The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is reminding travelers that summer is just around the corner and that means wedding season is about to kick into high gear. ASTA urges brides to work with an ASTA travel consultant who specializes in honeymoons. And ASTA says, it makes finding the perfect agent easy, thanks to the ‘Find a Travel Agent’ directory on TravelSense.org. At the site grooms—and brides—can search for a travel agent who specializes in honeymoons or a given destination. The honeymoon planning suggestions is the most recent in a series of ASTA’s consumer travel tips.
“Working with a travel consultant who specializes in honeymoons gives a couple some much-needed breathing room when it comes to planning their wedding and everything it entails,” said ASTA President and Chair Chris Russo. “A professional travel consultant can take care of all the planning details and that gives the happy couple much needed time to focus on what’s important—each other.
Among ASTA travel agents’ tips for planning a honeymoon are:
* Begin early and share the planning. To ensure that both parties enjoy the honeymoon, couples should consider making all the decisions together.
* Define “Ideal.” If just one person will be doing the planning, he or she shouldn’t assume that because they have always dreamt of honeymooning in a tropical paradise their soon-to-be-spouse shares that dream. Consider these questions as soon as honeymoon talks begin:
* What is most important? Suntan lotion, sand and surf or the privacy and seclusion a cozy m ountain retreat?
* Are you looking to experience new cultures or do you just want to get away from it all?
* Are you more interested in going around the corner or around the world?
* Do you want to spend more on the wedding or the honeymoon?
* What sounds better: a cruise, a package vacation or an all-inclusive resort, something tailored just for you?
* Pick your paradise. When it comes to honeymoon planning, most couples try to select the destination first, yet ASTA travel agents suggest a different approach: Unless the dream destination has already been set in stone, couples should first decide what type of vacation (all-inclusive resort, cruise, adventure vacation, cultural trip) they want and then narrow down their list of destinations accordingly.
* Make time for yourselves. Pad the honeymoon schedule with generous amounts of free time. A rushed and overly organized honeymoon might feel too much like the wedding. Instead, plan a few enjoyable activities and leave lots of opportunities to just enjoy each other's company.
* Set a tentative budget. Talk about expectations and priorities from the very beginning and decide what you might splurge on and where you might cut corners.
* Splurge on accommodations. No matter what type of vacation package a couple chooses, they will spend an enormous amount of time in their room or cabin. This is not a place to cut corners.
* Brides-use your maiden name. Unless a couple is planning on taking a delayed honeymoon, the bride won't have time to change the name on her passport and driver's license. She should use her maiden name on visas, airline tickets, etc., so they match as it appears on official documents.
* Leave it to a professional. After “I do,” a couple’s two favorite words will be “stress free,” if they opt to work with an expert, such as an ASTA travel consultant who specializes in planning honeymoons. For stress-free travel plans–especially those with multiple steps like a honeymoon–seek out the expert advice of a travel agent. A good travel agent can save money as well as time, two enormous factors for a couple trying to plan a wedding and a honeymoon simultaneously.