With all the frenetic energy that goes into planning a wedding, it’s no wonder that the planning of the honeymoon can often fall by the wayside. Which, as travel expert Melissa Biggs Bradley notes, is somewhat ironic given that few vacations come with greater expectations. “A honeymoon marks the official start of your married life and so seems to carry with it signs of what the future will hold,” she says.
To help make some of the planning process a bit easier, her travel company, Indagare, recently released a handy booklet designed to match couples with destinations that suit their desires—whether they’re sun worshippers, explorers, culture lovers, romantics, or a combination of the four. Because, as she puts it, a honeymoon “is more often than not a couple’s biggest travel investment to date and should reflect their identity as a couple.”
Below, Biggs Bradley shares a few mistakes couples often make when planning their honeymoon—and how to avoid making them.
Going Too Big
One major mistake, Biggs Bradley says, is planning a trip that’s super adventurous or far-flung right after the big day. “You will be exhausted after days of parties and intense emotion and will want to crash and rehash,” she says. “If you have to turn around and get on a long flight and then something action-packed like a safari, you will be exhausted. I know couples who slept the first three or four days of their honeymoon and missed out on the destination they traveled so far to reach.” Instead, Biggs Bradley recommends picking something truly easy—like a low-key beach resort—or having a buffer between the wedding and a major honeymoon.
A honeymoon, Biggs Bradley says, should be “one of the easier and more fun compromises of a marriage.” And, while it is a lovely idea to have one person surprise another, it is a lot of pressure on one person and can backfire if the other person has really different ideas of what they want. “Often the best honeymoons include each person introducing something—an activity or a region—to the other. If they cannot agree on a destination, they may want to turn to a travel expert who will likely suggest places that they have not thought of.”
Not Carefully Researching
“It is common to want to go to a place that neither person has been before,“ says Biggs Bradley. Still, she advises making sure the destination features “tried and true pleasures. Couples who love super luxurious resorts should not pick a remote location that doesn’t have great places to stay, while someone who loves being active might be miserable sitting on a private beach for a week. The more honest a couple can be about their wishes, the easier it is to create just the right recipe. They should ask what is most important to each of them in a hotel, a location, and a great day and then compromise so they both get those things every day or in a portion of the trip.”
Expecting Too Much
“It is impossible not to have high expectations for your honeymoon, but I think you should bring a relaxed attitude as well,“ Biggs Bradley warns. “The problem with expectations is that you can read too much into things and create your own disappointments. If it rains or your luggage gets lost, that doesn’t mean that your marriage is doomed. Don’t interpret every occurrence as a sign.“ And, of course, it never hurts to be prepared: “I do think it is smart to bring a carry-on with your best backup clothes, so if your bag is delayed, it isn’t a huge drama. The best thing you can do is to be kind to yourself and your spouse.“ Words to live by outside the honeymoon, too.