(Closed) How did you plan your honeymoon?

posted 8 years ago in Honeymoons
Post # 3
Member
647 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

There’s no need to use a travel agent.  The internet has made it so easy to do all of the researching yourself – and without a markup!  First decide on a location, and that will cut the overwhelming element in half.  October could be a great time to visit Spain or Italy, much less touristy and no sweltering temperatures.  Once you decide on a destination, pick up some travel books from the library.  Rick Steves and Lonely Planet are great resources, and will give you some great ideas for what to expect and what to do once you get there.

But I definitely recommend narrowing down your choices first – you can’t possibly do a fair comparison between so many choices because they all have great pluses and minuses.  Maybe to narrow down, do a quick travelocity.com airfare search for each destination, and see which country pops up with the best flight deals.  That could make the decision easier!  Good luck!

Post # 4
Member
913 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

Our travel agent, who happens to also be my cousin, doesn’t charge fees.  They get compensated through the hotels/resorts/cruise ships for booking vacations w/ them.  I asked her outright and she told me how it works. 

Our decision was easy…Since I got to make all the major decisions for the wedding, the FI was free to pick wherever he wanted to go!  I’ve already been to many of the islands and Mexico, he’s been to Canada and down south, so he picked Vegas

Post # 5
Member
721 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I’ve never booked through a travel agent and we’ve been to Europe twice with no problem.  FI and I knew we didn’t want to do a sun and sea honeymoon and we <3 Europe so we ended up going with a cruise because it’s a good combo of relaxing and sightseeing, and we’ll get to see a lot of places!  So narrow it down to the area of the world you want to go to (Wikipedia or tripadvisor is good for that.  I made lots of pro/con lists).  Then figure out how you want to see that area (cruise, train travel, rent-a-car, stay in one place the whole time?)

 

FI and I went to Italy in 2007 for only 4 days (would not recommend that!) and we saw a ton of stuff.  We stayed in Rome and took a day trip to Florence on the train.  They have a great train system and it was very affordable.  We bought the Eyewitness travel books and researched things online.  I think we spent under 2K for the whole trip, though flights are a bit more nowadays.

Honeymoon planning is more overwhelming if you think of it as a super-special trip that you’ll only get to take once.  Try to think of it as “just a vacation” and it’s less stressful because you’ve done it before.

Post # 6
Member
264 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

TRIPADVISOR, TRIPADVISOR, TRIPADVISOR! TripAdvisor.com is THE best website for helping you get your vacay planning underway…its a website comprised of all travellers reviews and recommendations on where to go and where to stay. you can post forums asking specificallly on advice how to plan the trip you want to go on, and you will get lots of travellers’ advice in response! I LOVE it! Since I found this website 5 years ago, i NEVER plan a trip without extensively browsing tripadvisor first (and i travel/vacation 3-5 times yearly) good luck! keep us posted!

Post # 7
Member
1120 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

My husband planned the honeymoon with little input from me…I know that he used a travel agent, and the previous poster who said that you don’t pay them yourself is right, or at least that’s how it was in our case. She was also able to get us some really great deals on things that we wouldn’t have been able to get by bokking ourselves.

The other neat thing is that she told everyone in advance that we were on our honeymoon, so we never had to hint for upgrades – every hotel room had complimentary champagne, room service, etc. when we arrived.

Post # 8
Member
794 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I second tripadvisor.com.  I am in LOVE with this website.  Users post “traveler’s photos” which give a much more realisic view of the resorts as opposed to the professional photography used on hotel websites.  Users will often post best restaurants, things to bring, etc.  By far the best travel site to narrow down possible resorts/locations.  You can even send private messages if you have further questions for someone. 

Good luck and have fun with it. 

