Contributor -The Travel Custodian

After all of the stress and anxiety that can be involved in pulling off a wedding without a hitch, some time away with your newly acquired spouse might be just what the doctor ordered.

Taking time to rest, recuperate and bask in the “newly wed” glow is a great way to start your new adventure as a married couple. It isn’t something you can wing though. At least you shouldn’t. Planning your honeymoon requires some thought and advance preparation. Here are some tips for planning, preparing and packing for your dream honeymoon:

Plan

Budget: Let’s face it, money is a big, if not the biggest factor in determining where to honeymoon. The cost of travel and accommodation alone can be very cost intensive. Thinking through what is important to you will help you figure out how much money you are willing to put towards your honeymoon. Some couples may feel like a honeymoon is a once in a life time event and is worth splurging on. Other couples may think otherwise and want to be more conservative in their spending. Either way of thinking is perfectly fine. What should be foremost for you is what you can comfortably afford. You don’t want to plan a honeymoon that is way over budget and then come home to financial strain. Wherever you decide to spend your honeymoon, the most important thing is that you’re spending time together with your partner.

Research, Research, Research: There are a number of things to consider when putting together your honeymoon. How much time off you have, the cost of a destination vs your budget, what time of the year you’ll be going, travel requirements- these are just a few things to think about. Those pictures of the couple honeymooning in Bali are lovely and you may want a similar experience, but are your circumstances the same? If you have only one week for your honeymoon, it probably makes more sense to find a destination closer to home. Same for if you’re on a tighter budget. Doing some research will help you determine the options that makes the most sense to you and your partner. What are your best flight options? Where can you get the best hotel deals? Those are all things to gather information about. Even something like the weather patterns for the time you’re visiting should be considered and carefully researched. The last thing you want is to spend time and money planning your dream honeymoon, only for it to rain the entire time because its monsoon season.

Decide on a destination: Deciding where to go or what to do when you’re planning for just yourself can be hard. Doing it as a couple can be a little more complicated. You want to kick back and have fun on your honeymoon, but you also have to be aware and mindful of your partner’s needs and interests as well. This is where working together is key. Brainstorming, tabling both your needs and talking through what you both want out of your time away will take the guesswork out of the planning process. Nothing says you and your partner have to have the same interests. You might be a beach resort person and your partner may be happiest on an urban adventure. In this case finding the common ground and making compromises is important so that you and your partner can make the most of your first vacation as a married couple.

Book early: Congratulations, you’ve cleared the budget, research and decision hurdles. Now go ahead and lock it down! You will typically get a better deal on airline tickets and hotel accommodation when you book early. Waiting till the last minute can work against you, especially when you’re working with a budget. Flights and hotels can become exponentially costlier the closer you are to your travel dates. If you’re simultaneously planning a wedding, getting this done and squared away gives you one less thing to worry about. Consider using a professional: Planning a wedding and planning your new life together can be an involved process. There are so many things to think through and do, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. The good news is, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Engaging the services of a professional travel concierge can prove to be of great value. Paying a little extra for such services frees up your time and can reduce the stress and anxiety of travel planning considerably and A travel concierge can use their resources to find you the best bang for your buck. They can also help you to keep track of your reservations and handle all the logistics of your trip. So don’t be afraid to let the pros handle it!

Consider using a professional: Planning a wedding and planning your new life together can be an involved process. There are so many things to think through and do, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. The good news is, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Engaging the services of a professional travel concierge can prove to be of great value. Paying a little extra for such services frees up your time and can reduce the stress and anxiety of travel planning considerably and A travel concierge can use their resources to find you the best bang for your buck. They can also help you to keep track of your reservations and handle all the logistics of your trip. So don’t be afraid to let the pros handle it!

Prepare

Double, triple check all reservations: As your honeymoon inches closer, going over your reservations and checking all the logistics is a good idea. Make sure things like your airport transfers are in place, you’ve made special dinner reservations, you’ve checked if your hotel allows early check ins. Make sure your travel documents are current and up to date A quick look over all the logistical components of your trip can help you spot things that are missing or incorrect, and gives you good time to rectify anything that needs to be. To insure or not to insure: Travel insurance can be a polarizing topic. Some people swear by travel insurance and another faction of people don’t think it necessary. At the end of the day, it boils down to how much you can risk. If you’re making a considerable investment in your honeymoon, perhaps it is a good idea to shop around for travel insurance. This is more so recommended for international travel. I’m not talking about the generic insurance that is offered when you purchase flights or book hotels. Those don’t offer very much coverage and don’t have much value in the event of emergencies that can affect your travel. You should opt for comprehensive travel insurance policies that include medical coverage if things go awry during your trip.

Share your itinerary: A good rule of thumb is to share your travel details like travel dates, flight times, hotel address and phone numbers with a trusted person back home. This is helpful in case of emergencies. Recording you trip and sharing your travel information with your country’s foreign service is also a good idea. In case of an emergency, your government may be able to uphold you and your partner’s interests and bring you home safely.

Get your money right: Have a plan for currency exchange and access to money while you’re away. Do a savings to checking transfer between your accounts, check if you will have access to ATMs and whatever you do, set up a travel notice with your bank and credit card company. Also have enough cash on hand in case of banking misadventures. Be aware of any withdrawal and currency exchange fees on your debit and credit cards as well.

Pre-pay or automate bill payments: If you have payments that will become due while you’re away, prepaying them before you leave or setting up auto bill payment gives you one less thing to worry about while you’re honeymooning. You don’t want to sully your fabulous honeymoon experience by coming home to incurred charges due to missed payments.

Clean house: There is nothing like coming home to a clean house! Traveling can be stressful and coming home to a spotless home can be so calming. If you have time before you travel, try doing some cleaning and organizing. If your honeymoon is close to or right after the wedding, it might be an understandably busy time. So hiring a cleaning service is not a bad idea. You can also call in favors with friends and family to help you do some organizing before you jet off. When you get home from your travels, you’ll feel a lot calmer and ready to forge ahead with your new reality. If cleaning the whole house or apartment isn’t possible, make sure to at least take out the trash. Speaking from experience here-I’ve come home from a long trip to trash I forgot to take out before I left. It’s not pretty.

Pack

What to pack for your trip depends on where you’re going and what type of trip it is. However, there are some essentials you and your partner should have handy:

Clothing- Lightweight clothing depending on the weather, tees and tanks, pants and/or shorts, light jacket, comfortable walking shoes, rain poncho or small umbrella, sleepwear, underwear dress clothes for a night out, swimsuit or swim trunks, beach bag if you’re heading to the beach.

Travel documents– Passports and IDs as well as copies, printed copies of itineraries, travel insurance documents.

Tech/Apps – Chargers, adapters and converters, headphones, camera, memory cards, language translation apps like iTranslate or Google translate, navigation tools like maps.me

Toiletries- Toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, body wash, sunscreen (don’t skip the sunscreen), extra contact lenses, contact solution, washcloth, body lotion

Health items– First aid items (bandages, antiseptics, plaster etc.), cold and allergy medicine, labeled personal prescriptions, anti-diarrheal, hand sanitizer