5 STEPS TO PLANNING THE PERFECT HONEYMOON
We all know the best part of any party is the after party, and weddings are no different. Months and months of wedding planning stress, logistics, and exhaustion and then… ah, the honeymoon. For many couples, honeymoons are not only the perfect way to kick off the rest of their lives together, but they’re the perfect excuse to take the romantic trip of a lifetime they’ve always wanted to take. Long before the wedding, dreams of exotic, faraway destinations like the Maldives, Bali, French Polynesia, and the Amalfi Coast start to swirl in their minds. And, while all of these dreamy destinations sound heavenly, the task of honeymoon planning (on top of wedding planning) can get pretty stressful. That’s why I’m here! I’ve rounded up my top 5 steps to planning the perfect honeymoon (or any romantic getaway with your loved one! Who needs a wedding as an excuse to travel?!), so that you can stop stressing, and start planning the vacation of your dreams.
1. Use a travel agent that caters to your honeymoon needs (and budget!)
While it can be fun to dream up your trip and scour Pinterest for travel inspiration, the reality is that creating a full travel itinerary is a ton of hard work (and logistics!). My #1 tip for planning a honeymoon or any trip is don’t sweat the details – consult the experts! When your mind is already filled to the brim with wedding planning logistics, planning the honeymoon can be the last thing on your mind. Travel agents are an amazing tool to take this weight off of your shoulders. I’m always asked what travel agents I recommend, and my favorite is the boutique travel agency Sanara Travels because their small team offers an unbeatable combination of personalized attention and fair prices, and saves you endless research and planning time. The agency was started by a bride-to-be who was fed up with the entire honeymoon planning process, and realized the need for more millennial-focused travel agencies to help with the hassle that is vacation planning. Sanara gets it. They understand how individualized honeymoon and vacation planning is, and they work tirelessly to plan your perfect trip – from brainstorming destinations, to building incredible custom-built itineraries filled with hand-picked restaurants, bars, and activities. Everything they put into your itinerary will exceed your expectations, but stay within your budget. And, if you want to leverage your credit card points or travel rewards, they’ll work with you to make that a reality and make sure you get the ultimate value out of your vacation. They’re not like a big agency that’s working for big, commission-based partners, they work foryou! They genuinely just want to make your dream trip a reality, and that authenticity shows.
2. Research destinations & get an idea of what honeymoon destination is right for you!
Every couple is different. Some couples want to be dropped on a beach in The Maldives and not have to move for 7 days. Other couples are looking for a more adventurous honeymoon, filled with hiking, waterfall chasing, or skiing the Swiss Alps. Some couples are looking to cross something off their bucket list – like a safari in Africa, or a riverboat through the Amazon. And some couples imagine themselves roaming around Europe, with gelatos in hand and seeing everything there is to see. I recommend checking out your favorite travel blogs (I have an article on my favorite honeymoon spots in the world here!), travel instagrams, and travel Pinterest accounts for inspiration, and then starting to make a list with your partner of all of your top destinations. Keep in mind the timing of your trip with the weather (and holidays) in that destination at the time
3. Figure out your honeymoon budget
Now that you have your dream destinations, it’s important to know what’s realistic for your budget.. and what honeymoon destinations make sense for your budget. You want your honeymoon to be stress-free, and that means coming up with a budget, and staying within it, so you don’t worry about money the whole time you’re on vacation. I have a blog post that breaks down all of the most popular honeymoon destinations by budget and how much each honeymoon destination actually costs : Choosing Your Honeymoon By Budget: What you can expect to spend on your honeymoon. As far as planning what your budget looks like – I like to first figure out how much time I have for the vacation, then research flights for that time of year to get an idea of how much it would cost to get to each destination, then I pull out an excel sheet and, for each destination, type in all of the days of the trip, and how much I would want to allot for food, drinks, flights & transportation, any activities I’d imagine doing, and hotel costs. Of course, this budget can stay flexible, but it’s good to have an idea of what you’re able to spend before you start planning, and you can decide where your priorities lie for the trip. Maybe it’s not within your budget to spend $7,000 on 7 -nights in a 5 star resort on a private island, but you guys can afford stay 3 nights in a 3-star resort, and the rest of your time in the 5-star. Or maybe you can save on the transportation or dinner reservations in order to have more to spend on your honeymoon hotel. I’m a big fan of knowing when to splurge, and when to spend, on any vacation. And, if the price tag on your ideal trip is out of your budget range, you can start brainstorming ways to save money with your partner. Investigate what your frequent-flyer point balance can buy you and research honeymoon registry options like Honeyfund or Zola, which let your guests gift money for your travels.
4. Post to social media & crowd-source your friends for recommendations!
Once you’ve conquered the challenge of picking your honeymoon spot, post a status on Facebook, or do a callout for recommendations among your friends. Not only is it awesome to share the excitement with your loved ones, but you’ll likely get some insider advice from friends who have been where you’re going! And you’ll be able to avoid any rookie mistakes when it comes to what you should and shouldn’t do when you get there
5. Plan The Perfect Itinerary (for you!)
When planning a perfect honeymoon itinerary, make sure you get enough quiet time for yourselves apart from the days allotted for the sightseeing, tours, and hectic activities. Many couples will get so excited to finally get to go on their dream trip together, that they try to cover too many things in a limited amount of time, which can be exhausting, and not the point of a honeymoon! Take time for each other, and make sure to schedule some resort days to soak up some R&R&R (rest, romance, and relaxation).