While you might be a packing pro, filling a suitcase for your honeymoon is usually a bit more overwhelming than it is for your usual vacation. Leaving the morning after your wedding? You've probably been much more focused on finalizing the details of your big day than you have been on putting together the ultimate packing list. To make sure you don't take off for a weeks-long honeymoon only to spend the better part of your trip shopping for things you could have packed, we talked to top travel experts who share the surprising essentials you need.
Most foreign countries will have a different electrical outlet than you're used to using in the states. You don't want to have traveled all the way with your blow dryer and hair-styling tools only to be left without the ability to actually use them. Plus, there are other important things to charge, like your cell phone or camera. "In order for your electrical items charge or work you must have a converter," says Teresa Belcher, travel agent and founder of Honeymoon Islands, Inc. "Different regions of the world have different converters; they're affordable and can be purchased online."
Even if you're not heading to a warm or tropical destination, it's wise to come prepared with bug repellant so you can deter any local pests you might not be expecting. "Having easy bug repellent wipes at your disposal can provide you with an itch free experience, prevent red swollen welts all over your body, and ensure you don't get any nasty bug-related viruses," says Jennifer Doncsecz, certified travel industry executive and president of VIP Vacations Inc.
If there's one vacation worth capturing in almost every possible way it's your honeymoon. "Each day of the honeymoon, you'll have a place to write out some of your most special memories in depth," says Allison Kobasky, co-owner of Over The Moon Vacations, a luxury honeymoon planning company. "Then, at the end of the trip, seal the pages in an envelope to be opened on your 10-year anniversary. By that time, you might have some kiddos to share the stories and inside jokes with that might have otherwise been long forgotten."
A Wine Opener
Even if your honeymoon destination of choice doesn't land you in wine country, you're probably going to want to uncork a bottle at some point—and it might not be at dinner. "With every great park or garden comes the opportunity for an impromptu cuddle session with a bottle of wine," says Kobasky. "If you're lucky, there will be a wine shop or convenience store nearby where you can grab something on-to-go, but these stores are typically not allowed to open the bottles for you." This is where your pocket wine opener comes in to save the day, or at least the evening! Just remember not to pack it in your carry-on.
A Copy of Your Marriage License
No, it's not just to show off our newlywed status. "You will want to avoid any issues that arise from mismatched names on passports, airline tickets, or hotel bookings (if you have decided to change your last name)," says Liz Bates, THIRDHOME's travel and concierge director and industry-certified travel specialist. "You'll also want this in case you need a passport replacement or if you require medical treatment where your spouse has to make a medical decision on your behalf."
Your honeymoon is the time to step out of our usual vacation comfort zone and try a more thrilling and adventurous activity, be it parasailing, ziplining, rock climbing, or hiking. The best way to capture it all without having to stop and take a photo? With a GoPro. "If you are doing anything active or just chilling on a beach, your GoPro can capture all the excitement and create daring videos, spectacular photo moments, and incredible underwater shots," says Doncsecz. "GoPros are super durable and don't overheat like many cell phones when out in the sun."
LED Collapsible Lantern-Flashlight
This is perhaps the handiest gadget to consider, yet often forgotten. "Use it to navigate your way down resort pathways at night, take a romantic walk down the beach at midnight, or to read in bed without disturbing your spouse," says Bates. "If you're feeling extra adventurous you might pitch a romantic tent-for-two made from bedsheets on the beach—the battery life lasts forever and they're easy to pack."
Personal Honeymoon Playlist
You might have some great playlists already set up on your Spotify, but making one especially for this romantic post-wedding getaway is something you won't regret. Spend some time searching the web for the best honeymoon music (trust us, there are tons of remixes inspired by free-spirit vacations) at some point before your trip. You might also want to add your wedding song to your playlist, in addition to some of those guilty favorites (Backstreet Boys anyone?) the two of you share, suggests Bates. She recommends bringing along a pair of wireless Bluetooth speakers so you can bring your tunes down to the beach, Jacuzzi, or lodge.
Personalized Love Locks
Even though the famed "love locks" in Paris have been removed and sold to auction, you can always start the trend somewhere else! "Consider bringing along a personalized, inexpensive set to attach to you and your hubby's favorite spot," says Bates. "Take pics of yourselves with the locks and post it on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook to start a new 'love' movement of your own." Her one piece of advice: Be mindful and avoid placing locks on private property that doesn't belong to you.
Polaroid or Film Camera
Your iPhone might take great photos, but it also reminds you of social media notifications and work emails. The best way to truly "disconnect" on your honeymoon and still capture every picture possible is with a real camera. "When you get back home, arrange your best photos on a decorative corkboard to share online," says Bates. "You can also use Polaroid photos as cute additions to those very-important thank-you cards you'll be writing when you get back."