(3 Months to 4 Months before the Wedding)
The top factors for a honeymoon from a 2007 study are first a dream location, followed by a reasonable price, then a comfortable room, followed by good quality and selection of food, then followed by enjoyable activities.
You need to formulate your honeymoon budget, how much discretionary funds are left after you have payed for your air fare, hotel, and transportation costs. You should also set up an emergency fund, that you plan not to touch, or use it for a special souvenir gift if it's still available the very last day of your trip.
You need to determine how much money you will need for every day expenses of your honeymoon. First you need to decide on what major activities you plan on doing on your honeymoon and what would be the costs.
You first want to learn all about your honeymoon location. What is all there? How much fine dining would you like to do? What activities would you like to do? What sightseeing excursions would you like to go on? Do you plan on any shopping? Familiarize with your honeymoon location by getting brochures and maps of the place and surrounding areas.
Stop by your travel agency or any agency and look at places near your honeymoon location that might interest you, and bring a note pad and a pen with you and jot places down. You can also stop at your local book store and look at their travel magazines and maps. Also look at online travel websites like lonely planet and Google the location and look at other travel guide websites like www.frommers.com , www.fodors.com , www.travelchannel.com, and www.tripadvisor.com . Whatever places interest you, Google and find about them further.
If you are using a travel agent, get information from your agent too. Is he a certified agent and can get special discount for you? What places to go? What are fine restaurants to eat at? What activities are there? You should make a list of all the things you plan to do while you are on your honeymoon. Mark down all the things; fine restaurants, golf, tennis, skiing, boating, scuba diving, para sailing, night clubbing, shopping, spa treatment, whatever. After you make a list of what you plan to do you want to price them out. If you are staying at a hotel, you might contact the hotel's concierge who can help you get an idea of each cost (you can arrange for reservations and directions too). Some places have websites or you can contact the facility itself and they can inform you of the costs, always ask if they have discount programs.
You want to then take your spending budget then subtract all the activity costs then subtract a reserve emergency fun and then what's left you can derive a daily expenditure budget by taking the amount left divided by the number of days. You need to take into account leaving tips for maid service too. Find out the maid's work schedule from the front desk. Leave the maid a tip on the last day she's working when you are there. If you have too much luggage, and need room for souvenirs for the trip home, you can leave some clothing behind too. Maid's in resorts tend not to make much money and they are very happy to take extra clothing left behind for themselves, or other family members.
Make a list of all things you need to include in your travel folder, all your tickets for airlines, hotel, and rental car, brochures, travel guides, maps, passport, visa, black book with all important contact numbers in it, a copy of all your important papers front can back including driver's license, any other licenses, for bride's the marriage certificate, all documents will not be in the bride's married name, will have to use her maiden name still during the honeymoon. Also the numbers and expiration dates of all credit cards as well as important people family and friend contacts too. You should have three pieces front and back of every document. One left behind with a family member, one in your carry on luggage and the other with your check in luggage.
Start making a list of all items you need for the honeymoon, for the ladies make sure you have some lingerie and fresh undergarments. For the men, fresh undergarments too. Include toiletries and include them in your carry on bag in case your luggage gets delayed. Make sure you have camera and film, batteries, stronger SPF sunscreen than usual, sun glasses, and if you are in a strong sun area bring a sun brimmed hat too. And don't forget any prescriptions and protection items too. Identify a location and phone number of a doctor in the area too.
When you pack, roll your socks and undies into your shoes. Have a couple of nicer outfits and dresses dry cleaned and bagged. Bring nice looking clothes, maybe you can borrow some, don't bring new never worn clothes and that is including shoes. Make sure you hand all your clothes up once you have your room..
Ask around, maybe some family members may have some points they can give you to help in honeymoon costs. This includes frequent flyer miles, hotel points, car rental points, time-share, and AAA. Often you can save money at all inclusive resorts, but check out what is included. Maybe the alcohol is limited to the resorts choice of beer, wine, and the resorts cocktail. The food offered maybe buffet cafeteria style with group seating, you may have to share your table with other guests.
