Congratulations! Did you know that the time between Christmas and Valentine’s Day is the biggest time of the year for new engagements? You’re in good company if you just got engaged.
This is a really exciting time for you and your fiance with lots to think about, like all the wedding plans. Once some of the excitement has settled down and you can start focusing on the wedding plans, one of the important things to remember to put in your schedule — your honeymoon.
Most brides and grooms spend countless hours, days, weeks and months planning for their wedding, making sure it is perfect down to the last detail. Planning a honeymoon can be long and tedious as well, so why not turn it over to a honeymoon specialist who can do all of that research and work for you.
Your honeymoon is your chance to unwind after all the excitement of the wedding – and it’s the beginning of your new life together. It should be a celebration all its own and it is probably the most important and exciting vacation that you will take as husband and wife.
Many wedding “how-to” books seem to leave the honeymoon as an afterthought and suggest planning it about 6 months before the wedding. That may be a bit too late for you to get the best availability, pricing and choices. Please take a look at our suggestions that were carefully put together to enable us to plan your dream honeymoon stress free!
12+ months before the honeymoon
- Start to dream. Start discussing what each of you wants for your dream honeymoon. You need to agree on a general theme (e.g. tropical or cosmopolitan, romantic or adventurous), then you can let your imaginations soar.
- Get out your calendar- Determine how long your honeymoon can be and schedule the time off from work. Remember that honeymoons to distant destinations like Tahiti and Fiji will require more than a week because of travel time and time zone differences. No matter where you go, try to plan a day or two after the wedding before you travel and try to plan a day or two after the honeymoon to recuperate before heading back to work.
- Budget realistically- you’ll need to include airfare, transfers to the resort and then again back to the airport, your hotel accommodations, sightseeing, meals, drinks and spending money. We have helped honeymooners with budgets of $4000-25,000 but you need to be honest with yourselves and your honeymoon specialist on what you can afford or would like to spend on your honeymoon.
- Don’t shortchange yourself- Five years from now, you’ll still be talking about that wonderfully romantic dinner on the beach or the in-room Jacuzzi. Book the type of room that will create memories for you. Believe me, hearing the waves against the shoreline, while enjoying a view of the sunset over the ocean will be immensely more romantic than one of the parking lot!
12-9 months ahead
- Hire a honeymoon expert- This is way too important a vacation to book it online! Working with a honeymoon specialist is a good idea as they know which resorts cater to the honeymoon crowd. The honeymoon specialist should ask a lot of questions about what the two of you want for your dream honeymoon before making any recommendations. Be honest about budget and expectations and then relax. Your honeymoon specialist will get to work for you!
- Book it! Review the options, choose a honeymoon package, then place your deposit with your honeymoon specialist. That’s one more thing off the wedding to do list! Booking this far in advance will get you the best pricing, the best choice of room categories and the best flights. Plus, as an added bonus, when the wedding plans start to get hectic, you can relax and envision your fantastic honeymoon knowing it’s just waiting for the two of you!
6 months ahead
- Get your travel documents in order. If you don’t already have a passport, apply for one now. If you do have passports, check the expiration dates to be sure they will be valid when you travel. A good rule of thumb is that your passport should be valid for six months beyond your return date. In fact, some countries require this, so check with your honeymoon specialist or visit the State Department Web site at www.travel.state.gov. Also check to see if you will need any visas and shots.
3 months ahead
- Review current luggage requirements- Check the luggage you have available against your airline’s luggage requirements. You will need to check both size and weight limits. Airline rules are strict, so borrow or buy new luggage if you have to. We suggest using large rolling duffle bags instead of the huge suitcases. They weigh less and you can pack more in and, hopefully still be under the weight restrictions. Some new pieces of luggage have built in scales so you don’t have to guess at how much the bag weighs. This will help avoid extra charges at the airport.
- Check the TSA website for what is allowed in carry on luggage- Currently liquids and gels must be 3 oz or less and must fit in one quart sized zip lock bag per person.
