July 25, 2017

10 tips for planning the perfect honeymoon

Planning a wedding can be stressful — emotionally and financially — but planning the perfect honeymoon needn’t be. Rebekah Funk asked local travel experts to share their top tips on how to get the most out of your love-cation...without the hassle.

1. Learn to compromise

Knowing how and when to compromise is one of the cornerstones of a good marriage — let deciding where to go on honeymoon be the first brick, suggests Theresa Szejwallo, Trafalgar Tours managing director. “One of the biggest challenges comes in finding the perfect honeymoon to suit the couple, as each couple is different. Applying a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work,” she says.

According to Szejwallo, the best way to decide on a destination together is to each choose your top three “must haves” and then find a destination that offers all or the most of these.

2. Be adventurous

White beaches, rose petals and sunsets are lovely...but then what? Be sure not to fall into the “old trap of a stereotyped honeymoon”, cautions John Ridler, spokesperson for Thompsons Holidays. Be romantic, sure, but be bold and adventurous too.

“A honeymoon is a well-earned break after all the hype of the wedding and the perfect time to have some fun,” he says. “There is just so much more than lying on a beach lounger that you can do, like spending a day out on a catamaran...or trying a jet-powered water rider.”

3. Consider a tour

If you’re an active, curious couple who gets antsy sitting in one place for too long, Szejwallo recommends booking a tour or some or all of your honeymoon, so there’s a good mix of down time and active time.

You won’t spend your honeymoon getting on and off a bus, she assures. Good touring companies offer smaller, more tailored tours that can suit a honeymoon perfectly, such as gastronomic tours and hidden journeys with just you, your spouse...and a small group of new friends.

4. Dot your i’s and cross those t’s

No one wants to be the couple who has gone wild and booked an exotic honeymoon to India...only to not be allowed to board the flight because you don’t have a valid visa. And you certainly don’t want to be enthusiastic bride bumped from the flight because you booked under your married surname instead of the maiden surname in your passport. True stories.

This is why it’s so important to do research and speak to your travel agent to make sure you have all your travel details covered, says Alexis Bekker of LUX* Resorts and Hotels. “They will ensure the couple looks at passport validity, and if applications need to be made, that these are done well in advance.”

5. The early bird gets the worm

Booking at least four or five months in advance will ensure you get the best deals on airfares and guarantee your dates at the resort you want, says Flora Fubbs, a senior manager at The Holiday Factory, which specialises in travel to the Indian Ocean Islands.

It’s best to avoid going over the Christmas, Easter and school holiday periods, she adds. But if your honeymoon has to be during these times, book well in advance because peak holiday seasons can be fully booked-up many months in advance.

6. Flaunt your newlywed status

Want to fly first class, have your room upgraded or benefit from honeymoon discounts? Be sure to let your Sure Travel agent know you’re booking a honeymoon so they can make sure you get all the honeymoon perks on offer, and put in a good word that may see you upgraded.

“Some destinations offer a lot more added value for honeymooners than others — use your travel agent to make sure you get the maximum information on benefits,” advises Fubbs.

And remember to bring a copy of your marriage certificate, just in case.

7. Stay within your means

There’s nothing worse than counting pennies while on honeymoon, which is why it’s important to work out a realistic budget and stick to it, according to Trish Lombard, general manager of Sure Giltedge Travel.

“Whether you’ve spent R15 000 per person for a resort in Mauritius or Thailand, or R35 000 per person for a resort in the Seychelles or Maldives, if you have a budget stick to it and you’ll still enjoy yourself,” she says.

8. Go all-inclusive

A good way to ensure you stay within budget is to book an all-inclusive package so there are no “surprises” to ruin your time away, says Beachcomber South Africa’s Joanne Visagie. “Because after the excitement and the build-up of your wedding, all you’ll want to do is relax and enjoy each other — lazing on the beach, enjoying moonlit walks, savouring delicious meals and making plans for your future together.”

Here’s another hot tip: if you want a good deal on all-inclusive luxury honeymoons at Beachcomber’s Mauritius or Seychelles resorts, book for mid or low season. As an added bonus, you’ll qualify for honeymoon discounts up to one year from the date of your marriage.

9. Delay if you must

If you’re the kind of couple that will be only be happy with five-star for your honeymoon, but your champagne tastes don’t quite match your post-wedding beer pocket, Lombard says it’s best to delay until you can afford the standard you want.

“Don’t rush a three-star holiday just to go on honeymoon right after your wedding and risk ending up miserable and dissatisfied,” she warns.

10. Or go local

South Africa has plenty of jaw-dropping beaches, national parks and hideaways off the beaten path, says Christine Meintjes, founder of wedding and honeymoon blog The Pretty Blog.

She recommends staying closer to home if you have limited leave and/or a tight budget: “Rather book into a local luxury spot than spend all your money on international flights, visas and accommodation abroad.”

Need help planning your perfect honeymoon trip? Ask your nearest Sure Travel agent for help, or call 0861 47 48 49 to speak to an online sales consultant. And don't forget to check out our romantic packages. 


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