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National Public Radio
Interview: Pam Thomas On Finding The Perfect Honeymoon Location
NPR: The Tavis Smiley Show
June 27, 2003
TONY COX, host: From NPR in Los Angeles, I'm Tony Cox, in for Tavis.
Some say the icing on the wedding cake is the honeymoon. Many newlyweds look forward to that perfect getaway after the hustle and bustle of the wedding planning and ceremony are over. And even though weddings are often costly, husbands and wives, on average, spend more than $1,400 on the honeymoon, according to the Travel Industry Association of America. Here to talk more about the travel industry for couples is Pam Thomas, editor of Pathfinders Travel magazine, the travel magazine for people of color. She joins us from member station WHYY in Philadelphia.
Pam, welcome to the show.
Ms. PAM THOMAS (Editor, Pathfinders Travel Magazine): Thank you, and how are you today?
COX: I'm fine, thank you. Pam, does $1,400 for a honeymoon package sound reasonable to you?
Ms. THOMAS: Well, I think $1,400 is probably on the low side. I can imagine a couple just would probably spend $1,400 just probably on air and perhaps three or four days of accommodations. But I could easily see couples doubling that.
COX: Where are newlyweds going after the wedding is over these days? I mean, what are the most popular destinations?
Ms. THOMAS: Well, once the wedding is over, of course, you've got to make a quick stop by the bank before you go on the honeymoon. That's the first thing.
COX: Got that right.
Ms. THOMAS: And then, as you head out to the airport, a lot of people are, of course, on honeymoons; they're jetting off to the Caribbean, still a very, very popular destination, particularly if you're on the East Coast, as I am. And if you're over on the other coast, Hawaii is one of the number-one destinations for couples.
COX: Really? You know, I just literally got in from Hawaii, and I have never seen so many weddings, back to back to back to back to back, even at this one particular hotel where I was. It is a very popular place to go for weddings, isn't it?
Ms. THOMAS: It's a very popular place. I'm not sure which island you were on but, of course, Waikiki Beach is just absolutely popular. But I would suggest to couples that you try to get away from the beach. You know, after all of the hectic pace of planning a wedding for a year, and then the wedding and relatives and family and people coming from all over and friends giving advice, you probably want to get off to yourself just a little bit. So go beyond Waikiki Beach to some of the smaller inns and the smaller properties.
COX: Are there locations here in the States that can be just as romantic as going to Hawaii or to Jamaica or to Mexico or someplace like that?
Ms. THOMAS: Well, Tony, let me start off telling you about a place that I absolutely love. It's located in California, and it is the Sonoma County region. For people on the East Coast that don't know, Sonoma is another big wine region. In parts of Sonoma, you'll go around a curve and you'll see the rolling hills and you will think that you're in Italy someplace. It's absolutely gorgeous.
And then here on our end, I just got back from a place called Daufuskie Island.
Ms. THOMAS: Now just to give you a little bit of geography, if you remember the movie "Daughters of the Dust," where they talked about the Sea Islands and the Gullah people, Daufuskie is one of the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina. So you'd fly into South Carolina and then you'd actually have to take a little ferry across. So the honeymoon starts right there. You're waiting on the ferry. They whisk your luggage away. You don't see your luggage again until you get to your little cottage. Your cottage faces the Atlantic Ocean. Absolutely beautiful.
COX: I suppose, Pam, privacy is a big part of this whole attitude that you have after you get married and you go on your honeymoon. You want to be away or feel as though you are way. So the place you're describing is one that will offer that. Are there others that offer that, also?
Ms. THOMAS: Amelia Island, right outside of Jacksonville, Florida, that's another one that's very romantic. You can rent cottages there, if you want to do a little cottage. There's Nantucket. I know a lot of people go to Martha's Vineyard in the summer, but Martha's Vineyard can get really, really crowded. I love Nantucket. That's another one. And then anywhere up along the Hudson River, outside of New York; you just can't go wrong with any of the inns there. So really there are some really good places.
COX: These sound like the kinds of places, Pam, that you would see in a magazine--you know, something really traditional and glamorous, almost.
Ms. THOMAS: They're very glamorous, but as it can be anywhere, you can spend, you know, anywhere from, you know, just maybe $100 a night to the sky is the limit. There are places in the Caribbean, of course, that, you know, $7,000 is not unusual for a week of accommodations. But then you can also stay at someplace that's just very charming; $100 a night. I was in Barbados recently; a lot of nice properties in Barbados, places like Sandy Lane, where, you know, if you want to be seen, to spend that $7,000--but then there are a lot of other inns that you can go to that look like something out of the "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous." And you may not end up spending any more than $100 or $200 a night.
COX: You know, it just comes to mind to me, Pam, that you have not mentioned the place that is really associated with weddings, and that's Las Vegas.
Ms. THOMAS: You know, I was going to say, two of the places here that are really associated with weddings--you've mentioned one of them, Las Vegas, certainly, and the other one is--guess what? Disneyland.
COX: Get out.
Ms. THOMAS: Disneyland, Disney World. Those are big wedding destinations. It's particularly Disney World. A lot of people go to Disney World. They'll have the ceremony there, and then they'll just stay and enjoy themselves for their honeymoon. So both of those are very, very big, and, of course, you know, Las Vegas has always been a big wedding-honeymoon destination, going way, way, way back.
COX: Oh, that's for sure. You know, you can drive through and get married in Las Vegas. They have all sorts of...
Ms. THOMAS: Never get out of your car. Never get out of your...
COX: ...strange things there, that's for sure. Let me ask you this, Pam: There are a lot of travel agencies offering wedding and honeymoon packages. Do you recommend combining both in one exotic location?
Ms. THOMAS: For a lot of people, second-time marriages, certainly that whole package makes it very, very affordable. And then for people, perhaps, that are going to want to travel to your wedding, that would give them a chance to kind of roll their vacation and their trip to your wedding all in one. And you don't have to stay and honeymoon at the place that you get married. That's one of the nice things about getting married, say, in a place like the Caribbean.
COX: Earlier this week, we talked about Afrocentric garments and including Afrocentric themes in weddings. So how can that carry over to the honeymoon? For example, are there getaways in the motherland that newlyweds should check out?
Ms. THOMAS: Well, it's funny you mention that. I was in South Africa in--I think it was March. And I also saw a few weddings there. South Africa has certainly thrown their arms wide open to us, and there are a number of properties there. I would suggest that people go on to their Web site and really look for a travel agent and look for someone that is very experienced in South Africa that can kind of guide you through that. But keep in mind now, that may be good for, say, your honeymoon, but in terms of a wedding, that would be very, very expensive for all of your guests to attend.
COX: Mm-hmm. The final thing: Are you married or single?
Ms. THOMAS: I am very married. We just got back from a little island, Vieques, right off the coast of Puerto Rico. We went to Daufuskie Island together. And so we had a few days of really nice romance, and even when it rained a couple of days, it was just nice sitting in the suite and looking out and sitting in the Jacuzzi and sipping champagne. So I can really recommend some nice romantic places right near here.
COX: It sounds like you can. Pam Thomas is editor of Pathfinders Travel magazine, the travel magazine for people of color. Pam, thanks for joining us.
Ms. THOMAS: And thank you for having me.
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Backup Singers: Whoa-oh, you've got the best of my love. Whoa-oh, you've got the best of my love. Whoa-oh, you've got the best of my love. Whoa-oh, you've got the best of my love.
Unidentified Singer: Going in and out, changes...
COX: Coming up, we'll hear from actresses Melissa Gilbert and Anne-Marie Johnson, along with actor and national president John Connolly about the pros and cons of the proposed union merger of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists.