A recent study of 3,000 couples showed that those who went on a honeymoon were 41 percent more likely to stay together.
So it’s settled then, you must honeymoon. It’s good for your relationship or, at the very least, it helps define your relationship. It says, “We want to dwell in the love that we have for one another, and we want to do that while sipping sugary drinks on the beach and making out while we wait in line for the breakfast buffet.”
Yes, a couple that orders room service together is a couple thrives together.
Once you’ve made your commitment to taking a honeymoon, you must then decide where you’ll go. There are plenty of options. In fact, there are so many options that the sheer number of potential destinations will rock your newly engaged brain. Karina Conway, owner of KlassiC Travel Services, says probably 75 percent of her honeymooning couples visit beach or tropical locations: Jamaica, Costa Rica, Mexico and more. The other 25 percent do European destinations like Ireland, France (specifically Paris) and Italy.
But that doesn’t mean that’s what you should do. Conway says when picking a honeymoon destination, think big picture: Do you want cultural experiences? Relaxation? A foodie free for all? An outdoor adventure?
“You want to think about the experience,” she says. “Do you want a little boutique hotel that’s really secluded or do you want a 400-room all-inclusive hotel with different restaurants and lots of entertainment? Visualize yourself on your honeymoon, and think about what that means.”
You may see yourself in more of an “authentic” hotel—something that reflects local culture—or you may want an American-style experience with plenty of amenities. You might want luxury: 5 stars and the honeymoon suite to boot. Or you might be perfectly happy with 3 stars and a garden view. Just know what you want. And if you both have different things in mind—she wants to backpack through Italy and he wants to lay by the pool in Tulum—you have some compromising to do.
From there, you can use start looking for locations that meet your requirements. Do some Googling or ask friends for suggestions. There are incredible options out there. …It’s just a matter of finding them. One resource that’s often overlooked in the modern world is the travel agent or travel consultant. They are tremendous resources, and they can offer a ton of suggestions. Conway says if you have never been to the area of your final destination and you need help deciphering your options, a travel agent or consultant is a must. The Internet is helpful, but you might just need someone to sit down and explain the differences between all of the Sandals resorts in Jamaica. They can also help you figure out the paperwork and documents you may need for the trip. While most travel agents receive their commissions from resorts and vendors, there may be fees (like for booking your flight), so just communicate with your agent up front.
And finally, when picking a destination, remember that this isn’t just another vacation. This is your honeymoon, and it’s special. The experience will last you a lifetime.
To Get Travel Insurance or Not?
Remember when McDonald’s would ask, “Would you like to Super Size that?” That’s what travel insurance often seems like. It’s the upsell that the company tempts you with as you try to check-out. But travel insurance can be a huge benefit for big, expensive trips. Sold in packages, you can pick and choose different categories of coverage. Websites like insuremytrip.com can help you examine the options and give you different levels of coverage—from medical to baggage protection to emergency evacuation. It may not fit your trip or your needs; on the other hand, it might offer you some peace of mind.
Romance on Your Honeymoon
Traveling can seem like the least romantic act ever. Waiting in lines, creepy full-body security scanners, uncomfortable airline seats, more lines, rental cars and more lines. With that in mind, we wanted to give you some ways of adding romance to your honeymoon:
- Champagne. It’s like the most romantic thing of all time.
- Surprises. Set up excursions for your partner. Does she love impressionist art? Make an impromptu visit to Musée d’Orsay while in Paris. Does he love whiskey? Organize a private tour of the local distillery. Nothing says lovin’ like showing your new spouse that you really know them.
- Peace, quiet and a beautiful view. Plan a short hike to a vista or outlook at sunset.
- Spare no expense. You may have to pay a bit extra, but go for the upgrades. Select a room with an ocean view or with the butler service. The extra effort makes it feel that much more special.
