For some, planning a honeymoon can seem like a daunting task. You are in the middle of planning the biggest day of your life and then there's that other little thing, the honeymoon. No wonder the honeymoon gets pushed to the side like a dinner salad as soon as the filet mignon arrives (anyone?).
Truth is, planning the honeymoon can actually be a temporary, and possibly a much needed, break from planning the wedding. It's something for just you two - no one else's opinions to consider, no one to please, just you and your honey taking a much deserved vacay away from it all. So, how do you plan an amazing honeymoon and enjoy it all at the same time? Here are some essential tips I've learned from planning countless trips for my husband and I all around the world:
1. Get a Game Plan: Sit down together, perhaps over happy hour or just somewhere fun that allows for you two to dream up some exciting ideas. Understand what each of you envision for your honeymoon. Whether it's relaxing, adventuring, or a mixture of both, the overall feel for your honeymoon (much like your wedding) will allow you to move forward with picking a destination that will cater to these things.
2. Pick a Destination : Nothing will stall planning quite like indecisiveness. Once you have an understanding of what kind of honeymoon you both desire, begin to search for places around the world that cater to these things. Now, you might be thinking, we can't afford to just Google a place somewhere in the world and just go. Completely understandable, you don't want to add on unnecessary stress by choosing somewhere that is beyond your budget. The beautiful thing about this wonderful world we live in is often times these dreamy places can be closer (monetarily closer, I mean) than you think, it just takes some patience and love to find them. I could write forever on this, but essentially, a vacation can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you make it, it all just depends on your comfort level. If a fancy hotel is a must no matter where you are, maybe a Euro tour isn't going to work for you. In this case, I say save on the travel and splurge on the accommodations - the door swings the other way.
3. Set the Anchors of the Trip: When I say anchors, in any planning reference, I mean the big stuff, the stuff that determines the small stuff. Once the destination is already set, next comes the dates of travel and then the travel itself. I prefer to use Google when searching for my airfare. Simply type in the airport codes that you will be traveling to and from in the search box. Choose your ideal dates, and then click "Search flights". On the next screen you will find all options for your travel dates along with search options to find exactly the type of flight that you are looking for. If your dates are flexible, take advantage of the calendar view by clicking the first date that will open up a screen of prices for all dates in the surrounding weeks (shown below). The least expensive dates will pop up in green.
4. Narrow Down the Area: Now that you have the anchors nailed down and have made the commitment of airfare (woohoo!), it's time to start working your way in, so to speak. You've chosen the ideal place, the best time to go, and now, it's time to choose the neighborhood that fits your needs best. It's back to Google for some good ol' research. When I search things, I am as literal as possible. I search things like "most walkable area in Portland", "what is the best end of Waikiki to stay at?", and so on. Take advantage of the many blogs, articles, and of course, TripAdvisor.
5. Book Your Accommodations: There are plenty of different places to call a foreign city home for the week, you just have to figure out which one best suits you. While Airbnb is growing in popularity, my husband and I still prefer hotels. It's totally a personal preference and whatever makes you feel the most comfortable, I say that's the best choice. My go to site for hotel searching is Hotels.com. I find it user friendly and I enjoy that every 10th night I book with them, we receive one night for free. The guest rating is pretty reliable and I usually look at hotels that are a guest rating of "4" or higher (on a scale of 5). From there, bring the pricing down to your ideal budget and then narrow down the neighborhood that you have already found.
6. Plan Your Stay: Now that all of the necessities are taken care of (don't forget the rental car if you think you'll need one), you can focus on the fun stuff! I think a good rule of thumb is to plan about 1/3 of the days ahead of time and to wing the rest. It's okay to have a few days where you are not sure what you will do or where you'll end up. Sometimes spontaneous walks and long drives lead to the most unexpecting, amazing places and forever cherished experiences.
7. Give Yourself Time and ENJOY: Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to decompress from the planning so that you yourself can enjoy the trip. The last thing you want to do is put things off til the last minute only to end up resenting the trip itself (trust me, it's possible). Once you have finished planning, enjoy the moment! This is the part that is all about you two, so soak it all in and enjoy the first, of hopefully many, trips with your lifelong travel buddy!
here are a few of our favorite places around the world...