11 Dos and Dont’s for a Perfect Honeymoon

From not booking under your new name to leaving too soon, there are a lot of mistakes you can make when planning a trip like your honeymoon. Find out what those are and how to avoid them.

By McCall Minnor

couple avoids honeymoon planning mistakes
Photo by Gift Habeshaw - Pexels

There are a lot of to-do’s that fall under the wedding planning umbrella—including planning the honeymoon. But what do you need to do (and not do) in order to plan the perfect getaway for you and your partner? Let’s take a look at the must-know do’s and don’ts for planning the perfect honeymoon:

Do craft a honeymoon budget.

We can’t emphasize this enough: At the beginning of your honeymoon planning, create a realistic budget and stick with it. Work out what you can spend on your total honeymoon cost (based on your own savings, rewards points, or contributions to a honeymoon cash fund) then look into flights, lodging, activities, and extras that fit into that number. It may be tempting to splurge on an especially expensive getaway (you’re celebrating, after all), but you don’t want to break the bank. It doesn’t matter how amazing the honeymoon might be; it’s not worth starting your life as a married couple saddled with debt.

In the meantime, avoid taking money out of your honeymoon savings or cash fund to pay for your wedding. Saying you’ll replace the money before you need to start booking is often a false promise. Place the funds in a separate savings account and don’t touch it until it’s time to book.

Do work together with your partner on planning your dream honeymoon.

Your honeymoon can be the trip of a lifetime—but only if you and your partner are on the same page. If you take the lead on honeymoon planning and plan a whirlwind trip around the world—but your partner’s idea of the perfect honeymoon is a laid-back road trip—the honeymoon is only going to be the trip of a lifetime for you, not your partner.

That’s why it’s so important to work with your partner on planning your dream honeymoon. Talk to your soon-to-be-spouse about where they’d like to go and what they’d like to do for your honeymoon. Then, share your ideas—and work together to come up with a list of the best honeymoon destinations for both of you.

Do strike a balance between adventure and relaxation.

You might be envisioning kicking off your life as newlyweds with nothing but lounging on the beach—or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, by scheduling a flurry of back-to-back excursions and activities. And while you might think you want to spend all of your time relaxing or adventuring, too much adventuring and you’re going to be exhausted—and too much downtime, and you’re bound to get bored.

That’s why one of the best travel tips for planning your honeymoon? Find a balance between adventure and relaxation.

As you're planning your trip, make sure to schedule both relaxing and adventurous activities. For example, if you plan a full day of sightseeing, the next day, make sure to carve out time for sleeping in and lounging at your hotel. Or, if you’re going to spend a morning doing a strenuous hike, consider scheduling a couples’ massage for the afternoon.

Do let your hotel know it’s your honeymoon before you check-in.

When you’re booking your hotel, make sure to let them know you’re going to be celebrating your honeymoon. While it’s certainly not guaranteed, many hotels will go above and beyond to make sure your honeymoon stay is special—which may include upgrades like a better hotel room or a free bottle of champagne.

Do look for ways to save.

As mentioned, it’s important to set a budget when planning your honeymoon. But no matter what your budget, you can still look for ways to save on your romantic getaway!

Explore ways you may be able to lower the cost of your dream honeymoon—for example, by visiting a destination during the off-season, looking into hotel packages, or cashing in credit card rewards.

Don’ts: 6 Honeymoon Planning Mistakes to Avoid

Don’t wait until the last minute.

Organizing your impending nuptials can be overwhelming. Even so, we highly recommend not letting that put off your honeymoon preparations and waiting too long on when to book honeymoon. Yes, your wedding takes precedence, but it’s crucial you give yourself enough time to figure out the logistics of your vacation. Don’t confuse this with having to book things far in advance. In some cases—depending on the destination and travel season—you can book your flights and rooms much closer to your trip dates and score a great deal. Rather than attempting this on your own, though, we suggest enlisting the help of atravel agent.

Don’t skip researching your dates thoroughly.

There’s more to deciding on your honeymoon dates than figuring out what works best for your schedule. Good timing is everything, so do some research to make sure there won’t be any inconveniences or interferences. For example, if you’re watching your budget and your dates fall in peak season, you might want to consider delaying your honeymoon until after when prices drop.

Be sure to also look to see if schools are out on holiday during this time. If so, chances are plenty of families will also be taking trips, which can mean higher costs and crowds. Lastly, check (and continue to check) the weather report for your destination on your chosen days. A coastal vacation might sound lovely, but you’ll want to avoid visiting during hurricane season.

Don’t book under your new last name.

This is a common mistake that doesn’t make for an easy fix. If you’re planning a name change after marriage, in most cases, the paperwork on your name change won’t be complete until a few months after your wedding. As thrilled as you are to be using your new last name, be sure to book all of your reservations under the same name that appears on your passport and driver’s license. Changing your ticket or booking details is time-consuming and not cheap.

Don’t forgo important add-ons.

Flight tickets, room reservations, must-do activities—there’s a lot to consider when booking your honeymoon. There are a few additional things, however, that you don’t want to forget amidst the chaos. Two additional costs worth remembering are travel insurance and a phone plan if you’re traveling internationally. Here’s why:

  • Travel insurance: Despite your (and your travel agent’s) best efforts, something may happen that’s out of your control. It’s in your best interest to purchase travel insurance that allows you to cancel for reasons such as medical issues, work schedule conflicts, acts of nature (dangerous weather), etc. Just be sure to carefully read your contract, because some reasons won’t be accepted. Overall, this is a case of better safe than sorry.
  • Phone plan: While it’s true that you probably want to disconnect during your trip, it may be helpful (or necessary) to have cell service. Most service providers have a range of international plans to choose from, depending on your needs. Consider setting one up if you’re going abroad. If you’re weary of service charges, use Wi-Fi when available.
INLINE PexelsZakariaBoumliha 1080x720 Photo Credit // Zakaria Boumliha - Pexels

Don’t plan too much—or not enough.

Every couple has a unique ideal honeymoon. Some look forward to some major R&R, while others prefer a trip packed with adventure. Your safest bet, though, is to strike a good balance of both. Booking a resort with the intention of relaxing by the pool all day could leave you with some post-trip regret—especially if you’re traveling to a destination that’s new to you.

On the other hand, overbooking yourself can be exhausting. Plan activities and reserve excursions that you absolutely can’t miss out on, but leave room for free time. A good balance allows time for both adventure and unstructured exploration or relaxation with your spouse.

Don’t leave too soon after your wedding.

We see it in movies all of the time: The happy couple makes their final wedding exit, hops into a car, and drives off to the airport. This is what you don’t want to do. Your wedding will likely be a long, emotionally and physically tiring day. Plan to take a few days off after to decompress. This in no way takes away from the exhilaration and romanticism of your honeymoon. In fact, it offers you some time to soak in your wedding, say goodbye to out-of-town guests, finish packing, and get some much-needed sleep.

If you’d like some more time to sort things out or save for your dream vacation, opt for a mini-moon. It’ll give you the chance to celebrate while allowing you a few months before you take a bigger trip.

Need more help planning your honeymoon? Zola has all the honeymoon planning tips you need to plan (and enjoy!) the perfect getaway—from budgeting to packing to choosing the right location for your honeymoon.

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