(4 Months to 6 Months before the Wedding)
In this modern age of traveling, there are many fascinating places to honeymoon, but there are things you must accomplish before you can enjoy some wonderful days of bliss.
First thing you must do before you are headed out of the country for your honeymoon is to be sure you have a passport. If you are applying for the very first time for your passport, you need to apply in person to either a Passport Agency, an Acceptance Facility, or U.S. Embassy or Consulate, if the passport is a renewal you can go to a County Seat office.
To apply for your passport you will need to show a Social Security Card, a notarized copy of your birth certificate, another form of identification (previous passport, a naturalized certificate, valid driver's license, current government or military identification), you should have a photocopy of all documents you are going to present front and back on an 8 1/2 x 11 inch piece of paper. You also need a passport photo and pay an application fee (around $165). Passports tend to take 4 to 6 weeks to process but can take longer than that so you want to get your passport prepared in ample amount of time before your honeymoon.
If the passport does not arrive after the fourth week after you've applied for it, you can call to check on status, but definitely call after six weeks. You want to be sure to have it before your honeymoon and you might have to go in person again to expedite it. If you are using an old passport book, make sure you have a blank page for every country you plan on visiting. For a bride, you must travel in the exact name as stated on your passport. For most brides, they will have to travel in their maiden name due to the time in securing a passport in their new married name (which would have to occur after the wedding and filing of their marriage license). Always make sure the emergency contact page of your passport is filled out in the event an issue comes up while you are out of country such as a medical emergency, lost or stolen passport, or an issue with local authorities.
Once the plans are firm and have decided on a honeymoon location you want to set up an appointment with your doctor and share your travel plans with him/her. You will want to make sure all your immunization plans are up to date and get appropriate vaccinations. Your doctor or health care provider will determine what shots you will need depending on factors such as health, immunization history, areas of the country you plan to visit and what planned activities you have for your honeymoon. Check what medical immunization needs by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/Travel .
You should have been vaccinated for influenza, chicken pox, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitus A, hepatitus B, typhoid, yellow fever, rabies, and malaria. General guidelines are you should stay away from drinking local water, stick to more bottle water. If you need to drink local water bring along iodine tablets, and portable water filters. Also bring sun block, sun glasses, antibacterial wipes, bring lightweight long sleeved shirts, long pants and hats and insect spray. If you should have a medical condition, find a health facility contact near where places you are staying at.
Before you leave on your honeymoon, you want to familiarize yourself with local conditions and laws. You also want to provide itinerary and passport data pages with an emergency contact, either a family member or friend. Get information from the U.S. http://travel.state.gov/travel website or call 1-888-407-4747 if calling from the U.S. or call 202-501-4444 if calling from overseas.
Some precautions you want to take when you travel overseas to avoid being a target for a crime. Do not wear conspicuous clothing, jewelry, or carry excessive money. Assure you have a sufficient credit line on any credit cards you plan to use, exceeding the credit card's credit limit can be construed as fraud in some countries. Keep a small flashlight with you as you travel. Carry a couple of door wedges and use them at your honeymoon room to keep intruders out.
You should create a folder of all the documents you will need for the wedding and honeymoon, keep in it your wedding license, passport, change of name, contacts for any credit card companies, contact information of your bank, contacts for any other companies you need to notify of your name change such as utility companies, flight information, important honeymoon or hotel contacts, recommended transportation companies, or pieces of information where you are staying. Also keep jewelry in your carry on, never let it leave your side, don't put jewelry in your suit case or an overhead compartment, always in your area of vision. Keep jewelry in a room safe or safety deposit box when in a hotel.
The exchange rate is determined by a number of factors including the country's government, the stock market, interest rates, inflation and general consumer interest and expectation. Basic supply and demand rules apply to the fluctuation. The more in demand a currency is by it's consumers, the higher it's value. You can exchange currency at banks, exchange bureaus, ATMs, and credit cards which are found at airports, hotels, and specialty stores. You tend to get the best deals using ATMs, followed by credit cards, then banks. Exchange bureaus charge high commissions but they tend to be conveniently located.
Traveler's Checks are still around but are considered dinosaurs, back before 1995, before ATMs came on the scene, many traveler's would convert much of their cash with traveler's checks. If you ever lost your money or was robbed, the traveler's checks could be replaced. Today, traveler's checks aren't widely used anymore, you need to find a bank if they are stolen. ATMs are widely available, just don't carry too much cash on your person.
When packing honeymoon luggage, do your laundry a few days early. If you are bringing finer clothing have them laundered, pressed and bagged at a dry cleaner. Start a packing list a week before the honeymoon. Think coordinating solids and wrinkle free clothing, versatile shoes, lighter colors for the sun, darking clothing for the cold. Avoid clothes you have never worn before. Stuff socks and underwear in shoes or purses. If you plan on buying things at your honeymoon location, think of placing a smaller bag inside a larger bag and pack the smaller bag.
Bring double duty items if you can, a hair dryer with a curling iron, an alarm clock with a radio, a calculator with a translation guide. Invest in a kindle instead of a book, these electronic gadgets have come a long way and you now can read stories from most of your top authors. Unfurl belts, wrap them on the inside of your suit case. Place your heavier items in the bottom of how you plan to carry the bag and the lighter items on top.
Put a little piece of his luggage in her luggage and some of her luggage into his luggage. This is done in the event one piece of luggage should become delayed or misplaced, at least you will have one change of clothes until the other luggage arrives. Often if luggage is misplaced, the airline will drop off the luggage at the hotel or place you are staying but may be the next morning after.
Always bring toiletries such as toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, and soap in your carry on bag. Double bag liquids, triple bag expensive alcoholic liquids, luggage people tend to heave luggage and you don't want Kahlua or any liquids soaking all your clothing in the luggage. Often you want souvenirs from your honeymoon. If you don't have room to transport your souvenirs, send the souvenirs back using UPS, Fed Ex, or many hotel and beach tourist store can also ship your souvenir back. You can also use the double luggage trick or better yet leave the old clothes behind for the maid, she might appreciate a nice present from the states.
So take any worry out, take care of honeymoon requirements early on and if any other family and friends are going share with them you what you know! See you on the other side!