PHOTO: A honeymooning couple in wedded bliss. (photo courtesy of Thinkstock)
Congratulations! You’re getting married.
Part of the fun in planning your big day is also plotting out your honeymoon.
“It can be easy to push honeymoon planning to the back burner when you have a wedding on your mind, but if you want to get the most bang for your buck, it’s best to start planning your travels early on,” said Megan Velez of Destination Weddings Travel Group.
Velez advises the happy couple to keep their eye out for travel and accommodation rates well before booking, so they can have a better idea of what is most competitive.
“Think about what excursions and activities you’d like to take on, so you can start creating a budget and an itinerary that you can stick to,” she said.
Before you start a search for the perfect destination, discuss your honeymoon ideas says Beth Johnston, a travel designer with Beth’s Beautiful Getaways:
“Talk to each other about your must-haves and non-negotiables,” she said. “Be willing to compromise. You want it to be memorable for the right reasons.”
Planning a wedding can be stressful, so Johnston suggests hiring a travel designer: “It’s to help you figure out what is best for both of you and to take the stress off your plate,” she said.
Know how much you want to spend as well.
“Come up with a realistic budget for what you are looking to do,” said Katie E. Levent, vice president of Elite Travel. “This is very important for not only the couple but for the travel agent to qualify them better and not waste time sending them a proposal on Bora Bora if they have a budget better suited for the Caribbean.”
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Don't forget to let people know you’re on your honeymoon!
“See what the resorts offer honeymooners,” said Levent. “Some resorts have great honeymoon packages and benefits, some even for free.”
With some planning and creativity, you can have a nice honeymoon even on a smaller budget.
“Save big by redeeming frequent flier miles or travel rewards from a credit card – there’s no better time to use them than on your honeymoon,” said Velez. “Look for upgrades to business or first class for maximum comfort. At the very least, opt for the roomier seats in economy. Now is the time to treat yourself!”
Velez also said that all-inclusive properties are the best way to maximize your stay at any destination:
“For one flat rate, newlyweds can take in all a resort has to offer in terms of cuisine, drinks, accommodations, entertainment and other amenities without having to worry about carrying their wallet around. All-inclusive resorts will also have resources to help you book offsite excursions, as well as in-house activities like wine tastings.
"In fact, they may offer discounts for honeymoon packages, so be sure to let the resort know you recently tied the knot.”
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“Flexibility is key when it comes to honeymoons. “Nowadays, there’s no need to jet off to your destination the day after your wedding,” said Velez.
“Couples can feel free to take some time to relax and then schedule their honeymoon for a time that is both cost-effective and friendly to their schedules. Check your destination’s off-season to see how the rates compare to peak season. In most cases, you’ll find that you can save big on travel and accommodations, which can equate to a few extra days of traveling in newlywed bliss.”
Most importantly, buy trip insurance.
“It is worth the peace of mind,” said Johnston. “Honeymoons often cost a bit more than a regular vacation. They are often on an island where an evacuation for an emergency would be costly. Better to be safe than sorry.”