46 cities. 180 days. This crazy Indian couple loves travelling so much that they decided on having a 6-month long honeymoon!
Supreet & Gaurav, who met on Tinder, had an unconventional wedding with a simple court ceremony followed by 2 days of small, private parties for family & friends (only the people who matter). When it came time to plan their honeymoon, they continued on their offbeat path. They kicked off the trip with a one-way ticket to Morocco on 27th March, 2017 and returned 180 days later having had the experience of a lifetime!
Which Countries They Visited
Over the next six months, they visited 46 cities in 12 countries. They were Morocco – Spain – Sweden – Croatia – Hungary – Germany – Netherlands – USA – Mexico – Costa Rica – Nicaragua – South Korea.
Supreet gave us the full scoop on the 6-month honeymoon, including how much it cost. Spoiler alert: it was under 20 lakhs! We also made her choose favourite cities (it was tough!) and reveal which experiences were splurge-worthy. Supreet also shares tips for long-term travel with your significant other.
You might want to get comfortable and grab a cup of tea. This is a long one, folks!
Psst…those of us who are trying to convince our workaholic fiancés to go on a 10-day honeymoon should definitely share this article with the husbands-to-be.
6 months honeymooning! Why?
Both of us love travelling. We just felt that we should travel more around the world before we turn 30. We both turned 30 on this trip – Gaurav in Vegas and me in Budapest.
Also, our travel style is more relaxed. We don’t enjoy travelling to a place to just check all the boxes. What we truly cherish is being in a city. Truly experiencing it, walking around the streets like locals, eating at neighbourhood restaurants, creating memories – mostly away from the tourist squares. This needs time.
Further, both of us stayed with our Delhi-based families before the wedding. We felt that we had the perfect window to travel before we set up our own home.
Long-term travel is way easier when you don’t even own a toaster to your name.
Then, the planning began
3 Main Visas: Morocco, Shengen & USA
After we got married, we took two months to put together our passports, papers, visas, bookings and the itinerary. We had three main visas – Morocco, Schengen (covering Europe), and USA (which allows you to visit many other countries too!).
We were dependant on our visas to chart our path but we had a vague idea that we wanted to go around the world in one loop. We researched every country and picked the must-do’s and framed our itinerary accordingly.
Friends Along The Way
We also planned our trip such that we had some friends join us for some legs. A friend travelled Budapest, Berlin, and Amsterdam with us, while another joined us in Nicaragua. We visited family and friends in Stockholm and USA.
Working Remotely While Travelling
We also planned for work while being on the trip. We both took up remote work for digital marketing. This not only helped us with funding the trip but also kept our minds functional. In the retrospect, it was a great call. I think working a bit in parallel kept us sane and balanced. I don’t think we could have spent 6 months only vacationing.
And, the money (how much it cost!)
The whole trip cost us Rs 19 Lakhs including all our bookings and logistics.
We were pretty efficient with our finances and our main rule was moderation. So – no staying in dorms, no cheap supermarket meals, and taking a taxi if needed. We did splurge on the occasional fancy dinner or on unique experiences. We preferred to spend moderately throughout rather than a splurge-once and scrimp the week approach.
Airbnb & Airline Hacks to the Rescue
For our travel, we operated mostly with one-way tickets and last minute bookings. Our main deal saver was Gaurav’s (mostly) successful airline ticket hacks that helped save us a LOT.
For the stay, we relied on Airbnb mostly because you get more space & kitchen access, right in the heart of the city. Most of the time, getting a slightly pricier apartment is alright if the location is great and so every place is within walking distance.
Experiences/Stays We Splurged On
We did splurge on some things, and these were the ones that were totally worth it!
- The 2 Day/1 Night trip into the Sahara desert and staying at the camp (spent a night in the Erg Chigaga Luxury Desert Camp and loved everything from watching the sun set on a camel ride to eating Berber food)
- Gaurav’s 30th birthday weekend at Vegas – we lived it up in Cosmopolitan & Venetian suites & kept gambling budgets. In the last round of Casino Wars, we won our double-or-nothing bet!
- Broadway musical tickets in NYC! It was our first Broadway musical experience together and we caught Miss Saigon in their re-opening – spectacular!
- Whitewater rafting and zip lining over the Cloud Forest in Monteverde, Costa Rica
Our Favourite Cities
Each of the 46 cities that we visited was fantastic and unique in their own way. I feel like I’m cheating on some cities by naming others, but if I were to pick some, they would be:
- Chefchaouen, Morocco: The beautiful blue hill town of Morocco is just picture perfect. From paths to walls & interiors it was all blue and it left us feeling all happy and colourful!
- Las Vegas, USA: The 24/7 energy of this city is infectious
- Guanajuato, Mexico: We felt Mexico is really underrated as a travel destination. But this colourful town stole our hearts. Buildings of all colours came together so harmoniously as the town square buzzed with local Mexican musicians every night, it felt straight out of a movie set
- Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica: The perfect beach and amazing nature trails where we spotted sloths, capuchins, deer, and toucans galore. It is glorious in its untouched beauty
- Seoul, South Korea: The most challenging destination for us because we couldn’t even read the boards! But slowly, Seoul made way inside our hearts and stomach. The people are so courteous and trustworthy. It was the only place where we knew we could not be robbed. The EDM capital like you’ve never seen. Their malls are open till 8 AM! We went at 3 AM to see who shops and they were jam-packed. I now call it the Vegas of Shopping!
