I have helped many couples build their dream Honeymoon at Sandals and Beaches resorts, but after talking with so many couples during the planning process, I have decided to post on the basic information you will need to begin planning your all-inclusive honeymoon. I have taken some of the most common questions that I get on a regular basis, and provided answers for them. I hope this helps.
An Exciting Time in the Wedding Process
Planning your honeymoon can be one of the most fun and exciting times of the whole wedding process! Just today I had an appointment and met a wonderful couple who are beginning to look at honeymoon ideas. When I showed them a couple of the places I recommended, they were so excited to look at the photos and imagine the possibilities for their dream honeymoon. However, on the flip side of the process, honeymoon planning can also be very overwhelming. So many choices, so many destinations, resorts, and what about airfare and passports?
Q: Shouldn’t I wait to plan my honeymoon?
Let’s face it, a majority of the time, the honeymoon planning is pushed aside to the arrangements and plans of the actual wedding, but you owe it to yourself to give your honeymoon the appropriate attention it deserves. The wedding is the main event, but also heavily focuses on your friends and family. Your honeymoon is a chance for you and your new spouse to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime getaway all to yourselves. To enjoy being newlyweds, spend quality time together, and enjoy the pampering, luxury and relaxation you deserve, after months of stress and planning. Studies also show that taking a honeymoon is very important to starting your marriage off on the right foot, and setting the tone for your relationship.
Q: How Soon Should I Plan My Honeymoon?
There are two great ways to help make the honeymoon planning process less overwhelming. The first way is to give yourself plenty of time. Start planning your honeymoon about 12 to 9 months prior to your departure date, this will ensure that you have access to the best pricing and availability for most of the resorts you will be considering. As a side note, Sandals resorts allows you to book your room (not airfare) 2 years in advance. This gives you incredible savings, allows you to budget a higher level suite, and pay it off over the course of the 2 years. Also, you will only need a low $400.00 deposit per couple to hold your Sandals honeymoon package.
Q: How Can I Make My Honeymoon Planning Easier?
The other way to make the honeymoon planning process less overwhelming is to use a travel consultant. A travel consultant, such as myself, will help you choose the best possible location and destination for your dream Caribbean honeymoon. A travel consultant will also spend those endless hours online scouring for deals and making sure you have the proper room category, flights, and travel protection for your all-inclusive honeymoon. One thing I do for all my couples is what I call fact finding. I ask each couple a series of questions either by email, phone, or in person, that allow me to find the absolute best fit of destination, resort, length of stay, and airfare that will give each couple their own unique wonderful honeymoon experience!
Q: What Type of Information Should I Share?
Share Your Dreams. In my opinion, there should never be a cookie cutter honeymoon. When talking to your travel consultant, share your vision of the perfect honeymoon. What are some things you like to do as a couple, and individually? The couple I met with yesterday, when I asked “what do you dream of when you think of the perfect honeymoon?” The bride told me that she loves to be pampered, with a fantastic looking room filled with luxurious fixtures and touches. She also told me she would love a great beach to lie on and relax and read. Her fiancée told me he loves to play golf, is interested in historical sites and both would like to get off the resort and do some excursions and activities for a nice change of pace instead of sitting on the resort the whole time. These answers help me build a unique custom honeymoon experience for each couple. There are many great tropical locations and resorts, but I want my couples to be at the right island and resort for them. I can’t speak for every travel consultant, but I know in my case, I don’t charge a fee for this service. I get paid from the resorts for sending couples to them. A travel consultant can save you a ton of time, stress, frustration, and ultimately money by doing much of the hard work for you.
Q: How Many Nights Should My Honeymoon Be?
Considering the amount of stress and hard work that it takes to plan a wedding, I suggest to most couples that they stay at least 7-14 nights for their honeymoon. I realize that there are many things that can affect how many nights you can stay…your work schedule, vacation time, your budget, etc. But if you can afford it, try to give yourself at least a week. The number of nights also can be affected by the destination you pick. If you are having a honeymoon in Hawaii, Fiji, or another destination that has a long flight, you will want stay as many nights as possible. You don’t want to have a Hawaii honeymoon for only five nights. Now if you are having a Jamaican honeymoon, or a honeymoon in the Bahamas or Mexico, the flights are not that bad. You can stay for fewer nights. Even at those destinations, I would strongly suggest that you try to stay for at least 5 nights, with 7 to 10 being the perfect amount. It just goes by so fast – trust me! You will be running on adrenaline that last week of the wedding and when you arrive in paradise, you’ll discover that you are more tired than you thought. You’ll have at least two full days of down time before getting adventurous.
