She cooks, you clean. She starts the laundry, you fold it. She kills big spiders, you shriek when you see one. That’s called division of labor, and not only is it vital to healthy marriages, it’s also the traditional way weddings and honeymoons were once planned.
Back in the day, the bride handled every wedding detail, down to the type of water served at dinner. All that grooms had to do was show up on time, ring in hand. Conversely, the groom made all the honeymoon plans, researched destinations and made reservations. All that brides had to do was show up on time, ring on hand.
But times have changed… sort of. While some couples still divide the planning in that way, others tackle the job together or with professional travel agent assistance. If you’re responsible for planning the bulk of the honeymoon on your own, or if you intend to team up with your bride-to-be, here are eight tips on how to nail it.
Determine a Budget
Unless you’re a well-endorsed Instagram star raking in the views, you’re going to have to stick to a budget when planning your honeymoon. Chat with your fiancé and agree on a hard number you can realistically spend while still fitting in all the cool things you saw on Pinterest. This budget should cover more than just flights and resorts—it should also be big enough to handle all the cool things you’ll pay for at your honeymoon destination, like a couple’s massage or tickets to that Tiësto show, all while covering any “surprise” charges like baggage or resort fees. A travel agent will help you uncover any hidden charges before you travel, making it easier to stay on budget.
Figure out Your Honeymoon Type
Are you both adventure junkies who dream of summiting Kilimanjaro? Or are you more low-key, satiated by a waterfall hike or a beachside horseback ride? Do you want to spend your entire time in paradise, sunning your buns and snorkeling in crystal clear waters, or would you rather take planes, trains and tiny automobiles around Europe to embrace its unrivaled culture? Your first foray into married travel defines your vacation style, so discuss everything you want to experience before the planning commences. Compromise is key here (as it will also be in the marriage), so look for options that make both parties excited. Travel agents are good peace-makers when it comes to destination activity planning, so consider giving one a call.
Choose the Right Location
A five-star honeymoon in Tahiti sounds dreamy, but if you both only have a week off to spare, you’ll end up spending more time getting there than being there. Consider the logistics of locations before you start researching exotic bungalows in Bora Bora. And if you don’t have enough time to race across the world for your honeymoon, no worries—just keep these bucket list destinations in mind for future anniversary splurges.
Pick a Resort Style
You don’t want your first night of wedded bliss wasted on a lumpy mattress. The right hotel, resort, or bed and breakfast can make or break a honeymoon. Pay close attention to the details of the places you’re considering. Is it all inclusive? Does the property have a gym? Does it have boutique charm or mainstream amenities? Are the rooms large, small or eco-friendly? Does the property offer complimentary transportation or included breakfasts? Inside those details lies the secret to your ideal destination.
Check the Season
Sure, you’ll save a ton of Benjamins by booking a Caribbean cruise in October, but that hurricane you may encounter will have your room rocking for all the wrong reasons. Before you book, check the weather and the seasonality of the place you’re eyeing. Destinations like the Mediterranean, Caribbean and Europe have distinct high and low seasons, each coming with advantages and disadvantages you should consider before making your final decision. Travel booking websites tend to hide this info, so it may be wise to consult a travel pro who’s been to your destination many times before.
Visa or Vaccines?
Nothing will put a damper on your honeymoon faster than getting off a 15-hour flight only to find out you can’t enter the country because you didn’t secure visas. Research which destinations require visas and vaccines and plan ahead of time. Visas can take anywhere from one day to a month to process. Vaccines can be just as cumbersome to receive and costly to boot, depending on the shot.
Insure Your Happiness
It might seem tempting to skip the travel insurance when booking a honeymoon, especially if you’re on a budget, but the cons majorly outweigh the pros here. In the off chance something happens to your trip, whether it’s weather related, a terrorism attack or last-minute personal problem, travel insurance gives you protection along with the return of at least 50% of your deposit and airline fees.
Schedule a Surprise
Surprises aren’t just for birthdays and Cracker Jack boxes. Earn serious bonus points by having a honeymoon surprise waiting for your partner at the destination as a thank you for planning the wedding. A candle-lit dinner on the beach, a chilled bottle of Veuve Clicquot in the room…nothing says “I love you” like a token of appreciation for all of their hard work.