The last post got me thinking. If there are a thousand things that can go wrong at your wedding (one day), there are probably seven thousand things that could go wrong on your honeymoon (seven-ish days, usually).
For my part, my husband and I didn’t suffer anything worse than a few mosquito bites and a tad too much rum. But not everyone gets out of paradise so easily.
One of my friends ended up at an urgent care clinic for an infection, while my aunt and uncle’s honeymoon in Mexico in the 80’s started with lost luggage and ended up at an all-inclusive with no mosquito netting and a pool so algae-covered it looked like a gator-infested swamp. (They started sneaking to a nearby Holiday Inn — !!! — to spend their days poolside.)
So what can a couple do to protect themselves from marauding honeymoon horrors? Plan, plan, plan, for the expected and the unexpected.
Carefully evaluate a resort’s self-presentation
If a resort looks too good to be true. . .it really might be that great! After all, when you’re planning your honeymoon, you’re probably looking into some of the most luxurious, well-appointed, and scenically placed hotels, inns, and resorts in the world. I recently read an article about hotels that warned a room probably won’t live up to your expectations if the pictures on the website include fresh flowers on the table. Well, I’m here to tell you that’s not the case. My villa actually came with fresh flowers — on four tables and in the bathroom.
That said, if you’re looking at a bargain hotel and the pictures of the rooms include a full wine rack in the background, be prepared to pay a whole lot more for these little extras. And beware any resort that doesn’t include pictures that show the building(s) against the promised landscape or seascape. Your room may have an “ocean view” — but it may be just a glimpse of the beach between two other high rises when you crane your neck around your balcony wall. This is where travel websites come in handy.
Use travel websites to evaluate destinations
Websites such as TripAdvisor, Fodors, TravelBuddy and CruiseCritic allow travelers-cum-critics to post their own ratings and reviews of far-flung locales. Don’t skip the advice from been-there, done-that travelers! Specifically, seek out reviews from couples who honeymooned at the destination you’re researching, recent travelers, and people who traveled there at the time of year you’ll be globe-trotting. I made sure to read reviews from people who had stayed in the exact villa where I spent my honeymoon. Their assessments couldn’t have been more accurate! Many sites (including TripAdvisor) also allow reviewers to post their own pictures, assuring you that what you see on your computer screen is what the last guest saw, not what some fancy-schmancy photographer cooked up to make the place look better. And when your trip is over, return the favor and write your own reviews!
Consider traveler’s insurance
For pennies on the dollar, you can rest easy knowing that if something goes wrong so you have to miss your trip, you’ll be reimbursed. Check out companies such as TravelInsured, InsureMyTrip and TravelGuard to find the best price and coverage for your vacation. You can even find temporary medical insurance in case you end up making a trip to the emergency room anywhere from Aachen, Germany to Zytkavicy, Belarus.
Research your activities
What’s worse than a honeymoon where you’re too busy to relax? A honeymoon where you don’t get to do anything because you didn’t book your excursions, tours, or visits on time. Start looking into any activities you want to do on your honeymoon at least two months before your trip. That way, you’ll have time to carefully consider what you really want to do — and time to book it.
Pack for the unexpected — and in more than one suitcase
My uncle’s experience taught me to not pack all my necessities in one bag. By splitting clothes between two suitcases, you’ll can relax knowing that, even if the airline loses one piece of your luggage, you’ll still have something to wear the next day. Similarly, pack for different types of weather and different types of events — you never know when you’ll unexpectedly decide to go spelunking through muddy caves or put in an appearance at an upscale theater. And be sure to take some everyday items you might suddenly need: pocket-sized scissors, painkillers, bandages and pens.
These are just a few ideas of how to get your perfect honeymoon in place. But no matter what you do, your honeymoon might not be perfect. You could miss your connecting flight and start your trip a day late, or twist your ankle during a mountain hike, or your hotel room’s toilet could overflow in the middle of the night.
Just remember: even the crazy parts of a honeymoon can become well-treasured memories. My aunt and uncle loved telling me about their disastrous trip. They laughed all the way through their story, promising that they’ve had many wonderful vacations since — and that their bad first week together only proved their marriage could survive anything!