A Heavenly Honeymoon

Honeymoon. Just mention the word and you conjure up images of champagne breakfasts for two, lazy afternoons in the sun, candlelit dinners and passionate nights. Beaches, sunsets and overall romance. Oh yes, definitely romance….

Making arrangements for your romantic escape will be one of the most enjoyable aspects of planning your wedding. You’ll love poring through the travel magazines and brochures, all the while knowing that you’ll soon have the chance to take the trip of a lifetime with the love of your life.

It’s never too early to start planning your honeymoon. Not only will you have time to explore many options, but you’ll also find the best availability and value if you start planning early. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

All-Inclusive

More than mere accommodations, all-inclusive packages generally include food and lodging, extensive recreational facilities and equipment, ground transportation, plus other amenities and services. Options range from couples-only resorts, which cater specifically to honeymooners, to family resorts.

The average price for all-inclusive packages is $400 per day, but rates can vary significantly between companies and depending on the time of year. The all-inclusive package is perfect for those honeymooners who want to pay one price and forget about everything else while concentrating on each other.

Cruises

Similar to an all-inclusive resort, cruise packages offer many services and amenities for one price. A cruise usually includes airfare, accommodations, meals health club facilities, sports, activities and entertainment. There’s also the added bonus of exotic ports of call. Overall, cruise packages provide good value for the money. For this type of honeymoon excursion you’ll want to select a travel agent that specializes in cruise packages. They will have the most extensive knowledge of what each cruise line offers.

Traveling Abroad

You will most likely need a passport if you’re traveling abroad. Travelers indeed need a passport for Mexico, Canada and almost all Caribbean islands – the only ones that don’t require passports are the US Virgin islands. If you don’t have a passport or it is out of date, apply for a new one at least three months before your wedding, preferably sooner. Ask for a renewal form at your local post office.

For travel in some countries you may need certain vaccinations, so be sure to ask your travel agent about such matters. Typically the process takes six weeks, but allow time for any mishaps or delays. If you are changing your name, you should also account for any discrepancies in the names on different documents by bringing along a copy of the marriage license. This will prevent any snags on entering or returning from a foreign country.

If you should lose your passport during your trip, contact the nearest United States embassy or consulate immediately for instructions. Having a copy of your passport with you will expedite the replacement process if you should lose the real thing.
If you are concerned about the potential safety risks of traveling to a particular country, be sure to do your homework. The U.S. State Department regularly updates its travel-advisory list; you can call 202-647-5225 or visit the department web site at http:travel.state.gov/travel_warnings.html. For information about health conditions abroad, call the hotline for the Centers for Disease Control at 404-332-4559.

Staying Local

Not all newlyweds have the time or money to afford the luxury of an extended honeymoon in a far away place. However, no matter where the destination, confirm your travel and hotel accommodations well in advance, and be sure to double-check your reservation at least one week before your departure. It also doesn’t hurt to call the hotel on the day you’re leaving to confirm your time of arrival. Be sure to mention you were just married, as this often results in a nicer room or even an upgrade to a suite, depending on availability. You might also receive a special gift from the hotel like a bottle of champagne or a fruit basket waiting for you on arrival.

Romantic Travel Tips

No matter where you’re going, when you’re traveling with someone you love, it’s important to remember a few very important pieces of information.

  1. You love this person. Whether the airline lost your baggage, you got Dengue fever, or he accidentally had one too many tropical drinks, you love him. Remember that and your trip will be better for it.
  2. Share the experience of your honeymoon as well. He wants to golf and you want to shop. If you can’t bear to be apart even for a few hours, then you try golfing in the morning and he goes shopping with you in the afternoon.

Tipping

If your only experience with tipping has been limited to restaurant meals and the occasional cab ride, it can become an embarrassing, unsettling proposition, especially in an unfamiliar place. Below is a list of typical services and acceptable gratuities, however ask your travel agent or a knowledgeable acquaintance about local customs if you are journeying to a foreign country. For instance, cab drivers are usually tipped 15 to 20 percent of the fare, but in some countries cab drivers expect only a nominal tip. Over-tipping is unnecessary, but when in doubt it’s better to hazard a guess and tip what seems fair, rather than offend a conscientious worker who could be helpful to you during your stay.

Who to Tip and When

  • Airport porter: $1 per bag carried from your car to outside check- in or reservation desk
  • Hotel porter: $1 per bag carried to or from your room; a little more for extra touches
  • Hotel doorman: $1 to hail a cab for you
  • Bar/wait staff: 15%-20% of bill, if gratuity is not already included, or 3%-5% if it is included
  • Maid service: $1 per visit (leave the full amount in an envelope at the end of your stay)
  • Taxi service: 15%-20% above the fare for good service
  • Golf caddie: 30% above the normal fee, for excellent service
  • Instructors: 15%-20%, unless instructor owns the business
  • Cruise lines and all-inclusive resorts may supply you with gratuity envelopes for the staff members who have assisted you throughout your stay. Ask about normal rates, and give these gratuities on the last day.

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