Honeymoon help 101
What's the best way to score honeymoon deals? Should you book a honeymoon package or plan excursions on your own? Three world-renowned travel planners at Virtuoso answer your burning questions.
How early should couples book their honeymoon travel?
Book early — ideally, I recommend nine months out. Most hotels and suppliers have set their rates for the following year, and booking early allows you to take your time, make the right decisions and secure your first choice in airfare and accommodations. After all, your honeymoon is a once-in-a-lifetime event. — Lisa Mazzillo of Power Travel
Should couples mention honeymoon when making reservations?
Always! This is a special occasion, and everyone should know. You might even get lucky and have someone extend you a little honeymoon VIP treatment; perks could include a bottle of champagne or a possible upgrade in room category. Most likely, you won't need to bring your marriage license to receive honeymoon extras, but I always recommend bringing a copy of it just in case you have an emergency (e.g., name-change issues, medical emergencies, etc.) and need proof. — Kimberly Wilson Wetty of Valerie Wilson Travel
If the bride is changing her last name, what name should she use on her travel bookings?
The biggest issue is that your plane ticket and your ID must match. Realistically, the plane ticket should be issued in the maiden name since it takes time to file for a new passport, driver's license, etc. But the hotel reservations can be made under "Mr. and Mrs."; that way, you get to enjoy using your new name immediately. — Wilson Wetty
Should couples book their activities in advance or just work with their resort concierge onsite?
Book your must-do activities in advance so they don't get filled up. Leave yourself some free time so you can not only relax and enjoy the resort but also add
excursions you decide to do while in your
locale. — Mazzillo
What are the pros and cons to using a travel agent?
It's difficult for me to come up with cons to using a qualified travel advisor! That said, there are many travel agents who merely want to "turn the sale around" and get the travel booked. Choose a travel advisor who will spend time getting to know you and your travel style so they can suggest not only locations you might enjoy, but also activities, dining, special tours and sightseeing. Also, a travel advisor is often able to get money-saving amenities not offered to the general public — breakfast included, complimentary spa treatments, room upgrades and so forth. Travel advisors generally charge a fee for their services, but this is most times offset by the expertise, special amenities and pricing, and 24-hour support provided — key if you run into any travel snags. If you book through the Internet and have difficulty, who do you call? — Michael King of Great Getaways Travel
Is it worth it to buy travel insurance?
Absolutely! We always encourage our clients to take out travel insurance. It's so much better to be protected so you aren't disappointed or scrambling if your honeymoon plans have to change. The two companies we use most are Travelex and Access America. There are many policies that allow you to cancel for any reason, not just for medical reasons. These policies have higher premiums but also give you much greater flexibility. In today's world, you just never know what might happen. — Wilson Wetty
Is it ever a good idea to book a small-group vacation package through a tour operator? Can you guarantee a compatible group and some alone time on these types of trips?
If honeymooners have special interests — archaeology, safaris, expedition cruising, adventure travel, etc. — then a small group might be perfect. Most of these tours build in time when a couple can be alone — time at leisure in a city, or even taking a private excursion away from the small group. There are some excellent small-tour operators that I wouldn't hesitate to suggest. Just make sure you do your homework or your travel advisor researches carefully for group traveling, and let the tour operator know in advance that you'll be on your honeymoon. — King
Where are the best places to get reliable, up-to-date info on travel deals and specials?
Check your travel agent's website for the latest travel news. A travel-agency network like virtuoso.com is a great resource for exclusive travel offers as well. I often suggest my clients also check guidebook sites like Fodor's and Frommer's. Beware of websites that tout deals, as most of these promotions really are not deals. — King
What are some ways to stretch the honeymoon budget?
1. Sign up for a honeymoon registry. You probably don't need any more towels, pots or pans, especially if you've already been living together. You can use the registry gifts for excursions, dinners, massages or just cutting money off the bottom line.
2. Consider staying in a condo property. This way, you can go to the supermarket and bring in snacks, drinks, breakfast or lunch foods rather than paying to eat out for every single meal.
3. Opt for an all-inclusive. For couples on a budget, an all-inclusive resort works well. There are no hidden expenses; you know exactly how much the entire honeymoon will cost. — Mazzillo