A Trip of a Lifetime: Honeymoon with Friends!
Parinita Samanta and Aakash Choithani tied the knot and jetted off to Europe for their honeymoon soon after. There’s nothing unusual about it except that there was another couple accompanying them for the honeymoon. If that sounds odd to you, read on to find out why ‘buddymoon’ may actually be a cool idea! We spoke to Parinita (PR Manager at Hyatt Regency Delhi) to find out all about the trip.
BSD: Tell us briefly about yourself and how you guys met…
Aakash and I met during a common friend’s wedding and didn’t realise when we fell in love! After 7 years of knowing each other and being best of friends, we finally decided to get married. It wasn’t that easy, you can say it was definitely the “Two States” wedding – Bengali and Sindhi not so usual.
BSD: How did the idea of ‘buddymoon’ come about?
We had always thought about honeymooning together if we were to get married about the same time. Aakash and I were a little hesitant about taking the plunge this soon. Then Nikhil and Deepika finalised their day to be February 27, 2017; this pushed us and we decided to do it in April and make our plan a reality.
One common thing between us was our love to travel and our love for each other! This motivated us to travel together.
Obviously, the family and relatives weren’t too much in favour of the idea and asked us to reconsider but we were sure since the time our marriage new broke. Good news was the other couple was in favour too.
BSD: Yours looks like a dream honeymoon with best of the Europe as the destination. How did you guys zero in on the destination(s)?
It was indeed a dream honeymoon. Paris, Eiffel Tower, to be more precise has been on my to-do-list ever since we started making one. Amsterdam became an automatic choice after Paris because of the proximity. In addition, visiting scenic places was never a part of the agenda, hence, it was easy to look past Switzerland and zero in on Amsterdam.
Ibiza is one place which four of us were very keen on and eventually, it happened to be our best destination of the trip. Everything about that place was mesmerizing be it our property we stayed at or the views that the city had on offer.
Prague happened to be the last destination of the trip, but it had to be to most exciting part of the entire trip. Skydive was to be the sole purpose of the fourth and the last city of the trip and it had to be between Barcelona and Prague. Given the economics and the panoramic beauty associated with Prague, it was a no-brainer. Skydive was the perfect way to end the trip, and it didn’t let us down one bit.
BSD: Which all places did you cover and how long was the trip?
We were very clear about spending time in one city in each country we go to and 3 nights in each city was the plan. It worked out pretty well and we ended up travelling for 12 nights in total to Paris, France; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Ibiza, Spain; and Prague, Czech Republic.
BSD: Tell us about the planning bit… It doesn’t look like it was a packaged tour. So how did you go about charting out the itinerary?
The tour was customised to bits. It involved a lot of planning and a lot of consulting with different vendors. We didn’t shy away from the hard work. We must have talked to at least 10 different vendors which gave us an upper hand in terms of negotiating. Further, this also helped us in zeroing in must visit places and we had almost everything included in our package cost. This ranges from entry tickets to Disneyland, pub crawl tours, hop on-hop off tours, river cruises, Eiffel tower, etc.
BSD: Of the trip, which are the places you absolutely recommend honeymooners to visit?
Ibiza tops the list for the four of us. Majority of this is due to the property we stayed at, Hard Rock Ibiza. We just couldn’t see past the property and a lot of our time was spent inside the premises and the neighbouring area.
Disneyland is not the sort of a place you would want to miss out on. It brings out the child in you and the positivity that comes along with it. It stands as one of the best moments of the entire trip.
The view from the Prague Castle was the one which surprised us the most. It was breath taking and it only added to the score of selecting Prague as the final destination of the trip.
BSD: Any places you think that weren’t worth the hype?
Given the amount of time and planning that had been put in to finalise the package, we didn’t leave any scope for the four of us to be disappointed at any point.
BSD: Your recommendations of hotels in various destinations you stayed in…
I come from hospitality industry and definitely had a lot of expectations in terms of location, service, proximity etc and it is funny wherever I would go I would compare their and our industry standards.
Let me be honest, Indian hospitality is definitely the best! There is no comparison. Things that I noticed: there isn’t a concept of bell desk meaning you are suppose to take care of your own belongings like carry them to the room…
Every service that you request them for, you need to tip them. They think they deserve it as they extended a service while in India, hospitality staff does it out of courtesy to make the guest feel happy and comfortable.
Hard Rock Ibiza is definitely one of the best hotels I have ever visited; it has perfect amenities in the room, brilliant location, excellent bunch of people as the staff and mouth watering food.
Paris has three sets of hotels – very good ones are really expensive, we stayed in Novotel which was expensive but not like not affordable. The rooms were really small and service was not that great. Maybe I was expecting too much and comparing with Indian hotels and their service standards!
BSD: Recommended eateries/restaurants…
We were looking for vegetarian restaurants everywhere. Maoz for vegetarian food in Paris and Amsterdam does all the wonders.
One must try the Belgian fries in Amsterdam which has long queues all the time. You may want to try some good Italian food at all these destinations.
Indian food is easily available in Prague. K The Two Brothers is one of the most famous restaurants there; you can expect everything from authentic Dal Makhani to Gulab Jamun.
BSD: Give us some shopping recommendations from the places you visited…
Don’t miss out on shopping from regular stores (Mango, Zara, H&M, etc.) in Paris and Ibiza to take advantage of the price differential and the varied collection. In addition, you get access to refund of taxes (about 12-13 per cent, depending upon country’s policies) when you shop from the European Union. This is like the cherry on top.
Further, if you are willing to dig a little deeper in your pockets, there are streets specifically meant for high-end shopping. This relates to brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci, Burberry and it’s a never ending list. The Parizska Street in Prague is the place you should be at. Champs-Élysées in Paris is another option.
BSD: Packing tips for those planning honeymoon to Europe
Make sure you go through each and every airline company’s travel manual you are to travel with, be it international or a local air carrier. This is with respect to number of baggage allowed per person and maximum weight per baggage allowed. This is to avoid any last minute unwarranted costs for carrying extra baggage.
Further, the aim should be to carry at least 5 kg less than the permissible limit per baggage to account for the endless shopping streaks that are bound to happen.
BSD: Approx cost of the trip:
This is a very subjective question, majorly depending upon the shopping habits of individuals. We spent about Rs 2.5 lakhs per person which includes everything ranging from sky dive to travel adjustments and shopping sprees.
BSD: Lastly, tell us what was the best part about travelling with friends and why you’d recommend a buddymoon to others?
So the best part about travelling together is that you feel compact. God forbid, if things are to go south, you can always act in a calm and composed manner.
Another thing is that it has a tremendous impact on your financials. Negotiating with travel agents for two couples is always a plus. We negotiated heavily and got a sweet deal for the four of us.
Pictures form an important part of your travel diaries. You don’t want your phones to be cramped up with endless selfies at different places which doesn’t even make sense. Having someone to click pictures is pleasing.
Group honeymoon or community honeymoon is actually a lot of fun and adventure especially in love marriages. You travel more, you tend to take more risks, you enjoy more… but ensure the other people are not strangers but your best friends!
What are your thoughts about taking friends along on your honeymoon? Would you opt for a buddymoon? Share with us your thoughts in comments below…