Honeymoon planning 101

By Sheila Grant

Early planning and good communication helps newlyweds enjoy their time away more, and create honeymoon memories to last a life time.

Is there some place you’ve always dreamed of going, or a specific activity (zip-lining in Costa Rica, snorkeling a coral reef in Turks and Caicos) that is high on your to-do list? How much time can each of you take off from work for wedding preparation, the big day and a honeymoon immediately after the nuptials? How much will it cost? Depending on the destination, it could be more enjoyable and affordable to postpone the honeymoon until the savings account has recovered from wedding expenditures and each spouse can schedule more time off from work. Pay attention to annual weather patterns. Few people want to honeymoon on a tropical island during hurricane season!

“The only problem that we see with going right away is that most weddings are on Saturday, with most flights leaving on Sunday early in the morning, so sometimes it’s better to wait a day or two to give yourselves a little break from the stress of the wedding before traveling,” said Donna Demmons, office manager at All About Travel in Bangor. “It’s also less expensive to travel during the week.”

Demmons said most Maine couples want to honeymoon at an all-inclusive resort in a warm destination.

“The best prices are in Mexico, Jamaica, and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic,” she said. Booking through a travel agent allows couples to pay a small deposit, make monthly payments, and pay the balance off about 45 days before departure. Prices vary by destination and season, with fall less expensive than spring travel.

“If they are booking way in advance, sometimes it’s a good idea to have the optional insurance, because almost everything is non-refundable nowadays,” she said.

Demmons recommends packing over-the-counter medications, which can be expensive elsewhere. She noted that many resorts require long pants in restaurants during the evening. Remember sun screen! Create a master list. Choose clothing that can be mixed and matched. Remember airline weight limits; fees can be hefty on overloaded luggage. Put heavier items in first. Rolled clothes take up less room and will be less wrinkled.

For passport information, visit http://travel.state.gov. For information on immunizations that may be required, visit the Centers for Disease Control website, www.cdc.gov and click on the Travelers’ Health link.

Most importantly, relax and have a wonderful time. This is only one of many, many trips you will take together as husband and wife.