Congrats on tying the knot soon! Planning a honeymoon is the best part of getting married, in our humble opinion. Will it be an all-inclusive resort in Cabo or a ski chalet in Vail? Maybe you’ll go to Paris in the fall and have a romantic week filled with pastries and wine. So much daydreaming to do!! But planning a honeymoon can also be an overwhelming task. There are so many vacation spots to choose from and so many things to consider, from budget to timing, to activities and accommodations. Don’t worry; we’ve rounded up some great advice for you to start your honeymoon planning journey.
Step 1: Set a budget
The most important first step is the budget. You can’t make a solid plan without knowing how much you’re going to spend. Setting a budget will help you hone in on your options and make it easier to choose a destination that fits your financial means.
You can start by determining your priorities. Do you want beach-side relaxation or adventure? Maybe you’re more into romantic getaways. Or maybe a cozy mountain/ski trip? Whatever your priority is for the honeymoon, determine that first. Knowing your priorities will help you make decisions on how to spend your money.
Next, start researching the costs of different destinations, hotels, flights, and activities. This will help you give a better understanding of what you can expect to pay and help you make informed decisions about how to create a budget.
Create a budget breakdown. You can think of your trip in a few different categories: transportation, hotel/Airbnb, activities, food, shopping, and miscellaneous. This will help you visualize where your money is going and make it easier to make adjustments as needed.
Don’t forget to plan for unexpected costs. Things come up in any type of travel, so it’s important to plan for it in your budget. Maybe you will arrive at your Airbnb, and it isn’t what you expected, so you have to get new accommodations. Or maybe your luggage was lost, and you need to purchase temporary clothes and shoes. You just never know!
Finally, be realistic! No need to break the purse strings for a lavish vacation you can’t afford. There are plenty of awesome trips you can take within your budget if you take the time to plan it out properly and do some research! Remember, a honeymoon is just one part of your new life together, and there may be financial priorities in the future.
Step 2: Decide on a destination
Choose a destination that appeals to both you and your partner. There are tons of things to consider.
What kind of climate do you want? Are you a beach house guy/gal or more of a ski chalet king/queen? Or maybe you’re into milder temperatures, like the pacific northwest, because you love to hike all year round. Whatever your “thing” is, there’s some destination for you out there. Mull it over with your partner and decide on the climate you prefer before thinking about anything else.
What are you into? Do you prefer to lounge all day by the pool, go hiking, or go sightseeing on a city tour bus? The activities you and your partner like to do together should be the next thing to consider. For example, if you want a warm climate and you love to explore new cities, you might consider Mexico City, Mexico, or Los Angeles, California. If you’re more into the snow life and you love sports, then you might want to consider Vail, Colorado, for some high-quality skiing.
Step 3: Figure out timing
A key component to planning the perfect honeymoon is timing. Consider the best time to visit your chosen destination. Take into account weather, peak tourist season, availability, comfort, and personal preferences. For example, it would not be the best time to book a Florida honeymoon in the middle of July if you hate the humidity. Sure, it’ll be cheaper (and if that’s your jam, then you do you), but you’re also paying less because the weather is slightly more uncomfortable than at other times of the year.
Another example of poor timing might be booking a trip to Santorini, Greece, in peak tourist season. Those gorgeous Pinterest pics you always dreamed of? Impossible in peak tourist season there.
Step 4: Plan for accommodations
Choose accommodations that match your style and budget. Where you stay is one of the most important decisions to make regarding your honeymoon! It can be a game changer to have an amazing hotel or a terrible one. Discuss with your partner where you want to stay. Do you enjoy the spa and customer service at a hotel? Maybe you really like the idea of staying in Airbnbs to “live like the locals.” Or maybe you’re really adventurous and would love to stay in a boat house or go glamping. Whatever your style is, there’s some accommodation out there for you and your spouse.
Start by researching different options, such as resorts, hotels, vacation rentals, or boat homes (if that’s your thing). You can check out travel blogs, read reviews on travel sites, and even ask around to see if anyone you personally know has been there.
Step 5: Schedule activities
Now, for the fun stuff. Plan out the activities you want to do during your honeymoon. Think about what you and your partner like to do on vacations and start the discussion. Prioritize what you absolutely must do first (visit X museum and sit by the beach every day). Then, think about your wants and your would-like-to-do’s. This should give you plenty of material to work off of.
Next up, start researching activities in your destination’s area. If you’re going somewhere that speaks another language, you might want to research some travel blogs for advice on how to find cool stuff.
Plan out your schedule for these activities. You want to go skiing, sledding, and snowmobiling all in one trip. Make sure you’ve carved out enough time to do them all! And, of course, make any of the reservations that you might need for them.
Finally, be open to changes in the scheduling and trying new things. As you probably know, traveling doesn’t always go to plan. Maybe one day you’re super jet lagged and have to skip out on one of the activities. Take it as an opportunity to try a cool restaurant! The world is your oyster!
Step 6: Prep your travel documents and travel insurance
Now for the boring (but important) stuff. Make sure you have all the necessary travel documents, such as passports, visas, and vaccinations. If you’re getting travel insurance, make sure to start looking into that beforehand, as well.
Depending on the country you’re going to, you may need different travel documents. For example, some countries may have different COVID protocols or documents required for entry, while other countries may be super laid back.
As for travel insurance, you might consider getting some to protect yourself against any unexpected issues such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, or lost or stolen luggage. Many credit card companies these days offer travel insurance through the use of their card. Maybe start there and see if you’re covered first!
Step 7: Look up travel warnings
This may seem like an over-precaution (and it might be, depending on the situation), but if you’re going somewhere exotic, you may want to take a peek at the United States travel advisories website. This can alert you of any precautions you need to take when traveling to certain locations (if any at all). For example, are there any Zika outbreaks or other health-related issues going on? There could even be war or terrorism happening. Scary!! Sometimes, there are warnings telling you to avoid travel at all costs, so you definitely want to avoid those, if possible.
Step 8: Pack accordingly
You either love packing or hate packing; there’s no in-between. But, when you go on a honeymoon, you gotta do it. First, you’ll want to decide what type of luggage you’re bringing. Are you a light or heavy packer? If you’re restricted to a carry-on, you may want to start planning for how to pack light. You can plan your outfits ahead of time to make sure you don’t bring any useless stuff.
Next, make a list! If you’re going somewhere for a long time or somewhere super foreign to you, you may want to make a list of all the things you need, such as any important documents, medications, and chargers.
Don’t forget to keep in mind TSA and country rules. Some countries have strict regulations on what you can and cannot bring into the country. If you fail to follow those rules, you could even wind up in jail. This is especially true for things like medications and marijuana.
Overall, planning a honeymoon can be a lot of fun and a great opportunity for you and your partner to create an amazing honeymoon memory together. By setting a budget, choosing a destination, timing your trip, choosing the right accommodations, planning activities, and taking care of the necessary travel documents and insurance, you’ll be well on your way to a perfect honeymoon.
Nicole Sheehey is the Head of Legal Content at HelloPrenup, and an Illinois licensed attorney. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to prenuptial agreements. Nicole has Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School. She has a deep understanding of the legal and financial implications of prenuptial agreements, and enjoys writing and collaborating with other attorneys on the nuances of the law. Nicole is passionate about helping couples locate the information they need when it comes to prenuptial agreements. You can reach Nicole here: [email protected]