Guide to Planning a Great Honeymoon
A honeymoon can be a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Before becoming overwhelmed with the destinations and logistics of it all, allow us to inspire you and ease your worries. Begin your honeymoon planning here, and find information on budgets, when to go, where to go, and more.
Your Honeymoon: Domestic or International?
10 Tips for a Great Honeymoon
5 Great Honeymoon Ideas
– The Beach Honeymoon
– The Adventure Honeymoon
– The Intimate Honeymoon
– The “World Traveller” Honeymoon
Packing For Your Honeymoon
Need help planning the rest of your wedding? Our wedding planning guide is the perfect start!
Planning Your Honeymoon: Domestic or International?
First things first, where are you going? Do you want to stay in the country or would you rather explore something a bit outside of what you’re used to?
Some find it more romantic to escape to a foreign country and immerse themselves within a new culture together. There’s something more secluded and connecting about an experience as such. But others may want to just let loose and have fun in a more comfortable setting, which would be found easier in a home country.
There are benefits to both kinds of adventures but things you have to consider as well. Do you both have a passport? Have you traveled together before? Before you dive into planning we’ve got lots of tips and ideas to consider while making your destination selection. Take a peek and have fun mapping our your journey!
10 Tips for a Great Honeymoon
- Decide on a budget. Figure out how much you have to spend beforehand, and perhaps count on some wedding-gift money to add to your stake.
- Discuss your idea of the perfect vacation. Who likes sports? Who likes sun? Who wants to explore an exotic destination? Make a list of the things that mean the most to you, and compare notes. Marriage is going to call for lots of compromise, and this is the place to start.
- Pick your destination. If you’re on a budget, keep in mind that many places adjust their rates seasonally. For instance, it’s cheaper to visit the Caribbean in warm weather, and ski resorts that offer a lot of activities (but no snow) in summer will also be less expensive.
- Use a travel agent. It doesn’t cost any more, and he or she can make all the arrangements without you having to worry about them. Plus, if something goes wrong, you’ll have someone you know to call.
- Passport. If you’re going abroad, leave plenty of time to make sure your passport is current and you have any visas required. To avoid confusion, women are advised to make reservations under their maiden name and wait until returning to legally change a name after marriage.
- “It’s Our Honeymoon”. Here’s a great tip for getting extra special care. Anytime you make a reservation (no matter the event) let them know it is your honeymoon. You may get upgraded to a better room at no charge, receive a welcome bottle of champagne, and who knows what else.
- Protect your privacy. No, not online privacy. We’re talking about making sure you pick a hotel where there aren’t hundreds of kids running around. You want some romance and privacy on this trip.
- Take more money than you think you’ll need. You may pay for everything up front, but things like tips, watersports, local restaurants are all things that you will want to take advantage of that you’ll need cash for.
- Schedule “do nothing” time. This is your honeymoon. Relax.
- Be considerate of your spouse’s wishes.
5 Great Honeymoon Ideas
Before you figure out a destination, you may want to decide on the vibe you want. Relax at the beach or get adventurous in a foreign country, here are 5 great honeymoon ideas to get the wheels turning.
The Beach Honeymoon
Seemingly the most popular of the bunch, the beach honeymoon is all about surf, sands and sun. Take in the rays and spend your days relaxing seaside at any tropical location.
From a Jamaican, full-service resort where you can focus on the music to seeing the gorgeous coast in the Spain or checking out Bondi beach in Australia, there are so many incredible places to take a classic beach vacation to an entirely new level. Hawaii, Bora Bora or even Mexican, they’re all spots that deserve a look or two before you make your final choice for an oceanview.
The Adventure Honeymoon
Maybe you’re more of an adventurous couple and want to make this trip filled with experiences that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. If that sounds like you two, maybe you should check out destinations that are a bit more offbeat or at least filled with excursions that will get the adrenaline pumping.
Try looking into all of the fun adventures that Queensland, New Zealand has to offer. The Rocky Mountains could be a great destination to try or checking out tons of spots in Australia as well. The rain forest of Costa Rica doesn’t sound too bad either.
The Intimate Honeymoon
Once all the wedding festivities die down, you may just want to take it easy. Reconnect and relax within a more intimate setting. Pick a new place, get good rest, sightsee and, of course, make sure there are lots of places to indulge in drinks and good dishes too.
Pick a destination that has some secluded spots or resorts to enjoy. Bora Bora, Fiji or even Sonoma, California could be locations to take a better look at.
The “World Traveller” Honeymoon
Of course, if you both have the travel bug you can take a more exploratory approach to your honeymoon. Grab a backpack and do what you’ve always wanted to do by traveling the globe – or at least a big part of it.
Whether it’s a cross-country road trip or a perfectly planned backpacking adventure around Europe, there are lots of areas to explore with your new husband or wife. Thankfully, there are tons of “routes” and help you can find online to make this idea go off without a hitch.
Honeymoon Milestones: What to Do, & When to Do It
12 Months Before Departure
- Determine your budget. Decide how much money you can spend on the honeymoon. This will help you narrow down your choices.
- Use a travel agent. Trust us, you have enough to do. Travel specialists can make life way easier.
- Decide on your destination. No brainer, right? As soon as you get engaged, you should start thinking about where you want to honeymoon.
- Book your flights. Booking early will also help you get a nonstop flight.
- Book your hotel. Nail down your accommodations early, so you can focus on the more minor details
6 Months Before Departure
- Make hard-to-get dinner reservation. There’s always the hard to get into awesome restaurant. Book it now.
- Schedule transportation. Once you know your itinerary, organize any additional transportation. Trains, buses and transfers can all be booked this far out.
