Lately, I have had many clients who start planning and saving for the honeymoon even before the engagement ring takes up residence on the potential bride’s finger. The opportunity to take the most fantastic trip either has ever been on to this point has my clients dreaming big. Here are some ideas that I share with them.
1. Hire a Travel Agent
The Travel agent has knowledge and experience to make sure you maximize every budget dollar you have. Because a travel agent works on repeat business, it is in her best interest to make sure you are a happy client. Additionally, what you may not know is that often the travel agent has access to pricing not available to the public (think wholesaler). Since she is a wholesale consumer of these various resorts and destinations, she has more clout (and buying power) than someone who only books a trip even once a year. Buyer Beware: if you decide to book on your own through a discount website, many times the hotel puts you in a lower ranking room explicitly saved for those guests who book on discount sites. You do not want to find something like that out when you arrive in a third world country with no one looking out for you.
2. Know when to Book
Often, the earlier you book the better. As with most items, travel tends to increase in pricing. There is no one optimal time to book, but when you find a price that looks good do not wait. Pricing can and will change quickly. Here is again where an agent can help you with knowing if the pricing is standard, above or below market.
3. Ask about Promotions
Here is the time to check out what is available to be a “loss leader.” As an agent, I receive new promotions multiple times EVERY DAY. There is no shortage of exciting deals to be had, and from the fabulous destinations and suppliers themselves (rather than third party vendors).
4. Be Realistic about your Budget
Your budget may not allow you to fly to Fiji and stay in an “Over the Water” bungalow for two weeks, but perhaps you can fly to Jamaica and stay a night or two in one (spending the rest of your time being waited on by a white-gloved butler). Start with what you can spend, and prioritize your needs (must haves) and your wants (would like). Your Travel Agent can then take these together (budget, needs and wants) and give you some real options. Know that this a. takes time (which is why many TA require a “ReadytoBook” deposit/fee and b.is easier to show in an office where multiple options can be displayed in a few minutes.
5. Consider a Honeymoon Fund
In the age of wedding websites and online registries, a honeymoon is the perfect gift idea for most wedding guests. Especially for those coming in from out of town, it is the ideal size to “pack.” Check with your agent to make sure you have the best one for your needs. Some registry sites that can take a large chunk of the proceeds as a “fee.”
6. Consider a Short trip now, for a Longer trip later
I suggest this to a significant number of my clients. A wedding is such an exciting event, and in that excitement, a lot of sleep is waived in favor of surrounding activities. This can mean that the first couple of days after the wedding, the couple can be wiped-out and not wishing to leave their room. Kind of a waste when you are in paradise. Perhaps, a shorter stay somewhere close immediately after the wedding can allow the household budget to recover to allow an opportunity for a more extended stay when you feel up to enjoying that paradise.
7. Find an All-Inclusive that has the Necessary Inclusions
The best way I have found to stick to my vacation/trip budget is to know what will be spent. To this, I can find a destination that includes the items on my lists (see #4 above). I do not require alcohol to be included in my stay (I am happy with a glass or two of champagne for a week), but I need some good caffeine. Recently on a cruise, I included a deluxe non-alcohol drink package to make sure I could have my latte’s while not breaking the bank purchasing the drinks. Your travel agent can help you find a place as well as flesh out costs that will be actualized.