Honeymoon planning tips from a luxury travel advisor
While I’m no wedding planner, being a travel advisor gives me a front row seat to the most epic event planning period of many couple’s lives. In a roundabout way, that’s why honeymoons are some of my favorite trips to plan. I get to help them dream up the perfect post-nuptial itinerary. And I'm pretty lucky to play matchmaker between private islands, white sand beaches, intimate cliffside wine tastings, and two people already head-over-heels in love.
As with any trip, the sky’s the limit when it comes to honeymoon destinations. This can be a great problem to have, but it can also lead to fear over making the wrong choice. Honeymoons can feel like a lot. The pressure to create a once-in-a-lifetime, dream getaway is real. So first, let me assure you an extravagant, blow-your-socks-off honeymoon is possible (and I’d love to help!). But it’s also possible to hide away blissfully at a spa retreat or discreet luxury resort. No matter what couples have on their wish list, here are my four steps for crafting an itinerary that gets them where they want to go:
1. Choose the best time to go.
Traditionally, couples left wedding receptions to hop on a plane to spend their first happily wedded night together in paradise. Many still enjoy the adrenaline rush of leaving one party (goodbye, dance floor!) to head straight for the next (hello, poolside cocktails!). But if you prefer a few days of downtime at home, by all means, go for it! In fact, book a treatment at your favorite local spa for that day of rest.
So what’s best for you and your forever roomie? A romantic escape from the ballroom to a private airline suite? A mini staycation before the big trip? Or would you prefer to savor the wait a little more, leaving a week or month after the ceremony? There’s no wrong answer here.
Choose a time that works with your personalities and schedules, then let your travel advisor know your preference.
2. Simplify your wish list.
A honeymoon doesn’t need to check off five items from your bucket list. That’s a lot of pressure for a vacation that should be a reprieve from your busy engagement and wedding season. My suggestion is to sit down with your partner and discuss your wish list. In fact, make a date out of it! Take time to slow down, unwind, and listen to each other’s dreams. If you’re like me, you’ll make a good old-fashioned paper list while you’re at it.
Once you have the list, cut it in half.
This isn’t because your honeymoon can’t be everything you want and more. But it’s better to know your priorities as you search for the perfect destination. Can you enjoy several Michelin meals, a private wine tour, a white powder beach, ski slopes, an authentic sauna experience, and a wildlife drive in one trip? Maybe. But you might be too busy to take a deep breath and enjoy one another’s company. I believe you enjoy greater clarity in the planning process when you agree on a list of 3-5 descriptors or experiences for your trip. We can always build from there!
3. Find your dream destination.
Using the priorities you chose together, pick a destination (or small handful of destinations) to research. Keep in mind the weather, and if you will be visiting during peak, shoulder, or offseason.
Of course, if you’re working with a travel advisor, you can sit back and relax during this step. My job is to show couples both the destinations that have already caught their eye and ones they might not have yet considered. It’s a little like trying on wedding dresses. Sometimes the attendant finds the perfect gown you never noticed in that sea of white and cream. (I’ll be publishing a post related to this soon: If you like the Maldives, you’ll love Palawan, for instance.)
4. Leave room for surprises.
As a frequent traveler myself (and an introvert at that), I don’t believe in scheduling every moment of a trip. Allow space for hours of unplanned rest and relaxation together. Give yourselves a moment to hear your local guide’s stories or tips for secret neighborhood gems. Time is a luxury, so savor every last second. Honeymoon itineraries can have structure, of course. But I’m convinced relaxation and romance blossom in the moments spent soaking in a sunset or sipping locally grown coffee in bed.
Another note on surprises? Honeymoons are the perfect occasion for surprising your partner. Fancy a spontaneous couples massage, champagne delivery, or private dining on the beach? If you’re using a travel advisor, they can be great resources for dreaming up surprises specific to your lodging or destination. I’d love to help!
My hope is that this post gave you a starting point for planning your honeymoon. It's possible to find the best luxury inns or local gems with a deep dive into destination research. But if you're overwhelmed with all the honeymoon advice out there? It would be my pleasure to help you dream up, design, and depart on the honeymoon of your dreams. Contact me if you'd like to discuss a custom itinerary.