Once your wedding is over, you have a great trip for just the two of you to look foward to. It’s exciting to think about relaxing together after your big day, yet deciding on the details can be frustrating. Prior to booking, consider these tips from our honeymoon planning checklist.
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TL;DR ~ Tackle your couple’s trip effortlessly with our honeymoon planning checklist. Be sure to plan early, set a budget, and put that phone away while you’re honeymooning!
15 Tips – Ultimate Honeymoon Planning Checklist
Pre-Honeymoon Planning Guide
1. Set a honeymoon budget.
The least fun part of wedding planning is unfortunately also a part of honeymoon planning. The dreaded budget. Consequently, coming up with a price range is best to do prior to dreaming about all of your honeymoon ideas.
Setting a budget and putting aside finances can help you determine where to go, when to go, and how long to stay. Be sure to be upfront about what you think you can afford so that you don’t overextend your budget.
Another idea—especially if you can’t think of much to put on your registry—is to register for a honeymoon. Honeyfund is a way for others to contribute to your honeymoon itinerary in a special way. Guests can treat you to a massage or a meal out—it really is a fun way to have an affordable honeymoon.
2. Start honeymoon planning early.
As soon as you know your wedding date, you should start looking at honeymoon destinations. Yes, it’s a very busy time already. However, if one partner is taking care of the majority of wedding details, the other can research travel information.
You don’t want to find that your dream destination is booked because you waited too long! Also, deals and coupons may pop up if you keep a watch on the honeymoon places that interest you.
A honeymoon planning checklist can help ensure you are both happy with your trip!
3. Plan your honeymoon together.
Ok, don’t scratch what was said in the above point on our honeymoon planning checklist! If one is doing most of the research, be sure to run the information by the other. You need to make sure that both of you will have a fabulous time, after all!
One partner may think of positives and negatives that the other didn’t even consider. Having insight from both of you is best and will ensure that you will both enjoy your time away. Talk about what is important to each of you as you begin your planning stages.
4. Talk about your honeymoon itinerary.
For some, the ideal vacation is exploring European city streets, sampling ethnic cuisine, and fitting in as many tours as possible. For others, the allure of a resort’s honeymoon packages sounds relaxing and is the perfect fit.
Be sure that you have a balance between time exploring and how much of your honeymoon itinerary will include relaxation. Including both is ok, but be sure to chat about expectations.
This ensures that the one who wants to read a book on the beach isn’t being dragged to site after site. Don’t be afraid to be very specific about what you want. It’s best to concentrate on relaxing, especially if you go right after your wedding.
5. Don’t feel pressured to leave immediately after your wedding.
Although most couples head off to unforgettable honeymoon destinations immediately post-wedding, it’s not necessary. Go when it’s best for both of you.
Work schedules and life events sometimes don’t allow for an immediate vacation, and that’s ok. Whether you wait a week or a few months, head off on your honeymoon when you can both relax and not feel stressed about being gone.
Talk about your honeymoon itinerary and how to balance relaxing vs. exploring time.
6. Check the seasonal weather.
If you get married in the US in the summer and want to head to Australia, you’d better pack your snow gear. Likewise, many countries have rainy seasons that contribute to its lush landscape during their dry season.
Do your research and know what the weather will be like in the honeymoon places you are considering. Consider honeymoon destinations on a budget that have “shoulder seasons.”
You can take your chance with the weather, but you can avoid tourists—and high costs—during these times. Just be aware so that you can book and pack accordingly.
7. Purchase honeymoon trip insurance.
Expect the unexpected! Although you don’t want to even think about something hindering your dream honeymoon, it’s best to be prepared.
Trip insurance can alleviate any worries or stress you may have if something comes up. Anything you can do for peace of mind is a good thing.
8. Travel under your new—or old—name.
Be sure that your name matches the name on your reservation if you are making any changes to your last name. Booking in your new name when your passport has your old one can lead to trouble.
It’s best to leave everything in your maiden name (or whatever is on your passport), and you can make changes legally after you get back from your honeymoon trip.
Beware of hidden costs that aren’t included in honeymoon packages.
Tips While at Your Honeymoon Destinations
9. Look out for hidden costs.
If you booked one of a resort’s honeymoon packages, be sure to read the fine print about what it includes. More specifically, know what it doesn’t include.
Hotel transfers, cocktails, beach access, and specific on-site restaurants may incur an upcharge. You need to know this ahead of time—or at least while you are on-site—so your cost doesn’t skyrocket.
10. Be flexible with your plans.
Do your research, but don’t feel that someone else’s itinerary needs to be duplicated. Read up on honeymoon destinations and take cues from others, but filter through and choose bits and pieces that resonate with you.
You may find that you really wanted to go see that monument, but it’s the perfect day to head to the beach. Be spontaneous and lounge with a cocktail and enjoy the sunset. Sometimes last-minute changes in plans can create big memories, so just go for it!
11. Put that phone away!
If you’ve researched honeymoon destinations on a budget, chances are you need to enjoy every penny. So stay off your phone! Use it to take a few photos, but don’t feel as though you need to be posting live on Instagram. There’s plenty of time to relive your trip when you get back by posting them all at once.
