A little insider knowledge will go a long way to helping you plan your trip of a lifetime!
Essential guide to honeymoon planning
Your honeymoon is likely to be a ‘trip of a lifetime’ and as such there’s huge pressure to plan the best-ever holiday, almost on a par with the need to nail the perfect tableplan or master a playlist that can guarantee the ultimate party atmosphere. So where do you start?
Timing is everything
First of all, how much time will you devote to your honeymoon? If you can do a two or three-week holiday, the world is pretty much your oyster. If you can only set aside a week, you probably don’t want to spend two days of that travelling and you need to pick your destination with this in mind. Next, you have to think about seasonality. Large areas of the Caribbean are prone to hurricanes in September and October. The monsoon season in places like Indian and Southern Asia runs from June to September when it rains – a lot!
‘It’s Spring Break in the US in March and the temperatures in India are 40+ in April, so plan accordingly,’ recommends Shelley Green, co-founder of Buy Our Honeymoon. ‘Tanzania and Zanzibar will both be very wet, and Sri Lanka enters Monsoon season in May,’ she adds. Prices, of course, increase with a rise in demand during the months with the most favourable climate and during busy periods such as school holidays (when the most desirable hotels can also become scarce).
It’s also worth noting certain times of the week can be more expensive for flights; Monday mornings and Friday nights can cost more if you’re jetting off on a city break (as those are the times used by business travellers). Similar logic can be applied to Friday and Sunday evenings, so if you can do a Thursday night instead, you’ll often save money.
Single or multi-destination
There’s nothing wrong with sticking to one destination, choosing an all-inclusive resort and spending the whole trip relaxing and enjoying being married. But multi-destination honeymoons have many plus points too, providing you build in some relaxation time to recover from the jet lag if you are going long haul.
Combining city and a beach (Rome then Amalfi), a beach and a safari (Mauritius and South Africa) or, perhaps, adding in an experience such as getting your PADI diving certification as part of your Maldives trip will all go a long way towards creating some very special memories. Cruises are also worth thinking about if you like variety. Modern ships are luxurious and you’ll usually visit five to six different destinations in one trip so you only have to unpack your suitcase once.
Plan your hotels carefully
If you are moving around during your trip, the rule of thumb is that your hotels should keep on getting better or at least on a par with one another as the trip progresses, ending up with a final splurge for the last night or two so the trip ends on a wonderful high. Do your research: location, style of room, quality of the restaurant, spa facilities…and make sure you let each hotel know that you are on your honeymoon! There’s no guarantee you’ll receive special treatment, but if a room upgrade is going to anyone, it really should be to you.
December, January, February
Unless you have your heart set on a Christmas honeymoon, avoid 15 December to 15 January if you can – prices will be high and unpredictable weather means travelling has potential to be very busy and unpredictable. That said ‘Orlando at Christmas is magical,’ says Shelley, ‘and if you time your visit during the first half of December, you will be treated to Disney World dressed for Christmas while still being relatively quiet.’
Mid-winter is the perfect time to book a Caribbean trip: while summer is hurricane season, December and January can offer ideal weather. If you’re planning a January trip, steer clear of Asia, as prices can rocket during Chinese New Year. February honeymoon in mind? Then Shelley recommends you consider Sri Lanka as it’s a time of great sunshine, high temperatures and minimal rainfall.
March, April, May
European cities will be blooming into life after the winter chill so consider a trip that will allow you to hop from city to city or explore off the beaten track. ‘If you’re planning to go to Prague, consider Brno in the Czech Republic instead,’ suggests Franziska Wirth, Rough Guides’ Head of Tailor-Made Trips (go.roughguides.com). ‘When planning to visit Rome, take in Naples as well.
Turkey can be a good option in late spring; its ‘rain’ season typically runs from November to March, so book for April or May time benefit from the generally gorgeous weather and quieter resorts. Further afield, consider Brazil (which will be winding down for autumn towards the end of spring) or perhaps Peru (which will be gearing itself up for tourist invasion between June and July).
Japan is also worth considering if you want to catch a glimpse of cherry blossom and California can also be pleasantly warm in late spring, with temperatures tipping upwards of mid-20s in May.
June, July, August
Travelling off-season can often be significantly cheaper but, for some of us a summer holiday is unavoidable, be it due to children, work or simply a personal preference. ‘For a beach holiday in Europe, this is the perfect season to travel,’ says Franziska. ‘July and August are when you can expect the best weather but the beaches will be crowded, so swap popular tourist destinations for less crowded alternatives. For example, if you’re planning to go to Dubrovnik, consider Montenegro. If your heart is set on Spain, stray further from the beach resorts around Barcelona and Valencia. Italy? Sardinia is often less busy than Sicily.’
Remember that countries south of the Equator have opposite seasons to the UK, with many having excessive rain in place of a freezing winter. This can actually be an ideal time to explore somewhere like Costa Rica, where the rainy season will offer you a greener jungle experience and a greater chance of spotting animals than visiting peak season, when it will be dry.
September, October, November
Greece is often pleasantly warm in early autumn, with resorts typically winding down after the busy summer season to an atmosphere that can, in places, almost feel quite boutique. City trips in September to places such as Prague, Rome or Venice see less crowds and less heat (making walking around much more comfortable), and beaches in destinations like Spain, Portugal or Croatia are less crowded.
Our so-called ‘Indian summers’ mean that the UK could make a fantastic staycation option. With children back at school, prices should be cheaper in locations such as Devon, Cornwall and The Cotswolds.
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