I am headed to a bridal show this morning in Indianapolis to set up our booth and prepare for the exited faces of newly engaged brides and grooms. Engagement is such an exciting time! So many plans…..so many pretty things and options…..but it can certainly get overwhelming. Many times, the honeymoon is the last thing a bride and groom plan….mostly because they have so much on their plate. Here are some honeymoon planning tips to consider:
Establish a budget or at least a budget range. This is probably the most important part of the planning process!!! I cannot say this enough – this is the most important part of the planning process!!! A budget gives you a benchmark to measure value. A budget helps me, your travel agent, give you the best advice. When recommending destinations and specific properties, I consider your interests, the experience you would like to have, your expectations and your budget. You and your fiancee are unique and you want your honeymoon to be all about you….this starts the moment you walk into my office.
Imagine you have walked into a large wine store which carries thousands of bottles of wine from regions all over the world. You ask the sales person how much a bottle of wine from Italy is. Wines from Italy range from $6.00 for a pinot grigio to $200+ for a Gaja Barolo. If you tell the sales person you want an inexpensive wine from Italy with no price guide and no information regarding your expectations, chances are high that you will be disappointed….. It’s the same with travel. I am here to maximize your budget—give you the best value for your money. I diligently work to keep your travels in the range of what you can afford.
Plan early! Waiting until the last minute to plan your honeymoon can be a costly mistake! These days, with airline mergers and streamlining of flight itineraries, the best airfares are booked ahead of time. Many times, the flight is a good portion of your vacation cost. Your resort room category options diminish as you get closer to your departure time—especially in the popular honeymoon travel months of June, July, September and October. I recommend booking six to nine months before departure to maximize your budget.
Find a travel agent you like and trust and allow them to help you plan your honeymoon. A professional travel agent will guide you through the resort options, destination choices and excursion opportunities to plan a romantic and adventuresome honeymoon. A professional will charge a fee for their advice and their time. A mere $100 will save you hours of research and give you the peace of mind that your resort comes recommended. This fee also gives you access to assistance while traveling in case your flight gets delayed or there is an issue with the resort.
In your quest to find an agent, remember to play nice. An agent may spend a few hours on your package options to find the best fit. Taking their expertise and advice and booking on your own does not foster good will. Package pricing is somewhat complicated as there are many different combinations to consider, flight options, transfers, resort categories, insurance and other inclusions. Even though you have a “package” price, there is no set “price” for this type of trip – it is highly individualized. If you come across a price that is significantly better than what your agent sent to you, give them a chance to review the pricing and see if they can match it. Many times, you will be surprised! Decide ahead of time if you are willing to pay the agent’s fee—even inquire as to what those fees are if they do not mention it. If you are simply calling for free advice, let them know ahead of time….it’s all part of playing nice.
Remember that this is the fun part! Save some room in your budget for private romantic beach dinners, couples massages and exciting excursions. Perhaps you should hire a limo to take you to the airport (especially if your flight departs early) so you can feel pampered and sleep on the way. Consider upgrading to a private transfer to your hotel so you won’t have to wait on other people in a shared transfer scenario. Find small ways to make your fist vacation as man and wife special.
Becky Lukovic is a personal travel advisor in Carmel, Indiana specializing in Honeymoon travel, Western and Southern Europe, Custom vacations and Adventure travel. You can reach her at 317-805-5746.