Where Is Your Life Together Going to Begin? Tips for Finding the Perfect Honeymoon Destination
- Bridal Basics • Last updated May 2, 2018
With your engagement announced and your wedding date coming up sometime in the future, now is the perfect time to start thinking about your honeymoon. However, with so many details involved for the wedding itself, your first trip as newlyweds can sometimes take a backseat, which may mean that you wait until the last minute to decide where to go.
In other cases, you may be overwhelmed by all of the choices, leading to a situation where you’re just not sure which one would be ideal for your honeymoon. No matter your circumstances, we’re here to help.
Today we’re going to discuss the best ways to figure out which honeymoon destination will be perfect for you and your spouse-to-be. Before we begin, remember that there are no right answers.
Make a Top Five List
One of the best places to start is to write down a list of your top vacation or travel destinations. These should be locations you’ve wanted to visit for years. Also, if you have a favorite spot to which you want to return, include that on your list as well.
Afterward, you should compare notes. Hopefully, there will be some overlap between lists, which will help you narrow down your choice. Perhaps you both want to visit Bali or the Caribbean.
If there is no overlap, don’t worry, you still have plenty of time to settle on a destination, so don’t think that you’re in a rush. Also, remember that this will be the first of many vacations and trips you spend together, so don’t believe that you only have one chance to get it right.
That being said, you do only have one honeymoon, so it’s crucial that you agree before you start booking flights or making arrangements.
Discuss Experiences, Not Places
One helpful way to ensure that you’re both on the same page is to talk about why you want to visit these locales. What kind of experiences are you hoping to have? Do you want to just lounge on the beach drinking Mai Tais, or do you want to explore a city with a lot of culture and history?
When making your top five list, it also helps to include your top five activities you want to do in each location. For example, if Mexico is on there, perhaps you want to visit Mayan ruins, feast on some authentic cuisine, and sit on a relaxing beach somewhere.
The other thing to consider is experiences that you can only find in a particular place. For example, you can’t visit the Eiffel Tower if you go to Hawaii, and you can’t visit an active volcano if you go to Paris. Thus, for each destination, you want to decide if there’s something about that place in particular that makes it desirable, or if you can replicate the experience elsewhere (possibly for less money).
Then, compare notes. Talk about what activities are most valuable to you for your honeymoon. Since this is your first trip as a married couple, perhaps you want to travel somewhere that has a lot of couples activities. Romance and shared experiences should be high on the list because it will help you start off your new life together in a better way.
Once you have compared lists, then see if you can find a location that enables you to check off a variety of activities without having to go too far. Some areas may offer beaches, jungles, and snow-capped mountains within a day’s drive of each other, which means that you can do so much more on your honeymoon than you may have thought possible.
Questions to Ask Yourselves
If you’re still struggling to come up with the perfect location, then now is the time to ask yourselves some top questions about your honeymoon in general. This can also serve as a fantastic learning opportunity for you as it will show you what’s important to your new spouse, and it will help you find ways to work together to achieve a common goal.
Do we want to go right after the wedding?
Traditionally speaking, the honeymoon starts as close to the wedding as possible. However, just because that’s how other people have done it doesn’t mean that you have to go the same route. There’s no rule that says you have to go on your honeymoon within a week of getting married.
In some cases, waiting may be a better choice logistically. It could give you time to decompress from the wedding and not have to stress about two things at once. Also, your top location may be best visited at a particular time of year, which may not coincide with your wedding date.
How long do we want to go for?
Of course, you want to spend as much time on your honeymoon as possible, but life can and will get in the way. First and foremost, you will be restricted by your budget (more on that later), so you may only be able to get away for a few days, rather than a week or more.
That being said, this is another reason why waiting could be a good move for you. In some cases, you might be able to secure a longer honeymoon if you go a few months after the wedding, rather than immediately after your nuptials.
What memories do we want to create?
In the end, you can only have one honeymoon, which makes this trip more significant than others you have already taken together or ones you’ll take afterward. Think about how you want to celebrate your new life and how to incorporate those ideas and feelings into the trip itself.
For some people, this trip is a way to relax, which means sitting on a beach for hours on end, doing as little as possible. For others, it’s a chance to engage in some exciting activities, like mountain climbing or seeing the world from a hot air balloon. What experience will you want to share together?
Can we incorporate our wedding into the trip?
This is one question that could be a game changer. Perhaps you can create a destination wedding that will allow you to transition into your honeymoon as soon as the reception is over. While you won’t be able to get as big of a guest list (depending on where it is), the convenience of having both your wedding and your honeymoon happen in the same place can make it all worthwhile.
For example, maybe you are both Disney lovers, so you book a Disney wedding package. Alternatively, perhaps you love a particular city, so you plan to get married there instead of someplace closer.
How much planning do we want to do ahead of time?
Because your hands are going to be so full with the wedding, you may not have time to figure out a honeymoon on top of all of that. In that case, perhaps it’s best to talk to a travel agent so that they can set your itinerary for you so that all you have to do is get on the plane and enjoy the trip.
Another thing to consider is a honeymoon cruise. Cruises are ideal for people who don’t want to worry about details like eating out or finding activities, and it could allow you to visit more places at once (i.e., multiple islands instead of one).
Set a Budget
Unless money is no object, you will have to figure out your honeymoon plans based on costs and expenses. If possible, you’ll want to crunch the numbers before you do any planning or booking as it will make the process that much smoother.
Fortunately, because it’s your honeymoon, you may be able to secure some additional funds from family and friends. In fact, you may be able to forgo wedding gifts and ask for donations to book the trip of your dreams.
When setting a budget, it’s always good to aim high. Even if you plan on spending conservatively, it’s better to have money you can keep afterward rather than coming up short on the trip. Also, if you can, provide a buffer so that you can adapt to unforeseen circumstances that may pop up and derail your plans.
To get an accurate estimate, start looking at prices for accommodations right now. The sooner you can book, the more money you can save. Also, let other people within your circle know what you’re thinking – maybe they have some hookup or inside track that can help you out. For example, if you know someone with a timeshare, they may be able to save you a bundle on hotel costs.
As far as daily expenses, a good place to start is about $100 per day for food. To be safe, you should plan on at least $150, but don’t be afraid to go higher. Again, any money you don’t spend can be put back in your pocket, but money you don’t have will be a significant problem.
Finally, once you’ve set your budget, then you can compare it to your top list. Also, be prepared that you may not be able to go to your number one destination, so it’s best to have alternates just in case.
Choosing where to spend your honeymoon should be an exciting process. It’s a chance for you and your new spouse to plan the best way to start your life together, and it will serve as a foundation for your ability to work together to make a plan and put it into effect. Overall, it will be a positive influence on your life as a couple.