Plan to make the most of your honeymoon


Photo courtesy: Annette Modlin/The Travel Center

Guests at the Jade Riviera Cancun resort can swim in the main pool, which features a swim-up bar. The resort is located in Puerto Morelos, Mexico, about 12 miles from the Cancun International Airport.

Jolie Monroe

Each bride dreams of her wedding day for years. She imagines the dress, the groom and the venue. Soon enough, it’s time to begin planning the actual wedding. Plans are made, arrangements are in place, the cell phone is constantly ringing and it starts to seem as though the wedding planning has become a second job. But once the big day has come and gone, it’s time to let the inner Bridezilla rest. What better way to do that than going off on a romantic vacation.

In order to keep the honeymoon hassle to a minimum, travel agents are available to make the process as painless as possible. Annette Modlin, destination wedding and honeymoon consultant at The Travel Center in Des Moines, has several insider tips on what to do and how to do it.

Keep airport time to a minimum

There are many different destinations around the globe for honeymooners, but it is important to consider the travel time and layovers that might be required. “The most common honeymoon spots for Iowans are all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, Jamaica and the Bahamas,” Modlin explained, “All of these are easy to travel to from Des Moines and surrounding airports, and are simple, one-connection flights.” Without the hassle of airport confusion, honeymooners are more likely to enjoy themselves and relax. Close destinations offer many benefits, while ensuring that most of the honeymooners’ time is spent relaxing — not waiting in an airport.

Take advantage of resort opportunities

Tropical beaches tend to be popular destinations, but many offer more than you might expect. Many resorts offer opportunities to make honeymoons more exciting. “Popular excursions include catamaran cruises, zip lining, snorkeling, scuba diving, cave tubing and Mayan Ruin tours,” Modlin said. Many resorts offer candlelight dinners and couples’ massages, which you may appreciate after a long day of activities.

Looking for something more exotic?

While Mexico and Jamaica are popular destinations, some honeymooners seek an even more exotic destination. “The Tahiti and Fiji islands are becoming more popular … These islands are very different from many Caribbean islands, as they are very secluded and remote,” Modlin said. Perks offered at these exotic locations include private over-water bungalows that have private sun decks to feed fish from. Several stage traditional Tahitian or Fijian dinner shows.

All-inclusive resorts keep a budget on track

Staying on budget can be one of the hardest parts of planning a wedding and honeymoon. All-inclusive resorts are great for honeymooners because the price is set from the very beginning. “Honeymooners won’t feel nickel-and-dimed once they arrive at their destination,” Modlin said. All-inclusive packages generally include airfare, night accommodations, meals, drinks, tips and non-motorized water sports.

Of course, there are optional fees you can pay for things like spa services and shopping, Modlin explained. Another cost-effective option to consider a destination wedding. Modlin specializes in destination weddings, and suggests making an exotic location serve as the site of both the wedding and the honeymoon.

Travel agents know tricks of the trade

Honeymoons are often the first big trip couples make together. It’s important that plans be as frictionless and simple as possible. This is where a travel agent can make a big difference. Modlin explained that travel agents are able to save couples money where they might not expect to.

“Everything can look great online, however, once you arrive, it can be a far different story,” she said.

Websites sometime offer misleading “deals” and don’t show complete pricing. Travel agents are able to provide a full summary of costs and destination pros and cons, and go over the smallest details with couples.

“I always walk my honeymooners through their trip, so they know what to expect, and don’t feel overwhelmed when they arrive at their honeymoon destination,” Modlin said.

Small things that are easy to overlook include baggage allowances, customs protocols and travel transfers, so it’s helpful to have someone available to help you prepare. “This is the couple’s first special trip together as husband and wife, and they want it to be a memorable experience that they will never forget,” Modlin said. “We, as travel agents, want to ensure that that happens for them.”