You're probably more than ready to jet off on your long-awaited honeymoon, but before you pack your bags, there are a few important ground rules to keep in mind. Especially if you're leaving for the airport directly after your wedding, you'll have a lot on your mind and little time for last-minute tasks. To help ensure you're as prepared as possible, we asked top travel and honeymoon specialists to share the tricky travel rules you should know about beforehand.
You'll need a valid, unexpired passport.
If you already have a passport, check its expiration date. Some countries require visitors to have a valid passport that doesn't expire for a whole six months after their departure date. You can check whether or not your destination requires this by visiting travel.state.gov's country information page. Additionally, Jennifer Waigand, travel advisor for Travel Reimagined, an affiliate of World Travel Service, a Virtuoso member, suggests checking the amount of blank pages left per destination as required by your country of travel. These requirements can also be found on the State Department's website.
Your destination might require a visa in addition to a passport.
A passport alone might not cut it, depending on where you're honeymooning. That's why Lesley Cohen, luxury travel advisor at SmartFlyer, urges engaged couples to review the visa requirements well in advance of their honeymoon to avoid any issues upon arrival. "Different countries have different processes, wait times, and other requirements to obtain a visa," she explains. "The State Department website is a good resource for this information."
Changing your name might cost you.
Another issue with passports that comes up very often with honeymoon clients is the issue of a name change for the bride. Whether or not you've changed your last name to your spouse's, your passport has to match the name on your booking, especially your airline ticket. "A mismatch in names can result in the cancellation of tickets or bookings or large change fees to correct them," warns Waigand. "This seems like a simple concept, but for as many times as I remind clients of this, about 10 percent have an issue with the name on their airline ticket."
Luggage weight restrictions might change.
Many people know that there are often extra fees for baggage, but depending on your destination there may be specific weight limitations—and this limitation might change in the time period between when you booked your ticket and are taking your flight. "If a smaller plane is used to access your destination they will likely have a limited luggage weight allowed per person on the flight," says Cohen.
Passport cards don't count as passports.
These are not passports for international air travel. Cohen urges honeymooners to pay close attention when applying for their passport, as a booklet is a must for any international travel.
Your bank should be in the know.
If you plan on spending money with credit or debit cards during your honeymoon, don't forget to give your bank a heads up. "Let them know you are leaving the country so they do not freeze your account due to a fraud alert," says Cohen. "Also, use a card that does not charge foreign transaction fees, as they can add up quickly!"
Use packing cubes to travel with more for less.
To help make honeymoon travel easier, Waigand recommends purchasing packing cubes. "This product is going to be especially important if you're leaving direct from the reception to airport," she says. "These cubes come in sets and a range of sizes, and help travelers pack in advance and stay organized before and during travel, especially for multi-destination trips."