The colder it gets outside, the more time we spend inside dreaming of the incredible Cayman Islands honeymoon we're giving away as a part of Brides Live Wedding. In anticipation of one couple's upcoming luxury honeymoon, we asked Brides' travel editor Jacqueline Gifford to offer up some tips on how to prepare for a romantic beach getaway. Here, nine ways to ready yourself from head to toe!
1. Whittle down your packing list.
For daytime, you'll need a couple of cute bikinis, two shorts, three nice T-shirts, a great cover-up (stylish enough to wear to lunch), and flip-flops. For evening, you'll want two nice dresses, a cute clutch, and stylish sandals. And seriously—that's it. Don't be afraid to repeat outfits, beach vacations are generally low-key.
All that (plus your toiletries and pajamas) can easily fit into a standard, 14 inch x 9 inch x 22 inch carry-on suitcase. I'm obsessed with carrying-on my luggage; I love being able to get off a plane and go right to my hotel, change into my suit, and hit the beach. Avoid the temptation of over-packing, and you'll save money (it typically costs $25 to check in your first bag, $40 for your second) and time.
2. Forward hotel, flight, and car rental reservations to Tripit.com.
A couple years ago, whenever I'd travel with my husband, I'd be pulling out a million different paper printouts, awkwardly fumbling through my bag, while he looked on, mortified. No longer. Thanks to tripit.com, I keep track of all our travel reservations in one place. Simply forward any confirmations from your hotel or airline to email@example.com, and voila, they'll make a master itinerary for you, which you can monitor on your iPhone via the Tripit app.
3. Make sure your passport is up to date.
I've heard horror stories of couples getting to the airport, only to discover one spouse's passport had a) expired, or b) was set to expire within three-six months of their date of departure (some countries won't accept a passport that is close to expiring—so you need some wiggle room). Check your expiration date ASAP, and if you need to renew quickly, request expedited service.
4. Get a bikini wax.
Because nothing is more annoying than razor burn.
5. Get a mani/pedi.
Your hands and feet will be front and center on the beach, so make sure they're gorgeous! You might want to go with a gel manicure, too: Sally Hansen makes great new gel strips that are easy to apply, and can last for weeks. Hint: Opt for a peachy, neutral shade, as opposed to a red—it's less likely to show chips.
6. Leave the perfume at home.
Perfume and cologne and known to attract mosquitos—do yourselves both a huge favor by leaving your fragrances at home.
7. Create a honeymoon registry.
If you haven't done this already, consider registering for your trip at a website like honeyfund.com or honeymoonwishes.com. This works just like a normal registry, though instead of signing up for pots and pans, you ask for different parts of your beach getaway—say, a dive outing in Grand Cayman, along with airfare, hotel stays, and more. Guests are essentially gifting you cash to put towards these once-in-a-lifetime experiences (caveat: some registry sites do charge a service fee, or a transaction fee via Paypal). Overall verdict: This is an amazing way to "splurge" on activities you might never have afforded before!
Both your face AND body. De-flaking ensures that self-tanner goes on more evenly, and of course, there's the immediate impact of smoother skin! Our beauty editor, Dana Wood, recommends a gentle facial scrub and a not-so-gentle body scrub. "You need separate products. Body scrubs are too chunky and rough for the face. Right now, I'm loving Sanctuary Spa Warming Microbrasion Polish for face. For body, I'm addicted to Kiehl's Creme de Corps Soy Milk and Honey Body Polish."
9. Leave behind a copy of your itinerary with a friend or family member.
Prepare a sheet with your flight schedule, hotel dates (and the hotel's phone number), as well as any other relevant travel info. In case of an emergency, they'll know where to reach you.
—Jacqueline Gifford, Travel Editor
Want to win a dream honeymoon to the Cayman Islands? Enter Brides Live Wedding for a chance to win a luxury wedding at the St. Regis in Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, CA and so much more. Enter now on Facebook, and remind your friends to vote for you, too!
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