In the last few months I’ve had a big increase in the number of honeymoons I’ve been planning. And I will admit that I’ve been caught a little off guard on how to best plan them. Even  though I consider myself in expert in luxury and customized vacation planning, a honeymoon is different.
The purpose of this post is to introduce the young honeymoon couple to the planning process and to make sure it works for them.
The Travel Agent
Most young honeymoon couples (say under 35?) have never used a  travel agent before and one of the first words out of their mouths is “I’ve never used a travel agent, I’m not sure what you do, what your value is, but I need help.” In essence, we’re just plain experts in the art of planning a vacation. We know more than you do because we do it day in and day out.  1. We can advise you on where to go, what the benefits and drawbacks are to specific destinations.  2. We have contacts at the world’s 4 and 5 star resorts (OK, mostly 5) who will take care of you like they’re your friends. This is the hardest thing to get across. People in our industry are gregarious and fun – and we’re people persons. And we meet each other regularly at luxury travel conferences, in our offices, and when we travel (and we travel a lot.) So if you’re going to Rome and staying at the de Russie, and I tell you my friend Giusy is going to make sure you have a fabulous stay, I’m serious. And you will. 3. We know where to get the best price and the best value. Should your hotel or flights be booked direct? Through a wholesaler? 4. How do I plan that tour of those balsamic and prosciutto farms I’ve heard about? We have the contacts.  5. I want to plan a cruise in the Greek Islands. Which is best for me?
It’s Unbelievably Special
Be sure you tell your travel advisor what your goals are on your honeymoon. Yes, it sounds a bit corporate, but you should get what you want. Be the CEO in charge of honeymoon planning – it’s your honeymoon! If you want to see dolphins in Kauai, then you need to know if you have a good chance of doing so. If you want that romantic sunset off your balcony in Bora Bora, then you should stay at a hotel where you’ll get that.  Would you prefer a big hotel? little hotel? Big hut? Little hut?  Be sure you discuss hotel locations, room locations, room layouts, hotel services (i.e. spa, tennis, dinner on the beach).  Do you have food allergies? Sometimes hotels cannot easily provide for that.  On the other side, I wouldn’t pre-plan it completely or then it really would be like a work project.
For almost all of the couples I’ve been planning for, the honeymoon is their first big outlay of money for anything, and that carries a big stress level. $15k-$20k and up  isn’t an amount to sneeze at. 1. I’d say you need to bond with your travel agent before you put down your deposit. Whether it’s due to a referral from a friend or family member, via a colleague or even via an online referral service like yelp! you have to establish trust or it’s not going to work. 2. Be comfortable with your budget. If you aren’t Bill Gates, stick to a budget and make sure your travel consultant knows what it is. The last thing you need after getting married is to stress out about paying off your honeymoon tab.
Many More Vacations
Your honeymoon will be the first of many fabulous trips together, so don’t feel you need to shove everything into it! So what if you miss Capri on your trip to Italy. If Rome, Florence and Venice are higher up on the list, and you don’t have 3 weeks and a half million dollars, don’t worry about it. You’ll be able to go back!
Josh Friedman is a travel agent specializing in luxury travel for small groups and individuals – particularly ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations and food & wine inspired journeys.  Based in San Francisco, and with clients throughout the USA and abroad, his business is focused on 24/7 personalized service to the sophisticated leisure and business traveler. Benefits also include exclusive hotel and cruise offers, including complimentary membership in Virtuoso’s Voyager Club.  His relationships with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful business or leisure trip.
For more information, to learn about our exclusive benefits, and to book, please contact Josh at 415.248.507, 800.553.4777 or by email.  And Josh’s honeymoon page.  Associated with Casto, a member of the prestigious Virtuoso Travel network.  Be a big fish in our small pond.

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