Illustration by Victoria Borges
Google the word “honeymoon,” and the top three questions people ask are: “Which country is best for a honeymoon?” “What is the best place to honeymoon?” and “How much should you spend on your honeymoon?” And while putting in some search engine mileage is a good place to begin, it’s important for couples to have candid discussions about what they want from their honeymoon. Sometimes one person may want one location, while their partner wants another. Finances and budgeting also play a role in the honeymoon destination, duration and activities.
When these questions arise, it can be helpful to consult a travel agent. They make a living from staying informed about destinations and can guide you through the trip-planning process. When selecting a travel agent, Kim Goldstein of Journeys Inc. says couples “should look for someone who gets out there and travels and has a relationship with the different resorts so they’re going to get a better experience. …They need to look at the [agent’s] credentials.” That’s a sentiment echoed by Ciera Pope of Champagne & Cabanas Travel. “I wouldn’t send any of my clients where I wouldn’t personally stay,” she says.
It’s a common misconception that you have to pay more to use a travel agent. In most cases, you’re paying those fees anyway, as they’re built into booking fees and pricing. Amanda Roberts of The Vacation Chic says, “Our cost is already in those package prices. … Even if you book directly with [resorts], the commission is already built in,” and couples just miss out on the added benefits of a travel agent when they book these trips themselves.
Honeymoon costs vary by destination, but on average couples should estimate between $3,000 and $5,000. Goldstein says, “I think the biggest thing for me is if they can be realistic with me on the budget at first. And I get it — most of the time for couples, this is their first time planning a trip like this and they don’t know what costs are involved. … But if they come in realistically, then I can really pick vacations that are going to be the best value for their money.”
Planning the honeymoon in advance is essential to scoring that dream location at a reasonable price. Goldstein says, “If I could book all [my clients] at nine to 10 months, it’s a nice time to start the process.” She notes this also helps to secure travel deals. “The last-minute deals might appear to be less money, but if they had done it six months earlier, [the trip] probably would have been even less,” she says.
There are some common pitfalls couples should avoid when planning their trips. “The big thing is just booking online blindly,” Goldstein says. “There are so many things that can happen if you’re not using an agent.” She says online reviews can be misleading, plus booking through a travel site doesn’t provide a direct contact should something go wrong while on the trip. Goldstein says she’s available throughout the trip and can address situations such as a problem with the room.
And Roberts notes that while it may not make sense for couples to use an agent for a staycation or local trip, there are clear benefits for destination honeymoons, including that “we handle the stress of planning the honeymoon. … A honeymoon is a very important trip, and I don’t want to mess that up.”
It’s All About the Journey
Budget and save. “It’s not a trip that you’re going to take all of the time, so it will probably be a trip that’s a little more expensive than you’re used to taking.” —Ciera Pope, Champagne & Cabanas Travel
Communication is key. “Just talk to each other and make a list and find out what’s important to both people.” —Amanda Roberts, The Vacation Chic
Book in advance and be realistic about budget. “[Through early communication,] I’m able to get a better understanding of what their expectations are for their honeymoon.” —Kim Goldstein, Journeys Inc.
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