The Honeymoon. That pot of golden sand at the end of the rainbow. The trip you've planned and looked forward to for months, and after the rigors of planning a wedding, the trip you and you new spouse wholeheartedly deserve. If you plan your honeymoon well in advance, giving yourself plenty of time to research and think about the trip, chances are your days in the sun will be trouble-free.
Take your honeymoon planning at your own pace, but be careful not to let the date creep up on you. If you set things up far enough in advance, you won't find yourself scrambling for reservations at the last minute. This is our guideline, a checklist of sorts, to make the honeymoon planning process go smoothly.
- Decide on the type of honeymoon you want -- a relaxing cruise, a romantic all-inclusive resort, a fun-filled theme park, a cosmopolitan trip full of fine restaurants and beautiful sights, an exotic adventure or a little of everything.
- Settle on a budget for the trip considering every possible expense: plane tickets, car rental, hotel, meals and bar bills, gifts you might buy, sightseeing trips, souvenirs, tips, taxes, and any day-to-day expenses such as poolside towel service.
- Start to research possible honeymoon destinations.
- Ask family and friends for suggestions.
- Visit our Travel section and review honeymoon packages and special deals.
- Take inventory of any frequent flier mileage you and your fiancé might have accumulated. You might be able to use your mileage for airline tickets, seat upgrades, car rentals or hotel room upgrades.
- Speak with a travel agent.
- Read travel magazines and shop for travel guidebooks.
- Book your airline tickets with your travel agent or online service. Be sure to ask about any honeymoon discounts or special packages. Record all confirmation numbers.
- Book your hotel room, being very specific about your requirements, e.g., a quiet, ocean view, non-smoking room on a high floor. Ask for a confirmation number. Again, inquire about honeymoon specials and extras. You'll be surprised how often you'll find discounts and special services for newlyweds!
- Book a rental car if you think you'll need one. Remember to write down the confirmation number. Some package tours and vacations include rental cars, and many all-inclusive resorts are self-contained, making car rental unnecessary.
- When reservation paperwork begins to arrive, keep it all in a big manila envelope or a folder in your filing cabinet. Be sure to create a list of phone numbers for all the hotels, airlines, and agencies you'll be using.
- Find out about any health certificate requirements and vaccinations you might need, and make a doctor's appointment to have them. Vaccinations are not always necessary this far in advance of departure unless you are visiting certain third world countries like Africa or India. Your doctor will administer the shots at the appropriate time. Also ask your doctor about any precautionary medication you may want to bring along.
- If you're planning a foreign trip, you may wish to enroll in a language course or purchase a foreign language phrase book to study and take with you.
- Make sure your passport is valid. If not, apply for a passport now. For more information, visit http://travel.state.gov. The names on your tickets must match the names on your passports, so most likely, you'll want to make sure to use your maiden name for your airline tickets.
- Be sure you know about and have applied for any visas required by your destination.
- Call the airlines to confirm your reservations, request seating assignments, and, if necessary, arrange for special meals. Some airlines will even issue boarding passes at this point.
- Complete any reservations still pending.
- Purchase all the travel accessories you might need: electrical adaptors, film, batteries, sunblock, etc.
- Buy any new luggage you may need.
- Make certain all money matters are in order. Be sure your credit cards are valid and that you will have enough cash or traveler's checks on hand.
- Stop by the bank and purchase some currency of the country you'll be visiting. It's always useful to have the right money on hand when you arrive.
- Confirm all reservations.
- Contact the places you'll be staying to make any necessary reservations for dinners, tee times, tours, special events, etc.
- Prepare an itinerary for your trip (be sure to include phone numbers of where you'll be staying) and give a copy to a friend or relative in case of emergency.
- Start thinking about your packing list.
- Make sure all your bills are current. If you will be away longer than a month, you can arrange for prepayment of most bills.
- If you have a pet, make arrangements for its care during your time away.
- Ask a friend to stop by and water your plants and pick up your mail.
- Make arrangements for wedding gifts to be delivered to a place other than your home during the time you'll be away (a relative's place might be the best idea).
- If you are using a travel agent, pick up your tickets and confirm that all plans are in order.
- If you plan to use traveler's checks and haven't purchased them yet, now is a good time to do so. Copy down the check numbers and keep them separate from the checks.
- Make a copy of your passport and keep it separate from your original document.
- Pack your carry-on bag. Include reading materials, your toiletries, any medication you might need, and a change of clothes in case your luggage goes astray.
- If you want to have your mail and newspapers held, make arrangements now.
- Ask a friend or neighbor to check on your home in case stray wedding presents are delivered while you're gone.
- Pack thank-you notes and your address list so you can write notes on the plane.
- Make a final confirmation of all reservations, especially if you are planning an overseas flight.
- Buy reading materials for the flight.
- Finalize plans on how you'll get to and from the airport.
Day of Departure
- If you are leaving on the day of your wedding, have one of your attendants call the airline and confirm flight times before you leave for the airport.
- Be sure all of your tickets and travel documents are easily accessible in your carry-on bag.
- Plan to arrive at the airport early. Most airlines ask that passengers check in one hour in advance for domestic flights and two hours for overseas flights.
- When checking in, mention to the ticket agent that you are leaving on your honeymoon. You may get an upgrade or even some special V.I.P treatment!
- Relax and have a wonderful, romantic vacation.
See More: Honeymoons , Planning , Budgeting