Quitting Your Job Is The Millennial Way To Do Honeymoons

Traditionally speaking, honeymoons are short getaways when newlyweds can enjoy each other's company: These trips usually come with an end date in mind, perhaps an all-inclusive hotel package, and swan towels on a king-sized bed.

However, for more and more millennial couples, a honeymoon is a much longer commitment than a romantic weeklong jaunt to Paris or a beachside hangout in Hawaii — it's their ticket to quit their corporate jobs and travel the world. Don't believe us? Just do a quick search on Instagram and see how many traveling couples influencers share this narrative.

This phenomenon actually makes a lot of sense if you think about it: Millennials have been said to be major proponents of the experience economy, as a steady life trajectory is less and less probable under the current climate of lower job security and a tough property market. In the age of social media, turning these adventures into marketing and brand partnership opportunities is also a viable path to raise more travel funds.

To figure out how exactly these millennial couples do it, we chatted with two globetrotting duos who quit their jobs for a one-way ticket around the world. Read on for their incredible photo journals and what they've learned along the way. Warning: It will probably make you want to drop everything and go travel, too.

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Photo: Courtesy of HoneyTrek/ Mike & Anne Howard.
Anne and Mike Howard, founders of HoneyTrek

How They Started

Before embarking on their global honeymoon, Anne Howard was a lifestyle and interiors writer and Mike Howard was the owner of a digital marketing business. The couple worked in New York City and owned an apartment in Hoboken, NJ.

"We started planning our honeymoon and wrote down a list of places we wanted to go," says Anne. "As the list got longer and longer, it occurred to us: When else are we going to be able to do these things if not now? We needed to carve out a time to see all these places, so why not go big on our honeymoon?"

The couple saved up for a whole year — the first wedding anniversary was their self-imposed deadline — before hopping on a one-way flight to Brazil in January 2012. The original plan was to do a one-year honeymoon, but the pair has since been hooked to life on the road and is still at it five years later. They now run HoneyTrek, a successful travel blog documenting their adventure, also known as "the world's longest honeymoon".
Photo: Courtesy of HoneyTrek/ Mike & Anne Howard.
How They Budgeted

The couple initially allotted a spending budget of $50 per person for every day they were on the road, which included food, lodging, and activities excursions. The mutual savings goal they had for the full year was $35,000.

"Our budget turned out to be way less than that: Our spending ended up averaging to about $70 a day ($35 per person) that first year," says Mike. "We got better at traveling and utilized tricks such as mileage hacking and house sitting." It ended up being much, much cheaper for the couple to travel around than to live in the city: The couple has been renting out their Hoboken home since 2012, which goes towards their mortgage payments.

Without a home base, the couple does a combination of housesitting, staying with friends around the world, and WWOOFing — volunteering on farms in exchange for lodging. In 2016, their combined spending on accommodation amounted to only $400. (Yup, that's for the entire year.)
Photo: Courtesy of HoneyTrek/ Mike & Anne Howard.
How They Make Money On The Road

The couple originally started HoneyTrek as a way for friends and family to keep track of their whereabouts. Eventually, the blog took off and became a proper business when it started getting press coverage in travel magazines and newspapers.

Now, the couple makes money as they travel in a number of ways: They're brand ambassadors for several companies for a monthly fee, in addition to freelance writing and partnerships with tourism boards to developing content. They also offer "trip coaching" — online consulting sessions teaching people how to do long-term travel on a budget. Another addition to the income mix: They've just published a book on couples travel, Ultimate Journeys For Two, with National Geographic.
Photo: Courtesy of HoneyTrek/ Mike & Anne Howard.
It's Less Glamorous Than It Looks

"Long term travel is not a vacation: You have to think of it as a marathon and pace yourself with spending," says Anne. "You don't treat it as a special one-off treat, so you're less likely to blow money on things like fancy dinners or room service." The couple has done it all in terms of cost-saving measures, from hitchhiking on banana trucks to sleeping in a mud hut on the side of the road, with mice running around the cot they slept in.

