1. Plan Early: I suggest starting to plan your honeymoon a few months after you start planning your wedding. This is an extra special vacation.
2. Decide on budget, length of stay, preferred destination(s) and type of honeymoon: There are so many options for honeymoon trips. It can be that relaxing trip with pristine beaches, or it can be a biking trip through Tuscany or a small group touring trip through India or a luxury cruise. What type of honeymoon defines you as a couple and is an experience you would cherish together?
3. Consult a Travel Advisor for expert recommendations of where to go, what to see and where to stay based on your answers in tip #2: A trusted advisor will know the best flight routes, know insider information on the hottest places and be able to customize your honeymoon so that it is uniquely yours. Don't forget, you cannot VIP yourself although an advisor with the right connections certainly can.
4. Keep your budget under control: Looking to save money? Are you flexible with your travel dates? If you can travel in shoulder or low season to your desired destination, rates are typically lower. Are you flexible on where to travel as long as it is a sun destination, perhaps? Ask your Advisor about any special promotions. Have aeroplan or travel points? Look into using those to book your airfare. And ask your Advisor if they offer a honeymoon registry rather than registering your wedding at a department store for home furnishings and appliances that you may already have!
5. Tell everyone it is your honeymoon: Your Travel Advisor will contact the cruise or hotel to let them know of your special occasion and will organize as many perks possible. However when you check-in, tell them you are honeymooners. Even tell the airline when you are checking in, the restaurant you are visiting and so on. You may be surprised of the perks you will receive along the way. It is also wise to travel with a copy of your marriage certificate. Some hotels require a copy of your certificate in order to receive honeymoon bonuses. Others require that you stay with them within 1 month of your marriage date or to register with them before you depart in order to receive all the honeymoon perks! Be aware and be prepared in order to reap all the benefits.
6. Learn about your destination: Pick up guide books, maps, restaurant guides to where you are going and get excited about your trip. Learn about the culture, customs, history and practice common greetings, words and questions in the local language of the country you will be going to and you will be set up for a positive experience.
7. Keep organized to keep your stress low: You want to relax and spend as much time together on your honeymoon, right? Avoid departure hassles by being sure your passports are up to date. If you need to renew passports, do so months ahead of time. Apply for any travel visas ahead of time as you may need to send your valid passport away and wait for the return of it and the visa. If you are traveling to a destination that requires vaccinations, visit your doctor or a travel clinic at least 3 months prior to your trip. Another stress saving tip is to plan your excursions and special arrangements ahead of time. Contact the resort and reserve a couple's spa treatment, golf or special dining reservation and book a few excursions that you know you will want to do. Leave a few days unplanned on your honeymoon for relaxing and to allow the opportunity for spontaneous decisions. Then you don't need to be spending copious amounts of time while on your honeymoon, trying to figure out what to do every day and how to arrange it.
8. Protect your honeymoon investment: In the last few years it we've heard about many travel advisories and airline strikes. These are examples of things you cannot predict happening for your travel dates too well and if this situation arises, you best have travel insurance to claim the costs in the event that you need to make changes (whether it is before you depart or while in destination). And don't forget to have travel medical coverage anytime you step foot outside your home country.
9. Enjoy your honeymoon - eat, drink, have fun, take pleasure in each other: And do it guilt free. This is your honeymoon.
10. Don't forget your SPF's: Painful sunburn is one of the worst things to happen when on vacation, let alone your honeymoon. Be prepared with sunscreen with a higher SPF that you would normally wear and wear it even if it is overcast.
11. Take lots of pictures: And ask others to take pictures of you as a couple. Ask the resort about a couple's photography session. For something different, and especially if you are having your wedding at home, why not pack an off the hanger wedding dress (or your real wedding dress) and organize a trash the dress photo session in destination?
12. Plan to take a few extra days off: Before returning to work after you have returned. Take the time to relax and reflect on your great experience before easing back into the real world.
Author: Tanja Walsh, Your Travel Advisor