Saturday, March 31, 2012

10 Cost Savings Tips for Honeymoon Planning

In order for you to have the perfect honeymoon you have always dreamed of requires homework and research. It is a bit out of date to create the honeymoon as a surprise, the perfect honeymoon these days is a honeymoon that is planned by the both of you. Look for a honeymoon that provides many amenities. Look for discounts, gift baskets, fruit baskets, champagne, chocolate treats, room upgrades, and a free day tour of your honeymoon location.

Before you go on your honeymoon, there are many things you need to do, like learn the culture of where you are going, learn a few words of the language, get medical shots that are needed, get your passport and VISA far in advance. Keep all your things in a folder and keep all that you need close by. Don't draw attention to yourselves, don't wear fancy jewelry and fancy clothing in public. Keep some extras clothes in each other's luggage just in case a luggage piece misses the plane. For most destinations you don't have to worry much, there are currency exchange ATMs in most honeymoon spots. Here are some tips to help save you money in your honeymoon planning.

Tip 1 - Use a Travel Agency that Specializes in Your Type of Honeymoon 
Before you begin your honeymoon search, don't talk to each other about your perfect honeymoon just yet. The bride and groom should go through a honeymoon exercise. Each one of you should write down on a piece of paper the types of honeymoons you each would enjoy. Don't give a hint to the other before writing your choices down. You want no undue influences to drive a decision.

Your Honeymoon Choices (Write Down 3)
1) A Tropical Island Beach Resort
2) A Luxurious Resort Hotel
3) A Romantic International Sightseeing City Adventure
4) A U.S.A. Vacation (Las Vegas/Disney World/New York City/City Hopping/U.S.A. Shore Vacation)
5) A Luxurious Cruise
6) A Rugged Retreat (Ranch Cabin/Hike in the Mountains/Water Sports)
7) Stay Local and Veg Out (No Phone Calls/No Computer/No Answering the Door/No Television)

After each of you writes down your 3 dream honeymoon choices, see if any of the choices is one that you have in common. Now you can talk to each other about your choices. If there are no choices that you agree on, the decision on the honeymoon should be made by the bride, sorry guy's a tie goes to the honeymoon choice made by the bride. After deciding, you want to search for the travel agent that is expert in the type of honeymoon you are looking for. Some travel agencies are more geared to a trip to Europe or Asia, others are geared to the Caribbean or South America, others are geared to U.S. cities, and others are geared to cruise lines. The travel agencies tend to get bargains in the area of expertise and have expert knowledge in those locations, so it's best to find an agency that specializes in the type of honeymoon you are seeking.

Tip 2 - Find a Certified Agent that has Special Relationships
Not all travel agents are the same, tend to look for a certified travel agent. Certified travel agents have elevated their travel expertise to a bonafide professional level. Yes mannerisms and personality traits are important too, you might get lucky and find a good agent that is not certified but using a certified agent often brings you a great honeymoon and great cost savings. A certified agent should have a license that shows they are certified. They have gone through a rigorous program which is time consuming which includes taking many courses and traveling to all the resorts they advertise. Very often, the certified travel agent has made many connections, they personally know many important people in the travel world, they are able to provide discounts to many of the travel vendors at a honeymoon destination. The certified agent has been to the location, they can tell you about anything first hand about the location, get you discounts for automobile rental, get coupons for restaurants they recommend, tell you first hand where to go, tell you what taxis to take and ones not to take. The certified travel agent can answer any questions you have about the location and in many ways can save you money.

Tip 3 - Avoid Major Resorts that Charge a Premium for Being Well Known  
There are many resorts that are great, but they cost you a pretty penny because they include advertising dollars in their charges. You can get a better deal to going to honeymoon destinations that are a little less known. Through the magic of the internet you can check out resorts using Google Earth, Google Maps, and the Lonely Planet. The places that advertise will tend to have high prices. Years ago, it was safer to go to well known wedding destinations. Today, you can investigate almost anywhere to go for your honeymoon, stay away from places that are well known and look for great places away from the beaten path.

Tip 4 - Travel to Resorts that are Closer to Reduce Traveling Costs
There will be times in your life when you have money to spend and there are times when you have to watch your budget. When the budget is tight look for resorts that are nearer to your location. Remember that the honeymoon period should be a time when you need to be more focused on each other and instead of finding an exotic honeymoon spot that's far away, you can do just as well as finding a honeymoon location that does not require expensive traveling costs. If you live in the good old U.S.A. consider going on your honeymoon to a Caribbean resort, a Mexican resort, a bed & breakfast in an American city, an American shore house, or a cabin in the mountains. Just remember to travel not so far for your honeymoon, and you will be surprised on the savings you will get by not spending so much money on energy costs.

Tip 5 - Travel to Resorts During Their Off-Peak Season
You can save yourself a lot of money by traveling to destinations during their non-peak season. Many resorts will show their daily rates and you can save money by going to resorts when their prices are down. Many resorts also charge different amounts depending on the day of the week. Some hotels are fully booked during the week and have a lot of vacancies on weekends so they bring their prices down. Sometimes hotels will show their prices for the upcoming months and you can analyze what dates you can get better deals and what dates will be more expensive. Avoid the peak season of resorts, very often the peak season of many resorts will start at Easter, with May and June being the wedding season and July and August will be the summer season when school is out, another peak season happens at Christmas and New Years. During peak season, air flights are more expensive, hotels are more expensive, and many wedding vendors will also charge higher prices. If you have your wedding and honeymoon during the busy season, expect to get a quadruple whammy, higher prices for travel, hotel, wedding venue, and wedding vendors.

