Thursday, March 17, 2011

Step 20 - Research and Book your Honeymoon

(9 Months to 24 Months before the Wedding)
Ahhh, the honeymoon, the vacation of vacations. It's the beginning of your new life, time of excitement and a period that you can really enjoy the good things in life! Being the most romantic period of your life, it's important to get the marriage off to a good start and it all begins with a fabulous honeymoon!

As a couple, you want to start talking about where to go for your honeymoon. You really want to feel each other out, each of you should take turns and talk about what types of places you would love to spend your honeymoon at. The goal is to find a place that the both of you would love to go!

There are hundreds of places to choose from, but almost all these choices you can narrow down to about six different buckets. Bucket number 1 is a honeymoon at a tropical resort hotel. Some of the places for this type of honeymoon are places like Acapulco, Cancun, the Bahamas, Hawaii, and many more. The focus is on enjoying the resort and occasionally going to the beach, sightseeing, dining at a restaurant, or taking in an activity such as tennis or golf. Most of the time is spent on the amenities of the resort like hanging and drinking tropical drinks by the pool, getting a massage, working out at the gym, or enjoying fine dining.

Bucket number 2, the focus is more on water activities, kind of geared to the beach. These resorts include places like Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua, Tahiti, and many others. Your honeymoon is focused on spending lots of time in aqua blue waters and participating in water activities such as sun bathing, scuba diving, snorkeling, jet skiing, water skiing, surfing, para sailing, sailing, or fishing. The days being spent in the sun and surf and the nights spent at the disco or enjoying each other's company.

Bucket number three is a land ho adventure. You enjoy getting some physical activity in. You would like to go to a remote area like the Rockies, Appalachian Mountains, or meander on a river and seek adventure. You like to go hiking, camping, hunting, go fishing on a lake, river, or stream, go bird watching, go skiing or snow boarding, go bike riding, strolling in a town and maybe go antiquing either camping or staying at a bed & breakfast, see the sunset at a mountaintop or go sight seeing at a National Park. This type of  honeymoon is filled with rugged adventure.

Bucket number four is a honeymoon to a fabulous city destination. Will it be to Paris, Rome, Venice, Barcelona, Lisbon, Monaco, London, Moscow, Beijing, Hong Kong, Egypt, Dubai, Rio De Janeiro, Buenos Aires, or going on an adventure of an African safari? The days are spent romancing around a city, fine dining, visiting art museums, and going sightseeing. Make sure you bring a camera and good walking shoes!

Bucket number five is being an All American couple. You prefer to go on an American adventure. You might prefer Disney World, have fun and gamble in Las Vegas or Atlantic City, see movie stars in Hollywood, stay at a villa in Miami, South Beach, or Palm Beach and enjoy the nightlife, or go to the city that never sleeps and honeymoon in New York City and with maybe stopovers in Boston and Philadelphia. Then there is a "Southern Charm city", a honeymoon in cities such as Charleston, Atlanta, New Orleans, Dallas, San Antonio, or Austin.
Bucket number six is the ultimate cruise honeymoon. Gang up with other honeymooners and travel one of the seven seas. Relax at the pool and drink tropical sensations, eat fabulous gourmet meals prepared by a French chef, see Broadway style shows, hit the casino, and dance at the disco. Each day spent at a different port and find some deals on picking up gifts. The tough question is, do you take your honeymoon cruise in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the South Pacific, the Far East, or to Canada or Alaska.

Once you decide on a bucket to shoot for on the type of honeymoon you would like you then want to find a travel agency that specializes on the type of honeymoon you are looking for. In your search, you want to find a reputable agency and the preference is to find a certified travel agent. A certified agent has been to the honeymoon location themselves and have first hand knowledge of the honeymoon destination. He/she has been to the hotels, been to the shopping areas, knows about the local activities and excursions and can answer almost any question that you ask about the place.

You would like to find a certified agent that has special relationships with travel suppliers. either has negotiated or is considered an elite status agent and can gain perks for their clients such as getting special discounts for things like car rentals, discounts for parking, discounts at select restaurants, knows the best brand of taxis to hail, and can arrange for things such as express check-ins.