Q: What Kind of Budget Should I Plan For?
This is such a great question! Many couples don’t have any idea how much a honeymoon packages cost. Most couples spend about three to four times more than a typical vacation. This is not just another vacation, this is your honeymoon! A honeymoon should give you the greatest experience you can comfortably afford. This is a trip that will build once-in-a-life-time memories. You don’t want to be stingy with your honeymoon. You will want to have as much quality as you can afford. If you have no idea where to begin on budget, contact me and I’ll help you. The best place to start is with length of stay and what the 5 most important elements of your honeymoon experience are. High level of service and pampering, oceanfront suite with Jacuzzi or private plunge pool, spa treatments, candlelight dinner, tours, nightlife etc… the possibilities are endless and are unique to you as a couple. Don’t know what your most important elements are? Call me and I’ll ask you a series of questions to get to know you and we’ll be on our way!
Q: How Much Does a Typical Honeymoon Cost?
Another great question I am asked all the time. The price ranges are all over the place and time of year greatly affects this. Just like there are Chevy’s and Cadillac, there are low quality, moderate quality, and high end resorts and rooms within a resort. Airfare also greatly affects price, and of course the length of your stay. For example, a seven night honeymoon package at Sandals resorts, including airfare can range from $3,500 to $15,000 dollars. This price includes all of your food and drink at the resort, airfare, and transfers from the airport to the resort and back again, travel protection, and your honeymoon amenities. Prices can be higher or lower depending on the factors I have already mentioned, but this should give you a good range to start from for a great honeymoon experience. As a honeymoon expert, it is my job to find out what you are looking for in your honeymoon experience and get you the most value for your dollar while perfectly matching your desires.
Q: Can’t I Just Plan My Honeymoon Online?
I hear this from a lot of couples. The answer is yes. You can plan your honeymoon online, but what I constantly find is that couples who try to do this on their own, end up extremely frustrated and overwhelmed with the whole process. I get so many calls from couples who are so stressed with the endless searching, reading reviews on trip advisor, visiting websites, looking through brochures, and spending hours doing research. You can’t really tell if a resort has everything you are looking for by seeing pictures and reading reviews. Every couple is different and your honeymoon should be a reflection of you. Couples also miss out on many great incentives and travel options that are given to travel consultants that are not available online. The internet is a great tool for research and I encourage couples to use it as a resource but leave the booking up to a professional…you’ll be glad you did!
Q: Will I Need a Passport?
You will need a passport if you are traveling from the United States into another country. Every Caribbean Honeymoon at a Sandals resort will require a passport for travel. If you are unsure of the passport procedures, you can read about them here. If you travel to the U.S Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, or Hawaii, you will not need a passport.
Something to Think About:
You will want to be realistic with your expectations for your honeymoon during the planning and travel process. Travel is, by its very nature, an adventure. There are times when things don’t always run as smoothly as possible, always try to be flexible and laugh at the silly things that can happen. Of course if something happens that you feel is not right, or not what you expected, that is a different story, and you should call your travel consultant right away if you have any type of serious concerns or problems. That is another reason to use a travel consultant. Once when my husband and I were at the Sandals Royal Bahamian, there was a couple at the help desk, with some sort of complaint. The Sandals representative told them that their travel agent was Funjet Vacations. There really wasn’t a person that they could call and ask for help. They had to call a large company’s call center and hope that they could get the situation resolved. I know all of my couples by name, and stress personal service to all of the other travel consultants that work for Paradise Getaways.
If you follow these tips and advice, the chances of having a fantastic honeymoon are well in your favor.
If you liked this post, click here to read my previous post about honeymoon planning for some different information.
If you feel that you need advice or help planning your Sandals honeymoon, I would love to help you any way I can.
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