How to book a winning honeymoon

Spring is well and truly here, and that means the wedding season is getting underway. If you are a groom reading this, no doubt you are looking for a honeymoon that will make your bride think you are the best catch ever. And believe it or not, you don’t necessarily have to shell out a fortune to get something really special – you just need to know a few tips. Whether you are yet to tie the knot or have been married for 50 years and have finally got round to booking the holiday of a lifetime, this blog is for you.

What sort of holiday?
It used to be traditional that the groom kept the honeymoon destination secret until the happy couple set off. However ask most brides and they will probably tell you that this is one surprise (“how much did he spend?!?”) that they’d rather not have! Get some brochures and a bottle of wine and discuss your holiday. Also talk about how much time you’d like to spend together on the trip – if you’ve booked the Maldives and one of you wants to do a diving course you won’t see much of each other for a week.

It might be that you have the money to do what you like – so do it guilt-free! But if you’ve just bought your first home and already paid for a wedding you might be watching the pennies. Remember that your parents and grandparents probably honeymooned in Worthing and thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and you have the rest of your lives to save for a lavish holiday. Nothing causes arguments like money, so make sure your expectations are aligned right from the start.

Don’t be shy…
… make sure everyone connected with your holiday knows you are on honeymoon. If you are booking a package, make sure the agent knows this at the outset as they can help you find the destination to suit you best. They also have access to a lot of information on resorts and hotels that the brochure won’t tell you about, so make a friend of them and they will be sure to do the best for you.

Whether your budget runs to first class hotels and flights or a just a campsite, people are incredibly kind and generous to honeymooners all over the world and will often do everything in their power to make the visit as special as possible, whether that is offering a free upgrade or just reserving the best pitch for them.

Also if the trip does fail to live up to expectations, making it clear that this was supposed to be the holiday of a lifetime adds extra clout to your complaint – but it is much harder to plead this if it wasn’t known at the time of booking.

When to go?
Another tradition which thankfully is dying out is the notion that the bride and groom have to leave their wedding mid-evening to dash to the airport for their honeymoon flight. It sounds romantic, but you could well end up spending your wedding night at the airport or on a plane – not so romantic!

Your wedding day goes by in a blur and it is natural to feel a bit out of sorts for a few days afterwards, so going on a long journey straight away can feel a bit overwhelming. Stay at your wedding all night if you like, then get used to married life at home and catch up on the gossip you missed from the big day!

If you are heading for a tropical destination, be sure to check you are avoiding the rainy or hurricane seasons unless you really do intend to spend all the time in your room…

Keeping things hassle-free
Obviously we hope nothing goes wrong on your holiday but taking a few simple precautions can minimise the chances of anything going wrong and preventing small problems from escalating into big ones.

If you are changing your name and want to change your passport, allow plenty of time for your application to be processed. You will need to obtain a form from your registrar (or whoever is conducting your ceremony) which you send to the passport office which then enables your newly-named passport to be valid once you are married. If you are travelling under your maiden name, make sure everything is booked in that name – most importantly that the names are consistent on your tickets and passports. Sadly many a holiday has come unstuck because of this.

Check well in advance whether your destination requires jabs or malaria tablets – some treatments take a while to be fully effective and a certificate of vaccination is required for entry to some countries.

Make photocopies of your passport and marriage certificate, take some with you and leave some with a contact at home. Also leave them a copy of your travel, home and pet insurance details where applicable so minor problems can be sorted out easily.

Speaking of insurance, make sure the travel insurance you purchase for your trip is suitable for your needs – check your cancellation limits especially, as they may not cover a more expensive trip. Also ensure that any adventurous activities you might take part in are covered by the policy. A list of activities covered by 24/7 travel insurance is available. 24/7 travel insurance offers cancellation cover of up to £3,000 on Standard policies (£5,000 on Premier policies) and premiums for a two week honeymoon in the Caribbean start from under £50* – so it won’t make a big dent in your budget either!

*Premium £48.69 includes Insurance Premium Tax; based on a couple aged under 55 taking out a ‘standard’ Single Trip policy for 14 days for Worldwide travel and purchased within 14 days of departure date. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press and are subject to change.