It's your turn to plan your ultimate dream vacation, your honeymoon. Until recently, you've been green with envy over pictures of these destinations featuring celebrities or from your friends on Facebook, but now you're ready to look fabulous on a sandy beach and pose with that historical monument with your recently wedded sweetie. I'm here to give you an insider's look from my experience as a luxury honeymoon planner on how to plan the perfect newlywed trip.
Play the wild card! Honeymoons don't have to mean lying on a beach! If it's not your spouse's thing, don't force your new husband or wife to visit an exotic beach destination. Instead, compromise on a destination that will make you both happy! Plan to visit a wine tasting destination, go to a jungle with adventurous activities or visit a beautiful city with great history.
Time is money. Don't fly halfway around the world if you have only have a limited amount of days for your honeymoon. I once had a couple that literally flew around the world in two weeks. They had an incredible time, but returned from their honeymoon more exhausted than when they left! And it was quite comical how many of their pictures were taken on planes, instead of in the amazing destinations they visited.
Remember, you get what you pay for. I know you are excited to plan away, but reconsider jumping on the first good "deal" that you see, as there might be a reason for the deep discount! Maybe you will be traveling during hurricane season or the hotel is undergoing renovations. Do a little homework prior to booking.
Be original! Booking the exact same honeymoons as your friends isn't always the best route. Just because it was the perfect honeymoon for them doesn't mean it will be perfect for you! When choosing a destination, remember the things that mean the most to you -- are you a big foodie? Love being outdoors? Pick your destination based on locations that offer things you enjoy and you're guaranteed to have a good time!
He said, she said. Try not to obsess over travel reviews. If someone complained about the air conditioning a year ago and no one has mentioned it since, assume it has been fixed. If many people have the same complaint over and over, assume it is a valid issue.
Honey-Do List. We would never tell you to wait until the last minute to book your honeymoon. However, planning too many activities in advance isn't the way to go. Your time will be heavily scheduled leading up to your wedding, so sometimes it's best to wait to see what you want to do when you arrive. If it's rainy one day, go to the spa. Or if you feel like doing nothing but lying on the beach one day, then do that!
The New Mr. & Mrs. This is very important: Do not book your honeymoon with your married name. Make sure that all travel reservations match your legal documents that you will have when you are traveling.
Home Sweet Hotel. The best part of traveling is having new experiences! Be open to this and don't expect things to be "just like home." I have some clients say things like, "I want to visit a unique destination, but I am a really picky eater and want the food to be the same as at home." If that's the case you may want to stay in the U.S. or be ready to try some new things!
The Bride, the Groom and the Wardrobe Malfunction. You really don't need to drag around your entire closet, so pack smart and include layers. It'd be best to leave the heels at home if you're traveling to the cobblestone streets of Europe -- save the spice for later in the evening by packing lingerie instead. It is your honeymoon, after all! I always suggest bringing a pashmina or two as well. They are light and easy to pack, but can give you that warmth you need on a cool evening.
Just in case you even considered it: Under no circumstances invite your in-laws on your honeymoon. And yes, I actually had a couple do this! Happy planning!
Follow Katie Frederick on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@EA_Honeymoons