Whether you two are seeking an adventure or you just want to relax in the sun, travel expert Misty Ewing offers tips to creating the dream vacation that won't break the newlyweds’ bank.
What are the most important things you need to know when planning the perfect honeymoon?
1. What do you want to do on your honeymoon?
- Determine if you and your new spouse are looking for rest and relaxation to recover from the stresses of wedding planning.
- Do you both want to be busy from morning to night?
- Or do you want a combination of the two?
- Just make sure that you’re both on the same page in terms of activity level so no one feels obligated.
2. Where do you want to go?
- Are you looking for a city hotel stay, with activities right outside your door?
- Or do you want a remote resort stay, where you can completely unwind?
3. Most importantly, agree and stick to your budget.
- Most people want to splurge when they get there, thinking “I’ll only have one honeymoon.”
- A reasonable notion at the time, until you get the bill two weeks later.
- A great way to achieve the honeymoon of your dreams, especially at a time when travel is becoming more expensive. Plus, with people getting married later in life, they don’t need more household items.
- Work with a honeymoon specialist to design the ideal trip, and then components are itemized online.
- Wedding guests can contribute to these honeymoon items by purchasing everything from a night’s stay to a champagne breakfast in bed, airfare or a round of golf and spa treatments. They can spend $25 or $400.
- Look for registries that are affiliated with reputable travel agencies — they provide convenience to your guests as well as expert planning guidance. ( (N.Y.),(Calif.).
- Postcards from the destination offer a fun alternative to thank-you notes and you can write them on the plane ride home.
Luxury for less
Everyone wants a luxury honeymoon, but the luxury price is not an option for everyone. If you’re looking to indulge, but still want value, consider taking your honeymoon during the off-season. By shifting your travel dates even a couple of weeks, you can end up with considerable savings:
- Caribbean/Mexico in the summer: Take a look at CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla in the Caribbean. You’ll spend seven nights staying right on the beach, you’ll get three lunches and dinners, even dinner at the chef’s table, a sunset sail, couple’s massage, all in this fabulous 5-star resort. Go in the low season (May-Sept. and early Nov.) and you’ll pay approx $585/night. This same package in the high season goes for almost $1,000 a night.
- Europe in the spring and fall: For the first time last year, Italy edged out Hawaii as the No. 1 honeymoon destination. Consider Palazzo Sasso, a stunning hotel set in a 12th-century villa located on the Amalfi Coast, arguably the most romantic place in the world. Go in March, when you’ll pay approximately $370/night. The same room goes for approximately $615/night in May-Oct. — a 40% savings
- Consider Switzerland for a better European value. Why? They are on the Swiss franc and not the Euro.
- Cruising and fixed-dollar rates will often offer better value — no surprises with the exchange rates.
- And remember that the other hemisphere runs opposite to ours and sometimes offers better values.
- Brides: Book your plane tickets in your maiden name to avoid problems at the airport.
- Photocopy and scan your passport: Bring a photocopy of your passport if traveling internationally to carry with you while you keep the original locked up safely. Scan your passport and send it to a family member so that you have an electronic copy on file in case the original is lost or stolen.
- Credit cards offer the best exchange rate: Use credit cards whenever possible, even to get cash at the destination — still a better exchange rate. Credit cards will offer the best exchange rates if traveling internationally, even when getting local currency.
- Call credit card companies prior to departure to alert them of travel plans and potential unusual spending so they don’t suspect theft and not authorize the processing of purchases.
- Plan your carry-ons wisely: Take jewelry, a change of clothes and medication on board with you in case your bags get lost in transit.
- Ship your luggage: Save yourself the hassle, thanks to no baggage fees, weight restrictions, schlepping or waiting. Ship approximately one week prior to departure — door-to-door service — no last-minute packing and this ensures your bag arrives.