One of the best parts of planning a wedding is taking the time to organize your honeymoon, also known as the relaxation vacation for newly-married couples. It’s the time where you get to choose a beautiful locale to start your married life with your spouse-to-be.

But how do organize your honeymoon? Do you know where to start? If you don’t, that’s okay; this checklist will help you plan your dream honeymoon. Let’s get started.

Before you can do anything else regarding your honeymoon, you need to have a budget. This includes a budget for travel, hotel, transportation, food, entertainment, and anything else you might need during your trip. This might be a hard step because you could realize you can’t have the honeymoon of your dreams, but it will allow you to have a better understanding of what you can afford. Who knows? You may realize that your dream honeymoon is possible.

You and your spouse-to-be love each other, but you’re not the same person; you each have different expectations about the honeymoon. Sit down with your partner as soon as possible and discuss what you both want from the honeymoon, including locations, duration, activities, and more. Be honest and open about what you want from the experience; your honesty upfront could save you headaches in the long run.

Are you leaving right after the wedding, or are you going to take a few days at home to sort out wedding presents and relax before heading off on your honeymoon? Depending on your wedding plans, your honeymoon leave date may change, so discuss the leaving date as soon as you lock down the wedding date. This will help the planning stages for your entire wedding run smoothly since you won’t be second-guessing honeymoon dates.

Modern honeymoons can last anywhere from a weekend in the mountains to a three-week road trip through Europe. This means that the length of your honeymoon is completely up to you. Get together with your spouse-to-be and figure out how much time you want to take for the honeymoon. Factors to the length could include: getting time off from work, childcare if you’ve got kids or visa restrictions. That’s why it’s important to agree on the honeymoon length before moving further with this checklist.

Getting married means you’re already taking some time off from work, but don’t forget to ask for days off for your honeymoon as well! Even if your honeymoon isn’t taking place right after the wedding, asking your boss for the time off for both events at the same time will save a lot of time and confusion in the long run. Once you’ve got the dates down for the honeymoon, tell your boss so you can secure your time off.

The decision to use a travel agent comes down to this: do you want to worry about the stress of travel arrangements when you’re already planning a wedding? If you’re okay with planning everything on your own, you may do okay with forgoing a travel agent; if you don’t want to worry about, use a travel agent. They take a small fee, but the price is worth it for you to be able to relax and enjoy this special time in your life.

Once you’ve sorted out the travel agent, you’ll need to decide where you’ll be traveling for your honeymoon. It should be somewhere both you and your spouse would like to travel to and would have fun in, so make the decision together. Come up with a list together of places to visit and narrow it down to the one you both want to travel to the most, then move on to the next tip.

The best way to decide on a destination is to read reviews from other travelers online. With a variety of travel websites that offer real reviews available, you’ll quickly be able to learn whether your ideal destination is the best for a honeymoon. As an added tip, trying looking up reviews for the season you’ll be traveling to the destination in; you may find that your ideal city may be vacant or have little in the way of activities during the season you’re set to take your honeymoon in.

Brochures are a great way to get a gauge for what a destination might offer you and your spouse on your honeymoon. Ask for a variety of brochures, from sightseeing to adventuring brochures, to get a general understanding of what the destination is best known for. If you have a specific activity in mind you want to try, ask for a brochure based on that activity to ensure your destination offers it.

Now that you know where you want to honeymoon, your next decision will be about the hotel you will be staying in throughout your trip. After reading through brochures and asking for recommendations, browse online to see what are the best hotels in the area and which might have offers for honeymooners.

Choosing a hotel might seem easy, but it’s important that you do your research by reading reviews of the hotel you want to stay at during your honeymoon. After all, you don’t want to stay at a hotel that doesn’t help you plan activities, may have construction going on while you’re there, or otherwise is lacking in the amenities that you might find to be a necessity. The only way to get this information is to read reviews of the hotel on travel sites to get a good idea of what’s going on at the hotel during the time of year you’ll be staying there as well as any other issues that may arise during your stay.

Once you’ve chosen a destination and have picked out your hotel, the next bit of planning has to do with the activities you want to do once there. Do you want to go museum hopping, go on a safari, or try rock climbing? Depending on your honeymoon location, it might be possible to do just one or all three. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it’s possible in your area by calling ahead and, where available, reserve your activities before you get there.

Are you traveling to an island? A city? The countryside? Wherever you decide to stay for your honeymoon, chances are you’re going to need transportation. Whether it’s just from the airport to your resort or the rental of bikes or cars in the area you’ll be honeymooning, taking the time to sort out and reserve transportation prior to arrival will ease any stress you have about your travel itinerary. Make sure you have a valid driver’s license, whether domestic or international if you choose to do your own driving.

If you’ve booked a honeymoon in another country, you’re going to have to make sure your passport is still valid; if it isn’t, you may be denied entry. A great way to check is to find your passport and see what the expiration date is. If it’s expired, or you don’t have a passport, you’ll have to go through the application process at your nearest passport office.

Have you chosen a destination outside of your country? It’s time to check to see if you and your new spouse need a visa for your stay. While many countries, like the United Kingdom, don’t require formal visas for a tourist stay, some other countries may require a visa application no matter the date of your visit to their country. Do the research now and sort out your visa application so there are no problems when you go through customs.

Once you’ve figured out if you need a vaccination for your honeymoon destination, you’ll also need to find out if vaccinations are also required. Checking before you head on your trip will make your journey easier, because some countries may not let you through the border without the required vaccinations. Check beforehand and get your vaccinations prior to your wedding to ensure a smooth transition from the ceremony to the honeymoon.

If you’ve followed this checklist, congratulations, you have successfully organized your honeymoon! Now all you have to do is relax, enjoy your wedding, and get ready to start the new chapter in your life.

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