The end of wedding planning is finally in sight and you can start picturing yourself relaxing with your new spouse on your long-awaited honeymoon. Now you just have to finalize the plans. Unfortunately, you'll find that planning your honeymoon often requires plenty of consideration, too. Where you'll go and when are just the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps the bigger question that most brides- and grooms-to-be grapple with is how long they want to—and can!—spend away celebrating their marital bliss. Here are a few questions to ask yourselves as you begin making travel plans to determine how long your honeymoon should be.
Where do you want to go?
Your honeymoon destination will help set the standard for all other considerations that you'll have to make in regard to your travel plans. "If you're hoping to enjoy a series of Mediterranean hotspots during the August high season, your dollar will not take you as far, and your trip, by definition, would need to be shorter," says Carrie Wallace, founder and president of Cerulean World Travel. "But if a destination offering great value, such as Costa Rica, is your choice, you may very well be able to travel for twice as long on the same budget as you would in Europe."
Can you afford it?
As you start planning your honeymoon (but before booking any reservations), Ursula Kilian, planner at Casa de Uco in Mendoza, Argentina, recommends that couples set an estimated budget so they can make sure they're considering only places that they can afford. "This budget should encompass all transportation to and from the destination, and any travel expenses such as rental cars or taxis while they are there, accommodations, food and beverage, activities, and a reserve amount of money for any emergencies or added expenses," she says. "It's also valuable to set up flight alerts in advance to save money on flights, which can then be turned into more money toward the honeymoon itself."
How much vacation time do you have?
Like most Americans, you probably only get two or three precious weeks' worth of vacation. Once you factor in any time you had to take off during the year and any additional time you'll need to take off for your big day, that you may not have much PTO left for your honeymoon. One strategy Wallace recommends is to delay your honeymoon and attach your travels to a national holiday, thus adding another day or two to enjoy your newlywed time together without breaking the vacation bank. "If your boss or company is flexible, you may find you are granted an extra day or two as a 'gift' for your wedding," she says. Hey, it never hurts to ask!
When will you go?
Kilian recommends that couples consider the time of year they plan to honeymoon, as this can affect the amount of activities they can put into each day. "For example, couples traveling to the Caribbean during hurricane season might want to schedule a longer trip as activities could get cancelled because of weather," she says. "Also remember that certain areas, such as South America, have opposite seasons from North America." It's important to research these types of things to make sure you're traveling at the right time.