Along with trying on dresses and tasting the cake, planning your honeymoon should be one of the most enjoyable parts of wedding planning. With a whole world of breath-taking beaches, awesome experiences and gorgeous hotels to choose from though, the pressure to book the holiday to end all holidays can take the shine off this otherwise exciting task.
There are so many things to consider before clicking that ‘confirm booking’ button, including the season you’re travelling in, whether or not you’re willing to stick out a long-haul flight and the kind of climate you’d feel comfortable in for a couple of weeks. Couple that with the constant stream of insta-perfect honeymoon snaps bombarding us every day on social media and it’s easy to see why selecting a honeymoon destination can leave couples feeling frazzled.
Despite the weight of such a heavy decision, it’s absolutely worth fully researching all of your options. After the months spent agonising over order of service templates and working on your bride’s speech, you’ll be glad you put the work in perfecting your trip of a lifetime. Plus, the sooner you’re done researching airline prices and weather reports, the sooner you can start shopping for your honeymoon beauty must haves.
To help you get over any inspiration overload and get you feeling confident that you’ve booked a trip to remember, we’ve spoken to an expert and created a step-by-step honeymoon guide. Our expert has helped 100s of couples plan and book their dream honeymoon trips, all you need to do is jot down their tips and follow their path to honeymoon heaven.
From choosing your ideal destination and savvy ways to spend your honey-money to making every moment extra special, here’s your one-way ticket to a magical honeymoon. Passports at the ready!
Create a honeymoon destination shortlist.
Some couples just know instinctively where they’ll honeymoon. For some it’s a special place to revisit, or where they first met, and for others it’s that once-in-a-lifetime chance to go far afield to somewhere that’s always seemed out of reach.
If you’re a little more indecisive or just can’t agree, you don’t have to put a pin in a map to decide on a location. There are plenty of other ways to choose your perfect match. “Write a list of what you both really love,” says Lizzie Heeley, marketing director at Turquoise. “Perhaps it’s boutique hotels, desert islands, restaurants, five-star luxury, diving or spa treatments. Also think about where you’ve been on holiday before – what did you love or hate about each?”
Your shared travel loves, plus previous holiday experiences paired with the time of year you want to travel, your budget and how much annual leave you’ve got, will lead you towards just a few destinations.
Top honeymoon tip: Companies such as AirPortr offer luggage concierge services so you don’t have to drag your suitcases to the airport.
Consider your honeymoon budget.
You know how much you usually spend on holidays, but how about when it comes to the ultimate holiday – a honeymoon? Does it warrant double the budget or just a few hundred pounds extra? It’s difficult to know how much to set aside for the trip of a lifetime, and a lot of it depends on your destination and how long you’re going for.
To find your ideal budget, think about which aspects of the trip would really enhance your experience and give those priority. Is it all about going to your dream destination? If so, it’s worth speaking to a tour operator from the start to check what the ballpark figure is for a honeymoon to that specific area. “The budget for honeymoon destinations can vary a lot,” says Lizzie. “I’d say expect to pay a minimum of £2,500 per person for a week in a luxury hotel including breakfast or dinner, and allowing for some spending money, in places such as the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean. Long-haul hotspots such as French Polynesia can be more like £4,000 per person.”
Maybe turning left when you get on the plane is also something you’ve always aspired to? You’ll need to budget on average for around four times the cost of an economy ticket to fly business class. If this makes your eyes water, remember many airlines have premium economy options, too, starting at 30% more than coach-class seats. Or perhaps you’ve always dreamt of staying in a suite or overwater villa. To make the maths work, consider a shorter stay in a higher-level suite, or book the majority of your stay in an entry level room and upgrade for a couple of special nights at the end.
Top honeymoon tip: You don’t have to fly business or first class to book into the airport lounge, you can enjoy spa treatments and tasty food before you’ve even taken off to get you in the mood for what’s to come.
Make the most of your time.
Can a honeymoon ever be too long? Possibly not, but we’re willing to bet your boss and bank account might have something to say about it if you jet off into the sunset for months.
To make the honeymoon period last longer, have a mini-moon after the wedding and a bigger honeymoon later on in the year, if budget allows. That’s exactly what 22% of readers did according to our 2018 21st Century Bride survey. “It takes most couples three or four days to unwind and catch up on sleep on honeymoon,” says Lizzie. “I always say 10 days to two weeks should be the minimum… you only get married once! However, the reality for most couples is that annual leave is very precious and budget is limited after the big day, so it’s about making the most of the time, minimising flight time and maximizing beach/adventure time!”
Top honeymoon tip: “I also think it’s important to push yourself,” Lizzie adds. “Whether that’s going somewhere you’ve never been, incorporating some sort of adventure, spending a little more than you’d usually do… you won’t regret it!”
Avoid last-minute booking
Generally speaking, a honeymoon isn’t the time to gamble with a last-minute deal. In fact, in order to have the trip you really dream of at the lowest price, it’s often best to get your skates on and put “book honeymoon” nearer the top of your to-do list. “We advise booking six to nine months in advance,” says Lizzie. “We receive honeymoon offers a year in advance and airlines release flights 11 months prior to departure, so it’s rare to get ‘last minute’ offers that are better than booking far ahead. Plus, it means you have the pick of the bunch in terms of rooms and airlines.”
Top honeymoon tip: “It’s so important all the hotels know it’s your honeymoon so they can spoil you rotten,” says Lizzie.
Consider the season.
For some people, the slightest cloud can make or break a day on the beach, but don’t let
your sun-worshipping self get in the way of bagging a much better deal out of high season.
“We hugely recommend travelling in shoulder season,” says Lizzie. “These are the months preceding or following peak season and usually bring amazing weather, without the crowds or the price tags.”
Spend your money wisely and incorporate a honeymoon gift list.
If you want to do lots of romantic activities together, you’ll need to budget for all of these on top of the overall cost of your honeymoon.
A great way to make the most of your destination (without worrying about the bill at the end) is by setting up a honeymoon wedding fund as part of your gift list, meaning your guests can treat you to luxuries such as candlelit dinners, private picnics and hot-air balloon rides.
Also consider high-end all-inclusive trips such as those offered by Sandals, where many activities are part of the package.
Finally, make sure you do some research into the general day-to-day expense of your chosen destination. You might think you saved big on those sale airline tickets to Reykjavik, but once you touch down, with the average mid-range restaurant meal costing over £70 and cocktails at around £16 a pop, it might not be the bargain mini-moon you’d anticipated!
Top honeymoon tip: If you’ve got a particularly romantic night planned on your trip, make it even more special by enlisting the help of Voyager Club, a bespoke fashion concierge, which can curate a wardrobe for your destination and have it sent directly there.