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February 23, 2015

Assisted Alone Time

Published online by Travel Weekly | By Michelle Baran

When couples are jonesing for a romantic getaway, whether it’s for a honeymoon, anniversary or just because, there’s a delicate balance between wanting the intimacy of traveling alone and wanting some added services that make for a stress-free escape.

Somewhere within that space is the gap the Globus Family of Brands has been working to fill with its Monograms brand, a product line geared toward travelers who want to travel on their own, but with a little help.

Monograms packages include accommodations, a half-day tour in each city on the itinerary and a local host who greets travelers at the airport, provides a transfer to their hotel and is available for additional recommendations, for booking optional tours and for any extra help, such as making dining or entertainment reservations.

Take, for instance, a trip to Venice, often cited as one of the most popular destinations for honeymooners and an equally popular Monograms offering. During a recent Monograms experience exploring the city’s dizzying maze of streets and canals, it became apparent why more and more honeymooners are looking to this type of vacation option.

“We see [honeymooners] as a significant market for Monograms,” said Steve Born, vice president of marketing at Globus. “The fact that a couple can relieve themselves of all of the planning hassles as well as the logistics of traveling enables them to focus on the wedding, the destination and, most importantly, they can focus on one another.”

First off, there is something to be said for stepping off the plane after a long flight to find a friendly face awaiting your arrival and ready to get you straight to your hotel.

An image from a video on Monograms’ website that contrasts a couple traveling without the help of a local host to one that opts for Monograms.
An image from a video on Monograms’ website that contrasts a couple traveling without the help of a local host to one that opts for Monograms.

During the local host’s welcome briefing, travelers can get their bearings on the destination and have their preliminary questions answered. The included half-day city tour is a recommended and efficient way to conquer the sightseeing highlights, which in vacation hotspots like Venice can mean avoiding hours-long lines and battling massive crowds. Large tour operators like Globus can get their clients past those lines and into and through city highlights in a fraction of the time.

After that, the Monograms local host can provide as little or as much service as couples wish.

Hotels are often an important part of the vacation experience, especially for honeymoons, and Monograms enables travelers to choose from several options in each destination, allowing for some personalization according to tastes and budget.

Another tricky part of travel is often just getting from point A to point B. If a Monograms itinerary includes two or more destinations, then travelers will be provided with and guided through any necessary transfers. In Venice, that included getting us to the train station via water taxi while our baggage was sent ahead, conveniently waiting for us in front of the station. Inside, our trusty local host was there to hand out train tickets and get us safely onboard.

These seem like little things when they’re taken care of, but when they aren’t they can lead to stress and frustration, as anyone who has traveled without the benefit of a local host probably knows all too well.

Having a local point person can remove a surprising amount of tension from a vacation. From advice and recommendations on what to see and where to eat to simple directions, a local host is both a security blanket and a practical and applicable on-the-ground resource.

While Globus doesn’t specifically track whether Monograms travelers are taking their honeymoon with Monograms, based on feedback from local hosts, the company estimates that honeymooners opt for Monograms trips as much as three times more than they do for Globus or Cosmos escorted tours, or the company’s Avalon Waterways river cruises.

Consequently, Monograms has compiled a collection of itineraries that it recommends specifically for honeymooners at Monograms.com/honeymoon-vacations, and it has established a partnership between Monograms and HoneymoonRegistry.com that enables couples to set up a gift registry for their chosen Monograms trip.

So where do Monograms honeymooners go most often? The Monograms programs in Italy and France as well as the London and Paris combination are popular with newlyweds, the company reports.

And for those gearing up for their post-wedding getaway, Monograms has some helpful hints and some sage advice.

“When choosing your honeymoon, the first and most important step is deciding and agreeing upon your destination. (This is the first of many negotiations to come!),” Monograms writes on its website. “Know that you may need to compromise with each other. Although this is your first trip as a married couple, it will not be your last.”

Maybe Monograms should add couples counseling to its list of included amenities.

Click here to see the story on Travel Weekly’s website.»

Click here to see our top picks for Honeymoon vacation packages.»