How to plan your honeymoon like a ninja, from our friends at Jetsetter

Rob Deeming is the CEO of Jetsetter, the world’s largest booking engine for luxury travel. In our Q&A with Rob, he shared with us insightful tips on honeymoon destinations, growing trends and where to go if we’re looking for some mind-blowing adventure.

Honeymoon planning is a part of the wedding process that many grooms get involved with – even if they’ve had no say in (or no opinion on!) the flowers, colors, or cake. Why is that?

A honeymoon is a chance to take a trip of lifetime together, and I think that most couples recognize the importance of both parties having a say in what that adventure is going to look like. At Jetsetter, we often here from our clients that the honeymoon will be the one (and only) part of the wedding planning process the groom is entrusted with. Many of our honeymoon clients are grooms, and we often hear, “I only have one job, so I don’t want to mess it up.”

She wants to lie on a beach and veg out; you want a mind-blowing adventure. What gives?

Fortunately, there are many destinations that offer the chance to do both, and we are noticing an increasing trend towards –multi-base trips that provide a combination of culture, adventure and relaxation. Sitting on a beach can be great, but after a week it gets a little old. I would encourage honeymooners to consider destinations that are suited to combination trips – safari in Kenya combined with beach time in Madagascar, rafting & trekking in Nepal coupled with pristine resort time in Sri Lanka, or just consider a destination like Hawaii which combines everything in a single location.

It is tradition to leave for a honeymoon right after a wedding (think wedding getaway car), but nowadays, many couples wait days (or even months) to go on a honeymoon, either for personal, professional, or financial reasons. What’s your best advice for getting the timing right?

Timing for your honeymoon can depend on a number of factors. If a couple already has a particular destination in mind, the right timing might be dictated by weather at the destination. For couple’s who are flexible with their destination, then that can open up more options from a timing perspective too. We find that proximity to the wedding date does not necessarily correlate to a more fulfilling honeymoon, in fact having a break between wedding and honeymoon can be advantageous; giving the couple the chance to digest all the excitement of the big day, as well as to spend time with family and friends who may have travelled a long distance to attend. A good approach is to first choose your destination and if you can, flex your plans around the best time to visit the place of your dreams.

…a two week trip to Bora Bora and Moorea…is going to cost upward of $15,000. Fix your budget before you start making choices.

How should you think about budgeting for a honeymoon?

This is probably the most overlooked, but important part of planning for a honeymoon. Its important to be realistic with your budget and understand there are a number of pieces that have to fall in place for a dream honeymoon to become a reality (and that these pieces are typically not cheap). Ball-parking your ideal budget, and working off this number as you start to plan, is usually the most effective way to get a trip you are comfortable with. Honeymoon planning services can help to determine exactly what type of trip you are able to take based on the budget you have in mind. If you are looking for a two week trip to Bora Bora and Moorea (a very popular choice), couples need to be realistic this is going to cost upward of $15,000 (which many people are not prepared to hear). Fix your budget before you start making choices.

What’s the etiquette on asking wedding guests to chop in on your honeymoon as their gift to you?

We have seen an increasing trend in split-gifting like this, for honeymoons but also for other expensive items such as cars. In fact, there are a growing number of wedding registry services that are dedicated to helping couples make it easier for the guests to contribute in this way. It makes for a unique wedding gift, and with more and more people getting married later in life (and as such, needing less crockery and sheets!), it’s a trend we expect to increase in popularity. One couple I know paid for their own base honeymoon, but asked guests to make gifts that created fun add-ons to their trip – excursions, wine for planned dinners, flight upgrades, etc.

The best room in a good hotel will nearly always be better than a good room in the best hotel.

What are some good resources for honeymoon deals? What’s worth splurging on and where can you save?

Other than the Jetsetter Honeymoon Concierge service of course, honestly, most resorts now offer high quality tailor made honeymoon packages. You can often find deals where nightly rates do not far exceed the Lowest Available Rates offered by the hotel. Booking a honeymoon package will normally assure you of complimentary room upgrades and a range of welcome amenities (massages, drinks, dinners, etc.)

