The honeymoon is a chance for you and your new spouse to celebrate your nuptials with just each other. It’s a time to reflect on all the work you put into the wedding, how much fun you had during your big day, and this new stage of your relationship. But you’ve just spent months—maybe more than a year—planning the wedding. And juggling honeymoon plans on top of that can be tricky. This handy guide will make sure you don’t forget the important things to do before going on your honeymoon.
Of course, we know you won’t forget to pack for or book your honeymoon. So those to-do items aren’t on this list. (Don’t forget: The sooner you book flights and travel, the less expensive everything will be.) But other important details that may be overlooked are, like travel insurance and printing copies of your travel documents. You want to have as many small tasks done ahead of time, so you’re not rushing around after your wedding going to the bank and all that. Of course, if you’re taking time between your wedding and honeymoon, you can push some—but not all—tasks to the days before.
A Few Months Before
1. Set your budget
Before you take any major trip, it’s important to have a budget. Your budget will affect where you travel to, how you get there, and your spending abilities once you arrive. It might not be a fun conversation to have, but it will help you enjoy a stress-free trip without worrying about the bill when you get home.
2. Add experiences to your wedding registry
It’s becoming more and more common to skip the cookware and towels on a wedding registry. If you’re already living together before the big day, then you already have what you need to start your life together. Instead, you’re looking for friends and family to support your experiences as a couple—especially during the honeymoon. Before going on your honeymoon, consider adding swimming with dolphins or couple’s massage to your registry.
3. Check or apply for visas, passports, etc.
Are all your documents up to date? Do you need any special paperwork, like a travel visa? Make sure you check everything well ahead of time, as it can take weeks to renew your passport. You don’t want to be stressing over this before your wedding day! And once you have all the proper travel documents, don’t forget to bring copies of everything with you.
4. Hire a pet sitter and/or house sitter
Make sure your fur babies will be taken care off while you’re gone and that your house is, too. If you don’t want to hire a house sitter, we recommend asking a nearby friend or family member to bring your mail in every day or two. That way, it’s not obvious that no one is home. Some couples even set their inside and outside lights on timers, so the house looks lived in. A little extra security while you’re gone doesn’t hurt!
5. Purchase travel insurance
Travel insurance is especially helpful for nonrefundable trips. Most travel insurances cover lost baggage, cancellations, and medical emergencies. If you spend a little more, you can get coverage for rental car damage and theft and vehicular accidents. However, insurance may not cover the costs of injury during an extreme sport, like mounting climbing. So be sure to check the details of the policy against the activities you have planned.
A Few Weeks Before
6. Let your bank and/or credit cards know you’re traveling
It’s always a good idea to give your bank and credit card companies a head’s up when you’re traveling for a long period of time—especially if you’re going abroad. It will avoid any fraud alert and potential freezes on your account. Not having access to your money is not a good way to celebrate your honeymoon!
7. Pay any bills that are due during your vacation
If you have your bills on autopay, all you have to do is make sure the money is in the account. But if you’ll have any bills due that aren’t set to autopay, make sure to pay them before you go. You don’t want to return from a relaxing vacation to past due bills. And you certainly don’t want services like your cell plan put on hold while you’re traveling because a payment wasn’t made.
8. Get cash from your bank
Part of your honeymoon budget should include spending money. Of course, you don’t have to take out all of your spending money in cash. But it’s always a good idea to have some on hand in case there’s an issue with your cards or you’re out somewhere that doesn’t accept your cards. And remember: exchanging your money after you arrive usually gives you a better rate.
9. Make sure you have international essentials
On top of a little cash for exchanging, what else will you need for international travel? Maybe the country you’re visiting has different outlets or speaks a different language. If so, you’ll want to purchase outlet adapters and a pocket dictionary. And it’s always a good idea to research local customs ahead of time, too. That way, you can avoid any common embarrassing or offensive social faux pas while you’re there.
A Few Days Before
10. Return any wedding rentals
After the wedding is over, you still have a few final tasks, like returning any rentals. Of course, you can always ask a member of the wedding party to return any tux or shoe rentals—and even drop off the dress at the cleaner’s—if you don’t have time before setting off.
11. Download local maps to your device
If you download maps and directions from your map app to your phone, you can use the maps even if you’re in airplane mode or don’t have reception. Of course, some couples leave their phones home or in their hotel room at all times. So you can always stock up on local maps or print out directions ahead of time.
12. Check the weather (and pack accordingly!)
Before you finalize your packing list, check the local weather the day before you leave. Maybe you need to add your rain jacket or extra sunscreen. Weather predictions aren’t always accurate, but it helps to be prepared just in case!
13. Pack extra birth control
It’s your honeymoon—you’re probably going to get frisky. And you want to be prepared. Whatever form of birth control you use—bring extra. That means extra condoms or extra pills. (Of course, you can’t bring extra IUDs or implants!) That way, you have plenty when you need it, and you won’t have to ruin the mood with an impromptu run to the store. If you or your partner are on the pill, we recommend bringing a backup method, too, like condoms. Eating new foods and being exposed to unfamiliar bacteria can upset your stomach, and throwing up can affect the effectiveness of the pill.
There’s a lot to do before going on your honeymoon, but all the preparation will be worth it. The sooner you get the big tasks out of the way, like booking your flights, the more time you’ll have to focus on the smaller tasks, like remembering those outlet adapters. No matter what you bring or how you prepare—don’t forget to bring a camera to hold on to the precious early days of your marriage.
What is your number one travel must-have? What tips do you have for international trips?