While you’ve been planning place settings, photography, flowers and decorations, have you thought about beaches, vineyard tours and hotel reservations?
“According to a recent survey conducted by The Knot, Rhode Island couples are 87 percent more likely to go on a honeymoon than any other couple in the U.S.,” Alison Greene of Engaged Magazine wrote.
It’s easy to get caught up in the details of your big day, but Greene suggests planning the honeymoon six to eight months ahead of time. So take a break from reception playlists and seating arrangements. Here are 10 tips to help you prepare for your romantic getaway.
1. Visit somewhere new
Start planning your honeymoon by choosing a place neither of you has been. This allows you to explore someplace new together and create new memories, while also having no expectations of what your destination is like. However, be realistic. Look at your budget and make sure it works within your limits.
2. Check rewards, discounts and offers
No matter the destination or budget, check with hotels and airlines on reward programs. Bride-to-be and Newton, Mass. resident, Lauren McGuire, created a summary of frequent flyer miles and hotel points for herself and her fiancé. They then checked into transferring points between partners. For example, United miles can be transferred to Marriott to get free nights. Being proactive with rewards can land you massive savings and perks, such as a free upgrade to first class, a free night at a hotel, or even a free flight.
3. Plan activities
Once you’ve selected your destination, take the time to map out a loose itinerary. Note all the must-see/must-do spots on your list, followed by the alternatives. Once you have your plan, book any tours or tickets well in advance, especially if it’s a popular tourist destination. But, don’t overwhelm and overbook yourselves, you will want a fine balance between relaxation and activity.
4. Keep timing in mind
There’s always a sweet spot when it comes to traveling for a honeymoon. You don’t want to leave right after the wedding, nor do you want to travel during peak season. Take a moment to catch your breath after the wedding before jetting off. If this means traveling during off-season, three months after your wedding, it could save you a significant amount of money. Just remember to come back with at least one full day between your honeymoon and your real life; nothing is worse than going to work exhausted from vacation.
5. Do your research
Whether it’s a walking tour or a bed and breakfast, consult with review websites such as TripAdvisor to read about a venue or experience before you book. Hotels tend to put their best photography and testimonials on their websites, so be sure to do your research. If you plan on purchasing any packages, read the fine print. While a hostel may seem cheaper, breakfast each morning could end up costing you just as much as a full-service hotel. Take the time to compare rates.
6. Ask for help – hire a professional
Chances are, you are knee-deep in wedding planning or just exhausted from planning in general. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Consult with a travel agent on planning your dream getaway. They are full of good information, insider deals and know the ins-and-outs of travel, making your life easier.
7. Go on a digital cleanse
Make it a point to disconnect from the real world. Log off social media, put your phone on airplane mode or take a camera, and enjoy each other’s company. All of it will be there when you get back home, but for now – relish the time off the grid.
8. Take photos
As long as your phone doesn’t have service (see number 7), remember to take pictures together during your trip. These are memories in the making, and you’ll want pictures to show your family and friends.
9. Plan surprises
Your honeymoon is a time of romance. Treat your new spouse to small surprises throughout your trip. These surprises can be as simple as scheduling a private tour of a site, sprinkling rose petals everywhere, or planning a candlelit dinner.
10. Treat yourself
Have one day of the honeymoon where you go all-out and treat yourselves. Get dressed up and go to a fancy dinner or splurge on an excursion that you’ve been dying to do. Even if your budget is tight, set aside one day where you treat yourselves like royalty.
If you’re still feeling stuck, check out Real Simple’s honeymoon planning checklist at realsimple.com/weddings/weddings-planning/honeymoon-planning-checklist.
STEPHANIE ROSS is a freelance writer and public relations professional in Boston.