Post # 9
Member
1418 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I have also used tripadvisor.com as well as expedia.com.  I haven’t had any problems!  I have, however, used a travel agent on many occasions.  Typically, I will do research online and find some packages that I am interested in.  Then I will contact my travel agent and show her what I’ve found.  The odd time the deal online is better than what my travel agent can get me, but honestly, more often than not, even if she is adding in fees, the deals on flights and accommodations that I get through her are usual cheaper!  If you do a bit of work you can find deals.  I would try a few different methods (online, travel agent, etc.) and then decide who to book through.  You don’t usually pay a travel agent anything until you book, so there is no harm in looking!

Post # 10
Member
404 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

We used a Travel Agent and do not regret it.  But we are traveling abroad for the first time and just felt more comfortable working with someone knowledgable.

She actually got us a great deal on a mediterranean cruise (same price as Orbitz, but a better cabin) and all of her great advice was so helpful in making a final decision.

 

Post # 11
Member
746 posts
Busy bee

While there is a lot of great information to be had on the internet, there’s really no substitute for a qualified agent. ( yes my opinion is biased)

You can learn a lot from review sites, but an agent will help guide you through the entire process, make sure that you have the proper documentation, and that everything-flights, hotel, transfers, and insurance, is included. And remember-an agent is staking their professional reputation on the outcome of your trip. No one on a review site is!

There a so many intangibles to consider. What kind of food do you like? What kind of people do you like to hang out with? A great agent should get to know you, and the little things that will make the trip special, and comfortable, before giving you pricing and options. If they just ask your budget and throw a price at you, run as fast as you can in the other direction.

Here are some questions to ask when considering an agent:

  • Have they traveled to the resort or destination that they are recommending within the last three years?
  • Why do they believe this package is a great fit for you?
  • How long have they been in business? What professional certifications do they hold?
  • What does their travel insurance include?
  • Will they personally be available while you are traveling?
  • Will they handle all flight schedule changes?
  • Will they watch for specials to come up after you’ve booked?
  • Do they have a “no walk” policy? This is huge! So many people that book online get bumped to other resorts upon arrival. We only work with hotels and resort that guarantee that our clients won’t get bumped. 

Agents often have access to promos and offers that you cannot find online. And if they do charge a fee, don’t let that scare you off. If an agent doesn’t value their services enough to charge for them, why should you?? If an agent’s primary selling point is that they’re working for free, again, run in the other direction.

When hotels and resorts set their pricing, the set it knowing that they’ll have to pay an agency. And all agencies, both online and offline, get paid the same way. So if you’re doing all the research, and booking thru an online agency yourself, you’re paying for a service that you’re not getting.

A great agent really can make a significant difference in your trip. But as with any industry, there are great, and no so great agents. So make sure you ask a few questions before you choose one.

 

Post # 12
Member
382 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

We used a travel agent to get a discount flight, and read reviews online to pick our *gasp* hostel. We aren’t booking tours, just researching where to go and what to see via internet and advice from friends who have lived there. I’ve never been the “pack tour” type, I like to let my, eyes, ears and nose tell me where to go!

Post # 13
Member
15 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: October 2010

ditto on trip advisor

 

as for using a travel agent, i really think that depends on if you are comfortable with that or not. its a weird concept if you’ve never done it before. but it can be helpful.

 

you are deciding b/w a lot of diff kinds of places. first you need to decide if you want a relax-moon or an adventure-moon. also, how long/far do you want to fly? all big considerations. if you decide to go to spain, dm me. i have lots of ideas!

Post # 14
Member
612 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I guess we technically booked with a travel agent since we went through our timeshare management company. She had been on the particular cruise ship, so she got us a great room with an unobstructed view. We opted to search for airfare ourselves, but the TA did a great job and got us an awesome price on the cruise.

Post # 15
Member
202 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Do you have an American Express Card?  They are AMAZING!!!  My fiance planned all of our honeymoon through their travel services.

IF you tell AmEx you want to go X month, to X place, and spend X amount of money, they’ll find an itinerary and propose it to you for Free (hoping that you’ll book it through AmEx).  But you can take that info and do what you want with it, it’s a great starting point. 

Sorry this doesn’t help if you don’t have Amex, but if you do, use their free services!

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