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Your honeymoon is a time to relax and unwind with your new partner in celebration of the beautiful journey you two have begun together. You have spent large amounts of time and money planning your wedding to be as perfect as can be, and now you get to celebrate your hard work and turn your eyes toward the horizon of your new life together! However, before you kick off your flip flops and start ordering a round of mai tais, your honeymoon needs some serious planning and organizing. Lucky for you, we’ve broken down the honeymoon planning process into an easy, hassle-free timeline so you can get one step closer to stepping on that plane.
6 months, or more, ahead
Before you start getting heart-eyes over fancy resorts or secluded beaches miles away, you have to set a budget for your honeymoon. Setting a budget is one of the most important steps because it will allow you to plan realistically and make smart decisions. Next, start brainstorming with your fiancé about where to you’d like to set sail. Have you always wanted to take a cooking class in France? Do you have your eyes set on a romantic elephant ride throughout Thailand? Research possible destinations, talk to friends and family, and get some ideas on the table (or more appropriately, on the map) to find the best honeymoon destination for you.
If you’re planning a destination wedding, determine where you’ll be headed and how your honeymoon plans will fall into place after the wedding. Find a travel agent who specializes in your honeymoon spot or get handy with you internet browsing skills to check out all the fun activities that are available at your destination. If you’re the adventure-seeking type, you’ll want to make sure to plan out your itinerary of fun outdoor adventures for you two like scuba diving, city touring, or fine dining experiences. Book your flight tickets, reserve a rental car if needed, and reserve a hotel room. If you want a unique and intimate experience, you can look into vacation rentals by home owners in the area.
Photo Credit: Divine Destination Weddings
Three to five months ahead
If you’re traveling abroad and want the full-immersion experience, grab a foreign language dictionary, start some lessons, or get some tapes to listen to on your drive to work. If you’re planning a road trip for you honeymoon, make sure you map out any spots you want to hit along the way. If you two are true foodies, get a list of the best burger joints or high-scale restaurants to hit while you’re on your honeymoon. Check out traveler blogs or scroll through endless Instagrams to find the best places where you and your sweetheart can enjoy a beautiful view, go on a hike, or sip on some fancy cocktails together. Get your passports or visas in order, if necessary.
Photo Credit: KT Merry Photography
Two months ahead
Go shopping for all the odds and ends you think you’ll need for your honeymoon excursion: Buy a new camera and any outfits you need for your honeymoon destination’s weather. Make the necessary accommodations for those activities you’ve had your eye on for a while now – whether those be theater tickets, reservations for an amazing rooftop restaurant, sightseeing tours, or a wine tasting in the country vineyard. Avoid any honeymoon planning mistakes and be realistic with the time you have there. Find that perfect balance between having enough relaxation time for you two and planning all the must-see, must-do things on your list.
Photo Credit: Lexia Frank
One month ahead
Finalize your packing list of must-have items and if there’s any last minute things you need, compile a shopping list to get all your honeymoon necessities. Make arrangements for neighbors to collect your mail, feed your pets, water your plants, or do any other tasks you need done while you’re away. If you’re expecting gifts from your registry to be delivered, make sure you’ve arranged for someone to take care of those when they arrive on your doorstep. Reconfirm all your reservations and make sure there’s no loose ends in your plans.
Photo Credit: Jose Villa
Two to one weeks ahead
Double check your airline tickets and print them ahead of time. Buy traveler’s checks and exchange your dollars for foreign currency, if needed. Making the exchange while you’re in the states will give you a better bargain on rates and will ensure you’re prepared once you land. You’ll also want this cash for any taxis rides or food you’ll want when you arrive. Make copies of your passports, credit cards, ID cards, or anything you would need handy in the worst case that your wallet is lost or stolen (it happens!). If you’re bringing a guidebook but don’t need all the sections, (trust us, you don’t) photocopy the ones you need to lighten your luggage load.
Photo Credit: Cambria Grace Photography
Three days ahead
Make sure you’ve packed adequate amounts of all the essentials you need in terms of staying healthy, like prescriptions, allergy medications, pain relief pills, contacts, or hygiene products. Triple check your flights. Pack a good read for the plane ride. Leave a copy of your itinerary with a family member or close friend so they can know your plans in case you can’t touch base. Make sure any loose ends are tied up at work; set an auto-response email message, and make any last minute phone calls. Check the forecast of your honeymoon destination to make sure there haven’t been any sudden changes in climate. Pack up all your luggage and make sure your bags are properly labeled.
Photo Credit: Shadi Boulos Photography
Now enjoy your trip! You’ve worked very hard and came a long way to have this time to relax and enjoy some needed one-on-one time with your fiancé. Remember to take many, many pictures (we all know your friends and parents will demand them upon return) and bring a journal to recount all your wonderful experiences. Happy trails!