Happily Ever After Starts Here…
Article + Photos by | Kelley Austin of Cruise Planners
The honeymoon…some of your first and best memories as a married couple. An amazing honeymoon doesn’t just happen; it requires significant attention to detail and expertise. Wedding couples often experience planning overload when it comes to the details of their wedding. There are some simple but often overlooked steps to eliminate the planning stress of a honeymoon.
Establishing a budget is crucial for a honeymoon and should be separate from the wedding budget. When lumping the budgets together it is not uncommon for a couple to plan their honeymoon with “what’s left” of their budget. Too many times couples have had to cancel or change their honeymoon ideas because the budget is gone before the planning even starts, or they can’t pay for the honeymoon at final payment because their money is spent on other arrangements. While many couples do not know “what honeymoons cost”, every couple knows what they are willing to spend. Determine the spending plan up front. Think of it in increments to make it less daunting i.e. $10,000 or more, $7,000-$10,000, $5000-$7000, $3000-$5000, less than $3000. There are honeymoons to fit all budgets, knowing the budget up front will eliminate a good deal of planning stress.
Planning at the right time is key for an amazing honeymoon. Too often couples will leave honeymoon planning for after all of the wedding event planning. Depending on the destination or type of honeymoon, last-minute planning can increase anxiety. In general, the best time to start planning your honeymoon is 6-9 months prior to travel, possibly longer for some more exotic options. Honeymoons can absolutely be planned in a shorter time frame, but often compromises are required. The ideal flights, that much coveted overwater bungalow, or cruise may no longer be available, the list goes on. Also, planning closer to travel dates can be a blow to the budget because of supply vs. demand. Last minute deals are one of the biggest myths in the travel industry. To put it bluntly… if a couple finds a deal less than a couple of months before travel, it is often on sale because no one else wanted it.
Determine your priorities and list the top 3 in order. Knowing the priorities will make the type of honeymoon and destination decisions much easier. For example, Costa Rica is an amazing destination, unless a priority is warm, colorful Caribbean waters and white sand beaches. If visiting an all-inclusive resort is a top priority, Hawaii is not going to be the destination of choice. If a quiet intimate environment is a priority, a massive resort complex or mega cruise ship is not a good fit. Is high-quality food and beverage important? If so, a resort with mostly buffets that do not change the menu daily is not a good option. If visiting multiple destinations in a brief period of time is a priority, a cruise may be the right option as opposed to 3 European countries in 7 days.
Set realistic expectations for the honeymoon. If there are only 5 days for travel, a visit to an exotic destination halfway around the world is not feasible. If personalized service is expected, visiting a 3-star resort or sailing on the least expensive cruise is not going to meet that expectation. If traveling over summer or holidays, prepare to spend a little more and encounter more crowds. While there are honeymoons for nearly every budget, as the saying goes, one can’t buy champagne on a beer budget. Airfare is often one of the biggest expenses of the honeymoon. It isn’t realistic to have a $3000 budget for a destination that the air alone is over $1000 per person.
Work with a romance travel expert, it is hands down the best way to get the most value and best experience for your dollar. A romance travel expert relies not only on their vast professional network but their firsthand experiences as well. Keeping up with the latest trends and knowing the ins and outs of the industry is foremost in their business. Romance travel experts customize the honeymoon experience to the couple taking the honeymoon. Not all destinations are suitable for all couples. Just because a resort was rated in the top 10 last year does not mean it is on trend for this year whether that is due to a scheduled renovation, management change or other external factors. A good expert will provide details that the internet doesn’t because couples often do not even know the questions to ask. In addition to providing details, hints, and tips, they serve as the couple’s advocate if not everything goes as planned. Romance travel experts make sure couples have 24/7 assistance during travel, most often from a live person, not an email or internet chat box.
Most times, travel disappointments happen because it wasn’t the right trip for the right person. Working with a good romance travel expert, setting realistic expectations, knowing the budget and priorities will usually insure starting the “happily ever after” on the honeymoon.
Kelley Austin is an award-winning and top producing Cruise Planners agency owner who believes vacation travel should be an experience not just another trip away from home. From cruises to land tours and completely packaged vacations, she specializes in all types of travel and will create an unforgettable honeymoon just for you. Contact her today at 936-825-7001 or firstname.lastname@example.org!