If the trip is a multi-destination itinerary, we usually suggest more modest accommodations at the beginning of the trip and saving the blow-out, luxury room for the last portion – at first, you’ll be happy to just be away, by the end, it may take a lot to impress you! You can also save pretty substantially on excursions/activities by speaking with the hotel concierge before your trip and scoping out the best options before departure.

One final tip here that applies to all types of travel – the best room in a good hotel will nearly always be better than a good room in the best hotel.

What are some of the more unique or unexpected trends you’ve seen in honeymoons (i.e. the cooking honeymoon, snorkeling honeymoon etc.)?

The current foodie craze seems to be spreading into honeymoons for sure – destinations with food and wine at the center are increasing in popularity, as are bookings for excursions that involve cooking and eating in general – think Tuscany and the south of France. Given that a honeymoon is generally a time for over-indulgence, I think many couples just figure why not really push it.

A little adventure and uncertainty can always create lasting memories and help to enrich the entire experience.

How can you make sure your honeymoon is completely distinct from all the other trips you’ve taken (and will take) as a couple?

A honeymoon is really a trip you are going to want to splurge on. It can seem overwhelming after all of the wedding expenses come in, but this is a trip you are going to remember for the rest of your life. An exotic destination can definitely go toward helping distinguish your honeymoon from regular travel. A little adventure and uncertainty can always create lasting memories and help to enrich the entire experience.

From where you sit in your role as general manager of jetsetter, what are some popular/trendy honeymoon destinations these days?

The Pacific islands are as popular as ever, with destinations like Bora Bora and Moorea perennial favorites. We also continue to see lots of demand into places like the Greek Islands (great for multiple-stop trips), Italy (good combination of culture, food and beaches), Hawaii (adventure and beaches) and the Caribbean (pristine sand and lots of relaxation). These top spots have dominated honeymoon booking for the last decade and show no signs of slowing down.

Any locations or hotels you can identify as up-and-coming?

We are starting to see increasing interest in locations around the edges around Europe – Croatia is a great example, combining incredible eastern European architecture with great beaches and incredible islands. Turkey is becoming more popular for many of the same reasons, and more and more people are starting to choose Morocco in northern Africa.

Ok, fill in the blanks…

In my opinion, the best beach honeymoon destination is New Zealand. The best hotel to stay at there is Kauri Cliffs. I love the location/hotel because it provides access to some of the most stunning beaches and topography in the world.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for culture, check out Turkey. A few of my favorite hotels there are the A’jia Hotel in Istanbul and Argos in Cappadocia. If you go there, don’t miss the Üsküdar Bit Pazari antique flea market.

For the adventure seeker (or someone who wants the unexpected), check out skiing in Are, Sweden. It is only a few short miles from the Artic circle and one of the most beautiful places on earth – the skiing is great and it’s far away from the crowds of the Alps and Colorado.

Of course, a big part of the honeymoon is staying in bed. Some of the most beautiful rooms (and unbelievable beds) are at George V, Paris and the brand-new Café Royale, London. It doesn’t matter where you are because you’ll never want to leave your room.

Be sure to check out Jetsetter if you’re looking for exclusive honeymoon plans.

Rob Deeming Jetsetter, CEO

Rob Deeming is the CEO of Jetsetter. Jetsetter drives around $100MM in gross bookings and employs a team of 75 based in NYC, Boston and London. Prior to his current role, Rob launched the Jetsetter brand in Europe.

Rob was formerly the head of strategic projects at Gilt Groupe, the leading flash sale ecommerce business in the US, where he was responsible for the incubation of new business verticals, most recently with the creation of Gilt City, its local deals offering. Before joining Gilt, Rob was COO at outside.in, a local news aggregator that sold to AOL in 2009.

Earlier in his career, Rob was a case team leader with the strategy consultancy Bain & Company, where he focused on the technology and telecoms sectors in Europe and the US.

Rob holds a masters degree in Engineering and Mathematics from Nottingham University and an MBA from Harvard University.

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