Well, I can't believe it's finally here! We are leaving for Playa Del Carmen, Mexico today to go get married this weekend! It seems like Dale and I got engaged so long ago (October '09), but then it feels like the year and a half went by so quickly, too. I'll miss being engaged! But marriage awaits... :)
I will be living off of my iPhone for the next two weeks, but will continue to post daily, because there's nothing worse than checking one of your favorite blogs to find nothing new is up! Everything has been prepared ahead of time, so unfortunately, there will not be many live updates from Mexico (my fiance would KILL me if I was working on our honeymoon!). But once we return from Mexico on the 12th, I will be sure to delve much, much deeper into the details surrounding our destination wedding and honeymoon. A part of me was hesitant to reveal too much about my wedding on A Paper Proposal before it actually happened because I didn't want to give it all away beforehand, and I was afraid to jinx it!
Today, I leave you with a guide with tips to planning your own dream honeymoon. Have a great couple of weeks!
How to Plan Your Honeymoon
Many people go into debt in order to pay for their weddings, and figure that they might as well finance their honeymoon in the same way. Others opt to go on their honeymoon later on down the road once they have the money saved. I, for one, think that it's counter intuitive to put your honeymoon on a credit card. It's supposed to be a relaxing trip, and maxing out the credit cards is not going to lighten the mood at all! Ideally, you'll want to save up for the honeymoon. Sit down with your partner and discuss how much money you both think you can set aside per paycheck for the "Honeymoon Fund," and calculate how much you'll end up with by the end of your engagement. Once you have a goal amount, you can begin planning with that amount budgeted in mind. That way, you'll know whether or not you can afford that extravagant trip to Fiji, or opt for a relaxing trip to Hawaii instead! Either way, you'll be together and "Just Married," so you'll end up having an amazing time no matter what, really.
Many couples are now opting to book their own honeymoon travel, given all of the great deals lurking around the internet nowadays. For flights, it helps to set up a daily or weekly email alert with KAYAK to ensure that you don't miss out on any of the good deals. Sometimes, prices will drop for a day, then shoot right back up before you've even had a moment to sit down and type your destination into Google! If you're planning a slightly more complicated trip - a 14 day tour of Europe, for instance, you may want to go with a travel agent. Booking multiple hotels, flights and tours can get very confusing, very quickly! As a general rule, the further away and more foreign your destination is, the more you'll want to work with a travel agent that specializes in the specific region you're looking travel. If you're planning a trip down to Mexico or the Caribbean, you should consider the Sand & Sun Vacations travel agency, which booked most of our destination wedding and honeymoon travel!
Preparing for the big trip
1. Don't use your new last name on any of your travel documents. I know it's tempting to do it special for the honeymoon, but save yourself the hassel and wait until after the honeymoon to change all of your legal documents.
2. Take every opportunity to mention that you're newly married! You never know when you'll score a free upgrade ;)
3. Try to plan and estimate your tips ahead of time, like you would on your wedding day. Set aside a certain amount for cabs, housekeeping, bell hop, servers, etc. Otherwise, the cash can and will disappear quickly!
4. Alert your cell phone company and credit card providers if you're traveling outside of the country. Make sure you know exactly what you will be charged when you use your cell phone overseas to prevent any surprises when you receive the bill after the honeymoon is over. Additionally, be aware that your credit card will oftentimes get denied when odd charges pop up originating in foreign countries unless you alert them of your travel plans ahead of time.
5. Try to exchange your money here before you leave. Exchange rates will be significantly higher outside of the U.S.
6. I started doing this, but have been slacking off lately =/ Keep track of all of your receipts, reservations and confirmation numbers, along with a detailed itinerary, and keep them in one folder to take with you in your carry-on. Make two extra copies of everything in that folder before you leave, and leave one set at home with a family member and the other set in your checked luggage.
7. Make sure everything is covered at home. Bills are paid, the pet sitters or child care is lined up, mail and deliveries are put on hold or will be taken care of by a family member.
...And finally, go and have FUN!