Planning a Familymoon 101

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Planning a Familymoon 101

More and more couples are including the kids in their postnuptial getaway -- also known as a familymoon.

“It’s not always easy for kids to see their parent marry someone new and then leave for a honeymoon,” says Rebecca Grinnals, founder of Engaging Concepts, a consulting company for the wedding and honeymoon industry. “With a familymoon, the wedding celebration continues for everyone and provides a great opportunity for the blended family to bond.”

Even with your kids coming along, the trip should still feel romantic. After all, this is your honeymoon. Here, tips for arranging a happily-ever-after escape for the whole gang:

You say trip, they say trek. While you might view a hard-to-reach spot (think seven-hour international flight, long customs lines, and a three-hour drive to a remote hotel) as a slice of heaven, your children, though happy to join you, may not want to travel that far. (Especially if they're traveling during a college break or taking time off from their job to attend.) Find enticing places that can be reached via nonstop flights or discover fun-filled destinations within a reasonable driving distance for all. Another option: Take a road trip that includes overnight stays at multiple destinations, such as touring towns on the breathtaking California coast.
Money-saving tip: Getting away from it all by car can save hundreds on pricey airline fares and will give everyone a more intimate chance to warm up to one another before reaching your final destination.

Book accommodations with breathing room. This isn’t the time to be sleeping inches away from your teenager. Look for lodging that offers the newly married couple some privacy, suggests Grinnals. Skip the idea of room-sharing altogether (even if it’s a spacious suite), and opt for adjoining rooms or ones on the same floor. Renting beach houses, villas, and condos can offer more room to spread out, including multilevel configurations.
Money-saving tip: Many rental properties have kitchens, which can reduce the need to dine out for every meal.

Pick a place that caters to all vacation styles. Face it -- if you have to listen to your teenager complain about how far the Jet Ski rental hut is, your once-in-a-lifetime trip won’t be so relaxing. Rather than search for a destination that’s mainly for lounging on beaches and fine dining, choose one that offers ample recreation nearby that will appeal to all ages. The right hotel amenities (think themed casinos, an open bar, or in-room movies and video games -- there’s an invasion of Nintendo Wii hitting hotels) may just keep your kids smiling instead of text-messaging their friends about how bored they are. On-property water excursions and tour rentals can also help provide the perfect balance of family enjoyment. Many all-inclusive resorts have these setups down to a science. During the times you want to soak in the sun poolside, your children can snorkel or maybe even have a dolphin or sea lion encounter. These types of activities are great for groups, meaning your children can go together and bond with their new stepsiblings while the two of you indulge in massages or go scuba diving. You might want to scope out amenities, such as an adults-only pool, a formal restaurant, or a spa, to be sure you get the most out of your newlywed alone time.
Money-saving tip: Look for all-inclusive resorts to save on absurd costs for alcoholic drinks and food, especially if you're traveling with a child who's newly 21.

Don’t gamble on the weather. No one can totally predict Mother Nature’s whims, but you’re going against the odds when you book a trip to Costa Rica during the rainy period (May through November) or the Caribbean at the peak of hurricane season (August through October). It might be okay for a traditional honeymoon, but getting stuck inside your hotel room for days probably won’t be memorable in a good way. Check your destination’s local tourist board and the National Weather Service (NWS.NOAA.gov) for typical conditions during your desired travel period.
Money-saving tip: If you crave a coastal destination and only the riskier off-peak season fits your budget, book a hotel with a generous guaranteed hurricane cancellation policy. You want the option of postponing your trip within days of your departure -- without losing money -- if a big storm is expected.

Seize quality family time. Allow yourselves some romance, but don’t go overboard on trying to make sure everyone's out and about doing what makes him or her happy. Block of time each day to enjoy something together. After all, this is your chance to tighten your new family unit.
Money-saving tip: Since those who matter most will be by your side, consider getting married at the resort where you’ll be staying. Many resorts have wedding package deals and it’ll likely work out cheaper than renting a separate wedding venue at home.

-- Nancy Rones

See More: Remarriage , Honeymoons