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Several months before our wedding, my fiancé summoned me to the dreary wedding planning dungeon and placed a task on me so heavy, my knees nearly buckled at the weight: “plan our honeymoon.”
Maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but that’s how I remember it. I was 22, and at that point in my life, I didn’t have much travel experience and absolutely no clue how to plan what many folks view as a pinnacle, once in a lifetime vacation.
Choosing our destination was the first step, so like with everything I do in life, I dove into research mode. I spent weeks drowning in honeymoon listicles and soliciting rather unhelpful advice from family and friends. In the end, I discovered that while there is plenty of information out there about the top destinations and the best romantic views, there is little about how to choose the right one for you and your honey.
If I knew then what I know now, maybe the process wouldn’t have seemed so daunting. So, if you’ve been saddled with the herculean task of planning your honeymoon, check out this list of hints that summarize a few tips I learned while planning mine.
The temptation to procrastinate is real, but this is one trip you can’t afford to screw up.
Whether you’re booking a suite at an all-inclusive resort in Cancun or lining up several bed and breakfasts across the English countryside, the best options tend to book up early. Not only that, but it’s generally best to book flights around 2 months ahead of time. That’s far enough away from wheels-up to avoid last-minute price hikes, but close enough such that the airline is incentivized to sell seats.
Bonus Tip: If you’re planning on using points/miles to book any part of your trip, frequent travelers suggest giving yourself at least 3-6 months to find reduced award bookings.
Know Your Budget
Before you book that honeymoon suite in the Maldives, you should sit down with your significant other and decide on a solid budget range.
There is no right or wrong amount of money to spend on your honeymoon, but determining your budget will help narrow down what is possible (although if you follow our points/miles advice, you’d be surprised at what’s possible). Before you even begin envisioning your dream honeymoon, set aside some time to come up with a budget range that both of you can agree on.
Bonus Tip: Points and miles can take your small budget and blow the doors wide open. Check out some of our amazing reader success stories for some examples.
Envision Your Honeymoon Together
Once you have a budget in mind, close your eyes and picture exactly what you want to be doing on your honeymoon.
Get together with your darling and have them do the same thing, then talk through what you’re both thinking. Are you dreaming of cocktails and lounging in a cabana by the ocean or hiking adventurous trails in the Canadian Rockies? Would you rather be learning about history on a gondola ride in Venice or relaxing with a glass of wine while watching the sunset in Napa? Take note of what your partner is saying and figure out what style of honeymoon will make you both blissfully happy.
Bonus Tip: Even if all of your married friends went to Cancun on their honeymoons, that doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you. Check out my very own unique honeymoon to the Canadian Rockies and find out how I did it for next to nothing.
Think About Distance and Time
Figuring out the length of your trip and how far you want to travel are two of the most important factors in your planning stage.
First, determine how long you want to be away. The length of an average honeymoon is 8 days, but you may not have the budget for that. Alternatively, you may be considering a 6-week Europe tour or even a year around the world – that’s totally up to you. Regardless, the time you decide on should really help to narrow your options, and then consequently help you determine the distance.
Keep in mind that the last thing you want is to be stuck on a plane for half of your honeymoon. Don’t go the distance if you don’t have the time.
Bonus Tip: If you do have the time for a Europe trip, Paris is easily one of the most romantic cities on earth. Check out this awesome London and Paris honeymoon using points and miles.
Think About Weather
Unless surviving a hurricane is on your bucket list, you should take some time to research what the weather will be like at your destinations of interest.
Even before you do that, you should consider what you want the weather to be like. Are you thinking hot and steamy or cold and cozy? You’ll want to be comfortable the whole time, so figure out what destinations will most likely be in your comfort zone. More importantly, make sure you check out for possible severe weather – when in doubt, err on the side of caution.
Bonus Tip: Heading to a destination this is in its off-season can be a great way to find great value at lower costs.
Consider Current Events
Similar to being conscious of the weather, you don’t want to inadvertently drop yourself into a crisis situation because you failed to do your research. Pay attention to things like natural disasters, civil unrest, and financial crisis. Some simple research on current events can help you avoid a potentially disastrous honeymoon.
Bonus Tip: Current events can also provide advantageous opportunities. As it stands, the US market continues to be relatively strong, upping your buying power worldwide.
Choose Your Own Adventure
Follow your own path. The best part of your honeymoon will be the adventure you have together, and there is nothing adventurous about going on the exact same honeymoon your brother took six months earlier.
Recommendations from your friends and family are fine, but figuring out your own itinerary, choosing your own activities and finding that unique destination can be much more memorable. My honeymoon was far from perfect, but having our own unique story to remember and share with others is what makes this first adventure together something special.
If you’re still stuck, though, there is nothing wrong with learning from others (especially when it comes to points and miles). For example, if Hawaii is your dream honeymoon destination, you might as well learn how to have a 5-star honeymoon using points and miles.
Finding the right destination for your honeymoon can feel like an impossible task but if you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to finding a destination that will make your honeymoon a trip you will never forget. Oh, and congratulations on your big event!
Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.