10 Things Every Honeymooner Needs to Know

Couple on a honeymoon
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While weddings are frequently a collaborative effort with family and friends, a honeymoon is often the first big decision you make together as a couple. Not all newlyweds take a honeymoon, but if you can, do so. It'll help you to recover from the wedding and give you a few much-needed days alone. Here are some tips to ensure your honeymoon is everything you hope for.

The Perfect Honeymoon to Do List

Decide on a budget. Does your wallet allow for a night at an Airbnb, a first-class 'round-the-world tour, or something in between? Figure out how much you can afford to spend beforehand, and perhaps count on some wedding-gift money to add to your honeymoon fund.

Discuss your idea of the perfect vacation. Who likes sports? Which ones? Want to learn a new one, like scuba diving? Who likes lying in the sun? Do you prefer going to the beach or the mountains? Who wants to explore an exotic destination? Is a European vacation your honeymoon dream, complete with cities and castles? Make a list of the things that mean the most to you, and then compare notes. Marriage is going to call for lots of compromises, and this is the place to start.

Pick your destination. If you're on a budget, keep in mind that many places adjust their rates seasonally. For instance, it's cheaper to visit the Caribbean in warm weather (rates traditionally go down April 15), and ski resorts that offer a lot of activities (but no snow) in summer will also be less expensive.

Use a travel agent. It doesn't cost any more to spend time with a professional. He or she can make all the arrangements for your honeymoon getaway without you having to fret over them (and normally there's no charge for the service). Plus, if something goes wrong, you'll have someone you know to call.

If you're going abroad, leave plenty of time to make sure your passport is current and you have any visas required. Some destinations require that your passport be good and not expire until at least six months after your visit. To avoid confusion, women are advised to make travel reservations under their maiden name and wait until returning to legally change a name after marriage.  If inoculations are required, make that doctor appointment and get necessary vaccinations well before the wedding to ensure you don't have a reaction.

When you make reservations, let them know you're honeymooning. While the airlines rarely do anyone a favor, hotel representatives often aim to please (in the hope that you'll return). You may get upgraded to a better room at no charge, receive a welcome bottle of champagne, and who knows what else.

Protect your privacy. This is especially important if you have a destination wedding, where the guests tend to hang around. A honeymoon is for the two of you, period. No kids, no pets, no company. That's why some destination couples depart after the festivities for another location.

Take more money than you think you'll need. To make things uncomplicated, you may want to pre-pay for everything or select a resort that offers an "all-inclusive" rate, which usually covers food, lodging, activities, drinks, transfers, tips, and more. And aim to pack light; unless you're going to a faraway, rustic place, you can buy many things you may need when you get there. (And it's fun shopping in a new place.)

Schedule time to do nothing at all. While it's great to know you have plenty of options in terms of things to see and do, this is, after all, a honeymoon—so don't let that gorgeous room and room service go to waste!

Be considerate of your spouse's wishes. (My husband made me add this.)

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