When Should You Go On Your Honeymoon?

You know in the movies when a bride and groom leave their wedding in a decorated car that says “Just Married” and then they drive off to the airport?

Yeah… no one I know has ever done that.  With popular day-after brunches and just having tons of friends and family around that you rarely get to see, I think that most couples delay their honeymoon departures for a day or two.  For various reasons, some couples even postpone their honeymoons for several months or even years.  If you need help deciding whether to leave right away or push it back, here are some things you’ll want to consider:

1.  Where do you want to go?

If your wedding is in July and you’ve always dreamed of a honeymoon in Australia, you probably shouldn’t leave on your honeymoon right away.  Since the seasons are opposite in the southern hemisphere, July is the dead of winter in Australia.  Other similar examples include going Italy in August (all of the locals go on holiday then, so you’ll be stuck with tourists only), the Caribbean in September (hurricane season), and anywhere September – November (Michigan football season… just kidding… but not really).

2.  What’s your job situation like?

It’s important to consider whether you and your fiancé will be able to take off as much time from work as you’d like.  Okay, maybe you’d like to take off several months, but let’s try to be realistic here.  I’m just saying that if you just started a new job and only feel comfortable taking off one week now, but you’ll be more comfortable asking for two weeks off in six months, maybe you should wait.

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Who Hires a Travel Agent These Days?

If you read my previous post about my own honeymoon, you may have stopped halfway through and asked yourself “Wait, what?” when I mentioned that we used a travel agent.  Why would I, an overly enthusiastic and experienced world traveler, need to hire a travel agent?  I’m just as shocked as you are, I assure you, but hear me out.

Ulu Watu, Bali

1.  Wedding planning is stressful, and you’re going to get “decisioned-out” eventually.

I’m usually great at making decisions quickly and confidently, I swear.  However, after months of approving wedding invitation fonts, various shades of blue bridesmaid dresses, and the all-important wedding band playlist, my decision-making skills were worn down considerably.  My then-fiancé and I couldn’t even decide what country we wanted to go to for our honeymoon, let alone what cities, hotels, etc.  To be blunt: we just needed professional back-up.

2.  It’s probably cheaper than you expected it would be.

The way it worked with our travel agent was that she charged us a $100 flat fee per person – that’s it.  The only caveat was that we couldn’t have her spend weeks planning a perfect African safari and then ask her at the last minute to cancel that and plan a whole new Caribbean itinerary instead.  But for just $200, we received unlimited phone calls, emails, and revised itineraries from our agent.  Pretty darn awesome.

3.  The pros may have some suggestions that you never would have thought of yourself.

This was certainly true for us in two respects.  My husband and I love beaches, so we told the travel agent to find us the best hotels within our price range on the most gorgeous beaches in Southeast Asia.  Unexpected suggestion #1: Vietnam.*  This was a surprise for us, but  it turns out that she was right.**  Not only were the Vietnamese beaches beautiful, but the local food was excellent and the prices were very reasonable since many resorts were not too popular with Western tourists yet.

Unexpected suggestion #2 came along when I noticed that the first Balinese resort on our itinerary was nowhere near the beach.  I thought, “Was the travel agent even listening to me?  I told her that beaches were a major priority!”  Yeah, she heard me, and she also just knew better.  While some of the beaches in Bali are pretty great, the inner part of the island had a lot more to offer.  We’re so glad that we listened to her.

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Real Honeymoon: Bali & Vietnam

Well, what better way to start off my honeymoon travel blog with answering (my own) questions about my honeymoon?

When and where did you honeymoon?

Our honeymoon was in May 2012, and we went to Bali and Vietnam.  Specifically, we stayed in four different locations: Ubud and Nusa Dua in Bali, then in Hoi An and on an island off of Nha Trang in Vietnam.

Pertiwi Resort – Ubud, Bali

How long was your trip?

16 nights: 4 nights at each resort.

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

Oh my god, it was difficult.  Our biggest priorities were: 1) a place neither of us had already been to, 2) gorgeous beaches, 3) a little bit of culture (i.e. no Sandals Resorts, thankyouverymuch), and 4) far, far away.

After buying Lonely Planet books for a half dozen countries (including Venezuela, Mauritius, and Belize), we finally narrowed it down to Southeast Asia.  Why?  Because we hadn’t been there together before (although I’d been to Thailand already), our money would go a lot further, and it was the right time of year to travel there.

I was pretty set on Bali from the get-go (and no, I have neither seen the movie nor read the book Eat, Pray, Love), but we wanted to go somewhere else, too.  This is where our travel agent helped us out the most.  After asking her about combining Bali with the Philippines or Malaysia, the agent recommended Vietnam, which hadn’t even crossed our minds as a honeymoon destination.  I had no idea that their beaches were some of the best in all of Asia.

The private beach at Hon Tam Resort – Nha Trang, Vietnam

The best part about our honeymoon was…

Okay, two things.  1) Having all of the transportation arranged in advance.  We had drivers who met us promptly at every airport and every hotel, and just not having to think twice about getting anywhere felt like a luxury in and of itself.

2) Staying at Hoi An Boutique Resort in Hoi An, Vietnam.  The grounds were gorgeous, our villa was spacious, the food was delicious, the pool was clean, it had a private beach… I could go on and on.  The resort also had a shuttle service to and from the main town of Hoi An so we took advantage of that every night for dinner.  Our favorite restaurant was called Morning Glory, and it was so much better than any fancy Vietnamese food that San Francisco has to offer.  (And SF has some pretty incredible Vietnamese food.  I’m looking at you, Slanted Door.)  Not to mention, a full dinner with multiple drinks only set us back $25.

Boutique Hoi An Resort – Hoi An, Vietnam

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