Crash Course in Honeymoon Planning – 8 essential things to plan and organize in advance
When tying the knot, it isn’t just the wedding preparations that need to be done in advance – the honeymoon can take a fair bit of planning too! You and your betrothed may have very different ideas of what the ideal honeymoon should be like. Some couples dream of escaping to a deserted beach, while others crave an action-packed all-inclusive resort, or a hop over to Europe, a visit to exotic lands or a grand adventure. The choices can seem daunting, but with some advance preparation, everything will come together. The secret to a stress-free planning experience is to be as organized as possible. Here are 8 important things to plan and organize before booking your honeymoon.
1. Optimize Your Annual Leave Time
Before you even start looking at honeymoon destinations, it’s a wise idea to find out how much time off your employer is likely to approve. Rember there are two of you who will need to coordinate time away with your employers. You may be dreaming of spending 3 weeks on a Tanzania safari or a fortnight lying on a beach in Barbados, but if your employer won’t approve the time off, you may need to rethink your plans. Keep in mind that you may also want to take some extra days off leading up to the wedding, so be realistic about how much time you have for the honeymoon.
Speak to your respective employers and find out what is practical and possible. Do this well in advance so any adjustments can be made at work. Many companies will allow extra leave time for a honeymoon, but this may vary depending on how busy they are and the time of year. If you choose to travel during your company’s quiet time of year, you may find them to be more flexible with your requests. Once you have a good idea of when you can go and for how long, the exciting part of finding your dream honeymoon destination can begin.
2. Plan Your Budget
Honeymoons can run into considerable sums, so calculating your budget needs well in advance of booking is vital. It’s a wise idea to have your wedding budget in hand first as you don’t want to run out of cash for the big day because you’ve spent it on your honeymoon.
Account for clothes, spending money, meals, entertainment, and once in a lifetime day trips that you might be interested in booking. Many newlyweds add a 10% contingency onto their budget so they don’t have to worry about overspending when they get there. You may consider booking an all-inclusive trip or cruise so you will know exactly how much you will be spending in advance. If you’re traveling independently itemize your flights, ground transportation to and from the airport, number of nights of lodging, 3 meals per day, cocktails, and daily activities. Then add on shopping money, because you know you’ll want to bring home mementos of honeymoon trip.
A way to offset some of your honeymoon costs is to coordinate with an online honeymoon-wish service that allows wedding guests to give you money towards certain portions of your trip as a wedding gift.
3. Decide on Your Dream Destination
While many years ago the groom often made all the honeymoon plans and would even surprise his bride with the destination, today careful planning is done by both parties. You should both make a wish list and discuss what type of honeymoon trip would suit you best. Will it be an African Safari, a week on a Caribbean Island, wandering through Europe or a visit Downunder? There are many, many options that you should consider. Most people find that life doesn’t often offer them such an extended amount of time to travel together, so take full advance of it.
4. Don’t Forget Your Passport
If you intend to travel abroad, one of the first things you should do when planning your honeymoon is to make sure that you have valid passports. At different times of the year passport processing is slow, so be sure you do it well in advance – several months is preferable. It is not uncommon for the bride or groom to either realize at the last minute that their passport ran out years ago or be unable to find it at all.
Locate your passports and check that they are valid for at least 6 months beyond your travel dates. Many countries have this requirement and will not let you enter their country if your passport expires sooner. If they are no longer valid, don’t delay your renewal application. Get it done now, and it’s one less thing for you to worry about later down the line. Most brides find it easiest to travel under their maiden name and have their passport name changed later.
5. Will You Need To Get A Visa?
While your passport is issued by your country of citizenship, a Visa is may be needed to enter the country (or countries) you will be visiting. Visa requirements are always changing, so it’s important to check the current regulations to be sure. If you are going on an organized tour or cruise, the travel company should be able to advise you. Luckily most visas are issued electronically these days, but some still have to be obtained by mail. Naturally, there are fees involved as well. Keep your visa with your passport at all times. If you are going on an extended honeymoon, be aware that most tourist visas allow entry for a maximum of 30 days.
6. Arrange Necessary Vaccinations
Depending on your destination, you may need certain immunizations to ensure that you are protected against diseases that you wouldn’t otherwise encounter when at home. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend you schedule a visit to your doctor 4-6 weeks before international travel. Your body needs time to build up immunity, so being prepared and organized is the best way to protect yourself.
With the Covid19 virus situation, it is almost certain that once a vaccine is available, most, if not all countries will require proof of vaccination in order to enter their country.
7. Organize Your Travel Funds
Give some advance thought to what currencies and means of payment you will be needing. While many countries accept US dollars, others do not and you will need to secure some foreign currency in advance. If you will be traveling outside your home country, you will need to check on the currency exchange rates in the countries you will be visiting. Online currency services will be able to tell you the exchange rates, may have handy cheat-sheets for shopping, and many can send you foreign currency by mail right to your door as well.
Realize that you will each have different credit cards – which is a good thing. If one person were to be pick-pocketed, they would not have all your credit card information. You might want to decide in advance which person’s card different types are charges will be used for.
8. Plan For the Unexpected
While we all hope that our honeymoon plans will come off without a hitch, that is not always the case. It’s wise to protect yourselves from last-minute surprises. Think of all the honeymoon plans that had to be changed this year because of the recent virus outbreak which no one could have predicted in advance. For this reason and many more, it’s wise to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy to cover your honeymoon investment and give you peace of mind. Hurricanes and storms, happen. Unexpected illnesses happen. Injuries while on an exciting adventure happen. Be sure you have an insurance policy to fall back on and relieve all the stress.
By organizing your thoughts in advance, you will have the honeymoon trip of your dreams.