You don’t need to be checking email, stressing out about the news, or seeing what Sally had for dinner. No, no, no. Focus on the two of you, and stay off of your device.
Include both of your honeymoon ideas to ensure that you have a relaxing time together.
12. Let your hotel know that you’re on your honeymoon.
Often there are little perks for honeymooning couples. Although it’s best to let your resort or hotel know this beforehand, remind them of it upon arrival. If you have any requests while booking—say an oceanside room or a restaurant reservation—make that known.
Honeymooning guests may get a room upgrade, a romantic dinner for two, or a complimentary bottle of champagne. Some will even offer discounts on spa services to help you relax on your getaway. Who can resist that?
13. Surprise your spouse.
Honeymoons are amazing but think of a way to make it even better. You can surprise your partner with a couples’ massage on the beach, a special candlelight dinner, or a photo session. Although, a surprise doesn’t have to cost much!
Write your new husband or wife a special note and leave it on their pillow. If you’re musically or poetically inclined, perform a piece just for them. Also, guys, maybe ditch the boxer-briefs and sleep in something else. That may be the biggest surprise of all—ha!
14. Plan a photo session in your honeymoon destinations.
This is such a fun idea! Yes, you will have tons of beautiful wedding photographs. However, having a session for just the two of you can be so romantic. Additionally, you will have images of you in a memorable destination without being in your wedding garb.
Hiring a local photographer ensures that you will have pictures taken in locations that most tourists will miss. Plus, it’s a fun excuse to get dressed up and then head out to dinner post-photo session. So fun!
15. Immerse yourself in the culture.
Even if you live in Arizona and are headed to California’s Wine Country, there are new things to experience. A variety of wines comes to mind first, of course, but also sample locally grown foods.
Beyond the culinary, there are also sights, performances, and art forms that may be only found in that area. Be open to finding and trying different things while you are there.
A honeymoon planning guide can help you find a location that interests you both.
If you’re in need of more advice for your honeymoon, just check out our destinations section. We have advice on where to go and how to have a fabulous honeymoon. Enjoy planning time away with your new spouse!
Photos: Quang Nguyen Vinh, Taryn Elliott, Gustavo Fring, Sorin Sirbu
ClariceI agree with you that it is not necessary to leave immediately after the wedding. My husband and I had our honeymoon a month after our wedding and I think it was a practical decision as we had to fix and sort of some things first before the trip.
This allowed us to have a longer vacation as well as the peace of mind that we need while being away.
DeliaSuch great tips for such a special occasion! My husband and I should have planned better because I think we ended up spending much more than we needed to. But we did have lots of fun!
MelissaThese are some great tips! Wedding and honeymoon planning can be very stressful so starting early and being prepared is essential. I love your tip about the name, I agree with leaving everything in your maiden name until you return home. It makes it a lot less complicated. I also love your tip about putting the phone away, I think sometimes we get to caught up with them.
JenniferSo true! The phone thing is easier said than done for sure! Thank you for stopping by! I appreciate your opinions. 🙂
KileenThese are such great tips to help have an even better honeymoon. With how stressful the wedding ceremony can be the last thing you’d want is to have major hiccups on the trip! Thanks for sharing these!
Lyanna SoriaThose are some great tips to keep in mind. Especially for those who are still planning their honeymoon during this time.
AndaVery useful tips for planning a great honeymoon. Getting married is exciting, but it’s also very stressful so it’s good to have a checklist. With so many things on your mind, you may easily forget something. Also, surprising your spouse with a massage on the beach or a photo session is a great idea.
Arnav MathurThis is quite the checklist! There’s a lot that needs to be considered, which is often neglected, especially the names that people decide to keep before and after marriage. Interesting!
MelissaI love this checklist! Honestly I think the honeymoon is more important than the actual wedding haha. It’s something the couple can enjoy more in my opinion.
HelenGreat tips! I’ve been married twice and never did the whole honeymoon thing. Third times the charm right? 😉
Debjani lahiriHoneymoons are an integral part of wedding planning and require even detail and careful planning. Yes, one of the vital points you have mentioned is always to have a honeymoon trip insurance assured, this would avoid any unnecessary obstacles.
AgnesSuch a helpful article for couples! I’m impressed. I like your details and tips! And I love your photos. Honeymoon Planning is critical for couples to have a fabulous honeymoon. I like the idea to surprise your partner and take a photo session.
Bhushavali NGreat tips. It is most-necessary to get it right, so as to not have shocks & bad surprises because after the honeymoon, we do need money for our regular life! I didn’t know about Honeyfund. That’s a cool thing. Indeed it is necessary to book things in advance to not have a bummer about certain tickets being sold-out. But then, as you said next, it is better to go for a honeymoon later than miss-out a dream destination or dream thing-to-do.
Ami BhatPerfect advice for any future honeymooner. Booking early is definitely a key and yes, balance is very important. It is nice to go slow and have enough to do. I also believe this is the time when the couples need to do that one thing the other enjoys. A great way to know each other and bond better.
DeborahI’m currently doing honeymoon planning myself so these tips came at the right time for me!