Quick Tip #11: Consider Booking Honeymoon Airfare Through Orbitz

I almost always check the costs of the same flights over and over before purchasing them.  I’ve actually been doing that a lot lately because I have a bunch of small trips coming up this Fall.  (Side note: since when are flights from SF to Phoenix over $300???  I remember those flights being around $200, tops, just a few years ago!)

Although prices may fluctuate a bit over time (and even throughout the week), I try not to worry about it too much when I book my flights through Orbitz because of their “Price Assurance” program.  If someone else buys the same exact flights as I do for a cheaper fare, Orbitz will automatically issue me credits for 110% of the difference.  (They used to just send you a check for the difference, but now you just get credit towards future Orbitz purchases.  Still not too shabby.)

So if you’re on the fence about whether to book your honeymoon flights, and you’re taking a pretty popular route*, book confidently with Orbitz knowing that if someone else books the same itinerary through Orbitz as well but for a cheaper price, you’ll still get something out of it.

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* This “Price Assurance” deal has a higher probability of actually benefiting you if you’re booking a popular route (e.g. SFO to HNL) rather than a random multi-destination itinerary because there’s a greater chance that other people are also searching for the same flights.

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Quick Tip #10: Buy Bug Spray and Itch Cream AT Your Destination

Nothing kills a romantic mood quite like itchy bug bites, so if you’re going to a tropical destination for your honeymoon and mosquitos tend to love you, my biggest advice is to not waste money on bringing insect repellent and bug bite cream from home – just buy them from a pharmacy as soon as you get to your destination.

bug sprays

Sorry, Benadryl. You just don’t cut it.

For one thing, the stores at your destination should (emphasis on should) carry repellents that are most effective for their local insects.  And I don’t know if it’s just a placebo-effect for me or just some extra-toxic chemicals banned by the FDA, but the creams I get at pharmacies abroad always soothe my bug bites so much better than anything I buy at CVS, so I’ve decided to stop bringing stuff from home altogether.

Sure, it might be a bit more expensive to buy repellent and creams when you’re abroad, but being free of itchy red bumps is priceless.

Quick Tip #9: Learn to Drive a Stick Shift

Since wedding planning is totally easy and stress-free, you probably have tons of spare time to pick up some new hobbies and learn some new skills, right?  If you’re looking for something to do, I highly recommend learning how to drive a stick shift, especially if you plan on renting a car in a foreign country during your honeymoon.

Stick Shift

Why is it so important to learn to drive a stick shift?  Because renting an automatic transmission car in a foreign country is waaay more expensive than renting a manual transmission car.

How much more expensive?  Well, my husband and I need to rent a car in Ireland this summer, so I’ve been looking at a couple different websites, and the average economy-sized automatic transmission car is more than two times more expensive than the same size car with a manual transmission!

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Quick Tip #8: Book Your Honeymoon Now

When should you book your honeymoon?  YESTERDAY!  Oh my gosh, you haven’t booked it yet?  What were you thinking?  You’re so far behind!!!

Juuuust kidding, calm down.  Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to book flights and hotels earlier rather than later, but you certainly don’t need to have your entire trip planned out more than six months in advance.**

Calendar

So why is it important to book early?

1) You’ll save money.  Pretty good reason, right?

2) You’re more likely to get your first choices on airfare, hotels, fancy restaurants, etc.

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Quick Tip(s) #7: How to Handle Your Money When Traveling Abroad

One of the last things you’ll want to worry about during your honeymoon is whether you’re handling your money properly.  Follow these quick tips to make sure that you get the most bang for your buck when traveling abroad:

Cash money

Mo money, no problems

1) As I mentioned in a previous post, make sure that you tell your credit card company in advance that you’ll be traveling abroad!

2) Don’t bother with travelers checks – you may have a hard time finding people who’ll accept them, and the exchange rate isn’t always the best.

3) When possible, use credit cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees.

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Quick Tip #6: Make Reservations Under Your Maiden Name

If you’re:

a) planning on changing your last name, and

b) going on your honeymoon less than 4 months after your wedding,

MAKE YOUR HONEYMOON FLIGHT RESERVATIONS UNDER YOUR MAIDEN NAME!!!

boarding pass

The name change process is time-consuming and complicated, and you can’t fly anywhere under your married name unless you have the proper documentation.  First you need to get your marriage license, then you need to change social security, then you’ll have to get a new drivers license/passport, etc… it basically takes forever.  I know you’re probably all giddy about being Mr. and Mrs. So-and-so, but just do yourself a favor and use your maiden name.

As for hotel recommendations, some say that hotels will discriminate against couples if they think you’re you’re unmarried.  Personally, I “traveled in sin” for years and have never experienced anything like that.

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Quick Tip #5: Use Priceline.com for Car Rentals

Need a rental car for your honeymoon? Look into Priceline’s Name Your Own Price deal and place a bid as low as you want. Worst case scenario: they say that your bid is too low, and you can re-bid again with a higher amount.  Try it, it’s fun!

Jeep

You can also use Priceline to bid for your flights and hotels, but usually people want a bit more control over those aspects of their trips.  However, who really cares what company you use for renting a car?

(Actually, I guess some people do like to rack up loyalty points by using the same company each time, but shhhh.)

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Quick Tip #4: Sign Up For Hold Mail Service

It’s never fun to open a mailbox that’s over-stuffed with tons of crumpled junk mail, so it’s smart to pause your mail service whenever you go out of town for more than 3 days.

The best part?  The USPS makes it super easy to request its “Hold Mail Service” online.  You can request the service up to 30 days before your trip, and the post office will hold your mail for anywhere between 3 and 30 days.  If you don’t pick up your mail during that time window, they will deliver the mail to you after the 30th day.

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Quick Tip #3: Give Your Credit Card Company a Heads Up That You’re Going Out of Town

It takes five minutes or less to call up your credit card company/companies to let them know that you are going on a trip, and it can save you from tons of stress and financial worry.  The last thing you’ll want while you’re honeymooning is for the fraud department of Capital One to shut down access to your card once it notices a bunch of purchases made in a foreign country.

Even if you’re just traveling in the U.S., you should still give them a heads up.
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Quick Tip #2: Use Skype On Your Smartphone

Did you know that you can use Skype from your smartphone?  It’s true!  Skype is a really great way to make cheap international calls from your phone wherever you have a wifi connection.  Since most hotels and cafes have free wifi these days, calls back to the U.S. will only cost you around 2.3 cents per minute.

In addition to making international calls, you can also use Skype to video chat, send instant messages and text messages, and share files.

And despite the fact that I’ve been using Skype for several years now, whenever I call my mom while I’m abroad she still flips out and asks, “How much is this costing me?!?!”