Whether you’re just starting the honeymoon planning process or you’re literally spinning the globe to try and find a destination that fits your interests, we wanted to bring you a list of our favorite, tried and true tips for planning the perfect honeymoon. The most important piece of information is to find the trip that suits you BEST! Honeymoons aren’t “one-size-fits-all.” Instead, it’s about figuring out what you want (and what you don’t) out of the trip, and then deciding on a location that meets most of those goals. Here’s what you should do:
1. Create a Laundry List of Wants
From your house, your wedding, your car, and, your vacations, planning for anything is about the give and take. So when it comes to your honeymoon, we advise sitting with your partner and creating a list of all the things you’d like out of a honeymoon. How long of a flight are you willing to take? What’s your budget? Do you want somewhere cold versus hot? Do you want a trip that’s relaxing or adventurous? Once you do that, you’ll be able to better determine the type of trip that suits you.
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2. Set a Budget
We can’t recommend this enough. Creating a budget for your honeymoon is SO important. You don’t want to end up booking a $10,000 vacation only to realize you have no idea how you’re going to pay it off. And while you might be getting cash wedding gifts, we strongly advise not banking on that to pay for the trip – because you don’t know how much you’ll receive, and you might want to use it for other commitments down the road in your marriage. That being said, create a realistic budget, and try your absolute best to stay within your means.
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3. How Great of a Traveler Are You?
If you’re not such a great flier (and you’re not really into an extra-long flight), it might make sense to book a trip to an island in the Caribbean or South America vs. traveling 13+ hours to islands in Asia and French Polynesia. Even though far-away destinations can be incredible, if you’re going to spend valuable time worrying about getting there before and even during the honeymoon (you do have to come back eventually!), you might want to consider something closer to home that you can still enjoy. Just be honest with yourself and what you’re willing to do.
4. Hot vs. Cold
If there’s one misconception about honeymoons it’s that you have to pick an island where you can just lay on the beach. Bu that couldn’t be further from the truth! There are so many wonderful experiences out there that are in mild and cold-weather climates. Think about a trip through Italy where you can eat your way through the whole country, or flying to Iceland to see the Northern Lights. You have a whole world to explore, so be open to the different possibilities!
Read more about planning the perfect Iceland honeymoon here!
5. Relaxation vs. Adventure
Dreaming of parking yourself on a lounge chair for a week or longer? Sounds amazing. Want to go on world-class hikes or ice fish? That’s awesome, too! Have a conversation with your partner on what you both expect out of the trip. Then you’ll be able to decide on the destination that really speaks to the type of adventure (or non-adventure), you’ll want.
6. How to Book the Trip
If you’re really not the planning type, going with a travel agency to book your trip may be the best option. This takes all the guess work and hassle out of the honeymoon planning for you. You’ll get all of your documents for the trip in advance, including a detailed itinerary with any additional information you’ll need. Everything is arranged for you, so you don’t need to worry about the details. Plus, they might even throw in something special–like a breakfast or romantic dinner–that you wouldn’t otherwise receive. We especially recommend going through a travel agency for complex trips where you might be island-jumping or visiting more than one location with additional flights as well. Even if you’re planning to visit one location and stay at one resort, we recommend speaking to a representative from airline agencies, such as United Vacations or Delta Vacations. You can often get a better deal on your total travel package, and you’ll get bonus miles for booking through them. But if you’re all about making the plans yourself, you’ll see some more benefits there too. Using your American Express card to book your hotel, for example, might yield you an awesome room upgrade (and you’ll get all the points for booking on that card, too). Do what works best for you and YOUR time.
7. Do Your Research
After you’ve chosen where you’ll be visiting, make sure to do plenty of research on the country. Go to your local bookstore (or Amazon.com) to get 1-2 travel books on your destination, and start checking out travel threads on Trip Advisor or Fodor’s. You’ll want to know things like what type of electronic adapters you need to bring, what language they speak, tipping customs, as well as any common sense advice pro travelers will have to offer.
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8. Avoid Foreign Transaction Fees
Some credit cards charge foreign transaction fees, so make sure to take the one that doesn’t (or apply for a new one…those fees can add up!). You’ll also want to call your credit card company prior to leaving for your trip to let them know you’ll be out of the country. This will stop them from flagging charges once you arrive in your location, and keep your credit card line open for purchases you need to make.
9. Change Your Cell Phone Plans
If you’re traveling to another country we highly recommend choosing a resort that offers free Wi-Fi in the rooms as well as through the common areas. Note that some remote islands don’t offer in-room Wi-Fi, but it’ll be in the main restaurant or at the reception desk. Even though you won’t be on your phone the whole time (we hope!), you still want to be able to contact home at some point each day. Plus, when you leave the resort, the roaming fees can be extremely high, so use your phone at the resort only. You can also arrange for an international calling and data plan with your provider before you leave so that you pay a preset price without the crazy overages.
10. Pre-Arrange Activities
Things like snorkeling, sunset cruises and private dinners can be made in advance through your travel agent or the hotel concierge directly. While you can also do this when you arrive at the property, some experiences are based on availability and may require advance notice. If you’re visiting a location during a popular time of the year, we recommend making restaurant reservations in advance so you can make sure you get into the places you really want to go! Though we totally understand how fun spontaneity can be, being prepared will let you enjoy more of your time when you’re actually there.