This week’s real honeymooners planned most of their trip just two weeks before they flew to Italy. That’s right. Two weeks before they flew to Italy. If planning a honeymoon at the last minute makes you feel like you’re about to have a panic attack, you’re certainly not alone. While I don’t like to think of myself as an obsessive-compulsive planner, I do like to make the most out of my trips, and I certainly wanted to make sure that a trip as important as my honeymoon was well thought out.
Every honeymoon requires different types and amounts of planning, but Real Simple published a generic Honeymoon Planning Checklist that’s a good place to start. Check out that link for their full details, but below is an annotated version of their tips with my (hopefully
brilliant insightful) commentary in blue:
Eight Months to One Year Before:
Make[Think about] your budget. Decide[Consider] whether to use a travel agent. Decide[Brainstorm options] for where to go.
- [If you already know where you want to go…] Buy plane tickets & book hotel. The sooner you can book, the better.
Six Months Before:
- Do any of the above if you haven’t already [but don’t freak out if you still haven’t made any major decisions! Six months is still a lot of time to plan a honeymoon, I promise.]
- Schedule transportation (e.g. purchase any necessary train or ferry tickets, reserve a rental car, arrange for a driver to take you between airports and hotels, etc.) [If you go through a travel agent, ask him/her to make these arrangements for you. If you decide to book them yourself though, making these plans six months before your honeymoon might be a bit too OCD, but whatever.]
- Make important dinner reservations. [I do agree with this suggestion. If your whole Parisian honeymoon must revolve around meals at Joël Robuchon or Le Jules Verne, so be it! Book your tables ASAP.]
- Get or renew your passport. [YESSSSSSSS]
- Apply for visas or any other necessary travel documentation. [YESSSSSSSS]
- Get travel insurance. [I haven’t written on this topic yet, but yes, you should get travel insurance.]
- Get any necessary vaccinations.
Three Months Before:
- Okay, now’s the time for you to really make sure you have made decisions on the destination(s), booked your airfare and hotels, and made sure that your passport is up to date.
- Plan your activities. [Planning activities three months in advance sounds WAY too excessive to me. Most of the real honeymooners on this blog preferred to relax and play things by ear throughout their trips, so don’t sweat if you don’t have activities planned before you go, let alone three months in advance.]
- Make basic packing lists and figure out what major items (like luggage) you still need to buy. [You can add these items to your gift registries, too, in the hopes that they will be purchased for you before the honeymoon.]
One Month Before:
- Finalize transportation bookings.
- Book appointments and other activities (e.g. spa treatments and golf reservations).
- Fill prescriptions. [YES! If any of your prescriptions automatically renews while you’ll be out of the country, ask your pharmacy to give you your prescription ahead of time. They’ll run it by your insurance company for you, and it’s usually no big deal at all.]
- Shop. [Now’s the time to do some major damage with your credit card. I’ve mentioned before on the blog that oftentimes brides’ weight majorly fluctuates due to wedding-related stress, so you might not know how things will fit if you buy them too far in advance.]
Two Weeks Before:
- Confirm everything (either with your travel agent or directly with the airlines, hotels, and any other reservations that you made in advance.)
- Make copies of your documents (visas, passports, confirmation numbers, etc.)
- Write down important phone numbers. [Yes, with an actual pen and paper. Do not rely solely on emails or smartphones – you never know when your iPhone’s battery will spontaneously die or when you won’t be able to find wifi to access your email. Just do it the old fashioned way.]
- Get some local currency. [Nope, don’t bother. Unless you need to pay for a visa upon arrival with foreign currency, just get money out of the ATMs at the airport when you arrive.]
- Pack your suitcase [but don’t overpack!]
One or Two Days Before:
- Confirm everything again. [SERIOUSLY? Come on, Real Simple, stop being so paranoid.]
- Check the weather. [You can always resort to Plan B if a hurricane is about to hit your original honeymoon destination.]
- Pack your carry-on.
- Email your itinerary to your parents or a few close friends so they’ll know where you are. You’re welcome, Mom!
Remember, that timeline is purely suggestive, so don’t hyperventilate if you feel like you’re behind schedule. A honeymoon planned six weeks or six months in advance can be equally wonderful, I promise.