When you go on your honeymoon, if at all possible, you want to focus on your new life and shut the old world out. You should avoid the use of your telephone unless it's an absolute emergency. You should avoid emails, avoid internet cafes, using Facebook, Twitter, using your IPhone or a Blackberry. The focus is only on you and your love! Maybe once you decide on a honeymoon bucket type of wedding, you can keep the destination a secret and have the location as a surprise. Just let one person in her family know where you are going, in the event an emergency situation should arise.

You want to stay refreshed on your honeymoon, get a little exercise in by walking on the beach or by seeing the sights, or participating in an activity. You want to eat healthy well balanced meals but splurge a little, well you are on your honeymoon after all. You should get plenty of sleep and avoid the local tap water and avoid foods that come in contact with tap water such as local garden salads. Usually local tap water when you travel to a place you have never been has organisms and bacteria that your body has never been exposed to before. Often honeymooner's end up with the dreaded Montezuma's revenge, you can reduce the changes of getting a bad stomach virus by sticking to bottled water and bottled beverages. Stay away from eating at local joints, stay with your upscale hotels, restaurants, or eating on your cruise line.

In your search for a travel agent, you want to find one that searches for the best honeymoon possible. A good travel agent shops around for the best deal for their client. A good agent listens to what you want, tries to find the best deal for you, and communicates with you effectively. Try to avoid the travel the agent that calls a place once, makes a reservation and moves onto the next client. They don't go on a hunt to find you the best deal possible. These agents don't follow up if the flight should get canceled, don't follow-up with itinerary changes, or are not helpful if foul weather is forecast to your resort. A good travel agent is there for you at your beck and call and keeps communicating with you even after the honeymoon is booked.

The good travel agent helps you with your itinerary, informs you of amenities and activities, lets you know what documents you need to bring, knows the medical shots required for the destination, provides you with a contact at each location, how and where you convert your currency, inform you how check in works, and how to get from the airport to the hotel and back to the airport again.

It's your honeymoon, you want everything to go perfect so it is one time you should absolutely use an experienced travel agent. There are many websites available that you can find the best deals for hotels, air travel, and rental cars. You often can get a great deal and bypass a travel agent on websites like, there are dozens of websites to find the best deal for a place. These websites are a great way for savings, the one time you should use a travel agent though is for your honeymoon.

One final note on honeymoons. Not all wedding couples are able to go on their honeymoon right after their wedding. Maybe they can't afford the honeymoon yet, or are constrained by their work. If you are not able to go on your honeymoon, you should focus on each other especially the first week as much as you can. Stay off the television, don't answer the door, stay off the computer, stay off the phone, spend quality time together, hang out in your bedroom and make romantic dinners by candlelight.

Another thing you can do, is to take a short trip that won't cost you a lot of money. Spend a weekend at the beach, or a lake, or a mountain. Stay one night at a bed and breakfast. Go out on a romantic dinner and watch a beautiful sunset together. It's important to get the marriage off to a terrific start and if there is no semblance of a little honeymoon there could be irreparable harm.

As you are planning your honeymoon, if the budget is not an issue, you may consider a last hurrah and partake in a fun activity for one last time's sake. This activity may be with just the bridal party or friends from high school or friends from college or friends from work or just life long buddies. Don't forget to take pictures and or videographs of your adventure and put them into the back of your wedding album.

There are so many adventures you can do. You might go hot air ballooning, go white water rafting, go air boating, go to an amusement park, attend a theater or dinner show, partake in water sports (go yachting, fishing, sailing, jet skiing, water skiing, surfing, water tubing or para sailing). You could do winter sports like skiing, cross country ski, snow boarding, or snowmobiling. You can sun bathe at a beach, pool, or lake. Go on a picnic by a river, or visit a winery or a brewery. You can visit a museum or an art gallery and have a luncheon with the ladies.

The gang is back in town for a special occasion, you can participate on a fun activity a few days before the wedding or if there is a delay before the honeymoon begins, a day or two after the wedding. You can also add the adventure to your wedding website, Facebook, or blog. The wedding is a special time and don't forget to do something with all the important people in your life.

That's the story of research and book your honeymoon, see you on the other side!

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