Happy Anniversary, Peonies to Palm Trees!

I’ve been publishing a “Real Honeymoon” post every Monday for the past 52 weeks now, but today is an exception because it’s my ONE YEAR BLOGGING ANNIVERSARY!  Woohoo!  That’s right, the best honeymoon blog in the world is now one year old.

I first want to once again sincerely thank everyone who has contributed to the blog in any way, shape, or form throughout the past year.  Whether you’ve sent me a Real Honeymoon, shared a post with your friends on social media, or just told me that you liked the blog, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.  You guys are the best!

Since I started the blog last September, I’ve (somehow) published 114 blog posts including 50 real honeymoons from couples who visited a combined total of 40 different countries during their honeymoons.   Italy took the cake when it came to the most popular honeymoon destination, but Hawaii was a strong second with Kauai being the most popular Hawaiian island.  France and Greece tied for the third most popular honeymoon destinations.

As for the length of the honeymoons featured on the blog this year, the shortest honeymoons (not including the two mini-moons) were six nights, and the four longest honeymoons were a whopping 21 nights!  (Lucky ducks!)  The average honeymoon length, however, was 13 nights.

To gather some more information on this past year’s real honeymoons, I sent out a quick survey last week to everyone who contributed real honeymoon posts.  42 people sent in their responses, and the data that I gathered was pretty darn interesting.  Check it out:

When did most couples leave for their honeymoons?

When to leave on your honeymoonI knew that one couple went on their honeymoon before their wedding, but I didn’t know that there was a second one!

Did most couples consult with or hire a travel agent?

honeymoon travel agent statsPeople ask me about hiring travel agents all the time.  I’ve written on the topic before, but I was definitely curious to see how many other people consulted with an agent.  Looks like most couples didn’t!

Okay, so most people didn’t use a travel agent.  In that case, who did the planning?

who plans honeymoonsAw, I love that so many of these couples planned their trips together!

When planning these honeymoons, what characteristics were most important to the couples?

honeymoon prioritiesThese results surprised me a little, especially that one of the biggest priorities for couples was “going somewhere with lots of things to do and see.”  I was expecting a lot more emphasis on relaxation and luxury, but hey, what do I know? ; )

Alright, let’s ask the question that everyone’s curious about but doesn’t want to bring up.  How much did these honeymoons cost?

honeymoon expensesDisclaimer: I asked for ballpark figures here, and I am not sure whether the responses take into account money saved by using miles or hotel points.  Next time I’ll be more specific!

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How To Make Money During Your Honeymoon: List Your Place On Airbnb!

Depending on the type of trip that you go on, your honeymoon will probably fall within the range of “expensive” to “verrrry expensive.”  The bill can be tough to swallow for many couples, especially when it comes directly after months of paying off various other wedding expenses.  Honeymoon registries aside, wouldn’t it be great to somehow make money while you’re away to subsidize, or even cover the entire cost of, your trip?

airbnb

Several of my friends have recently started renting out their apartments on Airbnb with great success.*  And depending on your place and where you live, you can really make some serious cash when you go away on vacation!  Creating a listing on Airbnb is free, you get to state your own price and house rules, and you always have control over who books your place.  You get 24 hours to decide whether you want to approve a reservation, but don’t worry, Airbnb also makes it really easy for you to communicate with potential bookers so you can feel much more comfortable about letting strangers stay in your home.

But renting out your place when you go on your honeymoon isn’t for everyone, and there are several additional things that I think you should consider before listing your place:

1) Will you be okay with adding extra stress to the days leading up to your wedding/honeymoon?  In my opinion, this is definitely the most important factor.  Allowing Airbnb guests to stay in your home requires significant preparation: cleaning, arranging check-in/check-out times and key exchanges, stowing away valuables, etc.  If you’re already scrambling to finish last minute wedding details, it may not be wise to add more to your plate.

2) Will wedding gifts arrive at your place while you’re on your honeymoon?  It’s always smart to set up hold mail service when you go out of town, but it’s also a good idea to make sure that your wedding presents don’t get delivered to your place when you have strangers staying there.

3) Are you willing to make yourself available to your guests (via email or phone) during your honeymoon?  Better yet, think of it from your guests’ point of view.  Would you be willing to rent a place if there’s no way to reach the owners if anything goes wrong?  I wouldn’t!  Responsible hosts should be reachable when guests stay in their home, even if it’s during their honeymoon.

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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.

Who’s Supposed to Pay for the Honeymoon?

When it comes to wedding etiquette questions, the answers you get oftentimes may not be the ones you were hoping to hear, and things get especially dicey when you’re asking about money.  So let’s *delicately* address the question, “Who’s supposed to pay for the honeymoon?”

Check

Traditionally speaking, the bride’s parents were responsible for paying for the wedding, and the groom’s parents were supposed to pay for the honeymoon.  However, and this is a huuuge “however,” it’s pretty obvious that many of the traditional rules no longer apply to contemporary weddings.  For example, it’s very common for brides and grooms to see each other for photos before they walk down the aisle, it’s not crazy for there to be unequal groomsmen to bridesmaid ratios, and many brides choose not to wear veils.  The point being that wedding rules most certainly change over time, and the same goes for rules pertaining to who pays for what.

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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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