Marrakech and/or Kasbah Tamadot — Sir Richard Branson’s Retreat (pictured at the top of the page).
Editor’s note: Annette Nero Stellhorn is owner of Accent on Travel, an award-winning travel agency boasting 10 full-time travel advisors who, in combination, have traveled to over 128 countries. Accent on Travel has locations in Rehoboth Beach, Wilmington and Towson, Md. Annette and her husband, Rick Stellhorn, have been traveling the world for the past 30 years and bring a wealth of knowledge to the travel industry, their staff and clients. Appointments are highly recommended for consultations and travel planning.