Don’t just focus on wedding gift registries. Kristen Maxwell Cooper, deputy editor of The Knot, recommends registering with a site such as Traveler’s Joy, which allows guests to purchase everything from a romantic dinner on the beach to surf lessons.
Pack a Carry-On
"Nothing is more stressful than losing your luggage and having nothing to wear," says Maxwell Cooper. She advises packing at least a swimsuit, cover-up, nice sandals and toiletries.
Keija Minor, the editor in chief of Brides, also recommends tossing in a change of clothes. And don’t leave packing for the last minute, especially if you’re leaving right after the wedding. "It’s unrealistic, especially if you still have friends and family in town."
Consider Your Travel Style
For example, not everyone wants to spend a week at the beach. “Don’t plan it according to the classic stereotype of what a honeymoon should be,” says Tom Marchant, cofounder of Black Tomato, a high-end travel agency.
Minor notices more active honeymoons have become popular, especially among millennials. However, “Know yourself. This should be a bucket list trip, but in line with the type of vacation you like to have,” she says. All the experts agree that a balanced mix is key, since too few activities can lead to boredom, while too many can lead to exhaustion.
Link Your Credit Card to a Rewards Program
In order to save money, Minor advises connecting your credit card to a hotel or frequent flier program as soon as you get engaged. For example, American Express offers travel benefits to its Gold and Platinum members that range from a $75 hotel credit to a free room upgrade.
Travel During Shoulder Season
All of the experts recommend traveling during this period in order to get the best deals. For example, Marchant notes that the Maldives become more affordable after the high season ends, yet the weather is still good. Minor points out that more room availability equals a greater chance for getting upgraded—but don’t wait until check-in to ask.
Don’t be Afraid to Tell People You’re on a Honeymoon
It may sound obvious, but extra perks await those who ask. Minor recommends calling your hotel ahead of time to inquire about romantic or VIP experiences, such as a picnic on the beach, since many places offer them even though they don’t advertise them on their site. On the other hand, waiting until arrival can still net romantic results. For example, this writer can personally attest to a soaking tub filled with rose petals and an entire chocolate cake delivered to her room at the Park Hyatt in Goa, India.
Don’t Forget Your Wedding Dress
This only applies to destination weddings, but Minor says brides tend to overlook this aspect. She says to figure out who is taking the dress home for you so you don’t have to pack it in your luggage, or worse, forget it.
Consider Leaving Your Ring at Home
Of course you want to show off your bling on your honeymoon, but Minor says to reconsider depending on the ring and the destination. “If it’s not insured, don’t travel with it. Period.” Besides the risk of it getting lost or stolen, there are other considerations, such as sand becoming lodged between the prongs and stone during a beach vacation.
Factor in Flight Time
"We hear from couples a lot that they chose a destination that was too far away," says Maxwell Cooper. Since weddings can be exhausting, she cautions against a long flight, or connecting flights, too soon after the wedding.
Jet lag is another consideration, since it can take at least several days to adjust to another time zone.
Don’t Leave for Your Honeymoon Too Soon
Minor lists this as the number one mistake that couples make. “Don’t think you have to leave immediately after the wedding,” she says. Fewer couples are doing this for a variety of reasons, such as time and money. Instead, consider taking a minimoon shortly after, and saving the full honeymoon for when you do have more time and can get the best deal—even if it means waiting a few months.