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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Honeymoon Planning Tips / Planning the Perfect Honeymoon

So much time, energy and money go in to planning your wedding day. It is, after all, the day you’ve dreamed of your whole life! It has to be perfect! It is the day you walk down the aisle, say I do and kiss, sealing the communion of your new life together. And then what? You go off on your dream honeymoon, right? But is it your dream honeymoon? How much do you really know about your honeymoon? What are your expectations? Did you spend as much time gathering critical information for your honeymoon as you did for planning your wedding?

You will be spending more time together on your honeymoon than you did on your wedding day.

Your honeymoon is an important time for laying the foundation of your new life together.

Making sure your honeymoon is your dream honeymoon is not just about reading a travel or guidebook for your destination. Planning your honeymoon takes time, thought, communication and work – from both the bride and groom. We all dream of that exotic locale or tropical paradise, but if your expectations aren’t met, that tropical paradise can become a tropical nightmare and a ruined honeymoon. (Thus, not the ideal start to your married life!)

Be sure to talk about your honeymoon ideals BEFORE you book your honeymoon! HoneyLuna recommends you review the following questionnaire. The bride and the groom should complete this separately and then discuss it – together. Be sure to share this with your travel agent!

1. What is your ideal honeymoon setting? (ex. tropical, big US City, Europe (what countries?), mountains)

2. How much time can spend on your honeymoon (including travel time)?

3. What is your ideal honeymoon “activity level”? (lie on the beach and do nothing / Some beach / some activities, all golf, lots of museums, all adventure!

4. Is nightlife important?

5. Is shopping important?

6. Do you want to visit someplace that’s new to both of you?

7. If traveling outside the US, do you prefer an English speaking country? ( English speaking is a must, foreign language is ok, or foreign language is ok)

8. How much do you have allocated to spend on your honeymoon? ($1,500, $2,500, $10,000 – choose an amount that seems right to you and BE REALISTIC!)

9. Do you want to use a honeymoon registry service which allows friends and family to “buy pieces of your honeymoon” as wedding gifts?

10. Do you want a couples’ only resort?

11. When do you want to leave for your honeymoon? (immediately, a few days later, a delayed honeymoon)

12. Do you have “separate activities” that you want to do on your honeymoon (groom golfs – bride doesn’t, bride wants massage – groom doesn’t, or we will spend all our time together!)

13. Do you want an all-inclusive resort that includes meals, alcohol and lots of activities?

14. Would you like to stay at one place or move from place to place? (If you want to see more than one place (i.e. Maui and Kauai) How many places? How many days at each place?)

15. Do you want a large, a medium sized property or something smaller / more intimate?

16. Do you want luxurious with lots of amenities like spas and room service or maybe quaint and charming but not so luxurious? (remember to keep your budget in mind)

17. How much time will you spend in your room?

18. Do you want a patio or balcony? Do you want a view? If so, how important is this (remember to keep your budget in mind)

19. Is weather a factor for you? (i.e. I don’t want to worry about hurricanes, I don’t want it to be too hot, I don’t care if it’s rainy season)

20. And because this is SO important, think about it again. How much do you have allocated to spend on your honeymoon? ($1,500, $2,500, $10,000 – choose an amount that seems right to you and BE REALISTIC!)

21. Other thoughts and ideas…….

Nancy is the founder and CEO of HoneyLuna, The Honeymoon Registry Service. (www.honeyluna.com) She has helped thousands of newlyweds plan their honeymoons over the past 10 years.

Planning the Perfect Honeymoon in Hawaii

(TIP: It's more than just buying the air fare!)

I recently had a bride call to book a honeymoon cruise in Hawaii. I asked her if they might like to fly to Oahu a day early to have some time on the island before the cruise. I told her about Honolulu, Waikiki, Diamond Head, Don Ho, and of course, Pearl Harbor. To my utter amazement she said (in all seriousness) "What's Pearl Harbor?"

Hawaii is an amazing and diverse collection of islands in the South Pacific – most with non stop flights available from SFO. If you want a fabulous honeymoon with an opportunity for Polynesian Culture, white sand beaches, tropical rainforests, adventure and activities, gourmet restaurants and more, then Hawaii is for you! Each island offers a different atmosphere and different opportunities. If you have the time to visit more than one island, you should! We recommend at least 4 nights on each island, which islands you pick is up to you!

Clothing: The islands of Hawaii each have many different climates – including snow! Consider what activities you plan to enjoy, then pack (fleece jacket if going to Haleakaka, sturdy hiking shoes if hiking on the lava fields). There are many useful guidebooks that offer in depth information on various activities and what to wear. Overall dress is "aloha wear". Be casual. You do not need to bring a suit, dress slacks, or fancy cloths (unless you want to!)

Weather, Water and Sun: October to May the temperature averages mid 80's during the day and mid 60's to mid 70's at night (light jackets or sweaters are recommended for the evening). These months see more rain but unless there is a weather system, the rain doesn't usually last long. May to October averages mid to high 80's during the day and mid 70's at night. The year-round average water temperature is a warm 74 degrees. The sun is very, very strong. Waterproof sunscreen with maximum protection is essential.

Hotels, be sure to ask: Many hotels offer discounts for honeymooners or extended stays. They may also offer room upgrades or amenities for honeymooners. Just because a hotel is on a beach does not mean it's on a "swimmable" beach. What does "partial" ocean view really mean? Is there a charge for parking? Is there a "daily activity fee"?

