Emma, our DIY DC Bride, leaves us with one final post from her ongoing series here on Capitol Romance…
How to DIY your Honeymoon!
Well, I’ve done it, I have gotten married and I can now officially call myself “Mrs. Emma Picard” I am stoked. I wanted to thank Bree for featuring me on Capitol Romance. It has been so much fun. (aw shucks Emma, you’re certainly welcome!)
I have discovered that many brides suffer from a condition called “Wedding Planning Blues“. This is when your wedding is all over and you were so involved that now you have tons of spare time that you just feel so empty and anxious by not having anything to plan. I don’t know a cure for this (too bad! I have this something awful), but I know I have kept myself busy with thinking about a DIY scrapbook for my photos (and hopefully I can convince Emma to share this with us!!!). I have also been toying with the idea of a Trash the Dress session??? We will have to see about that!
For my last post, I will talk about my DIY honeymoon. Of course there are travel agents, but they are an ever-dying breed because more people have learned to be internet savvy to research and find great travel deals on their own.
My hubby and I just got back from 2 weeks in Ireland. We booked on our own. I waited for 6 months for the $950 airfare to go down and finally on a Tuesday morning, I found a business class fare round trip for $650. I called right away and they only had 2 tickets available. I used miles to pay for one ticket and some partial airline credits to pay for the other. The balance was $350. I booked a bed and breakfast voucher package with a travel agent in Ireland online called myguideireland.com. It included a rental car and 10 nights at our choice of over 2000 “B & B”s across the country and it was $850 for both of us. I used Sheraton points to pay for the other 4 nights in Dublin. And we bought excess insurance for our car hire just in case from a 3rd party cause it was less then purchasing it from the rental car place online for $30. So total without food (but including full Irish breakfast every day) our honeymoon cost $615 per person for 2 weeks. Great deal. It was fabulous and so green.
Here’s how I did it…
Step 1: Ask yourself the important questions that will help you decide where to go… how much time can we get off work? can we go right after the wedding? what type of honeymoon do we want? relaxing? beach? active? mountains? hiking? peaceful? spa? cultural? What type of accomodations do you see yourself in? Hut? bungalo? villa? castle? What do you imagine doing each day? touring? sight seeing? golf? lounging? massage? museums? nightclubs? shopping? How long are we willing to fly? how much are we willing to spend? do you care what the weather is like? Is it hurricane season? do you care if people speak english?
Step 2: Narrow down your top choices for islands/cities/countries that you would like to go to. Don’t pick a specific hotel or resort yet. If you are still having trouble picking a place to go, try a website called travel muse who offers a program for travel inspiration.
Step 3: Research research research. My husband (wow, now I can rightfully call him my “husband”) tells me I must reach the end of the internet all of the time, cause I am always searching. If you go deep enough there is always a deal somewhere. Sign up for travel deal websites. travel ticker and hotwire are a couple of good ones. affordable tours is good for touring. And shermans travel sends you a few deals per week.
Step 4: If you are going to do an all inclusive or a tour, usually some of the specials include airfare, so don’t wait. But if you are booking seperate airfare, wait for the airfare price that you are willing to pay for if you have time. Generally, prices will go down around the first of the year for a little bit. try looking at farecast.com to see if there are trends towards large fluctuations in price for your destinations.
Step 5: When the price drops within your budget for your #1, #2 or #3 spot, book it immediately. Sometimes the fares are only good for 1 or 2 tickets so you have to act fast.
Step 6: Pick your hotel and book (more research) the number one important thing I believe about hotels is neighborhood, then what the room looks like. If there are not pictures of rooms on the hotel website, then the rooms are not worth looking at… move on. Look for name brands that you trust or are a rewards member of so you can cash in on points. hotels.com and priceline are both good ones. But it is usually best to book directly with the airline or hotel because if there are any problems while checking in, they can deal with you. If you booked through an agent then they won’t and they will refer you back to your agent.
Step 7: Keep in mind that many companies offer price matching or guarantees. Because of this, don’t stop looking for prices on the hotel you booked. if you find a better published deal within 24-48 hours usually you can get some money back.
Step 8: Figure out transportation. If it is part of a package, great. Shop around for rental cars or bus/train tickets to get you the best deal.
Step 9: Read the fine print. Know what you are getting and what is not included so you won’t be surprised later.
Thanks again Emma!! I hope everyone found this post useful. I will certainly be using her tips & tricks for my next trip!