If you’re anything like me, you’ve been thinking about your honeymoon since before you were engaged.
But even if it wasn’t so much as a thought pre-engagement, I can pretty much guarantee it suddenly became very important to you once you got caught in the dumpster fire we refer to as wedding planning.
Trust me when I say, once you are in the thick of planning your wedding, a honeymoon suddenly means more to you than a superfluous vacation you occasionally catch on Instagram.
It suddenly becomes an an all-encompassing need, a light at the end of a long tunnel of guest lists, table settings, and squandered life savings. (Don’t even get me started on seating charts.)
In fact, do you know the number one thing that kept me sane during the wedding planning process?
The honeymoon planning one.
Before I had secured my florist or officially determined if I could afford a live band, I was musing over all of the beautiful destination possibilities for this once-in-a-lifetime occasion.
About two months into the wedding planning process, I had a list of about fifteen destination contenders. Just a few months after that, I was signing on the dotted line with my travel agency.
But if you’re feeling indecisive or having trouble pulling the trigger on your dream destination, not to worry.
I’ll show you how to decide on a honeymoon spot that will make you (and your partner) happy.
I know, I know, this part is no fun. In fact, I can actually hear the groans from over the Internet.
Set a budget? Come on, wasn’t this supposed to be a fun blog about which Caribbean island was going to host you and your better half free of charge for two blissful weeks?!
Yeah, no. If that’s what you were hoping for, I suggest you seek out some alternate reading material.
The sad reality is that honeymoons cost money, and usually a lot of it.
That being said, you can still pull off your dream honeymoon with proper planning and a healthy dose of realism.
But even if a registry isn’t part of your plan, you should start by figuring out what you have to spend before telling your friends and family that you’ll be honeymooning in the Maldives.
Realistically, honeymoons cost an average of $5,000 for one week, so that should at least provide a starting point for what you can expect to find.
Many honeymooners don’t zip away to paradise as soon as they get hitched. Although this may be the dream scenario, the reality is, sometimes it’s just not feasible financially.
Instead, many couples wait several weeks (or even months) to save up for the big trip. That’s why it’s incredibly important to figure out when you’re going before making the call on where.
Let’s say you’re having your winter wedding in December, but aren’t planning to take your honeymoon until June. You have your heart set on New Zealand, so what better time to go there than the beautiful month of June, right?
June – August is winter in New Zealand, so unless you’re planning to pack a parka for the trip, that’s really going to put a damper in your plans.
So before you commit yourself to a specific place, first figure out how the weather will be exactly when you want to go.
Alternatively, you may intentionally decide you want to visit a certain place in the off-season, as it will be much more affordable.
Countries such as Italy that often come with a hefty price tag become much more affordable in the shoulder season (April – Mid-June) or in the off-season (November – March). The giveback will just be a need to adjust your itinerary.
When I was planning out my honeymoon destination, I poured a lot of time into trying to find a place that would be all things to both of us.
I was convinced that there had to be a destination that was perfectly suited to both of our travel preferences and would make a statement about who we are as a couple.
I can tell you from experience: This is utterly nonsensical and a huge waste of time.
You’re going to be hard-pressed to find something that checks off every box on your list. Even if it’s the most beautiful place in the world, it could still involve a long flight, cost an arm and a leg, or be rampant with the Zika virus.
Similar to wedding planning, the best thing you can do is figure out your non-negotiables versus what you’re willing to be more flexible on.
For instance, if you’re not sure where you want to go but you’re set on a prohibitively expensive overwater bungalow resort, try getting a little more creative about the destination.
Once you can distinguish between the “must-haves” and the “nice-to-haves” you’ll have a much easier time nailing down the place.
If you’re still coming up short, I would suggest talking with married friends or relatives about where they went on their honeymoons. This could provide some really useful information regarding costs, hotels, excursions, culture, as well as things to avoid, if any.
These trusted sources will provide a non-biased opinion, as opposed to travel sites which will tend to highlight the best features of a particular location.
Sometimes knowing where not to stay could be just as valuable as advice on where to go, if no more so.
Once you’ve decided on a destination (or at least a general region), I highly suggest working with a travel agent.
The best advice I can give is to find an agency that specializes in the specific country, geographic area, or region that you’re interested in, just as Hellenic Holidays did for my Greek honeymoon.
It’s essentially the difference between going to a general physician versus a specialist. If you have a specific issue you need addressed, you go to a specialist.
The difference cannot be understated.
When I first started out as a honeymoon newbie, I went to a general travel agency and was none too impressed with the experience.
Since Greece wasn’t a main focus area, the agency essentially served as a third party messenger between me and another agency that they were getting their information from.
A lot of time spent in limbo waiting for answers to my questions regarding hotels, transportation, you name it.
But it wasn’t until I realized that I was pronouncing the names of Greek cities better than they were, that I knew it was time to move on (and no, I’m not Greek).
Definitely take the time to find an agency that truly understands your desired destination and can offer you the best possible experience both before and during your trip.
Other than that, just keep an open mind regarding new destination possibilities should they arise. You may be surprised by what you find!