Talk to Recent Honeymooners
Firsthand feedback can be the most reliable source of suggestions and information. Deborah Cooke and Iain McInnis didn’t have a particular destination in mind when they started planning their September 2005 honeymoon. "We asked friends to recommend beach locations with really warm, consistent weather," says Deborah, "and Cabo San Lucas kept coming up." A bit of Internet research confirmed that Cabo—both hot and dry in September—would be the ideal spot for them.
Consult a Travel Agent or Honeymoon Expert
As industry insiders, they can give you advice (such as the best exchange rate is usually at an ATM at your destination) and get you special deals (Deborah and Iain’s agent upgraded their room to a suite for about $100). Leaving the logistics up to an expert can also allow you to focus on the wedding details. "All I had to worry about was picking up the tickets and packing," says Deborah.
Scope Out the Weather
To get a sense of what the climate might be like on your honeymoon, Howard Green, cofounder and CEO of Moon Rings, a honeymoon and romantic-travel consultancy, suggests visiting weatherbase.com, where you can look up your destination’s average high and low temperatures, rainfall amounts and even humidity levels by month. The Honeymoon Planner on weather.com is also useful for tips on when to go, what weather to expect and what to pack.
Don't Wait to Book Activities
Avoid waiting three hours to get into the Uffizi Gallery in Florence or missing out on a shark feeding in Bora Bora by planning in advance, says Green. Excursions that are unique to your honeymoon locale can sell out and popular restaurants can get booked up, so make your arrangements around the same time you reserve a hotel room.
Set Up Spa Appointments in Advance
"Over the last five years, more and more couples have been incorporating spa treatments into their honeymoons," says Green. Make sure you don’t miss out: Ask for a menu of spa services and schedule yours as soon as you can. Also, find out if any extras come with your treatment—you may be entitled to a workout in the fitness center, a session in the sauna or a soak in the hot tub.
Don't Overschedule Your First Few Days
You’ll want time to kick back and decompress. But, having said that, if you’re going to a location where you’ll be up early anyway because of the time difference, book morning activities (such as snorkeling trips, bike tours and surfing lessons) for your first or second day. Otherwise, a poolside brunch and an afternoon massage might be just what you need to battle your jet lag.
Stay at Least Three Nights in Each Place
For itineraries that include more than one stop (such as island-hopping trips in Hawaii or French Polynesia), Green says that staying three nights at each locale gives you just enough time to "settle in, relax and see some sights."
Start Racking Up Frequent-Flier Miles Now
Extra miles mean extra upgrades, so accumulate as many as possible, advises Green. On his tip list: Charge wedding expenses to a credit card with a mileage program, buy miles directly from the airline (prices vary, but 1,000 miles cost around $30 plus taxes and fees), and spread the word that you’re in need of miles—perhaps friends or family will give you theirs as a gift.