It’s undoubtably going to be the biggest, most exciting (and most expensive) holiday of your life. Everyone want’s their honeymoon to be absolutely perfect and this post I want to help you guarantee that it is!! Here are my top tips to plan the perfect honeymoon.
When planning your wedding I think it’s important to allocate budget for your honeymoon too. Perhaps weighing up whether there are certain things you’ll forgo in order to have a more extravagant honeymoon or if the honeymoon is less important and you really want to go all out on the wedding itself. Please don’t short change the honeymoon as the memories really will last a lifetime!
I’ve been to weddings where couples asked for donations to their honeymoon fund or even ask guests to purchase particular experiences for them to enjoy while away. There are plenty of websites that can work as administrators for honeymoon gift list registry such as Mr & Mrs Smith, Kuoni and Virgin Holidays. Some may have particular hotel affiliations which you need to check and make sure that you go with a reputable brand.
Don’t be afraid to mention its your honeymoon when you book hotels as many places will offer special deals and upgrades. While you’re there you can expect extra perks…hello bottles of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries…even special embroidered his and hers bathrobes.
When To Go
When to go on your honeymoon is determined by several factors. Traditionally a newly married couple will head off on their holiday of a lifetime straight after the wedding but that may not be possible due to work or other commitments, time of year and budget. For example for us another friend’s wedding came a couple of weeks after ours so we delayed our honeymoon until after that. Or perhaps you could only secure your dream wedding venue at a time of year when your perfect honeymoon destination is off season. However if you have to delay your honeymoon, if budget allows I would advise going on a short weekend break directly after your wedding (see more in the next point). You may be just about to explode with stress and really yearning for time away with your loved one and a short weekend away is the perfect solution.
If your time off is very much dictated by the time of year, for example my best friend is a teacher and could only take an extended break during the summer holidays, then check out my post on where to go when. Also if budget is an issue, be mindful that your hotels and experiences may be cheaper if you choose to go out of season or during shoulder season. I would advise not to delay for too long as the adrenaline of the wedding will start to wear off and the honeymoon will feel more like a normal holiday.
Some people decide to go that very night, but if you ask me that’s even more stressful! Ideally you’ll give it at least a day, maybe a week before jetting off.
Once again determined by other commitments and budget but work out how much time you can both feasibly take off in order to enjoy your honeymoon to the fullest. For many this may mean saving all your annual leave up for one big trip…but you only go on honeymoon once and it will be worth it!
a. The Minimoon
A mini moon or 3-5 day short haul honeymoon may be what’s feasible for you or you may choose to do this straight after the wedding if you’re delaying a longer honeymoon. If a short honeymoon is your only option make sure you plan carefully and have exactly what you want in that short amount of time. Whether that be relaxation, shopping, adventure or just some time together. Choosing the right hotel will be important for this as you definitely want something special that will help you make the most of your short time there. Even consider a staycation for you mini moon and save the cost of flights to splurge on a hotel.
b. The Fullmoon
The average honeymoon lasts 10 – 14 days so remember to plan that precious time carefully. With that duration you can fit in two destinations, maybe a city and beach break? Though you may just want total, unadulterated relaxation on the beach for two weeks after the stresses of planning a wedding. Do be aware that if you do a multi-destination trip some of your precious time allocation will be taken up with travelling and transfers leaving you less time to drink champagne!
c. The Maximoon
You only go on one honeymoon so why not turn it into a trip of a lifetime and go for even longer! Anything from one month to six months if you have time and budget. A maximoon will be a multi-destination trip perhaps exploring a larger country, a continent or even going around the world. For this type of trip incredibly careful planning is required and you may want to use a travel agent to help.
Many people are now combining both a mini trip and an extended honeymoon as this can also allow for extra time after the wedding to save for the maxi moon. Personally we went on a mini moon to Florence and two weeks later did a tour of the States and a trip to Bora Bora.