Tip 6 - Use Travel Websites to Get the Best Deal
There are literally hundreds of websites you can hunt for deals for travel, hotels, rental cars, cruise lines, and restaurants. The top websites to look for deals use to be orbitz, travelocity, expedia, priceline, hotel, and many others. Wedding couples could check out many travel websites looking for the best deal. A couple of years ago, everything changed. A website called bought out a company called Sidestep and what Kayak can do is you put in a destination location and a specific date and kayak will go searching the hundreds of websites to give you the best deal from all the websites. You can then book a deal if it's satisfactory. It's not a major effort anymore to book a great deal.

Now on to a little secret, first you can search kayak then you can get an idea of cost on a location or an airline. You tell the business you got a tentative deal, you then can ask them if they can get you a better deal. If it's a hotel, the hotel keeps better room locations at their front desk. You can get a room with a more terrific view or near the pool if you use the front desk, if you book through a travel website you might get a poor location at that hotel such as by a vending or ice machine. You might even get an upgrade, tell the resort hotel you are on your honeymoon. If you don't get a better deal just go back and book using kayak. The chances are you will get a better room and more attention by the hotel staff booking through the front desk of the hotel and negotiating a good deal.

Tip 7 - Find Me Your Best Deal at the Lowest Price within My Budget
Basically there are two type of travel agents, the ones that take your basic information and your budget and book you with the first thing they see with your criteria. The other type of agent will shop around looking to find you the best deal at the lowest price working with your budget. Find an agent that keeps hunting around to find you the best honeymoon deal. You want a customer service focused agent. Many travel agents are more focused on their job as a numbers game, spend the least amount of time devoted to a client and then move on to another client. The great travel agent asks you many questions, finds out what you are looking for in a honeymoon destination. finds you a great honeymoon location, searches more to see if they can top the original location, is there to answer any questions you may have, finds a lot about the resort, and finds great deals for you, leaves you with all sorts of information about the honeymoon location. A great service agent keeps you informed of problems, such as civil unrest, or an impending strike with taxes in the area or helps re-book another honeymoon spot because of an impending hurricane. When you are finding a travel agent, find the one that goes the extra mile for you.

Tip 8 - Honeymoon Hunt Using Google Maps and Google Earth
Google Maps and Google Earth have become powerful resources and is a great way to plan your honeymoon. The wedding couple of today has many different resources to help them find a place to honeymoon. The couples of today have telephones, IPhones, IPads, IPods, Androids, Blackberrys, laptops, and desktop computers. On most of these devices there is Google Maps and Google Earth. Couples can pull up many destination wedding locations and can check the area out, what is the atmosphere of the hotel, how far is it to different places, what's the beach look like near by and gets views like they are really there. You can now get topography on how things look and by using the websites the hotels in the area you get views of some of the rooms and you also may get coupon discounts from restaurants and spas. By using both the hotel website and google maps you can get an idea of the view from different rooms and know how areas like the pool look like. Google Maps and Google Earth even give you directions on places you might visit.

Now for a little trick for finding a great deal at a hotel. Many hotels in a honeymoon area, advertise in travel websites. Some hotels do not advertise in travel websites and those that do not tend to have cheaper prices for their rooms in the hotel. Google Earth and Google Maps show all the hotels in the area both the ones that show up in travel websites and the ones that do not show up in these websites. You find the ones that don't advertise, you call them and often you can find good deals with them.

Tip 9 - Investigate what a Timeshare May Offer for Your Honeymoon 
You might consider a timeshare location for your honeymoon. Timeshares tend to be cheaper than many hotels offering you with great savings. Once you do all the paperwork with a timeshare and make your initial investment in a timeshare property all that is left is to enjoy the property and you just have to make payments on how your contract is set up. You generally make an arrangement to have the timeshare property in a wonderful spot once a year. Every year maybe on your anniversary you have a vacation spot, in future years bring family, your friends, your co-workers and future kids.

You also have options available with timeshares. You can trade your timeshare for another convenient date with someone else. You can swap your time share with others, you can travel to other destination spots, just make sure your timeshare location is in a high demand location so you get a really nice location you can swap vacation spots with. Be careful of timeshare companies, they may push you into looking at a timeshare at a high price and reduce the price making it look like you are getting a great deal when in fact it's not. Take your time looking at time shares and study the situation. Great timeshare properties get taken very fast so keep checking for good deals.

You also may find great deals for timeshare properties to rent from others. A good way to find cheap timeshares is from online auctions such as ones found on EBay. Often you may purchase your timeshare from individuals from online resources which may save you a lot of money.

Some Good Websites that feature Timeshare Rentals

Tip 10 - Take Advantage of Resorts That Offer All Inclusive Deals
When planning your honeymoon look for resorts that offer honeymoon packages. Many resorts provide you with bundling of services. The bundling of services might include many amenities. For one price you may cover all your accommodation, cover all your meals breakfast, lunch, and dinner, cover night clubs and a couple of drinks, cover night entertainment, cover golf and tennis, cover a round of tropical drinks at the pool or beach, cover spa services such as a massage and include the sauna, and local attractions. Many caribbean resorts include all inclusive deals, such as resorts in Jamaica, Bahamas, Antigua, and St. Lucia. The primary resort that offers inclusive deals is a company called Sandals. Other places that offer inclusive deals includes Las Vegas, Disney, and some of the cruise lines. Great inclusive deals can also be found at resorts in Mexico, Colombia, and Canada.

It is highly recommended to use a travel agent for your honeymoon, to minimize the chances of things going wrong on your honeymoon, if something comes up you have an agent that can help you. In this day and age you can create a perfect honeymoon yourself if you learn about booking honeymoons. The honeymoon needs to be perfect, to get your marriage off to the right start!

See you on the other side!

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