- Amsterdam, Netherlands: This city is going to keep calling us back! Overrun by tourists to the point of exhaustion, but turn a corner and the quiet canals will steal your heart.
- Hvar Island, Croatia: The serenity & water hues of Hvar Island in Croatia. One can see a million shades in the ocean.
Some of these experiences have just stayed in our mind like pictures.
- Getting an inside-tour of the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca – mosques rarely give guided tours and it was an extraordinary experience
- Watching Molten Lava bubbling at the Masaya volcano in Nicaragua (I never imagined one could stand at top of a volcano and watch lava without panicking)
- Swimming in an Apoyo Lagoon – a volcanic crater lake in Nicaragua
- All the unique Airbnb apartments – We lived in an Art Gallery in Tamarindo (CR), a traditional Riad in Marrakech and a Mexican cottage in Guanajuato (Mexico)
- Visiting Ait-ben-Haddou, a Game of Thrones filming site (huge GoT fan moment for us)
- Vasa Museum in Stockholm – a sunken 4th-century wooden ship that was recovered & now housed in its full glory
- Teotihuacan – an ancient Mesoamerican city located in a sub-valley of the Valley of Mexico and our first pyramids
- Visiting the DMZ & North Korean border and observing a real village across the border. Surreal to say the least
- Wearing traditional Hanboks and running all around Seoul (They’re encouraging tourists and young Koreans to wear the traditional attire and offer free Palace entry if you wear hanboks, so we did!)
While there were so missed flights or connections, no lost documents or valuables, I would be lying if I say there were no unpleasant experiences.
- Marrakech – Feels like everyone is trying to scam you, too much aggression in the medina. I had a heart attack when we thought we were being followed into the deeper end of the Medina
- Nicaragua Road Border – A border guard almost “strongly urged” us to use his friend’s taxi service for a smoother visa process. (we refused and were troubled a bit)
- Whitewater rafting in Costa Rica – I fell out of the raft! I’m a non-swimmer and it was stressful enough for Gaurav. Ten minutes in, and we approach a Type 4 Rapid and I’m in the water. Fortunately, Gaurav jumped right in and grabbed me back to the raft
Besides these, Costa Rica, Amsterdam, and Marrakesh are over-run by tourists and overpriced services. It took more effort to find the local flavour there.
Would we do this again?
Yes, yes and yes!
Truth be told – on a trip this long, there will always be moments of ‘why are we even here’. If someone asked me on a particularly exhausting day in the latter part of the trip, I might have said ‘never again’. But if I look at the bigger picture, it was a lot of fun. Now that it’s over, it seems like it went by too fast. If all goes well, the plan is to do this again after two years! Fingers crossed.
Should *you* do this?
There’s little that can bond a couple more than packing bags 46 times, making bookings every day and experiencing new sights & sounds. Every couple that can, should definitely do this.
When word got around, a lot of people told us we’d pulled off their life goals.
Honestly, it isn’t so hard. A lot of remote jobs are available now, and a bit of planning is all it takes. We were lucky we both had consultant projects that we could mould into remote work, but I think everyone can do this if they really want!
Be prepared, if you do plan to do this
- There’s a certain spontaneity you need for travelling long term. Planning far ahead usually doesn’t work out, you never know if a city requires more time or a film festival suddenly books up all the accommodation in a small town (true story). You need to trust each other, delegate duties and believe in last minute bookings.
- I hate to say it, but world cuisine is not really for vegetarians. We almost had a vegetarian friend join us for the South Korea leg, but with language barricades and largely meat foods, I don’t know how she would have managed.
- If you’re not into trying local foods, don’t do this. 6 months of Mcdonalds will kill you, and 6 months of eating at Indian (mostly overpriced) restaurants will kill your budget.
- If you’re not okay trudging 20 kilos because the train stopped moving, don’t do this.
- Long trips are very intense, and both partners have to commit to making it work – trust me, it will involve a lot of luggage runs, horrible food choices and exhausted/grumpy days.
BONUS! Tips for your long-term couple travel
You need to read these if you’re going on a long honeymoon!
- Don’t overpack – Forget fashion and style statements, if you are on the road for six months, you should be indifferent to your whole suitcase. Buy low-cost stuff that you can throw away without regret if you are bored of it
- Account for rest days – Run too fast & too hard, and you’ll be back before the month ends. Treat this trip like a lifestyle, and try to live in places rather than tourist-ing the heck out of everything
- Expect the unexpected – Bookings may not happen, buses may detour – getting mad at each other for plan changes isn’t a good idea. Work with each other through all contingency plans and you’ll get out of trouble faster
- Watch out for the grumpy days – Help your partner when they are feeling low and exhausted, it happens at some point or the other
- Believe in Tripadvisor for food recommendations – sometimes the local restaurant beats all 5*Star eateries and you can end with a food-coma worthy meal
- Move beyond the capitals as you get comfortable with a country’s local language – beat the tourist path and you’ll have an even better time
- Call in friends to join you for legs, or visit people you know – it helps add to the conversation and fun. If you’re starting to wear out, new energy is always great for getting excited about new experiences
- Get a good camera (we only clicked on iPhones!) and always click pictures without being conscious (when will you ever be there again?) and ask people to click for you (you’ll want couple photos, trust me!)
If you’ve made it to the end of this post, we hope you found some helpful ideas for your own honeymoon. Most of us know that USA and Costa Rica were good options for a honeymoon, but what WE learnt from Supreet & Gaurav’s trip was that Nicaragua & Croatia are incredible honeymoon-worthy countries as well!