How Early Should You Start Booking Your Honeymoon?
According to our expert, most couples finalize their plans between six and nine months before their trip.
Some couples can't wait to start turning their honeymoon dreams into a reality, but others get so distracted by the wedding planning that reserving hotels and flights ends up being an afterthought. The sweet spot, says Laura Frazier of Bliss Honeymoons, is somewhere in the middle: You should start planning close enough to your travel date that hotels have released their best promotional prices, but not so close that the best rooms are booked. "We recommend starting the process about 10 months before travel," says Frazier. "Most couples book six to nine months before departure."
This guideline tends to be standard across the industry, says Frazier, and that's true whether you're booking a stay at an all-inclusive tropical resort or a mini tour of Europe. "Some smaller hotels in Europe may only post their rates about six months out," she says, "but the timeline is about the same no matter where you are going." Once you've settled on a destination, Frazier recommends booking your flights at the same time as your hotel, so they'll both be covered by trip insurance (and so you can look for package deals that may offer a better price).
The main problem with booking a honeymoon too soon—more than a year out—is that prices may drop before you are ready to travel. "Sometimes a hotel will introduce a promo that can only be applied to a new booking," says Frazier, "so if you booked too early, you could end up paying a little more." But as your travel date approaches, you're less likely to score a discount—and you may be forced to settle for a room type that isn't what you wanted. "Sometimes we do see last-minute deals if a hotel is sitting on a lot of inventory, but what we see a lot is that when a couple waits too long, all the good rooms are gone," says Frazier. "This means they are stuck with either the very lowest room category, or only the highest, frequently unaffordable rooms. If your wedding date is 90 days away or less, your options are greatly limited."
If you and your fiancé aren't willing to compromise on the destination, a certain amenity (hello, private infinity pool), or your travel dates, then don't put off the reservation. "I think some people get so obsessed with finding a deal that they wait way too long, and then they can't find anything," says Frazier. "You only get one chance to have a great honeymoon! If you find something that fits your budget and your wish list, don't risk letting it get away because you're obsessively looking for a better deal. The best hotels always sell out, especially in high season."
And while delaying the honeymoon travel until several weeks or months after the wedding is increasingly common, Frazier still recommends firming up your plans during the wedding-planning process instead of waiting until after you're married to start brainstorming. "It's better to have a plan in mind and get something booked," she says. "I can't tell you how many couples I met who put off planning their honeymoon until after the wedding. Then they bought a house, had a baby—the next thing you know, 10 years have passed and they never had a honeymoon."