While planning a wedding is an exciting time, it can also cause a great deal of stress. So, it’s no wonder so many couples look forward to a honeymoon escape after their nuptials. Not only can this time help you relax and unwind after your big day, but it’s a chance for you, as a couple, to spend time together before launching back into daily life. That said, honeymoon planning can sometimes be nearly as stressful as coordinating the wedding itself, especially when trying to answer a key question: how long should a honeymoon last?
In reality, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to that question, because honeymoons are as unique as the couples who plan them. Maybe your dream is a month spent backpacking through Europe, or perhaps a quiet weekend retreat in the mountains is more your style. If you’re having a tough time figuring out your ideal honeymoon duration, we have some tips for you.
Honeymoons are primarily designed for you to spend uninterrupted quality time together, focusing on making memories as newlyweds and enjoying each other’s company. For that reason, the length of your honeymoon doesn’t really matter, as long as you’re disconnecting from the rest of the world. However, another important role of the honeymoon is to help you relax after what may have been over a year’s worth of wedding planning. Considering this, think about how long it usually takes you to feel relaxed on vacation. For you, maybe that’s a few days, a week, a month, or even longer. Once you have an estimate, discuss the same question with your partner to figure out how long you both need to unwind and de-stress after the big event. This gives you a starting point, or goal length, to consider while you continue your planning.
The next question you need to answer is how much time you can take away from work. Most Americans are only allotted two to three weeks’ paid time off; however, if you’re planning far enough in advance, you may be able to stock up your vacation days to accommodate a longer honeymoon. Alternatively, you can attach your honeymoon travels to a national holiday, thus allowing you to use fewer paid vacation days. In some cases, due to workplace time-off limitations, couples decide to delay their honeymoons from a few weeks to a year after their wedding, so that they can have their ideal honeymoon when time permits. It’s worth noting that, depending on the type of company you work for, you may find that you’re permitted to take a few extra days off as a wedding gift, but have this conversation with your superior before you start making plans.
It’s easy to start dreaming about all of the exotic and beautiful locations you’d like to visit on your honeymoon. But, before you think about your destination, you must determine a realistic budget for your honeymoon. Not only will this keep you from overspending, but you can use it as a guide when researching your ideal vacation spot, considering only those locations that you can afford. To create an accurate budget you must look at anticipated costs, including: transportation to and from your destination, travel expenses for the duration of your stay, accommodation, food and beverages, additional activities, and emergencies or unexpected expenses. Bonus: Making a budget can also help you determine the ideal length of your honeymoon, as it pertains to your finances.
Now that you have a budget in mind, you can start to think about the places you’d like to travel to on your honeymoon. If you’ve determined that you can only use a few vacation days away from work, traveling to a remote island honeymoon destination may not be feasible, given the amount of time you’d spend in transit. Rather, for shorter honeymoons, consider destinations closer to your home or a short plane ride away. If, however, you’re able to take multiple weeks off for your honeymoon and you have the finances to enjoy extended travel, an excursion across Europe or a far-flung adventure honeymoon destination may be the perfect choice for you.
You’ll want to consider the time of year that you’ll be taking your honeymoon, as it pertains to both weather and tourism. The summer months in Europe are a peak season, which means that your expenses will be higher and your budget will not go as far. Similarly, planning a trip to the Caribbean or South Pacific during hurricane or monsoon season could severely disrupt your travel plans or leave you relegated to indoor activities throughout your trip.
Now that we’ve answered how long a honeymoon should be, there are a number of other tips to help you plan the perfect post-wedding getaway.
Start Early. As tempting as it might be to push off your honeymoon planning until after you’ve made all your wedding arrangements, it’s best to consider your travel and accommodations well in advance. Not only can booking early help you get a better price for other honeymoon expenses, but it can help ensure that you secure the hotel or resort of your choice, especially if your ideal honeymoon destination is popular at your chosen time of travel.
Do It Together. If you’re like most couples, chances are that one of you tends to do more of the planning and logistics than the other. While it may be easier for that person to take control and plan the entire trip, your honeymoon is supposed to be about experiencing things together and creating shared memories. So, take this time to discuss what you’ll each value doing while you are away together on your dream vacation. This ensures that the trip doesn’t end up filled with activities that only one of you wants to do.
Make It Your Own. With so many pre-planned itineraries available online, it’s tempting to copy someone else’s vacation; however, this would do a disservice to you, as a couple. Your honeymoon should be as unique as you are. While it’s fine to take ideas from online platforms or advice from friends and family, make sure that you’re stopping to discuss and consider what will work best for you as a couple.
Consider a Travel Agent. With insider knowledge on deals and discounts, using a travel agent to help plan your honeymoon can save you both time and money. Be sure to find someone interested in cultivating a personal relationship with you in order to provide the best service possible. Plus, travel agents will typically be available for questions or emergencies while you are traveling, giving you someone to call for help if things go wrong.
Surprise Each Other. While most of your honeymoon should be planned together, carve out some time for each of you to plan a surprise for the other. Focus on making full-day or expensive plans as a couple, but sneak in a special dinner or relaxing couple’s massage to add excitement and romance to your trip.
Ready to plan your dream getaway? By following these top tips, you'll ensure that you and your partner will experience a truly amazing vacation, wherever you decide to go. For even more honeymoon planning tips, contact our experts at Zola today.