In the thick of wedding planning – listening to bands, sifting through flower varieties, deciding whether your heart wants to say the traditional words or your own vows – your mind holds onto one thought.
You will go on a honeymoon with that best friend in your life and it will be the vacation of a lifetime.
To make your honeymoon memorable, start planning early.
Find a friend in your travel agent
A travel agent can be a great help. Some even specialize in honeymoon planning. Taking into account your wants and needs, they help plan the romantic, relaxing honeymoon you have always wanted.
Obviously, the Internet is a great source of travel information. But when it comes to putting those plans into action, such as booking plane tickets and making reservations, a travel agent can help make sure all the details are covered. An agent, of any age, should have experience reading the fine print on amenities, “inclusive” items, payment, “guarantees” and true bargains.
A good place to starting looking for one you like and trust is to gather references from family and friends. Ask them to recommend someone they’ve worked to get an idea of an agent’s personal style. Look for many types of experiences, if that is what you want, or target those who enjoy experiences most like your vision.
Dream meeting to plan
• What is your ideal dream getaway? Have you always hoped to go to Europe for a honeymoon? Or lie on a beach? Be sure to take into account the dreams that you both have dreamed.
• How long will you be away? If your vacation days from work or school are ending, you can still do a lot with well-planned days. If you can take a longer vacation, there may be some destination options available that you hadn’t considered. Perhaps a delayed vacation of weeks or even months will put the honeymoon dream into place for your mental or physical well-being.
• What is the honeymoon budget? Keep your honeymoon in mind when planning the overall wedding budget, so you see how it fits into your “big picture” planning. Priorities help attain a desirable outcome.
• What do you like to do? Whether you want to spend your honeymoon sitting on the beach, skiing down a mountain or relaxing in a spa, there are destinations that can provide one or all the activities you desire.
Do you want adventure or relaxation? Theme-park fun or Old World charm? These suggestions might contain a honeymoon destination that is just right.
Hiking, biking, swinging and surfing – these adventurous locales have it all. Level of proficiency can fine-tune the exact destination.
• Costa Rica fills this truly with hiking, white-water rafting and even swinging from tropical trees.
• Hawaii’s islands of “aloha” offer many activities for the adventurous spirit with active and interactive waterfalls, canyons, volcanoes, scuba diving and snorkeling. Its bike tours include one in the moonlight down the side of a mountain.
• Cancun provides great beaches and oceanside resorts, but you also can tour Mayan ruins and bird sanctuaries.
• Punta Cana is a popular destination for relaxing with sun and surf. See its natural beauty from seaside – in a sailboat, deep-sea fishing adventure or underwater – and enjoy exotic markets, the rainforest or deluxe accommodations.
A pampered pair
Travelers tap deluxe destinations from the middle of United States to its very edges, as well as Mexico and the Caribbean for tempting resorts, but they can be found in Asian ports, too.
After a busy few months preparing for the wedding, a spa-like setting restores the spirit while allowing all-important time to be together. Recreational sports like golf and tennis are attractive, but so is a full-service menu of spa treatments. From manicures and pedicures to warm stone massage therapy, both bride and groom experience an array of relaxing services.
Some packages are tailored to couples. Classes for massage therapy and yoga may let you bring relaxation techniques home with you. Cooking classes and wine tastings and scuba and golf lessons nurture body and soul.
Pick destinations of interest, then ask your travel agent to help find the best spa resort in the area for pampering from head to toe.
Old-world romance and charm
If you’re looking for romance, history and sightseeing – Europe can provide the right honeymoon destination. Touring Europe or even a small section of it deserves 10 days to two weeks of time. Consider these European locales:
• History meets the modern world in England. Fun and relaxation are available at navigatable distances between small villages and sophisticated big-city life.
• Ireland, the beautiful Emerald Isle, offers historical castles and manor houses in which to stay. No kinship is required for the the Irish to offer their famous friendliness to tourists. The memorable setting allows laid-back touring.
• France has beautiful countryside full of vineyards and gardens. And then there’s Paris. An April wedding, anyone? Visit the Eiffel Tower, stroll the pathways next to the River Seine or share a glass of wine at a neighborhood bistro.
• Italy offers plenty of both romance and history. Tour Rome, the eternal city. Experience the beauty of Tuscany. Take a gondola ride in Venice. Every region offers its own distinctive flavor and atmosphere. Cathedrals to ruins, countryside to coast, it is ready to serve your two-some wishes.
• Cruises along the inner waterways of Europe provide a newer type of travel with a different destination every day, yet no responsibility for moving luggage or planning iterinaries.
Feel like a kid again
Expecting it to be a time of living happily ever after, many couples head to Disney World in Orlando, Fla., for a honeymoon. With luxurious hotels, plenty of daytime activities and a nightlife all its own, Disney satisfies the child of every age. Other water parks and amusement parks surround Orlando, too, and beaches are ready just a couple hours away to extend the honeymoon’s style.
Ziplines and bungee jumping are adult versions of unfettered enthusiasm. Whether it’s parasailing in Jackson Hole, Wyo., or a beach along the Pacific Coast, there is that one item of “play” that becomes the item to discover on your new adventure of honeymoon and marriage.
In Las Vegas, the news is turned off and nothing seems real. A roller coaster around “skyscrapers of New York, New York, a glass of champagne in sight of Paris, jumping from the Stratosphere’s 108th floor, a ride through a Venice canal, relaxing near the glistening beaches of Mandalay Bay or dancing in tune with the Bellagio fountains – all are entirely doable in just a few days. Of course, a little gambling money and an eye toward entertainment and fine dining also help you indulge in the offerings. And just down the road is the Grand Canyon.
‘Insure’ your good time
Every couple wants their dream getaway to go smoothly. But what if something goes wrong?
It’s a good idea to look into travel insurance to protect the investment you make in your honeymoon, just in case an accident or act of nature gets in the way.
Check the time of year to avoid annual storms when possible. However, resorts with hurricane and sunshine guarantees also may offer an opportunity to come back to the hotel at a later date if the weather turns ugly.
Different types of policies may be purchased to cover you while traveling. An agent can recommend one that fits your needs so you will still be able to enjoy the trip, if necessary, at a later date.
Pack for paradise
Whether skiing in mountains or basking on a beach, pack appropriately and be wise about what you carry.
Your travel agent can relate restrictions imposed by airlines and governments – U.S. and foreign – on any luggage or carry-on restrictions, including liquids. He or she also should offer an experienced eye on specific items to bring to your honeymoon destination.
Pack for the trip in advance of the wedding for a quick getaway, but keep a running list of what your suitcase contains with each addition or subtraction. When it is full, weigh it to avoid last-minute panic. If you plan to bring back souvenirs – lace in Ireland, pineapple in Hawaii or wine from Spain, another bag, plans for suitcase or packaging may implement the process.
Of course, there is always the chance that the airline could misplace your luggage. To make sure you still have a good time and function while it is being located, pack the following items in a carry-on:
• Important travel papers, such as tickets, hotel confirmations and rental car information.
• A change of clothes appropriate for weather at your destination. A swimsuit may help you while away the time, but it shouldn’t be the only apparel you have for 48 hours. A change of intimate items, such as underwear.
• Any money or cards for securing it.
• Forms of identification, including driver’s license, passport and/or social security card. Be aware of name changes if made in advance of the trip.
• Personal items, including cosmetics, medication and contacts with wetting solution or glasses.