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Honeyteering: Newlywed Couples Find Meaningful Honeymoon Experiences in Volunteering

The traditional image of a honeymoon involves relaxing on a pristine white sand beach, sipping on drinks with umbrellas in them while gazing out at the crystal blue waters. But more and more newlywed couples are choosing something radically different on their honeymoon trips: joining a volunteer program. On this new style of honeymoon, sometimes called “honeyteering,” couples give back to the community for anywhere from a few days to a few months by helping with activities such as sustainable farming, tutoring children or helping clean up efforts after a natural disaster.

According to an article on the website Tonic, a main reason couples choose to honeyteer is to strengthen their bond while also experiencing the world outside of the confines of a resort. “It’s a great way to learn more about your mate and discover new reasons to be attracted to him or her,” the article notes. “Honeyteering encourages couples to explore parts of the world that they might never have experienced.”

“Couples often choose to volunteer for their honeymoon because they want to do something meaningful,” says Li Quach, Senior Manager of Communications at Cross-Cultural Solutions. “The joys and challenges of volunteering abroad can definitely bring a couple closer together in new ways. They are also getting to know a culture in ways that they wouldn’t normally experience if they were at a beach resort.”

A CNN Travel article featured one couple, Aaron and Kristen Berlin from Massachusetts, who volunteered at an orphanage in Thailand for five days before exploring the country on their own. The couple said they “learned a lot about the culture” and “were really incorporated into the daily lives of the children and the volunteers who ran the orphanage.” Choosing to work with the community provides couples with an enriching experience that they may not find by just being casual tourists.

Another couple interviewed in the CNN Travel article spent four weeks teaching English and French to teenagers in a boys home in Moshi, Tanzania, through a Cross-Cultural Solutions volunteer program. Lisa and Yvan Lagasse had originally planned to go to the beach for their honeymoon but were happy they chose to volunteer instead. Lisa Lagasse told CNN that volunteering with her husband was “such a humbling experience, that to have someone there with you, especially your partner, who understands what you went through and learned.” The couple hopes to bring their young son to Tanzania someday and are even thinking about adopting a child from that region.

Couples considering honeyteering should keep in mind that it’s not without expense. Volunteer programs usually don’t provide airfare, and volunteers often pay a fee to volunteer to help the program with costs such as room and board or supplies, as an article on green weddings at The Knot website points out. Couples looking to volunteer should also be flexible with the dates that they want to travel because volunteer programs often have specific start and end dates.

Cross-Cultural Solutions works with couples to match up their interests with the right program and location, Quach says, adding, “We recommend that couples keep an open mind and just have fun doing the program together and learning about each other through this new experience.”

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