Honeymoon: What You Need to Know When You're Trying to Decide Where to Go

You're engaged. Congratulations. The best part, other than the wedding day itself and your new life together, is the opportunity to start your marriage off with a special trip -- the honeymoon, which can extend the bliss of the big day for a little bit longer. But how do you decide what you want to do, where you want to go? After spending so much time (and money) planning a wedding, you may be tapped out of ideas and inspiration. We offer 10 ideas for your consideration.

1. Unless money is no object, when you get married will determine, to some extent, the kind of honeymoon you take. If you feel really strongly about your destination and you're less settled on the date, plan around the destination. This way you can maximize your enjoyment and minimize the strain on your wallet. For example, if you're set on an Italian honeymoon, stay away from summer. Not only is it high season and therefore more expensive, but the sound of English often more commonly floods the streets of Rome and Florence than Italian. Choose spring and fall, which are much more agreeable in terms of crowds, prices and temperature; it's not quite as hot. Similarly, if you want to hit the beaches and you're getting married during a North American winter, be prepared to face higher hotel rates and airfares at Caribbean islands, Mexico, and Hawaii -- along with more crowded facilities.

2. How much do you want to do? If you are interested in what I like to call an automatic vacation, complete with the beach, umbrella drinks, and the blue Caribbean as a backdrop, along with the ability to reap the benefits of traveling as honeymooners, consider something from Sandals (www.sandals.com) or other all-inclusive resorts that specialize in pampering. Sandals made its name by catering to honeymooners, and the company has locations scattered in Jamaica, Antigua, St. Lucia, and the Bahamas and consistently runs specials and promotional packages geared to lure honeymooners. If you want to try a different destination in the Caribbean, I'd recommend looking at the packages offered by Cheap Caribbean (www.cheapcaribbean.com), which are of a consistent quality and also come with the company's "free your mind" plan, which includes a price match guarantee. If for some reason you tire of sitting poolside or snorkeling in clear waters, most good resorts will help you arrange for day trips for sightseeing, hiking, biking, bird watching, and boating -- you get the idea. Finally, for many couples, exhausted from planning their weddings, taking a cruise will provide the ultimate all-in-one, self-contained entertainment vehicle.

3. Are you both independent, active types? How much planning are you willing or interested in undertaking? If you and your spouse would rather spend a week or so exploring a foreign country at your leisure, with a minimum of planning but a loose sense of what you want to accomplish, then consider a trip that allows for independence but which provides ample opportunity for mental, cultural, or physical stimulation. You might consider, for example, a fly-drive package: it covers your airfare and your car rental, and often it includes accommodations at bed and breakfasts and inns. Fly-drives are easily found for much of Europe, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Scandinavia, along with New Zealand and Australia. Sites such as Go-Today (www.go-today.com), Gate 1 Travel (www.gate1travel.com) generally post these types of packages.

4. Are you both truly young -- make that kids -- at heart? Consider a Disney wedding -- and honeymoon -- at Walt Disney World in Orlando (tel. 800/370-6009; www.disneyweddings.com), a tremendously popular destination, and check out this link elsewhere on the Frommer's site explaining some of the particulars. This perennial favorite is also notoriously expensive, but it doesn't mean it can't be done. Investigate Disney-specific deal sites such as MouseSavers (www.mousesavers.com) for the inside scoop of packages, promotions and tips.

5. Is your passport already loaded with stamps? Are you both the type to plan a trip somewhere, anywhere, whatever chance you get? Is travel like religion, or therapy, for you? Then consider forgoing a traditional department store registry for a honeymoon travel registries. Companies such as HoneyLuna (www.honeyluna.com), The Big Day (www.thebigday.com), Traveler's Joy (www.travelersjoy.com), The Honeymoon (www.thehoneymoon.com), and Distinctive Honeymoons (www.distinctivehoneymoons.com) allow you to customize your registry so guests can purchase things such as, say, a hot air balloon ride, your airfare, hotel stays, or other elements of your honeymoon. Read the fine print -- there are usually fees assessed as part of this service.

6. Do you want to splurge for a no-holds barred experience but don't want to do any of the planning yourself? Or would you rather someone else scavenge for the best deals possible? Either way, think about using a travel agent, talk with him or her about what type of destination you're looking for -- a trip loaded with spa treatments, fine meals and hotels with 24-room service and sheets with 800-thread count -- and he or she can guide you. Find a reputable one through its professional organization, American Society of Travel Agents (www.asta.org). Or you can even work with HoneyLuna, one of the registry companies -- they will work with you to create the ideal itinerary and then create a registry to match, for a fee.

7. Do you want to go somewhere unusual, remote or otherwise esoteric? You're likely to want an escorted trip with a guide who knows a few things that outsiders just won't know. Whether it's a safari vacation in Africa, the Great Wall of China or the Galapagos Islands, companies such as Globus Journeys (www.globusjourneys.com), Friendly Planet (www.friendlyplanet.com), and SmarTours (www.smartours.com) lead trips to all parts of the world that are thoughtfully put together, competitively priced, and include much of your costs.

8. Once you have decided where to go, book it as early as possible to ensure that the lower priced rooms and fares aren't sold out. Consider booking one of the least expensive rooms in the more welcoming or luxurious place -- if the room doesn't give you the best view of the ocean, for example, you might not care if you're planning on spending most of your time on the beach. For flights, (if you are booking things separately or simply want to do some good comparison shopping) use a good resource such as Airfare Watchdog (www.airfarewatchdog.com) for exhaustively researched fares and insider tips on optimum travel times.

9. Give yourself a buffer zone. If at all possible, avoid starting your honeymoon very early the day after your wedding. You probably won't get to bed until late and it may take you a while to actually get to sleep because of all the excitement. Allow yourself to sleep in, eat a nice breakfast with your new spouse, and depart later in the day.

10. Finally, don't forget to tell them you're newlyweds when booking and checking in. Most hospitality professionals love these sorts of pronouncements. It's not a guarantee of anything, but sometimes you receive some special perks in the form of room upgrades, small gifts from the hotel or resort, or a welcome drink. Bask in the special treatment while you can -- you're technically only a newlywed for the first year of your marriage.

(πηγή: www.frommers.com, 2/12/2008)

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