PLANNING THE PERFECT GETAWAY
Honeymoon Planning Tips
by Earl E. Flyte
The origin and traditional meaning of the word “honeymoon” – according to Webster’s Dictionary – is that for at least the duration of one cycle of the moon (or one month), your life together will be as “sweet as honey”.
Your modern honeymoon means the trip of a lifetime! It is your chance to get away and enjoy each other with no interruptions or distractions after months of details and careful planning for your wedding often fraught with frustrations, disappointments and difficulties.
It is a time to get to know each other all over again; to get your marriage off to the right start; the foundation for a lifetime of beautiful memories.
When you consider how important the memory of your honeymoon will be in your marriage, you must conclude that careful planning is the key to a successful trip. You don’t want any slip ups taking time away from your time together.
SET A BUDGET
Originally, back in the days of the truly traditional wedding – when the bride’s family paid for the ceremony and reception – the honeymoon was planned and paid for by the groom. I haven’t heard of this happening in years! Are there any prospective brides out there who would leave the honeymoon destination and planning strictly up to her fiance? Nowadays, in most cases it is a shared decision and your first major expenditure together as husband and wife. Therefore, planning together is the key to a perfect trip.
The first and most important decision you’ll need to make is how much to spend. You need to set a budget that’s within your means and stick to it. Returning home to maxed-out credit cards or unaffordable vacation loan payments is a must to avoid. Your honeymoon represents the beginning of your life together, not the end of your hard-earned savings. Be sure to figure in spending money and “mad” money, because although “getting there is half the fun”, what you get to do while you’re there is really where the fun happens. And you’ll surely be needing some souvenirs as mementos of your trip.!
WHERE TO GO
Deciding on your destination is the next big step. Choose somewhere you’ll both enjoy, one which caters to both of your interests and idea of having a good time. For example, you could split your time between a leisurely cruise and a resort stay on land, followed by a flight back home at the end. If both of you are not the outdoorsy type, for instance, make sure there will be plenty of activities for the other person while one of you is out on the golf course or fishing.
Climate is another big consideration: do you like it warm and your intended likes it cool? Compromise with a moderate climate.
If time and/or money are considerations, one thing to consider these days is planning for a “local”, abbreviated honeymoon, with the possibility of a longer, more expensive trip in the near or distant future.
MODE OF TRANSPORTATION
Transportation is another concern: by land, by sea, or by air? Discuss your options.
Do you really want to spend your first couple of days together driving to your destination? Some people find it a rather romantic notion to drive, staying at a different Bed & Breakfast each evening.
Another example: are you both comfortable with flying? Fear of flying is certain to put a damper on even the most joyous of trips, but in any event, flying to your destination allows you to get right to it and start enjoying your trip immediately.
Or how about a leisurely cruise? You can relax for a few days after all the stressful planning and preparations and prepare yourselves for your final destination.
SEE A TRAVEL AGENT
Once you have clear idea of how much money you can spend, where you’d like to go, and how you’d like to get there, there’s only one last thing you must do: SEE A TRAVEL AGENT!
A professional travel agent has years of experience and can get you where you want to go at the most affordable rate. There is also no service charge for using a travel agent! Use their knowledge; let them take care of the details. It’s one less thing to worry about while planning for your wedding.
A good thing to keep in mind is that most hotels and resorts offer a honeymoon “package” that will include extra services and perks to help make you comfortable and enjoy your trip. Remember, they want you back for your second honeymoon! Even if you’re planning your own activities, the hotel will offer you special deals and treatment if they’re made aware of the fact that you are honeymooners. Whether you’re choosing a tour or a self-contained resort, there are many, many honeymooners specials available to you.
Resorts are a very romantic way to spend a private honeymoon. Their packages will include things like king-size beds, complimentary champagne, moonlight dancing and private dinners.
The true “all-inclusive” honeymoon is now the most popular plan by far. Just think – once you get to your destination, you have to worry about a thing! Just about every popular honeymoon destination (and some of the more exotic ones, too) offer a choice of resorts and/or packages to make your trip hassle free. Not only are these packages a bargain for the most part, but right now it is a buyer’s market. Prices are plummeting and if you’re able to take advantage of your long term planning, now is the time to book even if you’re not getting married for a year or more. As the travel industry gets more and more competitive, here are some of the extras now being offered, things you can look for besides destination and price when making your decision:
– Car rental included
– Breakfast from room service or even in bed
– Free Health club services (massages, personal trainer, etc.) not just free use of the facility
– Personal tour guides
– Full suite instead of just a room
A cruise is also a wonderful way to spend your honeymoon. These massive ships offer almost everything available to you on land and also have special honeymoon plans and packages. These “all-inclusive” deals are highly recommended as a money-saver and as the simplest way to set your plans.
A cruise is also a leisurely way to spend your first few days as you head toward your final destination, or a relaxing “recovery” period by cruising home on your return trip. Nothing is more romantic than a moonlight stroll on the upper deck or watching the sun rise over an island paradise. And a cruise means non-stop great food without worrying about costs.
A travel agent will cover many small details like passport photos, visas, tipping customs, etc. They will have many videotapes and brochures availalbe for you to peruse while deciding on your destination.
PACKING AND PERSONALS
That leaves only the personal details up to you, like packing. Consider the climate where you’ll be staying and pack only the appropriate clothes. Pack as many personal items as possible. One of the ways a vacation spot makes its profits is by heavily inflating the prices on items like toothpaste and shampoo. Don’t forget your camera, and while you’re at it, throw in some extra film – don’t buy “gift shop” film.
Invest in traveler’s checks and knock down your credit cards so you have some headroom. Don’t carry any significant amount of cash. The checks are insured against theft and loss and you won’t find yourself stranded somewhere far away without any money.
Some must-have items (particularly if you are leaving the United States) are proof of age (driver’s license and passport), marriage license, health plan cards and other personal information (emergency contact numbers, etc).
Get an early start on your plans. Once you’ve set a date for the wedding, begin discussing your honeymoon, and check the availability of reservations and package deals at your desired destination. It’s as easy as 1-2-3:
1. Set a Budget
2. Decide on a Destination
3. See a Travel Agent.
Don’t forget to reserve your vacation time with your job or school. Confirm your plans, itinerary and reservations as least one week before you leave. This leaves plenty of time to correct or change any conflicts or wrong information. And last, but not least have the best man or some other trusted friend or relative on call to get you to the airport, dock or car rental agency at your appointed time of departure.
Your honeymoon is the start of something wonderful, and careful planning will ensure that all of your memories will be wonderful ones.