One of the major components of wedding planning is the honeymoon. If you are a traditionalist, you may expect the groom to handle the details. In the words of Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman”: “Mistake, big mistake.”
Not that a man is incapable of planning a trip — certainly he can. But one person planning a trip for two can easily screw things up. And, if there is any trip that shouldn’t be screwed up, this is it. The honeymoon is the big kahuna of travel, and it would be wise to remember that important marriage line: “Till death do us part”! You don’t want a honeymoon disaster hanging over your marriage for the next 60 years.
So please, avoid the temptation to book an Internet special to some surprise destination. Instead, sit down with your soon-to-be-spouse and a travel agent. Work together as a trio and your idyllic week or more in paradise will go off without a hitch. Yes, there may be a fee, but it’s worth every penny.
Here are six honeymoon tips to get you started.
- When? You can travel anywhere, at any time of the year, and each destination will have something memorable, for sure. But please, don’t’ wait till the last minute to plan this event. Begin your honeymoon planning as soon as you’re done with the ring. Advance planning gives your travel professional the time to put it all together, and you might be able to score an upgrade or two.
- Where? You really have to talk with each other about this one. Do you long for the romance of Paris or Tahiti, the history of Rome, the art of Barcelona, the nightlife of London, the seclusion of some remote Caribbean beach, the glitter of Vegas, the charm of New Orleans? Or maybe your hearts’ desire is the Poconos in a rotating, heart-shaped bed. The point is, the decision has to be mutual. If you need some help deciding, e-mail me for a destination guide.
- Sailing? Cruises have become very popular for honeymoons. If you both enjoy seeing a lot of sights and want to visit many destinations, a cruise might be a good choice for you. There are cruises out there to fit every style and every budget. If you’re interested in a large ship with lots of activities, take a look at Carnival, Princess or Royal Caribbean cruise lines. If you are looking for a smaller ship with a more intimate, romantic setting, think about Seabourn, Silversea or Windstar (which has four-masted sailing vessels). Prices will range from $75 per person per day to just under $300 per person per day. One caveat: If you decide on a cruise, do not scrimp on the cabin. Go with the most you can afford and never, never, never take an inside cabin.
- Resort? Some of the all-inclusive resorts like Sandals, which has properties all over the Caribbean, are built and programmed with romance in mind. Others are a little less all-inclusive in their offerings, but are more unique, private, and exclusive. A lot of today’s honeymooners are opting to split their time between the two kinds of resorts. Yes, it involves packing up and moving midway through the honeymoon, but I recommend it. For example, try the romantic seclusion of Ladera in St. Lucia for, say, three days right after the wedding, followed by four days at Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort for some fun and partying with other couples. Pricing for all-inclusive and exclusive resorts is comparable to pricing for similar cruises.
- Cost? This is not a time to pinch pennies. If you are planning on having children, this might be your last vacation alone together for the next 18 years! Make it count. Your travel professional will ask you about your budget. Be honest! Your agent will make it work. But you should know that it is not unusual for honeymooners to blow their budget by about 10 percent (“Hey, we only get married once, right?”), so plan for a bit of a cushion.
- Insurance? Buy travel insurance. You never know what will happen, and because the honeymoon is likely to be a big financial and emotional investment, you want to be covered on this trip. Some policies now have options for cancellation for any reason — which could include cold feet. (But that’s not you!)
Don’t become one of those honeymoon couples that end up in a “Funniest Travel Stories of the Year” column. Unfortunately, honeymoon disasters are all too common. Have you heard the one about the bedbugs in the honeymoon bed? Or the one where the groom went to Panama, but the bride ended up in Panama City, Florida? I could tell you more, but my lips are sealed!
Plan ahead, my friends, and plan wisely. At this important time in your life, you really do need the help of a good, qualified professional.