I Can’t Believe This City Is The Most Popular Honeymoon Destination In The World

a city at night with lights
Over the weekend I stumbled upon an article from the Facebook Data Team on The Most Popular Honeymoon Destinations in 2014 based on actual Facebook user data.

If you want to talk about big data, with over 1.2 billion users, the data that Facebook has access to is the biggest of big data. And unlike other “Top Honeymoon” lists which tell you where you should consider going, this data-based list tells you where people actually went.

As a former math major turned actuary, my entire life has revolved around numbers and data and this type of stuff really interests me. To me, a huge data set is more interesting than any Harry Potter or 50 Shades of Grey novel could ever be. In fact, I have a lot of cool ideas for miles/points and travel-related analyses that I would think would be interesting, but haven’t been able to find the data to support them.

But I digress…Facebook doesn’t say exactly how many data points they captured, but there were certainly some interesting takeaways.

The most popular honeymoon destination in the world is where?!

Here’s the complete list of top 10 honeymoon destinations worldwide:

Top destinations for all (international + US) couples:
  1. Las Vegas, USA
  2. Lahaina, USA
  3. Honolulu, USA
  4. Playa del Carmen, Mexico
  5. Cancún, Mexico
  6. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  7. Montego Bay, Jamaica
  8. Antalya, Turkey
  9. Castries, St. Lucia
  10. Gramado, Brazil

That’s right, the top honeymoon destination in the entire world is Las Vegas!!! Sin City!

a city at night with lights

Maybe I just take Vegas for granted since I’m a 1-hour flight away and have gone as many as 10 times in a single year during my younger days. But to me, Vegas certainly doesn’t exude “romantic honeymoon.” If anything it’s quite the opposite, as a typical trip to Vegas can include anything from eating or drinking to the point that one feels like vomiting, or losing your shirt, both literally and figarutively, at the casino.

    But that’s just my perspective, and if you think internationally, I can certainly see how Vegas has a certain allure as the ultimate adult playground. In fact, I’m sure I could plan a pretty darn good honeymoon in Vegas with a stay at a great hotel, a couple fancy dinners, and tickets to see Cirque Du Soleil and Britney.

    Maldives makes a top 10 appearance

    It’s interesting that rounding out the top 10 above are all destinations in the Americas, with #8 Antalya, Turkey being the only entry from another part of the world.

    Thinking about the list from the perspective of miles and points enthusiasts, while Hawaii is certainly a popular Honeymoon destination, you’d have guessed that Maldives and French Polynesia would be up there at the very top.

    Maldives does crack the top 10 if you look only at non-US locations.

    Top destinations outside of the US for all (international + US) couples:
    1. Playa del Carmen, Mexico
    2. Cancún, Mexico
    3. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
    4. Montego Bay, Jamaica
    5. Antalya, Turkey
    6. Castries, St. Lucia
    7. Gramado, Brazil
    8. Bodrum, Turkey
    9. Gros Islet, St. Lucia
    10. Malé, Maldives

    Where do Americans go for honeymoons?

    According to the data, only 19% of US couples traveled internationally, and based on the graphic below they didn’t travel nearly as far as those from other countries. On average, US couples traveled just 1/4th as far as those from South Korea and 1/2 as far as those from countries like Hong Kong and Spain.

    a graph of a number of people

    To some extent this makes sense, since the most popular honeymoon destinations are Americas-heavy, meaning that they wouldn’t need to travel as far to reach them.

    Amazingly, even looking specifically at US couples, Las Vegas is still extremely popular coming in at #5, with Hawaii, Mexico and Central America rounding out the rest of the top 10:

    Top destinations for US couples:
    1. Lahaina, USA
    2. Castries, St. Lucia
    3. Honolulu, USA
    4. Montego Bay, Jamaica
    5. Las Vegas, USA
    6. Gros Islet, St. Lucia
    7. Playa del Carmen, Mexico
    8. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
    9. Ocho Rios, Jamaica
    10. Cancún, Mexico

    Questions about methodology

    Of course, I’d be remiss not to mention a couple key points that I believe to be impacting the results.

    First, I’d like to understand the number of data points gathered from each country.

    Also, the geographic locations are based on when someone checks-in on Facebook, which involves actively self-reporting your location. Are people more likely to check-in in Vegas and Hawaii than in other parts of the world which may be more remote? I could see that being the case and makes sense even on a practical level, as roaming charges may apply when using Facebook overseas.

    And lastly, I question the methodology used to identify the honeymoon destination, which was a Facebook check-in within 2 weeks of the self-identified wedding date. Based on my own experience as well as anecdotal information from my friends, the days of riding off into the sunset after the wedding and into the honeymoon aren’t as common anymore.  I don’t know a single person that has taken an international honeymoon within 2 weeks of their wedding.

    In fact, we waited 4 months to take ours, and from the methodology above, our “honeymoon” would have registered as Washington D.C. which was the first trip that we took after getting married.

    Therefore, I’m pretty confident that the choice of methodology here is under-reporting the percentage of Americans that take international honeymoons, as well as the average distance traveled. It would be interesting to see this analysis repeated with a longer post-wedding time horizon.

    But one question still remains, is Vegas really the top honeymoon destination???


    1. We also waited a long time before our honeymoon, to the opposite side of the earth. In the US most people don’t seem to take long (2+ weeks) vacations. Considering how actual wedding itself can eat up a big chunk of time, perhaps we all needed to “recover” before a more remote honeymoon could take place. On the other hand, however, those who stay within the country would have more liberty to make the trip happen more quickly.

      I assume the opposite is true at least in some other cultures. For example, maybe the Koreans and Italians prefer to take long-distance trips immediately after their weddings…

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