This type of travel is not for everyone, but they both see having these experiences together as the most romantic adventure of all. The couple spent the past year housesitting, living in ten different countries, but are looking to slow down in the year ahead. They've just purchased a vintage RV, and are planning to do an immersive road trip throughout North America as soon as their book tour wraps up.
Photo: Courtesy of HoneyTrek/ Mike & Anne Howard.
What They Learned About Love

Traveling with the same person 365 days out of the year is not easy, and the Howards have admitted to having disagreements every now and then — like any married couple would. "We do fight like any other normal couple on a trip when we get lost or miss a flight, but the road ahead and the beauty we get to see keep us in check," says Mike. "It humbles us a lot and we learn to not fight about the small stuff."

"When we're at these far-flung places without knowing a single soul, we've got to be each other's team," adds Anne. "Bearing the fact that we only have each other in mind keeps us in check: We can address these spats, work through it, and move on."
Photo: Courtesy of Tanveer Badal.
Kelly and Tanveer Badal, Writer And Photographer

How They Started

The Badals are no strangers at taking prolonged traveling: They've previously done a 101-day grand tour of Southeast Asia, which they called a "mini retirement" trip. "We loved it and knew we wanted to go longer," says Tanveer, a food and travel photographer. "One thing I've realized with traveling is that the more you do it, the more you find new places you want to travel to: The bucket list gets even longer, not the other way around."

The couple went on a 10-month honeymoon in 2014, spanning 24 countries, including Italy, Kenya, Morocco, and Madagascar. The trip is documented on Tanveer's photo journal under #TKYOLO2014.
Photo: Courtesy of Tanveer Badal.
How They Budgeted

The couple had already built up decent savings from working as professionals in NYC, and were toying with the idea of buying a house in L.A. "After meeting with a couple of real estate agents, we quickly realized that we didn't really want a house that bad, and would rather spend some of our savings on travel," says Tanveer. "It's our one life motto: Experiences over things, always."

The couple had set aside a sum of $50,000 for the entire year, but didn't end up using all of it. "We only spent about $10 or $15 per day in India. After a month there, we realized how little we were spending, so we decided to splurge on some more expensive activities, like African safaris."

"When we were younger, we did more shoestring-type travel, but we didn't want to do that this time," the photographer added. "I'd rather travel for a shorter time, save up, and go travel again."
Photo: Courtesy of Tanveer Badal.
Why They Shortened Their Trip

The couple was originally planning on traveling for an entire year, starting on January 1, but cut the trip short after 10 months. "It got to the point where we weren't really appreciating some of the things we were seeing," says Tanveer. "We'd be in Rome and say things like, 'I guess we should go and see the Pantheon.' — That's when you know you're done and need to go home and reboot!"
Photo: Courtesy of Tanveer Badal.
Their Craziest Honeymoon Story

The couple's time in India ended up being the most memorable leg of the trip. Tanveer recalls, "We took the train in India to Varanasi without an official ticket. We were second on waitlist, but there was a big festival in Varanasi so there were literally no seats available. I talked my way into getting a general admission ticket for like 5 cents, figuring we would eventually find an entry seat."

"As soon as we saw the train pull in — with dozens of people hanging onto the rails outside the train and on the roof — we knew this would get interesting. We ended up riding in between cars with a dozen other locals next to the toilet for 15 hours. My wife sat on a flipped over mop bucket while I stood most of the way with the cold wind blasting our face. When we eventually got to Varanasi, we ended sleeping for 18 hours straight. But I would totally do it all over again."
Photo: Courtesy of Tanveer Badal.
What They Learned About Love

"I've always said that traveling as a couple is the best way to strengthen a relationship bond," says Tanveer."In my opinion, it's the monotony of the day-to-day — especially if you don't like the way your job, location, or social life is going — that's much more challenging to get through."

"You end up facing so many challenges and obstacles, which can be anything from how do I order coffee in Ethiopian to finding your way to your hotel in Yangon in the middle of the night. Once you overcome those things, you end up becoming much closer than you were before."