Advice to help you prepare for your honeymoon!
Choosing where to honeymoon can be overwhelming. Do you want to travel abroad, or stay local? Travel cross country for a sweet getaway, or be adventurous and go on an eco-excursion? Wherever you decide to venture for your post nuptial vacation, here is some savvy advice, for you to be in the know with not just traveling, but traveling with your new spouse.
Where do you want to go?
First order of business, do you want to travel abroad? If you want to go with your honey to a foreign country, there is much to be prepared for. If you and your husband/wife to be have traveled abroad together, you are already ahead of the game in a number of ways.
For most whom honeymoon abroad, especially if it is the first time for you to travel, not only together, but abroad, and maybe the first time for both of you to have ever traveled abroad, it is quite stressful and there is a lot to be ready for. To consider an overseas adventure is a serious decision.
Do you need required travel documents?
Make sure you have all of your required documentation, and do not put this off last minute. For US Citizens, this info is available on www.travel.state.gov, and is chock full of valid information concerning all matters of traveling. This site if the official government resource to look to, looking elsewhere might be misleading and provide false information. If you have questions, there are help and contact links. This information helps keep you aware and vigilant for your travels, and offers any alerts to certain countries that might be in political unrest, or health concerns. This information isn't to scare anyone, but merely to give you a heads up, because first time traveling newlyweds can get into major binds which are costly, and can ruin any trip.
Get the details for documentation required, Passport and Visa. If you are an American citizen, and you plan to head to Mexico, The Caribbean, or Canada, Passports are needed, this is not new news, and you don't want to travel cross country to catch your connecting flight, and they will not let you board, leaving you stranded in your connection city. As well, if you are an American citizen, there are countries that do require a Visa, don't assume passports are the only documentation required. Did you know you need a Visa for Australia? Yup! Make sure you know. If you are traveling, and you will be connecting abroad, make sure to find out if you need a "Transit Visit", just like you could get stuck in a connecting city in the US, you could get stuck in a connecting country.
Do you know what's happening at your destination?
While you are viewing passport/visa requirements, check out any details of the country/countries in question you will be visiting. The international tab at the top of the page will enable you to pick your destination. Be sure to check out any health advisories and inoculation/vaccine requirements. If you don't abide by the rules, they will not let you board the plane, or worse, you might get from point a to b, but at immigration they might not let you enter the country, leaving you stuck and stranded in a limbo area of the airport, which would be disastrous. When you get the vaccines, you will be provided with documentation that you need to carry with your travel documents.
Locate your safe spots!
Also make note of consulate and embassy locations for the city/cities you'll be staying in. For US citizens, refer to USEmbassy.gov, to find this info. You don't need to make sure to find your consulate when you're abroad, but knowing there is one there and the address is good to know. Reasons you might need to go is if you lose your passport or have any emergency where you will need to rush to, should any upheaval happen. In any country in the world, once you are on the consulate/embassy grounds, you are treated like an American citizen with all the rights, and usually the staff is of your country, which is comforting in times of distress. Stay vigilant, be aware of your surroundings at all times, do not cause unwanted attention to make you more of a target. Again, not to cause concern, but good info to know of.
All of that said, let the traveling commence. Prepare for the airport/flying experience that goes into international travelling. Prepare for things out of your control to happen, i.e. lost luggage, flight delays/cancellations, etc. The most important thing to remember is that you will be with your husband, any situation that occurs, you are dealing with together, as you will continue in your marriage. How you get through the bumps will better or worsen, have patience when you travel, have patience with your new spouse. You might be an experienced traveler, but your spouse might not be, you know how to react, but he/she might not.
What to pack:
Stock up on portable movies, music, games, crosswords, reading materials, etc. Keep your power travel adapter/converter with you, in case you need to charge your electronics while you wait for your connecting flight. When shopping for your adapter, make sure it is country specific, read the labels, make sure it will work for where you are going-don't assume that your power cord will work anywhere, it might, but the voltage might be different. Also, be aware of the items you take with you, and if there is a switch to change the voltage. Word of caution to ladies taking your top of the line straighteners/curling irons, even if you have the adapter, it is not guaranteed to work, and could melt the fuse. Consider looking into a travel curling iron or a traveling straightener. Maybe you have a friend whom lived abroad, and has kept his/her electronic toiletries, including adapters.
"How much is that?"
Money, this is a big deal. You might have received a large amount of cash for your wedding. Be extremely cautious with how you decide to take it with you. Credit cards and debit cards are high suggested to take with you. If you take your debit card to withdraw cash, make a big withdrawal, rather than many little ones, because ATM machines will charge you for non-bank ATM fees, plus exchange rate fees, and doing little withdraws here and there, it adds up, one time deal lessens all those fees.
