Annie’s Top Ten Honeymoon Tips
I know that wedding planning can be all-consuming, but don’t wait until the last minute to start thinking about your honeymoon. Depending on your destination and the time of year you’ll be travelling, a good rule of thumb is to start planning about 6-9 months in advance. Of course, if your honeymoon falls during a busy travel period (like the December holidays), it’s best to start even earlier!
Seek professional help
If you haven’t realized it already, this is one of those times when everyone you know will be offering unsolicited advice about where you should go, where you should stay, and what you simply “must” do on your honeymoon. Go ahead and take it all in…do your own research and daydreaming…and then turn to a professional when it’s time to really get down to the planning. You only get to do this once (right?), so you really want to make sure your honeymoon goes smoothly. Using a travel professional won’t cost you any more than doing it all on your own, it will be far less stressful, and you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that all the details are taken care of.
Talk, talk, talk
Don’t assume that you both have the same vision for this honeymoon. You may be dreaming about palm trees and hammocks, while he’s envisioning cafes and museums. Or vice versa. So be sure to discuss the kinds of destinations, accommodations, activities, and amenities that you both want and need, and let your travel consultant (see tip #2 above) help you find a solution that works for everyone.
There’s no rule that says a honeymoon has to be to a warm tropical destination. Or that you have to take it right after you get married. So toss out the preconceptions, get creative, and find something that fits your unique situation. Maybe you want to take a long weekend now and wait to plan a longer honeymoon six months down the road when you can get more time out of work. Maybe the two of you have such radically different ideas about a honeymoon that you’ll agree to do his/hers trips – one version now for your honeymoon and another in a year for your first anniversary. There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all, so go ahead and custom tailor a honeymoon that works for you!
Take it easy on yourselves
It’s tempting to rush off on your honeymoon the morning after the wedding, but resist this urge. I can tell you from experience that you’ll be much better off waiting a day (or even two) before you head out of town. It will give you time to rest, recover, visit with your out-of-town guests and – most importantly – to pack. No one wants to deal with laundry and packing the night before their wedding, so let it wait. On a related note, leave yourselves some free time during the honeymoon too. It’s easy to pack your days with sightseeing, tours and activities, but you’ll want some “down time” too, so build it in upfront.
Be “budget smart”
No one wants to be “budget conscious” on their honeymoon, or to feel like they are scrimping, but there’s nothing wrong with being “budget smart”. You can maximize your dollars by spending extra where it makes a difference to you, and holding back where it won’t really impact your experience. If you’re heading to Europe and dreading the long flight, splurge on an upgrade to first class so you arrive feeling fresh and energized, and then spend a little less on a quaint little hotel instead of the Ritz. If you fell in love with an expensive five-star beachfront resort, go ahead and stay there but cut back on your sightseeing and tours. Another budget-boosting strategy is a Honeymoon Registry, through which guests can help you afford the honeymoon of your dreams. Ask your travel consultant to help you set one up.
Save the best for last
If you do plan on mixing things up with some different types of accommodations, be sure to save the best for last. It’s much better to start out in a basic room or an average resort and then “trade up” to something much more special and memorable for the last few nights. Do it the other way around and you’ll only be left disappointed.
Dot your “i”s and cross your “t”s
Take the time to make sure you have the necessary travel documents (passports, visas, etc.) and that the honeymoon reservation is made in your correct, legal names. For the bride, this is her maiden name, since she will not yet have identification that shows her married name.
Tell the world
Don’t keep it a secret – let everyone from the front desk staff to the waiter know that it’s your honeymoon. People love to make a big deal out of honeymooners, and while you shouldn’t expect perks and upgrades, you can certainly count on receiving smiles, congratulations, and extra-friendly service.
Even the best-laid plans can go awry, so it pays to plan for the unexpected and protect yourselves with travel insurance. Most honeymoon arrangements are prepaid and nonrefundable, and while you say you’re going on this honeymoon “no matter what”, you have no idea what might lie ahead -- a family emergency, a job loss, or a hurricane or other natural disaster. For a relatively small cost, a good travel insurance policy will protect you against these kinds of things, as well as the more mundane travel headaches like missed connections and lost or delayed bags.
BONUS TIP (#11)
Take lots of photos, as the time will fly by and you’ll want to remember everything!
Ann Petronio, owner of Annie’s Escapes Inc, is an “Escape Artist” and professional travel planner. She creates custom-planned vacations for busy couples and families, and specializes in honeymoons and destination weddings. Check out her web site and blog at www.AnniesEscapes.com
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