Don’t be frightened of honeymoon planning. Sure, plotting a honeymoon is more involved than planning a regular vacation. But it’s a lot easier than planning a wedding, and you’re in the process of crushing that, right? (Right?)
In a way, your honeymoon is like a military campaign. You have allies, objectives, beaches to take, hidden traps to avoid. Keep a few basic things in mind, and you’ll be fine.
1. Strike First
You may be tempted to put your honeymoon planning on the back burner until you’ve completely figured out the wedding. This is what we in the business call “a tactical blunder.” You need to start thinking about the honeymoon early, maybe even before you’ve picked the venue for your wedding reception. Why? Because you’re not the only person planning a honeymoon.
There are a million other couples doing the same thing, and a significant number of them will be those hyper-organized type-A personalities who make their reservations years in advance. Do you want them to get all the good presidential suites and deluxe infinity pools? If you want to have an unforgettable honeymoon, you can’t put off planning. It might not be your number one priority, but place it in the top three, at least.
2. Pick Your Battlefield
(Choose Your Destination)
Unless you’re embarking on a marriage of convenience, or are helping someone get their Green Card, or are pretending to be husband and wife in order to engage in corporate espionage, you presumably share some interests with your bride. Those interests should be in the front of your mind when planning your honeymoon.
This isn’t rocket science, after all. If you both like camping, then head for one of our many glorious national parks. If you want to immerse yourself in a foreign city, then head to Paris, or Mumbai, or Hong Kong. And if you both think that a perfect vacation means sun, waves, and periodically calling to the cabana boy for another Blue Hawaiian, then book a suite at an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean.
3. Divide and Conquer
(Spend Some Time Alone)
As impossible as it sounds now, you might not want to spend every waking moment of your honeymoon together. Make sure wherever you go offers the opportunity to peel off on your own when the mood strikes. If you want to go jogging along the lip of a volcano, she should be able to go look at antiques. If she wants to BASE jump off a cliff face, you should be able to check out the local flower show. Neither of you is obligated to do whatever it is the other person wants. Besides, breaking out on your own will give you something to talk about over dinner.
4. Don’t Engage Superior Numbers
(Watch Your Budget)
If you only have $3,000 to spend, go somewhere you can enjoy on $3,000, and NOT somewhere where the cost is sure to balloon up to $10,000 before you’re done. There are lots of places to see in the world, and many of them are much more budget-friendly than the Seychelles.
5. Sweep for Landmines
(Beware of Hidden Costs)
“All-inclusive” resorts and cruises, package vacations, and other such deals are often stuffed with more hidden costs than a Congressional tax bill. Do your research, and know that the incredible rate you just scored might not be so incredible once you add up all the actual expenses. It’s like ordering cable or buying a car: the research and comparison shopping is a drag, but it pays to put the time in beforehand.
6. Factor in the Weather
(Pick the Best Season)
Remember that every vacation destination has a season, and that each one is different for different reasons. Beware the off season: it may be a better deal, and you may avoid crowds, but there are risks you need to consider.
An obvious example: you can score killer deals and dodge the crowds in the Caribbean during “low season”—from mid-April through mid-December—but you might also run smack into the next Hurricane Maria, which won’t be so easy to dodge. Doesn’t mean you can’t do it, but be sure to bring some raincoats and an inflatable raft. Oh, and our next item…
7. Have an Exit Strategy
(Get Travel Insurance)
Even if you’ve never have taken out insurance on a vacation before, now’s the time to start. Be sure the insurance plan covers cancellations, in full, for any and all reasons. Often third-party insurance plans only cover partial refunds under highly specific extenuating circumstances. Why? Because it’s insurance, and insurance is annoying. So shop wisely.
War is hell, but your honeymoon is not. Remember, it’s a week or two (or three or four) with your favorite person in the world. Plan in advance, and the two of you will emerge victorious.