Start planning early
When is your wedding? Take a calendar and put a star on the date six months prior to your wedding. Go back two more months and put another star. The range gives you the time frame to book your honeymoon. Now go back four more months and put a heart in the calendar. That’s when you start planning your perfect honeymoon (10-12 months prior to the event).
Make honeymoon planning fun. It doesn’t need to feel like another chore. Set aside time to talk to your partner. Put on your creative hat on and start planning your honeymoon together.
Start with a list, which should include:
- type of honeymoon
- activities that you want to try.
Be as general or as specific as you like. For ‘destination’, you can write ‘honeymoon in Europe‘ or even decide on a specific cottage in Italy. Consider various types of honeymoons. A honeymoon on the island is romantic, while a honeymoon in the city mixes romance with sightseeing.
Whatever you do, don't just ‘copy’ what others have done. It may be the easy way out but remember, you plan your perfect honeymoon. It should be unique to you and your partner!
Tip: Use Pinterest boards to save ideas for everything! From destinations to activities and outfits.
Set a budget
Every project needs a budget. And your honeymoon planning doesn’t make an exception. You can use a honeymoon-budget sheet to help you keep track. Start with a general budget and then drill down by categories.
We know that your wedding will probably burn a deep hole in your pocket. But that’s no reason to cut corners on your honeymoon planning. After all, there are ways to honeymoon for less. This includes staying closer to home or choosing an affordable honeymoon package.
You can also save by booking your honeymoon online or by using your miles to get a cheaper flight. On top of that, you can try alternative means of transportation.
A more creative approach includes having a “Travel Fund”. Danielle and Jake, long-term travelers, soon to be honeymooners and bloggers at Snaps, Scribbles and Suitcases explain how they have saved for their extended honeymoon: “[...] instead of registering for wedding gifts, we asked people to contribute to our 'Travel Fund’. After our wedding, we set a date for our travels and started looking for more ways to save. We moved, sold a bunch of things, and have been taking on a few odd jobs to help raise the extra funds we need to live abroad for a year. “
The best part is that you don’t have to lower the expectations. There are ways you can still have an amazing time and not spend a fortune or go in debt!
Tip: If you prefer apps, use Expensify to keep track.
Look for the most suitable destination
Easter Island or the Maldives sound like amazing destinations for a honeymoon on the island. However, do you know how far these places are from where you live?
Here is some information:
- it takes 17 hours to fly from New York to Easter Island
- it takes 21 hours to fly from Los Angeles to the Maldives
If you only have less than a week to spend on your honeymoon, you don’t want to be on a plane for almost two days. A better idea is to look for destinations closer to home. If you live in the US, a honeymoon in the Caribbean can be a great choice.
Marie-Carmen, travel blogger and photographer at The Orient Excess reminds all brides and grooms of the importance of choosing a suitable honeymoon destination: “Forget the usual beach holiday, why not consider a country that has always intrigued you? An adventure that will stay with the two of you forever? Pick Thailand for the culture, for the smiles, pick Japan to step in another world, pick Europe for the history, pick what talks to you the most. To both of you. “
Next up on your list is the weather. The Caribbean, suggested by Travel Channel, is a great choice for a honeymoon. That’s perfect but only if you plan to go there during the winter. You don’t want to be on a tropical island during the hurricane season.
On the other hand, winter in New England (US) can be quite frosty, as Billie Frank and Steve Collins, long-term travelers and bloggers at Santa Fe Travelers remember: “Vermont in winter is lovely! It made for a fairytale wedding, but when the temperature dropped to about 20 below zero and the car wouldn’t start we had second thoughts. When picking a honeymoon location, think about the weather. While being stuck inside with a new spouse can be exciting, pick a place where there are interesting seasonal things to do when you’re ready to get out and about. “
When budget is a concern, consider a less popular time to travel. Sara from Burnett’s Boards, a wedding & bridal inspiration website, explains: “If you're looking for something with value then seek honeymoon destinations that aren't necessarily in season or 'on trend.' Europe in the summer is expensive, but not in the winter. The Caribbean is always cheapest in August -September!"
Tip: Find a destination to match your budget rather than the other way around.
Use the right (last) name
Dear brides, please pay close attention to the following information!
If you decide to take your husband’s last name or to combine your last names, it is preferable not to use the new name when you make the honeymoon bookings. Instead, use your maiden name. Your passport is already on your maiden name and so should be your plane tickets.
Colin Cowie, wedding and event planner, explains: “Check to see that your passports are valid, that your camera is working and that you have all necessary documentation.“
The last thing you want is to kick off your honeymoon by being refused boarding.
Tip: Name changes on airplane tickets are far from easy and cost money.
Choose a good airline
Your honeymoon should be a relaxing, romantic and fun time! That’s why you should choose carefully how you get to the honeymoon destination.
If you fly, pay attention when you choose the airline. You don’t want to start your married life with a disaster. No one can control the weather or the political situation. But we can certainly research and choose an airline with a good rating. Most importantly, choose a safe airline. Don’t forget to also consider your comfort when flying.