Exchange rates vary, per bank, post office (yes, even post offices are financial institutions in some countries), and any exchange rate business. Some will overcharge, and may not be "truthful" with the exchange rate and their fee to process the exchanges might be quite high. The best thing you can do is refer to American Express, either at a location near you, or online. The offices might be only in major capital cities, such as Paris, London, etc, but they provide up to the second info on all exchange rates and their fees are reasonable.
Before you travel, you can order your money online with American Express, either in currency or travelers cheques. Do this ahead of time, not last minute, and if you need to rush, be prepared to pay for rush charges. If you are already an AX card holder, discounts apply saving you off some of the fees for order, in the processing rates. You could go to any bank, really, to order money, some institutions might take a while to get the currency to you depending if it is really specific and rare. Stay up to date on exchange rates by going to www.xe.com.
The best advice to offer is to take a minimal amount of cash with you, maybe $100USD, and your credit cards and debit cards. Remember to contact your credit card companies and banks to mention you are traveling abroad, as there might be security measures with your financial institutions that might block your card due to possible fraud, which then you might have to make phone calls to these institutions to unblock, which can be costly. Keeping the cash on hand is for any transportation charges, food/product purchases, etc that will come up.
Do not, for any reason, keep cash in your suitcase! The suitcase could get lost, and so too is the stash of money you might have tucked in there. It could also be stolen from your suitcase. Keep the money on you and/or in your carry on. Carry half on you, like in your wallet, etc, keep the other half hidden under you clothing with a money holder. Stylish, no, protected, yet.
Bling is eye catching! Beware.
It is always fun to travel to fashionable cities, and proudly carry your Louis Vuitton with your new shiny wedding ring. But, the bigger your purse, the more of a target you are. You might already be aware of where your purse is at all times, but distractions can cause you to look away, and when you look back, your Prada isn't there. A happy woman, traveling or not, this does not make, especially if you have your money and/or passport in your bag.
A cross body messenger purse is ideal, and keeps everything always at your finger tips. This type of purse will hold your passport, ids, money, maps, etc, and is highly recommended for travel uses, especially if you are going to be visiting major cities with metros, trains, light rails, etc. You can always pack your designer purse in your suitcase, and pull it out for a nice night out on the town with your hubby, but it's up to you if it is worth it to take such possessions with you.
**Keep any valuables in your hotel room's safe when you are not in the room, this includes your passport, tickets, jewelry, accessories, money, etc. Its easy to forget to lock your items up, and if left out, it is easy for them to disappear.
If you are traveling with a carry-on bag, and your luggage is checked, consider packing a few items to include for "just in case" emergencies. Pack an extra pair or two of undergarments, colgate wisps for unsure water situations, a pair or two of socks, and if can fit, an extra outfit and possibly a bikini. If you arrive at your destination and your luggage doesn't, these items will surely come in handy, especially your bikini-you might be upset your luggage isn't there, but you have your bikini, so dive into the awaiting ocean/sea! Unless you don't mind paying high resort prices for these items, its good to be prepared.
Maybe pack a few granola bars, or travel friendly snacks. This is just good to have in general for mid-flight munchies, or if you have a long wait at the connecting airport. You could pack your suitcase with a box of granola bars and other items, which can be handy to have in your hotel/hostel room, avoiding paying overpriced items.
Know the "3-1-1"
Pack your carry-on toiletries in a clear toiletry bag, adhereing to the TSA 3-1-1 regulations. The TSA agents do not mess around, they are serious, and will make you throw out any item that isn't 3 oz. of liquids. Refer to their website for any other items that are not allowed at the security check points-even if they are sold in the gift shops in the waiting area a few feet beyond the scanners: TSA.gov. The TSA agents are not airport employees, they are not airline employees, they are government employees, and what they say goes-any outburst is cause for detainment. Harsh reality check, yes, but they are there to protect you, and their rules will not bend.
Final advice on traveling preparedness is be ready to go through security. You're all checked in and ticketed, you have yet to get through the security line hurdle. Find a spot off to the side to pull out your ticket, IDs, your clear toiletry bag with your 3 oz. liquid bottles, have slip on shoes, to easily take off, and slip back on, have all of your electronics in one area to have easy access to when unloading into the bins. Making your transition through the security lines as easy as possible is simple advice, but many do not prepare, and will hold up lines.
Take this info with a grain of salt, or take it with you, its provided advice with years of travel industry background/knowledge behind it. These tips are to help keep you savvy travelers, especially if you are a novice to international traveling. Most important is to enjoy your honeymoon experience, and any added advice to help make your trip smooth is worth sharing.
Save travels and enjoy your honeymoon!!