Budget Friendly Honeymoon
Let’s just be honest, if you can’t afford to invest a few thousand dollars on a honeymoon, you probably need to stay closer to home. Sure, you can find deals for destinations all over the world; often, you get what you pay for when it comes to discount travel. But an affordable honeymoon doesn’t have to be third rate, especially if you are willing to forgo the four-star all-inclusive resort. If you’re an urban explorer, pick a city you want to see and look for cheap tickets. The more flexible you are with dates and destination, the more likely you are to find a deal. San Diego, Chicago, San Francisco and New York City make lovely locales. Consider a road trip to Taos, Santa Fe or Jackson Hole. Or keep it in-state and find a mountain town to make your honeymoon habitat. You have to admit that sitting by a fireplace in a cozy Crested Butte cabin would be just as romantic as laying on the beach…with less chance of sunburn. While you are saving money on not buying plane tickets, you can splurge on something that’s important to you: Dinner at a lux restaurant, paragliding or a backcountry snowboarding tour.
What is a Honeymoon Registry?
Because more couples are marrying later in life or living together before they get married, the need for an alternative to the traditional store registry has become apparent. Thus, the rise of the honeymoon registry. Depending on where you are going for your honeymoon and what you plan to do on your love-cation, a honeymoon registry could be a perfect resource. It works pretty much the same way it does at Bed, Bath & Beyond or Pottery Barn. You register for activities or details of your honeymoon and your friends and family can purchase them for you online: margaritas on the beach, swimming with dolphins, an ATV excursion, dinner for two and so on. You can register through a site like Wanderable, or potentially go through your hotel or resort (an increasing number of hotel chains are adding in registries). Just make sure you research the hidden fees or charges before you select a service.
Your Honeymoon Timeline
Eight Months or More Before
Let the brainstorming begin. Talk about your priorities, your honeymoon hopes and dreams, your expectations and your bottom lines.
Six Months Before
Set your budget, and figure out a savings plan. That will guide, oh, pretty much everything. Once you settle on a general location, contact a travel agent or travel company and set up a meeting. If you are looking for an outdoorsy excursion, consider setting up your honeymoon through an adventure travel company like Boulder’s own Natural Habitat Adventures. If you’re interested in cruises, find an agent who specialized in, you got it, cruises. Talk with your agent about the best time to buy (they’ll probably know when the deals for your destination and time of year will come out), and then book your trip accordingly. If you are not using a travel agent, buy plane tickets and begin looking into hotels, rental cars and activities.
If you are traveling internationally, turn in your paperwork for your passport or visa, and visit the CDC Travelers’ Health Site to see if any vaccinations are recommended or required for your destination.
Three Months Before
It’s go time! Have your passport in hand. If you are doing a honeymoon registry, have your items selected before you send out your invites. Make sure you have your hotel(s) booked. Transportation should be solidified.
Two Months Before
Go shopping for clothes, luggage and new camera. Make reservations for any activities you want to take part in: restaurant reservations, theater tickets, outings or tours (especially if you are traveling in peak season). If you’ll be scuba diving on your honeymoon, get certified.
One Month Before
It’s time to get organized. We love checklists, and they often save you from last-minute worries and late-night panic attacks (or is that just us?). Confirm all your reservations. Reserve a dog-sitter or book a spot at a kennel.
Three Weeks Before
Stay in contact with your travel agent to pick up any tickets or vouchers. Read all the fine print and make sure you know your timeline. Buy travelers checks; secure numbers safely in case they’re lost or stolen. Exchange your currency, and make sure you have some cash on hand.
One Week Ahead
Put your mail on hold. Make copies of your passport, credit cards, insurance, travelers check numbers and anything else you may need if you get mugged; keep a copy with you and give a copy to a friend or family member. Read through your guide books, and tab relevant pages. Buy travel sized everything, and make sure you have extra medications; carry all medications in their original prescription bottles to avoid questions at customs. Make a checklist of everything you’ll need to pack (we told you we love checklists).
A Couple Days Before
Check flights, check weather and buy magazine, books and movies for your iPad. Make arrangements for getting to the airport and prepare your house for your departure. If you will be someplace without cell phone service, include an away message on your voicemail. Pack! Order Champagne for your arrival at the hotel. Then relax and know you’ve kicked some honeymoon ass.