- Renew your passport. The turnaround for getting or renewing a passport can be as quick as a month, but it’s better to have this squared away.
- Apply for any visas. Know what the country you’re visiting requires, and take care of it.
- Purchase travel insurance. Travel insurance plans can cover everything from illness to acts of God. Given the cost of most honeymoons, it is important to get coverage just in case.
2 Months Before
- Plan your activities.You don’t want to plan too much, and you may just want to sleep on the beach. But if you are going on a more cultural trip, go ahead and buy tickets to museums, or book a trip to a nearby architectural site. You won’t waste time waiting in lines or figuring out details once you’re there.
- Make a quick mental packing list. Need new luggage? Or a camera? If you determine in advance that you need expensive items, you might ask for them as wedding gifts. Or you may just realize you need to go bikini shopping.
30 Days Prior to Departure
- Finalize transportation. Reserve seats on trains if you’re going to be moving around a country. Finalize your itinerary or confirm your car rental. If you are driving in a foreign country, get an international driving permit (available at AAA offices).
- Book spa appointments or other activities. If you’re heading to a mega, all-inclusive resort, you may want to prebook spa treatments and special activities, like sailing trips or other excursions, that might fill up. Call and ask the resort concierge for advice.
- Fill prescriptions. Make sure you have full bottles of any medications you take regularly.
- Shop. Now’s the time to shop for clothes—not the week before the wedding. Don’t forget things like voltage converters or specific garments (like a head covering for a place of worship) you’ll need for some countries.
14 Days Prior to Departure
- Confirm everything. Call the hotel and any restaurants to confirm your reservations.
- Make copies of your documents. Have copies of your passport, visa, credit cards, driver’s license, and any other important documents in case something is lost or stolen. Leave a set with someone at home and pack one in your suitcase.
- Write down important phone numbers. If you are visiting a foreign country, know the location of the closest U.S. embassy. Also, have the phone numbers of your credit card companies so you can quickly call if there are any problems.
- Get some local currency. You can easily get cash from an ATM in any country, but having a little bit of money on hand (about the equivalent of $200) is a good idea—even if it’s just to take a cab to the hotel without having to stop at an ATM in the airport.
- Pack. Don’t wait until the week before the wedding, when you’ll be extremely busy. Pack what you can ahead of time. You can throw in toiletries at the last minute.
7 Days to Go!
- Confirm the hotel. Again. It can’t hurt. Just to give you peace of mind.
- Check the weather. If your destination is having an unseasonably cold week, you may want to throw in another sweater.
- Pack a carry-on for the flight. Have essentials, like your passport, cell phone charger, and anything else you tend to forget, ready to go.
The Day Before!
- Double-check the necessities. Again make sure everything from the passport to the plane tickets are accounted for.
- Leave behind contact info. Make sure family members back home know where you’ll be and now to get in touch with you in case of an emergency – this is especially important if you’ll be going outside the country.
- Touch-in with your helpers. Go over the essentials with your loved ones. Whoever is taking care of the dog, grabbing your mail, taking your trash out or making sure everything at the house is kept intact, go over whatever needs to be done and send them a nice thank you (and bring something back too!).
Packing For Your Honeymoon
Before you get to enjoy your honeymoon, you’ve got to pack your bags! Double-check this list and make sure you don’t forget any of the essentials.
- Bras. Remember to include a sports bra, if you think you’ll engage in any fitness activities while you’re away.
- 1-2 camisoles or tank tops
- 3-5 mix and match bikini pieces, depending on the destination of your trip. Even if you’re heading for snowy mountains, chances are you’ll have a pool or hot tub available!
- 1 jacket. Lightweight or heavy, depending on your destination.
- Men, ensure you have slacks and a nice polo or dress shirt (if you anticipate wanting to dine out somewhere nice)
- Shampoo & conditioner
- Hair products, including bobby pins and hair ties
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
- Razor and shaving cream
- Aloe/after-sun balm
- Small first aid kit
- Birth control/Condoms
- Lib balm
- Facial cleanser and moisturizer
- Tampons. If there’s any chance you’ll start during your honeymoon, bring them! They can be difficult to find in international destinations.
- 2-7 formal dresses. A few short, a few long. If you’re planning for a resort or a cruise, you’ll need more formal dresses than if you’re planning a more low-key honeymoon such as a quaint hotel in San Juan; a beach house on the Riviera Maya.
- 1-2 summer dresses
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 1 pair of jeans. Or a few more if your destination is cooler.
- Lightweight cardigan. For evenings, lounging, or the plane.
- 3-4 sleeveless tops
- Swimsuit cover-up
- 1-2 pairs of (versatile) heels
- 1 pair of cute sandals
- 1 pair of flip-flops
- 1 pair running shoes (if you’ll use them)
- 1 pair of boots, if traveling to a cool destination
- 1-2 scented candles
- Scented massage oil
- Bubble bath
- As many pieces of lingerie as nights of your trip. Get creative and write a few descriptive hints for each piece, put them in an envelope, and read them to your guy each night. Let him choose!
- Passport, visas, booking/ticket information
- Credit/ATM cards
- Photocopies of all tickets, IDs, confirmation information, vaccinations, traveler’s insurance, and prescription meds
- Leave contact and travel information, as well as photocopies of your tickets, IDs, and confirmation information with a trusted friend or family member in case of emergency or stolen luggage
- Cell phone charger
- Contact information of your doctor and any other emergency contacts
- Camera, charger, extra battery
- 1-2 paperbacks. On the plane, on the beach, in a hammock….
- 2 travel umbrellas
- Various sizes of Ziplocs or other sealable plastic bags
- Comfortable daypack, crossbody bag, or purse