Cory, travel blogger at You Could Travel and currently on her honeymoon, reminds us about the importance of comfort for honeymoon travel: "It is very important that you choose the right airline for your honeymoon travels. It’s the right time to spend a little extra for the sake of comfort. For my honeymoon in the Seychelles, I chose my airline provider based on flight duration and option to reserve my seat at the time of ticket reservation. Because we booked the plane tickets almost 7 months in advance, this meant that we can select the best seats before anyone else."
Flying business for your honeymoon may sound good in theory but, in practice, it can be a very expensive affair. Save money either by using miles to upgrade or by simply booking economy and choosing seats with extra leg room.
Don’t be afraid to choose a low-cost airline. They have new fleet and are affordable. Plus, you can choose the seats you want (including with extra leg room).
Tip: Use these ratings to decide which airlines you should consider.
Book in advance
Book your honeymoon package six to eight months prior to the event! This window gives you a good chance to find affordable airfare and availability in the resort of your choice. If you want to stay at a certain resort or do something specialized, you may want to push that booking date back to a year prior to the wedding, but only for accommodation.
You don’t want to leave too soon after the wedding. Give yourself a bit of time to unwind after the big day. You may have had a bit too much to drink or you may be very tired...both of which do not mix well with traveling. Plus, if your wedding is on Saturday, you have better chances of finding great airfare for mid-week, so leave on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Avoid having to make any changes to the airfare or accommodation later. If you book a honeymoon tour the dates may be set in stone, while changing the date on your plane ticket means you'll have to rack up some money to pay the penalties.
Tip: Sign up for fare alerts for the flights you are interested in.
Buy travel insurance
This is something that many people tend to overlook but make sure to have travel insurance. Why? Because the right kind of insurance can protect you against a lot of things: from delayed flight to lost luggage or stolen goods. And not to mention that it can save you a lot of grief during emergency situations or medical issues.
Lisa, blogger at Playa del Carmen agrees: “If any time should be stress-free, it is your honeymoon! It is worth the peace of mind.”
Tip: Make sure the insurance you choose covers the activities you plan to enjoy (eg. scuba diving)
You really don't need to pack half of your closet for the honeymoon trip. But you don't want to go to a fancy restaurant and not have anything for the occasion, either. Pack smart and think layers.
For a honeymoon on the beach, consider packing a lightweight dress and a pareo or cardigan for the evenings. You may want to leave your high heels at home if you plan to visit Europe, with its old, cobblestone cities. Also, it’s worthwhile to consider packing that ultra-light waterproof jacket no matter where you’re headed.
Ashray and Zara, long-term travelers and bloggers at Backpack ME agree: “If you're visiting more than one place during your honeymoon, make sure you pack light! The less stuff you carry with you, the more flexibility of movement you'll be able to enjoy. Also, get a bag with wheels and don’t strain your body! Your energy should all go towards enjoying your trip with your loved one.. without having to waste time packing, unpacking, repacking and carrying heavy luggage around!”
Tip: Roll your clothes to maximize the space in your carry on.
Share your travel itinerary with a person you trust
You don't want to invite your in-laws to tag along, but you should share your travel itinerary with at least a person you trust. Like it or not, things do happen and it might be useful and even life-saving if your loved ones know how to find you when necessary.
Revati & Charles, married couple and bloggers at Different Doors explain: “As newlyweds, you pretty much want to escape into this other world where only the two of you exist. You don't want to bump into anyone you know or be inundated with calls/ texts. By all means, switch off, but only after you've left a detailed itinerary with that one best friend or relative who knows where to contact you, but won't unless it's absolutely critical.“
Tip: Have an ICE (in-case-of-emergency) contact saved in your phone.
Relax and enjoy your honeymoon!
Take this travel time as an opportunity to relax. Make sure you plan for a balanced mix of activities and down time. You don't want to do nothing for the whole trip but you don't want to have an activity set for every hour, either.
Chris Backe, travel blogger at One Weird World clarifies: “Celebrate, seriously and sincerely – a bottle of champagne, a few days off the diet, some room service, some extra time being lazy, whatever. Important note: do this guilt-free. That means allowing yourself to enjoy it. You'll get back to the real world eventually – but you only get one honeymoon. Relish it.”
Dan & Audrey, full-time travelers and storytellers at Uncornered Market also agree: "Don't over plan your honeymoon. Leave time to just be, to just enjoy each other, to just relax. By the time you leave on your honeymoon you will not only be coming off of a big and emotional day -- your wedding -- but likely weeks and months of intensive planning for your big day. You'll want time to come down, to rest, to just enjoy BEING with your loved one after that. So, be sure not to plan every day of your honeymoon full of activities where you'll be running around a lot."
Tip: Include a “free day” in your itinerary which shouldn’t have any activity planned in advance.
Put these honeymoon planning tips into practice and start planning your honeymoon at WeLoveHoneymoons.com. You can browse a large variety of honeymoon ideas and book the one which suits you best!