Honeymoons are no longer just about flying and flopping. After months of exhaustive wedding planning and the build-up to the big day, the honeymoon is a much-needed respite. The world’s your oyster when it comes to the dream trip.
Here’s a guide to the do’s and don’ts when planning your post-wedding getaway as it’s possible to get it wrong due to ill-timed bookings, too small a budget, or simply not listening to the needs of your other half.
A trip that suits you both
It’s OK to delegate wedding planning duties but it is a different ballgame when organising the honeymoon, as it should be a joint effort. From the outset, be very clear about what both of you want from the holiday. The danger is if one person sorts it out, it will end up being a trip tailored to one person’s wishes – unless, of course, the person is 100% certain what the other wants from the honeymoon besides passionate sex.
Choose a trip that suits you both. The stress-free, all-inclusive resort that your friends raved about and where everything is done for you may stifle your adventurous spirit once the novelty wears off after a couple of days.
Be cautious about holiday reviews
What springs to mind when you think of an exotic destination? Is it a luxury resort on a beautiful island or going on a long-haul flight to the back of beyond and visiting a country steeped in culture where you don’t speak the language? There can be a fine line between relaxing and boring, particularly when it comes to lying on a beach for two weeks.
Be cautious about ‘real’ reviews on the internet. Filter carefully as there’s so much information out there. Sometimes reviews are out of date, biased or even fake. It can be hard to uncover hidden gems but you’ll get some ideas with dedicated research via the internet or other sources such as national newspaper and magazines travel features.
When budgeting for a honeymoon, decide how much you can afford to spend and stick to it. Leave room for extras such as fancy meals, hiring a car, spa treatments such as massages, various trips – scuba diving, horse riding etc. It is an important trip and you want it to be memorable. It’s best to plan ahead by booking at least six months before the wedding, particularly if you want a specialised resort where premium rooms go early.
A mix of relaxation and adventure
When should you head off for your honeymoon? It sounds fabulous to get away from it all by heading to the airport at the end of the reception. But give yourself some time to catch your breathe between the wedding day and the honeymoon. You may have had a lot to drink at the wedding and you’ll definitely be exhausted, so have some time to rest by leaving a couple of days later.
The perfect honeymoon for most people is a mixture of relaxation and adventure, whether it’s exploring a city, trekking through a rainforest or crashing out on a white sandy beach. It’s all about balance, as you’ll also need time to recharge your batteries before returning home and getting back to reality.
For adventurous types, it’s tempting to choose a destination, book a hotel for the first night and wing it after that. This may be how you normally travel but a honeymoon isn’t like any other holiday. It’s a break between one of the biggest and busiest moments in a couple’s life and then there’s the business of navigating a new beginning together. Start with a basic plan by booking your hotel rooms for the whole time and then include the adventurous bits by organising activities on the hoof.
Set up a honeymoon fund
If you are desperate for a certain kind of honeymoon but your budget can’t stretch to it, think about setting up a honeymoon gift list, a service that some travel agents offer. The idea is that it’s an alternative to gifts for the home and, let’s face it, many couples that already live together have got everything they need. Couples put together a wedding list to help fund their honeymoon – it’s a polite way of asking for contributions towards expenses. Guests can choose any of the ideas listed such as the first night in the hotel, champagne in a hot tub or excursions at the honeymoon destination.
If a fly-and-flop honeymoon appeals it’s worth using a combination of holiday brochures and the internet to figure out what you want and where to go as there’s a lot of choice.
Don’t be shy of telling everyone that it’s your honeymoon, from travel agents to airline stewards and hotel concierges. It will often open doors that wouldn’t normally be opened and can lead to free upgrades in hotels, candlelit dinners and lovely touches such as champagne on arrival.
Before booking abroad, check the weather for the time of year when you want to go. Make sure it’s not during the hurricane or monsoon season. If you have your heart set on a destination but the weather is likely to be awful, consider having a couple of nights away in the UK or a European city break after the wedding and then going on a longer honeymoon when the weather is perfect.
If you are changing your name and planning to travel under your marriage name, make sure your travel documents correspond with the names on the bookings.
Travelling first or business class is very expensive but if you have an open budget it might be wiser to put the money towards really smart hotels than a 10- hour flight in first class!
A honeymoon can be amazing and you can use it as an excuse to do that big trip you’ve always wanted to do. It’s one holiday, hopefully, in a lifetime of amazing shared experiences.