#WeddingWednesday: Planning Your Honeymoon
Following the wedding many newlywed couples embark on a romantic honeymoon. Before you can go on the honeymoon though, you must plan the perfect trip for both you and your soon to be spouse. How do you decide where to go? There are a number of factors that you need to take into account when planning your honeymoon.
When selecting a location you will first want to decide the type of honeymoon both you and your future spouse want to go on. Will you want to relax on a gorgeous beach, sail across the ocean, flamenco dance the night away or go on a charitable trip together? Will you want to go to more than one location? You will want to make this decision together as it will be one of the first of many.
Try not to select the “typical honeymoon.” Think outside of the box, try to choose a location that best suits you as a couple. If you would rather go on a wintry escape than the typical beach honeymoon then go for it. It’s your honeymoon. Make it what you want it to be. If you want to go to two totally different locations then do it. Honeymoons often work best with two contrasting experiences. If you and your partner have different locations in mind then explore them both.
After selecting the location, check what the weather will be like when you plan to be there. If you want the trip to be sunny then avoid going during your destination’s winter or rainy season. It is not necessary to go on your honeymoon directly following the wedding if it is not in your best interest. You’re honeymoon could be a month or even six months later if you want it to be. You will also want to research what is happening in that area of the world. Make yourself aware of any health risks or other problems such as the current Zika virus epidemic in Brazil.
Getting time off from work will be your next area of concern. You will need to ensure that you can take a week or two off so that you can get the most out of your trip. You don’t want to rush a trip because you were unable to get the time off.
After you decide where you want to go and when you want to go you should look into the cost of the trip to see if it is plausible for you. Not only should you look into the cost of airfare and the hotel but also how much local restaurants, activities and transportation will cost you. These costs may add up and be more than you had expected.
Here is a good timeline to follow after you have decided what type of honeymoon you would like to go on:
Eight Months to One Year Before
- Make a budget
- Decide whether to use a travel agent
You can find a travel agent on the American Society of Travel Agents’ website, travelsense.org
- Decide where you’re going
- Buy plane tickets
- Book your hotel
Have a few options before you begin contacting hotels. Hotels in Europe are typically small and good ones tend to fill up quickly. You should also get this done early so you can focus on more minor details knowing that you have the hotel squared away.
Six Months Before
- Do any of the above if you haven’t already
If you’re having a shorter engagement you will want to get all of this done basically as soon as you get engaged. It’s not a problem, you will just have to get everything done asap.
- Schedule any transportation
If you need train tickets or a rental car you should look into booking that now. Even if you are planning to go to an all-inclusive resort which you don’t plan on leaving you will still need transportation to and from the airport.
- Make the impossible-to-get dinner reservation
If there is a restaurant that you are interested in going to that’s booked months in advance, secure a reservation now so that you are guaranteed a spot.
- Get or renew your passport
It can take as quick as a month to get or renew a passport but just to be on the safe side this should be squared away now. If you have a passport ensure that it will be current for at least six months after you return home as that is a requirement for some countries.
- Apply for any visas or other documentation
Check what the country you are visiting requires and get it done so that you won’t have to worry about it.
- Purchase travel insurance
You never know what will happen right before your trip. If you have to cancel it due to unforeseen circumstances you will want to make sure that you are covered.
- Get vaccinations
If you are going to an exotic destination you may need to get some vaccines. Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, cdc.com, for information.
Three Months Before
- Plan your activities
If you have anything that you would like to do while on your trip plan it out in advance. Purchase tickets to anything you will need tickets for such as a museum. Book a tour if there is one that interests you. You won’t have to wait in as many lines or waste time figuring out the details while there if you get this done now.
- Make a quick mental packing list
Do you need a new swim suit? Or a camera? Will you need a new luggage set? If you determine what you need in advance you can put the more expensive items on your registry and go shopping for the rest.
One Month Before
- Finalize transportation
Reserve seats on trains. Confirm your car rental and if you will be driving in a foreign country, get an international driving permit. These permits are available at AAA offices.
- Book spa appointments or other activities
If you’re going to an all-inclusive resort you should book your spa treatments and special activities in advance. You don’t want to get to the resort and discover that everything you want to do at the resort is already booked. If you are unsure of what you want to do you can call and ask the resort concierge for advice.
- Fill prescriptions
If you have any medications that you take regularly ensure that you fill them prior to leaving so that you won’t be running around to get them right before leaving or forget to bring them on your trip entirely.
Do this now—not the week before your wedding. Don’t forget to get voltage converters or any specific items you will need (bathing suit if you are going to the beach).
Two Weeks Before
- Confirm everything
This includes the hotel and any restaurants where you have reservations.
- Make copies of your documents
Make sure you have copies of your passport, visa, credit cards, driver’s license and any other important documents in case something is lost or stolen. Leave a set of copies at home and take one with you.
- Write down important phone numbers
Including the closest U.S. embassy if you are going to a foreign country and the phone numbers of your credit card companies. If there are any issues you will be able to call them quickly.
- Get some local currency
You can get cash from an ATM but take about the equivalent of $200 out just to be on the safe side.
If you wait until the week of the wedding you will be way too busy to include packing into the mix. Pack all that you can ahead of time and throw whatever you can’t pack now at the last minute.
One or Two Days Before
- Confirm the hotel again
- Check the weather
You may want to pack a sweatshirt if it will be unseasonably cold.
- Pack a carry-on for the flight
Put your passport, cell phone charger and anything else you tend to forget in your carry-on, ready to go.
If you want to surprise your future spouse on the trip even though you are planning the honeymoon together there are a few things you can plan without them knowing. You could call your partner’s boss and secretly extend the honeymoon without your partner knowing. Another surprise for your future spouse is to invite friends or another couple to join the honeymoon. Also, you could work with a tour operator or travel agent to plan a personalized, one-of-a-kind experience that your partner will love. Does your partner love cooking? Arrange a cooking lesson with a local chef.
After the crazy planning you will be able to enjoy the beautiful trip that you worked so hard to plan. Enjoy your trip and remember to take a ton of pictures of your adventures. Pictures will help to make your honeymoon last a lifetime.
For more tips and wedding fun, make sure to check back every Wednesday at www.bctent.com/blog.