Honeymoon Planning Timeline
Your honeymoon is your reward for the stressful months - or years! - that it took to plan your wedding, right? Sort of, but wedding plans aren’t the only thing filling up your schedule - planning a honeymoon takes a ton of time and energy, too! Plus, if you’re leaving for paradise immediately following your wedding, you’ll have to simultaneously plan your big day and your big vacation. Frankly, the hassle is enough to make any bride yearn for lifelong spinster-hood. With this honeymoon planning timeline, though, you can have your cake and eat it too, both literally and figuratively.
Six Months (or More) Ahead of Time
1. Set your budget.
2. Chat with your guy about your top honeymoon experiences. What are your ideal settings and activities? Where have your married friends been for their honeymoon? What does your travel agent suggest (even if your “travel agent” is actually a Google search for “fun honeymoon destinations”)?
3. Planning a destination wedding? It’s definitely time to start the paperwork and hire a wedding planner who specializes in destination weddings at your chosen locale.
4. Hire a travel agent to help things run more smoothly. Yes, a lot of couples plan their honeymoon all on their own, but why not let someone take a bit of the pressure off? Make sure that your travel agent is an expert in the location you’ll be visiting, the main activity you’ll be engaging in (scuba diving, for example), and/or your mode of transportation, particularly if you’re taking a cruise.
5. Book your tickets, order special meals for flights and update yourself on travel policies, like luggage weight allowance and what’s allowed in your carryon bags. This is also the time when you’ll want to cash in any frequent flyer miles you have or upgrade, buy or transfer points.
6. Choose your hotel and make room reservations.
7. Reserve your rental car and make sure you completely understand rental policies. For example, during a trip to Costa Rica a few years ago, it wasn’t until I got to the counter that I found out the hold on the credit card was going to be $2,000.
8. Traveling abroad and want to fit in with the locals? Sign up for a foreign language class at a nearby college or download a language course to your iPod. You’ll have enough time to learn the language conversationally before leaving.
9. Find out if any vaccinations are required if you’re going to be traveling internationally. This is definitely one step that cannot wait, because certain vaccinations have to be administered months in advance.
Three Months Ahead of Time
1. If you don’t have them already, get your passports and visas in order.
2. Now is the time to sign up for travel insurance. Not sure if you actually need travel insurance? If you or your groom-to-be have health issues, if you’re concerned for your safety or if weather could potentially ruin your trip, travel insurance is highly suggested. First, check with your credit card companies to see if they offer travel insurance.
Two Months Ahead of Time
1. Treat yourself to a high-tech camera and a new set of luggage. Better yet, register for these items, just in time for your bridal shower! Make sure you learn how to use your camera, too - otherwise, you’ll be stuck with a bunch of blurry photos to remember your honeymoon by.
2. Decide which activities you want to partake in and make reservations. Sightseeing tours, theater tickets and even restaurant reservations should be taken care of well in advance so all you have to do on your honeymoon is enjoy the experience.
3. If you’re going to be doing something that’s outside of your experience and comfort zone, take lessons. If you’re going to go scuba diving, get certified.
One Month Ahead of Time
1. Make a packing list, including what items you have to buy.
2. Double-check all reservations to make sure they’re still set.
3. Make plans if you’re going to be leaving your pup or kitten with a kennel or a sitter.
4. Make plans if you’re going to have someone house-sit.
Two Weeks Ahead of Time
1. Print out or pick up your airline tickets and any vouchers you’ll be using while traveling.
2. Get travelers’ checks and keep the numbers somewhere safe in case the checks are stolen.
3. Exchange $100 into the currency of the country you’ll be visiting. You’ll of course be able to exchange money when you get to the airport at your destination, but it’ll be nice to know you have some money on hand in case you need to buy something right away.
One Week Ahead of Time
1. Arrange to have your mail held while you’re away.
2. Make copies of your passport, credit card, insurance information and any other important documents you may need access to while away. Give copies to a close relative or friend and keep another set packed in your luggage.
3. If you’re carrying a guidebook, there’s no need to let it weigh down your bag. Make photocopies of important pages and leave the actual book at home. You can even scan pages into your computer and send them to your smartphone.
4. Set everything aside that you’ll be packing, including extra allergy pills and contact lenses. Also, if you’re going to be carrying medications, make sure they’re in their original bottles with the prescription label on the front.
5. If you’re having someone look after your home while you’re away, give them a copy of your keys and any contact information they might need.
Three Days Ahead of Time
1. Double-check your flight information.
2. Order champagne to be waiting in your hotel room when you arrive.
3. Arrange rides to and from the airport.
4. Check the weather forecasts for your destination.
5. Setup your voicemail and e-mail’s auto-response to say that you’ll be away.
6. Prep your house, including getting rid of perishable food, watering plants and setting timers.
7. Pack and label your luggage on both the outside and the inside.