- Start planning your wardrobe- If you have any questions about the dress expectations at your honeymoon destination, contact your honeymoon specialist. Be sure to bring a sweater or light jacket (planes and air conditioning can get quite chilly), along with sturdy shoes, like sneakers, for sightseeing, walking and hiking. If you plan to go horseback riding, you’ll need a pair of blue jeans as well as closed shoes (no sandals). We recommend two to three swim suits for both of you. Swimsuits may not dry as quickly in tropical climates as they do at home, and it’s uncomfortable putting on a damp swimsuit. Bring along a couple of gallon size zip top bags to transport damp swimsuits home in! Make a list of what you want to bring and check what you still need to purchase. Have some fun shopping for your honeymoon wardrobe!
- Buy sunscreen and toiletries that you’ll want to take with you- Sunscreen is a must! While a nice tan can be very sexy, there is nothing romantic about a sun burn! We also suggest bringing aloe and some body moisturizer to protect your new sun tan. If you are traveling in the tropics, bug repellant with DEET is a high priority.
2 months ahead
- Make final payment. This is as easy as calling your honeymoon specialist and saying go ahead and use the credit card on file! Make sure that if you are using a debit card, that the final payment doesn’t exceed your daily limit, so please check with your bank ahead of time. A credit card authorization form will need to be filled out for both the deposit and final payment and returned to your honeymoon specialist. This basically says that you agree to pay the charges on the authorization form for the honeymoon booked on the reservation.
3 weeks ahead
- Copy everything- Make a copy of your travel arrangement and your passports and leave it with a trusted family member or friend. Be sure to give them your honeymoon specialist’s contact information as well.
- Put a hold on your mail- Unless someone can pick up your mail and newspapers every day, make arrangements to stop delivery.
- Check your camera. Check that your camera is in working condition and pick up extra batteries and memory card.
2 weeks ahead
- Take out your list and get packing- Two weeks will give you enough time to pick up anything you need and still attend to all the last-minute wedding details. Be sure to pack an extra tote bag for those souvenirs and gifts you’re bound to bring home.
- Cross-pack- This is so important! We recommend putting half of your clothes in each other’s suitcase. This way, if the airline misplaces a suitcase for a day or two, neither of you is completely out of clothes!
- Consider your carry-on carefully- Pack your tickets, passports, money, personal items, and a complete change of clothes in your carry-on bag. Also, this is where you will want to pack your glasses, contact lenses and any medications that you will need. Please put any valuables, like jewelry and your camera, in your carry on and not in your checked suitcase.
- Alert financial managers- Call your bank or credit card company to let them know that you might be using your credit card, debit card or ATM out of the country. This way, you’ll avoid your accounts being frozen for what appears to be suspicious charges! Advance notification may also provide protection if unauthorized charges show up.
- Review your honeymoon documents- If you have any questions, contact your honeymoon specialist as quickly as possible. Make sure you can find the emergency contact phone #’s you might need while on your honeymoon, as well as the phone # for the travel insurance company.
- If you want to add any excursions or tours to your package, now is a good time to do it.
- If you want to make any spa, golf or restaurant reservations to your Hawaii honeymoon package, let us know.
- Double check to make sure that you have vouchers or confirmations for all components of your itinerary.
The day before
- Attend to last-minute details- Re-confirm your flights within 24 hours and print out your boarding passes. Re-confirm your transportation to the airport. Double check your carry on bag to add your last minute cosmetics. Carry your passport on your person or hand bag rather than packing it.
Day of departure
- Get ready for take-off- You must arrive at the airport early enough to allow for security screening. International flights generally require you to be there three hours before departure.
- Wear comfortable travel clothing- If you are leaving in the winter and going to a warm climate, dress in layers so that you will be comfortable on your ride to the airport, on the flight but you’ll be able to shed the heavy clothes when you arrive in your tropical destination.
- Drink up- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated both before and during travel.
- Relax and go with the flow. The wedding is over and now you can enjoy each other’s company!
My Vacation Lady is the top rated honeymoon specialist located in New Jersey according to the couples on Wedding Wire. When it comes to your honeymoon, we won’t be the first to tell you that it should be special but we are the right honeymoon specialists to make is special!