Time and Money: Hawaii does not observe daylight savings time. During the Spring and Summer months, when the clock is turned ahead, Hawaii is 6 hours behind Eastern Standard Time (EST), 3 hours behind Pacific Standard Time (PST).

The islands have many banks and ATM's. We do recommend traveling with more than one ATM or credit card in case something happens to your primary card. Check with your bank before you go about fees they may charge for using your ATM out of network.

Common Sense and Need to Know: Do NOT leave valuables in your rental car, on your beach blanket, or loose in your hotel. Use the safe in your hotel room if you must bring valuables that you won't be carrying on you. If renting a convertible is a MUST (which we think it is!) rent a convertible with a lockable trunk.

Be sure to ask about discounts when booking activities (AAA, military) and do book the most popular activities in advance. Research and read up on vendors and talk with them directly before you arrive. Beware of special deals where you get a free dinner or activity if you go to a time share presentation. Although you may actually get a free dinner, what's the point.? Your time in the islands is so limited, use it wisely!

Car Rental and Driving: The islands are easy to get around on – and with the exception of Honolulu, you will need a rental car. There are major roadways that will take you along beautiful coastlines, to waterfalls, through rainforests, and even to a live volcano! If you are under 25, do check with the rental agency about their policies. Auto insurance is a must. Be sure to check with your auto insurance policy and your credit card about what, if any, protection they offer before you leave.

Start your honeymoon planning at the Hawaii Visitor's Bureau :
http://www.gohawaii.com/

Before you go to Hawaii, buy yourself a guide book and do your homework!

HoneyLuna recommends, Wizard Publications: Ultimate Kauai, Big Island Revealed, Maui Revealed, Oahu Revealed

When you arrive at the airport, be sure to look for, and pick up, the updated ACTIVITY and VISITOR GUIDE for that island. They're often in stands near the baggage claim. Go, relax and have the honeymoon of your dreams! And of course, if you've used HoneyLuna for your honeymoon registry, your honeymoon could be paid for!!

Nancy is the founder and CEO of HoneyLuna, The Honeymoon Registry Service. (http://www.honeylunablog.blogspot.com ) She has helped thousands of newlyweds plan their honeymoons over the past 10 years.
Digg!

Honeymoon Registries

Do you prefer the gift of travel rather than the gift of towels, turkey basters and toasters? If so, you've landed at the right place. Use a honeymoon registry and receive the wedding gift you really want! When people ask where you are registered tell them you have created a honeymoon registry! Tell them that they can buy you an experiential gift that will provide memories to last a lifetime!

  • Going to Maui? How about a Luau as a wedding gift?
  • Paris? A Seine River Dinner Cruise!
  • Venice - A gondola ride on the Grand Canal!

HoneyLuna's honeymoon registry allows you to create a gift registry that itemizes fun items and activities of your honeymoon as wedding gifts and provides an easy, user friendly experience for your friends and family to purchase those gifts!

Excerpted from About.com's honeymoon registries: Every new household can surely use a set of pots and pans as well as silver, glassware, and china (although we're not convinced of the utter necessity of possessing pickle forks or a silver tea service). So the existence of a wedding gifts registry is useful to soon-to-marry couples and their guests.

But what if you already have most of the necessities to feather a nest, or neither of you have much interest in domestic acquisitions, or you're simply hoping that wedding gifts pay off in something you really want to do -- like travel? In that case, and for couples who might not otherwise be able to afford a great trip, signing up for a honeymoon bridal gift registry could ensure you get wedding gifts you really want.

A honeymoon registry generally works by allowing a couple to select elements of their honeymoon (airfare, hotel nights, meals, tours, sports, spa treatments, admissions, spending cash) that friends and family may buy for you in increments as wedding gifts.

Here are some questions to ask when choosing a honeymoon bridal registry:

What does it cost to register?
Are there other fees involved?
Do you deduct anything from the price of gifts?
What services do you provide?
Is your business a travel agency?
Do you help customers announce their registry?
In what form do we receive our registry gifts and when?
Can they be redeemed for cash?
Do you notify us every time a gift is purchased?

Can the registry be integrated onto our wedding Web site? Be sure to check out HoneyLuna's honeymoon registry at www.honeyluna.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nancy Williams is the founder and driving force behind HoneyLuna, a company that provides honeymoon couples with an opportunity to register for the items and activities of their honeymoons as wedding gifts. An avid traveler and Master SCUBA diver herself, Nancy has traveled the world and has used her own experiences and travel knowledge to help thousands of newlyweds throughout the country plan their honeymoons all over the world. Nancy Williams has pioneered HoneyLuna and the concept of honeymoon registries throughout the US (and the world!). Both she and HoneyLuna have a significant presence in the honeymoon industry. HoneyLuna’s honeymoon registry concept has been written about in publications such as Alaska Airlines Magazine, Time, Newsweek and Conde Nast Traveler.

Nancy has written articles for Entrepeneur PR and other wedding planning publications. She has appeared on several news stories throughout the country about honeymoons and honeymoon registries. In addition, she has appeared on several forums about wedding and honeymoon planning such as the recent Softech Forum “Love on the Web”.

Who I'd like to meet:honeymooners - past, present or future with their honeymoon travel stories and questions to share.