The Honeymoon. That pot of golden sand at the end of the rainbow. The one you’ve planned and looked forward to for months, and after the rigours of planning a wedding, the trip you and your new spouse wholeheartedly deserve.
Planning your honeymoon well in advance, giving yourself plenty of time to research the trip will probably make your days in the sun trouble-free. Take your planning at your own pace, but be careful not to let the date creep up on you. If you set things up far enough in advance, you won’t find yourself scrambling for reservations at the last minute.
Planning your honeymoon: 6-8 months beforehand
Decide what kind of honeymoon you want — a relaxing cruise, a romantic all-inclusive resort, a fun-filled theme park, a cosmopolitan trip full of fine restaurants and beautiful sights, an exotic adventure or a little of everything.
Settle on a budget for the trip considering every possible expense: plane tickets, car rental, hotel, meals and bar bills, gifts you might buy, sightseeing trips, souvenirs, tips, taxes, and any day-to-day expenses such as poolside towel service.
Start to research possible honeymoon destinations. Ask family and friends for suggestions. Speak with a travel agent. Read travel magazines and shop for travel guidebooks. Take inventory of any frequent flier mileage you and your fiancé might have accumulated. You might be able to use your mileage for airline tickets, seat upgrades, car rentals or hotel room upgrades.
Planning your honeymoon: 4-6 months beforehand
Book your airline tickets with your travel agent or online service. Be sure to ask about any honeymoon discounts or special packages. Record all confirmation numbers.
Book your hotel room, being very specific about your requirements, e.g., a quiet, oceanview, non-smoking room on a high floor. Next, ask for a confirmation number. Then, again, inquire about honeymoon specials and extras. You’ll be surprised how often you’ll find discounts and special services for newlyweds!
Book a rental car if you think you’ll need one. Some package tours and vacations include rental cars, and many all-inclusive resorts are self-contained, making car rental unnecessary.
When reservation paperwork begins to arrive, keep it all in a big manila envelope or a folder in your filing cabinet. Be sure to create a list of phone numbers for all the hotels, airlines, and agencies you’ll be using.
If you’re planning a trip abroad, you may wish to enrol in a language course or purchase a foreign language phrasebook to study and take with you.
Planning your honeymoon: 3 months beforehand
Make sure your passport is valid. If not, apply for a passport now. The names on your tickets must match your passports. Also, be sure you know about and have applied for any visas your destination requires.
Call the airlines to confirm your reservations, request seating assignments, and, if necessary, arrange for special meals. Some airlines will even issue boarding passes at this point.
Purchase all the travel accessories you might need: electrical adaptors, film, batteries, sunblock, etc. Buy any new luggage you may need.
Planning your honeymoon: the final 1 month
Make sure all money matters are in order. For example, be sure your credit cards are valid and that you will have enough cash or traveller’s checks on hand. Stop by the bank and purchase some currency from the country you’ll be visiting. It’s always wise to have the right money on hand when you arrive.
Confirm all reservations. Contact the places you’ll be staying to make any necessary reservations for dinners, tee times, tours, special events, etc.
Prepare an itinerary for your trip (be sure to include phone numbers of where you’ll be staying) and give a copy to a friend or relative in case of emergency.
If you have a pet, make arrangements for its care during your time away. Ask a friend to water your plants and pick up your mail.
Planning your honeymoon: the final 2 weeks
If you use a travel agent, pick up your tickets and confirm that all plans are in order.
If you plan to use traveller’s checks and haven’t purchased them yet, now is a good time.
Make a copy of your passport and keep it separate from your original document.
Planning your honeymoon: last week
Pack your carry-on bag. Include reading materials, your toiletries, any medication you might need, and a change of clothes in case your luggage goes astray.
Ask a friend to check on your house if stray wedding presents are delivered while you’re gone.
Make a final confirmation of all reservations, especially if you plan an overseas flight. Buy reading materials for the flight. Finalise plans on how you’ll get to and from the airport.
Planning your honeymoon: Day of departure!
If you are leaving on the day of your wedding, have one of your attendants call the airline and confirm flight times before you leave for the airport. Be sure all your tickets and travel documents are easily accessible in your carry-on bag.
Plan to arrive at the airport early. Most airlines ask that passengers check-in one hour in advance for domestic flights and two hours for overseas flights. When checking in, mention to the ticket agent that you are leaving on your honeymoon. You may get an upgrade or even some special V.I.P treatment!