You might consider bringing a luggage bag of food, you can get pick up a special luggage that is lined and keeps food good. Pack with wine, gourmet coffee and creamers, snack mix, candy, nuts, dried fruit in which you can eat the food as munchies back at the room or at the pool instead which leaves extra funds for dining and activities. You will save on paying for tourist trap prices. Go find and buy goodies at an off the beat bodega around the corner, instead of paying premium prices at the hotel or next door tourist store.
When traveling have one set of clothing in each others luggage, if one of your luggage gets delayed or for heaven's sake lost at least you will have clothes to wear until the luggage arrives or you get reimbursed by the airline. You can exchange money nowadays using ATM machines. If you are a reader, invest in a Kindle so you don't have to find space for books or magazines in your luggage. They keep you entertained on a plane too.
When you arrive at your place, let the front desk know you are on your honeymoon. Work with the front desk to get you the nicest room you can get. You might ask for a room that is non-smoking, private location, convenient location, ocean view, or a high floor. Upon arrival to the room if you don't like the room, ask to see another, it's your honeymoon, make it the occasion the best you can make it. Make sure you meet the concierge in person and get their guidance at the resort, get directions, find fine dining, let the concierge make any reservations for any shows or activities, and ask any questions that you have.
Make sure the honeymoon has devotion time to your partner. Lay out an itinery but include some time dedicated to yourselves. You want a couple of days to really get intimate, relax and enjoy each others company. Don't feel pressure on the sex thing, couples are new at it and it may take time getting comfortable with one another in the beginning, don't feel disappointed. Don't be afraid to get comfortable with it by watching adult movies or reading magazines or books together back at your home. The important thing is to get cozy and have romantic moments on your honeymoon.
Below is the 5-3-1 Honeymoon Quiz. It's designed to help honeymoon couples understand each other's preference for the honeymoon. Both the engaged bride and engaged groom pick their top 3 choices of preferences without consulting the other giving the top choice 5 points, the next choice 3 points, and the third choice 1 point. Combine the scores for each item, whatever combined score has the highest total, you use that information to help guide your honeymoon decisions. Remember no cheating, get independent answers!
5-3-1 Honeymoon Quiz
1. My Preferred Honeymoon Environment is
2. I would Like to Take our Honeymoon
Immediately following the reception
Within a few days of the wedding
A week after the wedding
A month after the wedding
The following year
At our wedding location
In the Spring
In the Summer
In the Fall
In the Winter
3. I would like the Honeymoon to Last
Just one night
A week and a half
More than two weeks
4. My preferred location
Latin or South America
Mediterranean or Middle East
5. My Ideal Hotel
Is in a secluded location
Small with few rooms or villas
Large with a lot of amenities
Couples or adults only (no children)
In the heart of a city
Close to nightclubs or entertainment
One with a Casino
Mountain or Ranch Resort
Bed and Breakfast
6. My Favorite Water Activity
7. My Preferred Activities are
Art & Museum Appreciation
Sleeping and Hanging Out
8. Most of our Meals will Be From
Preparing Romantic Dinners in our Room
Cheap Local Cuisine
Door Service or Resort Food
All-Inclusive Package from resort
Eating at Shops, Local Restaurants, and Malls
Food service at the Beach or Pool
9. At Night, I would Enjoy
Bars and clubs
Hanging at the Casino
Take Walks in the Moonlight
Stay in our Room and Watch a Movie
Go to a Movie Theatre
Take a Stroll on a Beach
10.Type of Food I most Prefer
11. My Favorite Types of Desserts
Bakery goods (Cannolis, Eclairs, Puffed Oastries, Tarts)
Cakes and Cupcakes
Candies and Cookies
Pudding and Jellos
12. My Favorite Types of Movies to Watch
Action & Adventure
Documentary and War
Music and Performing Arts
Mystery & Suspense
Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Sports & Fitness
Make sure your documents are up to date such as your driver's license for a rental car and your passport has blank pages for each country you plan to visit. Make sure you get your shots needed for the countries you plan to travel to. If you bring jewelry, always keep it in your sign of vision, and keep it in a room safe or resort safety deposit box. Get exercise and eat balanced meals.
It's your honeymoon, have the time of your life and see you on the other side!