The time has arrived – you’re finally newlyweds, and now it’s time to jet set off to your dream location to experience the honeymoon that you’ve always dreamed of!
However, much like planning your wedding, planning a honeymoon takes a lot of time and effort in figuring out the budget, travel plans, and other logistics. Similar to wedding planning (again), you also can’t start too early in figuring out where you want to go and how much money and time you have to do so.
I’m here to help you out with a brief overview that includes a honeymoon planning checklist and timelines of when you should be getting things booked and ready for your romantic getaway. Keep in mind that depending on how long or short your engagement is, the timeline easily can be adjusted to fit your timeframe but still keep you on track with what needs to get accomplished.
SIX OR MORE MONTHS IN ADVANCE
Now is the time that you can start to dream of all the places that you’d like to honeymoon at, but more importantly, you and your spouse need to discuss a budget and how much time you’ll both be able to take for the trip. Once those two aspects are narrowed down and finalized, you can choose your destination and start the early stages of planning!
- Set a budget.
- Start discussing your dream honeymoon location – where would you like to go, somewhere exotic? Europe? What activities do you want to do while you’re away? Friends and family can be a useful resource for destinations that you’ve never visited but they have, and also be sure to troll around the Internet and consult a travel agent, if necessary.
- If you’d like to work with a travel agent in planning your trip, find one now who specializes in your destination.
- If the cost of your desired location is over planned budget, brainstorm ways to save money, such as frequent flyer miles, and consult with your travel agent about current promotions and deals.
- Book your airline tickets now! The sooner that you book and confirm your seat assignments the better. Also check your luggage and carry-on allowances so there are no surprises later.
- Research hotels and room availability, and book your room. TripAdvisor is one of the best resources for researching hotel information and recommendations from travelers like you.
- Reserve a rental car, if needed.
- Visit the CDC Travelers’ Health Site to find out if you need any specific vaccinations before you travel to your location.
THREE MONTHS IN ADVANCE
With wedding planning for the big day inevitably consuming your life at this point, don’t let little details for your honeymoon fall to the wayside. Make sure you obtain all appropriate and necessary personal identification documentation, as well as travel insurance to stay protected in the event of an emergency.
- Obtain passports and visas, if needed.
- Research and purchase travel insurance.
TWO MONTHS IN ADVANCE
This is when more of the fun stuff of honeymoon planning comes into play – shopping! Purchase a set of new luggage that meets your flight allowance, or you even can register for a set for your bridal shower. This also is a good timeframe to begin researching popular attractions and activities at your location and to make any advance reservations, if necessary.
- Purchase a new set of luggage per the flight allowances.
- Consider purchasing a new camera, or brush up on your skills if you currently own a camera. For a special trip such as your honeymoon, you’ll want better photographs than just on your camera phone!
- Research and book popular attractions and activities, such as tours, restaurants, etc., that requires advance reservations.
ONE MONTH IN ADVANCE
List-making is your best friend at this point, not only for your wedding day but also for your honeymoon! Make a packing list to ensure that everything that you want with you makes it in your suitcase. You also can start to confirm reservations at this point.
- Create a packing and shopping list.
- Begin to confirm/reconfirm all trip reservations.
TWO WEEKS IN ADVANCE
It’s time to start picking up all your important travel documents! If a different currency is used at your destination, be sure to exchange some U.S. money now to keep with you.
- If you’ve been working with a travel agent, pick up your airline tickets and any vouchers now. Read through the information thoroughly to ensure that it’s correct; if there are any mistakes, have your travel agent correct it immediately.
- If necessary, purchase travelers’ checks and keep the numbers someplace safe in case they are lost or stolen.
- If currency is different from U.S. money where you’re traveling, exchange some money now to help you get used to the exchange rate upon arrival.
ONE WEEK IN ADVANCE
You’re almost there! Start packing now to help avoid any last-minute rushing, and get any house or apartment issues handled now so everything is taken care of while you’re traveling.
- Consider having your mail held at the post office during your trip, and stop newspaper delivery.
- If wedding gifts are still consistently being delivered, check with the stores where you’ve registered to see if they will hold orders at the store. Otherwise, ask a relative or friend to collect boxes so avoid a pile-up on your doorstep.
- Make two to three sets of copies of important documents, such as your driver’s license, passport, credit cards, insurance, traveler check numbers and wills in the event something happens to you and your spouse. I know it’s difficult to think of such a thing when you’re leaving for your honeymoon, but we live in the real world and need to be prepared! Provide a copies to each set of parents and/or a close relative or friend, pack one set in your luggage, and keep another in a safe deposit box.
- Set out clothes to pack, and purchase any remaining items that you need.
- Make sure you have extras of anything that you cannot live without – prescription medications, glasses or contacts, etc. Keep all medications in their original packaging to avoid questions at customs, and consider keeping these items in your carry-on bag in the event your luggage gets lost.
THREE DAYS IN ADVANCE
At this point, the anticipation is probably killing you! Soon you’ll be a newlywed and jetting off to your honeymoon destination for some R&R time. Reconfirm any flights or reservations to put your mind at ease, and book any last-minute travel arrangements, such as getting to and from the airport, if necessary.
- Reconfirm flights, if necessary.
- Buy entertainment for the flight – books, magazines, etc.
- Make arrangements for travel to and from the airport.
- Leave a copy of your travel itinerary and an extra house key with a friend or close relative in the event of an emergency.
- Set up your vacation messages for email and voicemail at work.
- Prepare your house or apartment for your absence – eat or clean out your fridge, water plants and flowers, set light timers, etc.
- Check the weather forecast at your destination to make sure you’ve packed appropriately.
ONE DAY IN ADVANCE
You’ve made it! Everything should be set and good-to-go, so get on that plane tomorrow and enjoy your honeymoon!
- Reconfirm flights, if necessary.
- Make sure that both your checked and carry-on luggage is labeled properly with your name, hotel address and phone number.
For more tips and resources for planning your honeymoon, check out Style Me Pretty’s top 10 tips for planning your honeymoon. Real Simple also offers a free, printable checklist that covers all your packing needs.