Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Planning your honeymoon
Eight Months to One Year Before
Make a budget.
Determine how much money you can spend on the honeymoon. This will help you narrow down your choices.
Decide whether to use a travel agent.
Travel specialists can take the planning off your plate and do all the legwork. (Some charge very reasonable fees.) Find one at the American Society of Travel Agents’ website, travelsense.org.
Decide where you’re going.
No brainer, right? As soon as you get engaged, you should start thinking about where you want to honeymoon. At the beach? Europe, perhaps? Consider the time of year, and what the weather will be like.
Buy plane tickets.
If you are using frequent flier miles, you’ll have a much better chance of getting the flights you want if you book well in advance. Most airlines release frequent flier seats around 11 months ahead of time. Booking early will also help you get a nonstop flight. Missing a connection and spending the night in an airport hotel? Not so romantic.
Book your hotel.
Nail down your accommodations early, so you can focus on the more minor details. Hotels in Europe tend to be small, so good ones fill up. Have a few options before you start contacting hotels.
Six Months Before
Do any of the above if you haven’t already.
So you aren’t having a long engagement. Don’t worry! Get started now, and take care of your plane tickets and hotel as soon as possible.
Schedule any transportation.
Once you know your itinerary, buy train tickets or look into a rental car, if any of that is needed. Even if you are heading to an all-inclusive beach resort you never plan to leave, you’ll need transportation to and from the airport. Make sure it’s taken care of now. Note: Eurail, the major train network across Europe, may not have updated schedules until 60 days before your trip. Go ahead and buy your overall pass, then schedule seats closer to the date.
Make the impossible-to-get dinner reservation.
If you’re dying to go to a Michelin-starred restaurant that’s booked months in advance, now is the time to secure a reservation.
Get or renew your passport.
The turnaround for getting or renewing a passport can be as quick as a month, but it’s better to have this squared away. If your passport is current, make sure it will be for at least six months after you return home. That is a requirement for some countries.
Apply for any visas or other documentation.
Know what the country you’re visiting requires, and take care of it.
Purchase travel insurance.
It may seem unnecessary (you can estimate it will run about 5 percent of your total cost), but when you are spending a lot of money on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, having it canceled because of Hurricane Joey is much more costly than a few hundred dollars. Travel insurance plans can cover everything from illness to acts of God.
If you’re going to Africa, Southeast Asia (hello, Thailand!), or other exotic destinations, you may need immunizations. And some are given in stages that take time. Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, cdc.gov, for information.
Three Months Before
Plan your activities.
You don’t want to plan too much, and you may just want to sleep on the beach. But if you are going on a more cultural trip, go ahead and buy tickets to museums, or book a trip to a nearby architectural site. You won’t waste time waiting in lines or figuring out details once you’re there.
Make a quick mental packing list.
Need new luggage? Or a camera? If you determine in advance that you need expensive items, you might ask for them as wedding gifts. Or you may just realize you need to go bikini shopping.
One Month Before
Reserve seats on trains if you’re going to be moving around a country. Finalize your itinerary or confirm your car rental. If you are driving in a foreign country, get an international driving permit (available at AAA offices).
Book spa appointments or other activities.
If you’re heading to a mega, all-inclusive resort, you may want to prebook spa treatments and special activities, like sailing trips or other excursions, that might fill up. Call and ask the resort concierge for advice.
Make sure you have full bottles of any medications you take regularly.
Now’s the time to shop for clothes—not the week before the wedding. Don’t forget things like voltage converters or specific garments (like a head covering for a place of worship) you’ll need for some countries.
Two Weeks Before
Call the hotel and any restaurants to confirm your reservations.
Make copies of your documents.
Have copies of your passport, visa, credit cards, driver’s license, and any other important documents in case something is lost or stolen. Leave a set with someone at home and pack one in your suitcase.
Write down important phone numbers.
If you are visiting a foreign country, know the location of the closest U.S. embassy. Also, have the phone numbers of your credit card companies so you can quickly call if there are any problems.
Get some local currency.
You can easily get cash from an ATM in any country, but having a little bit of money on hand (about the equivalent of $200) is a good idea—even if it’s just to take a cab to the hotel without having to stop at an ATM in the airport.
Don’t wait until the week before the wedding, when you’ll be extremely busy. Pack what you can ahead of time. You can throw in toiletries at the last minute.
Honeymoon Packing Checklist
One or Two Days Before
Confirm the hotel. Again.
It can’t hurt. Just to give you peace of mind.
Check the weather.
If your destination is having an unseasonably cold week, you may want to throw in another sweater.
Pack a carry-on for the flight.
Have essentials, like your passport, cell phone charger, and anything else you tend to forget, ready to go.
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