Where to Go
The biggie! Your honeymoon will probably be the place with that you’ve always dreamed of going to but you probably couldn’t justify the expense or the time off work before now. This is your chance to absolutely go for those two weeks in The Maldives, that adventure around New Zealand or the safari in Africa. Have a careful think about whether you want relaxation, adventure or culture and consider whether you want a dual destination. I personally love combining a city break with the beach and also incorporating a bit of countryside along the way. Or perhaps you want to use you honeymoon to return to a place that you’ve been to before? Perhaps somewhere that was incredibly meaningful to you as couple.
What do you actually want out of your honeymoon? Is it more about time together or about satisfying your wanderlust?
One of the keys to deciding where you want to go on honeymoon is making sure the decision is mutual. Or if you’re like Mr S and I and you want different things out of a holiday, make sure you compromise and cover both. What one of you finds relaxing, the other might find boring, maybe one of you really wants long haul and the other doesn’t, one wants snow and one wants sun. Either way its very important to strike the balance as you don’t want your first major argument to be on the honeymoon! Check out my post on ten of the most luxurious honeymoon destinations to help with inspiration.
Make sure that you do at least share some of the planning so that you reach a compromise. Inevitably one person will do most of the planning but it’s important to talk through decisions so that the trip is tailor made for you both. Perhaps created some shared Pinterest boards for inspiration, have a shared spreadsheet project board such as Trello.
I’ve always stressed the importance of planning when it comes to luxury travel and please refer to my post or video on how to plan travel for all my top tips. I also wrote a post on where to do your research in order to avoid FOMO or making the wrong choice. I nearly always plan trips myself but for your honeymoon you may want to go with an agent as you’ll already have your hands full with wedding planning and you seriously don’t want anything to go wrong for your dream trip. An agent will be able to compile a multi-destination itinerary, may have insider deals and contacts and be able to get you discounts. We used The Turquoise Holiday Company to book the Bora Bora leg of our honeymoon but Scott Dunn, Kuoni and Black Tomato all specialise in honeymoons too.
Please don’t leave planning to the last minute and try and get the major bookings in place as soon as possible. If you have any bucket list restaurants that you want to visit make sure you get them booked in, a good tip is to ask the hotel concierge to do this as they may have insider info.
Will you just choose one hotel to totally relax and not worry about packing and repacking or will there be several hotels so you can see different parts of the country / world. Think about whether you want a hotel that will offer privacy and seclusion or whether you want somewhere that’s a bit lively. Or a mixture of both as we did. Have a think about allocating budget, perhaps if you’re staying in several hotels you’ll want to save the majority of the budget to splash out on one ultra-luxury hotel at the end. Do you have a bucket list hotel that you’ve always wanted to stay in?
Another thing to think about is whether you want to go all-inclusive or not. The phrase ‘all-inclusive’ seems to have a bad reputation but seriously some of the very best and most luxurious hotels that I’ve ever stayed in have been all-inclusive such as Jade Mountain, Mnemba Island and Sasaab. Going all-inclusive takes any extra stress away and you can eat and drink to your heart’s content without worrying about hidden extras.
Also be aware that some countries such as Thailand and Bali offer incredible value for money in comparison to places such as France and Italy and you’ll get way more bang for your buck by choosing luxury hotels in South East Asia over ones in Europe.
It’s also an idea to book hotels using the surname you’ll be taking so that you’ll be addressed accordingly and there will be no confusion with the booking.
Travel in Style
If you’ve never been first or business class this is the time to do it. Travelling in style means the honeymoon can begin in the airport at the first or business class lounge, you can have unlimited champagne on the flight and you’ll arrive feeling relaxed and refreshed!
If you have any internal journeys find out if there’s anything special that you can do like a luxury train, river cruise or hiring an exotic car.
Be mindful when you’re booking flights that they correspond to your passport whether that’s your maiden name or married name and make sure things like VISA and ESTAs are also correct.
Are you planning a honeymoon? Have you been on honeymoon and have any useful tips for planning? Let me know in the comments!
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