Honeymoon Planning Showdown
DIY vs. Travel Agent: What's the Best Option For You?
You’re Internet savvy. You’ve booked flights to Las Vegas and a hotel on The Strip, why shouldn’t you tackle honeymoon planning on your own? It’s not like you’re also knee deep in cummerbund colors, conference calls at work and hitting the treadmill to get back to your high school weight for the big day, right?
You’re convinced that booking your honeymoon travel will be cheaper doing it yourself (DIY, baby!), so you’re okay with spending your precious time comparing Trip Advisor reviews and decoding confusing travel lingo. But what if you’re wrong? What if your lack of time and experience costs you more cash in the end, or that sweet deal you found online was for a room way in the back of the hotel with romantic views of the dumpster?
It’s a big choice, and these are the factors you should consider.
Type “Honeymoons in Jamaica” into Google and you’ll get 669,000 results, in 0.65 seconds no less! So, after two hours going through the first 20 links, you find an online travel package that fits your budget and your needs. Done!
But…did you read all of the fine print? Like how that seven-day all-inclusive package deal actually considers the two days of travel to and from your destination as part of the seven days, thus making it only five days in paradise and two in stuffy airport waiting lounges. Or you discover that the resort is miles from the beach or the hotel is only one-star with some spicy reviews about giant cockroaches.
These unpleasant surprises can kill the romance quickly as you sweat through your silk PJ’s due to the lack of air conditioning. That's why it is so important to do your due diligence before booking a hotel, a cruise, an excursion or any part of your honeymoon.
And what does that due diligence involve? Thorough research of forums and review sites to see what other travelers have reported about the different pieces of your itinerary. Searching for authentic pictures of the accommodations. Checking satellite views to see what restaurants, shops and public transportation is nearby.
Of course, all of this research takes time. Imagine if you were spending that time enjoying the wedding planning process, while letting an expert with years of experience handle the honeymoon details for you.
A well-traveled agent can share with you their own personal experiences at the destination—their favorite places for fresh Ahi Poke in Hawaii, the secret B&B nestled in a lemon orchard in Italy that no one knows about, or which excursions at Jamaica’s Mystic Mountain truly live up to the hype and are worth the expense.
Great things come in small packages, or so we like to think when receiving an envelope as a wedding gift! Turns out the small things can also turn your honeymoon from a dream to a nightmare. These are just a few of the common mistakes that can occur when you DIY:
- Wrong date or time on an airline ticket or for a hotel booking. It's easy to confuse times or dates, especially if you're already stressed out from worrying about your wedding plans. For example, your hotel reservation may be a day off because you flew over the International Date Line.
- A misspelling on an airline ticket. Unfortunately, if the name on your passport or ID doesn't match your plane ticket, you might not be allowed on your flight.
- Forgotten documents and shots. A good agent will advise you on what documents, such as a visa, you may need to travel to certain countries, along with any necessary medical attention you’ll need.
- Misunderstanding the inclusions. Some online packages look like great deals, until you realize what’s missing from the package, the quality isn’t what you expected, or there are hidden fees that take you by surprise.
Travel agents won’t just double and triple check your information, they’ll handle the details you didn’t think of, like a car from the airport, pre-booked train tickets from Rome to Cinque de Terre, and snacks and bubbly waiting in your room after an overnight flight.
Imperfect moments aren’t to be feared, as they often make our most unforgettable memories. But that doesn’t mean you want to be stressed when something does arise. With a travel agent in your corner, a cancelled flight due to weather is no big deal, as they will work to get you rebooked as soon as possible. And likewise, a honeymoon hotel booked close to hundreds of kids from a nearby soccer tournament can be sorted out in a jiff.
So you can either spend hours on the phone fixing these issues yourself, or you can spend hours on the beach, Red Stripe in hand, letting your agent fight your battles for you.