Your honeymoon will probably be the biggest, most important trip you’ll ever plan, and that can be a bit intimidating. So where do you start?
First - how do you decide where to go on your honeymoon?
The best way to start narrowing down where you want to go on your honeymoon - because there’s literally an entire world of options for you to choose from - is by asking yourself a few important questions.
- What’s your budget?
Don’t forget to factor in things like airport transportation, anything you have to buy for the trip (think sunscreen and travel-sized contact solution), and tips in addition to more obvious costs like airfare and hotel. When you have an idea of what you can spend, ask yourself what’s the most important to you. Would you rather stay three nights at a five-star hotel, or a week at a three-star? Are you willing to book connecting flights as long as it means that you can take a cab to the airport instead of public transportation?
- What do you want to do?
What kind of activity level are you looking for? There are places where you can do pretty much nothing for the entirety of your stay, and there are places where you can wake up with the sun every day to explore. Most places are somewhere along that spectrum, so figure out exactly where you’re looking to aim.
- How long do you want to go?
You probably don’t want to be crossing too many time zones or booking flights with four-hour connections if your trip is only a few days. Also, keep in mind that you may want to factor in a few buffer days before you leave and once you get back - nothing will bring you back to earth faster than returning on a Sunday night and heading into work on Monday.
- How much time do you want to spend traveling?
If you have a week off, are you willing to spend two of those days in the air if it means going somewhere amazing and exotic? Or would you rather leave in the morning and know that you’re just a few hours from settling into a beach cabana somewhere?
If you’re pressed for time, or if you’re not a great flyer, you can also think about taking a cruise instead. Look for sailings that leave from local ports, so your trip starts literally as soon as you step on board.
What if you and your fiancé don’t agree?
Agreeing on a honeymoon can be more difficult than splitting the difference between buttercream or fondant, because it’s a choice you’re living with for the entirety of your trip.
The best solution, if you absolutely can’t see eye to eye? Make a list of the three things that are the most important to you, and take them one by one. If your fiancé wants to go somewhere new and exotic, but you won’t do a flight longer than a few hours, think somewhere like St. Lucia. Do you want to have something to do every day, but your fiancé wants to relax? Look for a resort on the beach with a lot of on-site and off-site activities.
Worst case? Flip a coin. We’re talking about your honeymoon - even if it’s somewhere you would have never chosen, you’re still going to have a wonderful time.
When should you book your trip?
Like everything else in wedding planning, the earlier the better. The timeline you’re following may tell you to wait until two months out, but contacting a travel consultant as soon as possible will be a giant weight off your shoulders and give your consultant plenty of time to keep an eye out for the best airfare.
Should you book under your maiden name or new married name?
If you’re changing your name, book everything under your maiden name. It’s exciting to start using your new last name, but you have an entire lifetime to enjoy it. Starting now will just lead to a bunch of hassle and paperwork.
How long after the wedding should you leave?
When you leave may have a lot to do with how much time you have available and the flights you’re looking at, but if at all possible try not to travel the day after your wedding. Take at least a day to unwind before rushing to the airport - you’ll be much more relaxed.
What if something goes wrong?
Like we mentioned in our Ultra-Specific Guide to Destination Weddings, make sure you book through a travel consultant so you have someone on the ground back home in case of emergencies. This is the person you’re going to call if you miss your plane or find out there’s a hurricane on the way.
Also, be sure to discuss travel insurance options. This will literally be one of the most important trips of your life - so after all your hard work and planning, this is the one place you want to make sure you’re not cutting corners.
And that’s that! Enjoy packing your bags (don’t forget the sunscreen!), sitting back, and finally spending some alone time with your new husband or wife.
By Megan Ranney