Newlywed Brittany, and her husband Ryan, originally dreamed of an international honeymoon to Italy and Greece. But after watching travel restrictions and COVID-19 cases change rapidly, they decided to stick to a U.S.-based trip. In November 2021, they flew to Hawaii to explore the islands. For couples planning their post-wedding getaways, Brittany shared her top tips and recs (and a few gorgeous photos!)
1. Prioritize Budget. Originally, Brittany thought they’d visit three Hawaiian Islands over 14 days. Then they reviewed the costs for such a lengthy trip. Scaling back to two islands over 10 days meant that they did not have to budget as strictly as they would have over a longer vacation enabling them to spend on finer accommodations and more activities. Other couples may prefer to visit more spots and cut back on hotel costs, dining out, or excursions. Determining where you prefer to splurge or save helps you stick within budget. “At the end of the day, you don’t want to have regrets about what you didn’t do,” Brittany said.
2. Use a Travel Planner. After an Atlanta Wedding Extravaganza show, Brittany claimed a free consult for VIP attendees with travel planner Tamara Jacobs of Destinations by Tamara. Because they both work full time and were stressed with wedding planning during COVID, they decided to work with a travel planner for the first time. “It cost us nothing, saved so much time and was the least stressful part of wedding planning! It was our best decision ever.” Over Facetime, they spoke with Tamara about where they wanted to go and what they liked to do. Based on their preferences, she recommended the Hawaiian Islands that would best suit their interests. Then she prepared itineraries with suggestions of where to stay and what to do. Brittany noted, “We would never have known about our most memorable excursions without her!” In total, they spent about two hours consulting with Tamara and revising plans. Brittany said that not only did she provide great trip guidance, but she also kept them apprised of COVID-related travel protocols as they changed, so they always had current information.
3. Seize the Day! Each spouse chose an activity or site that they considered a “must do.” That allowed the couple to prioritize their top experiences while giving them a foundation to build upon for a full itinerary. Ryan wanted to take a stargazing tour that ran late at night. During it, they saw six shooting stars. Brittany picked a sunrise volcano tour that started with a pickup at 3 a.m.(gulp!) “That sounds awfully early, and it was, but we got to watch the sunrise from above the clouds! It was totally worth it.” Early morning and late evening excursions can be tiring, so while it’s important to do those once-in-a-lifetime experiences, it’s just as crucial to schedule “downtime” with your new spouse. Brittany noted that, with Tamara’s advice, they arranged for a day off at each of their island destinations with nothing on the agenda but relaxation.
4. Pack Smart. Airplane baggage weight limits are not suggestions. Brittany was concerned about additional airline fees, so she bought a luggage scale and checked their packed bags. Brittany said, “It was a good investment because we had to move things around.” She also recommends bringing or buying an extra carry-on bag for souvenirs. Shipping items home is also an option, but usually is a more expensive route.
5. Taste Local Flavor. Brittany and Ryan had an agreement: they would not dine at chain restaurants while in Hawaii. The ate guava right off the trees on a forest hike. At tiny restaurants and food trucks, they tasted the freshest seafood of their lives. And they discovered new indulgences, like pineapple prosecco from a local winery and Maui onion potato chips, the best Brittany ever had. They bought pounds of their favorite 100% Kona coffee to brew at home, a great way to incorporate a favorite sensory experience of their honeymoon into every day.
6. Stay Flexible! Sometimes, weather interferes with plans. Brittany and Ryan just rolled with it. They ended up with another nearly full day in Hawaii due to multiple changes in their flight home. This is an important strategy not just for the actual travel, but for plans during th trip itself. If it rains on the day an outdoor activity is planned, see if the excursion provider can move a reservation to another day. Be open to new experiences but also allow your itinerary to bend in order to visit a spot more than once – like a secluded beach or an outstanding restaurant - if it’s your favorite.
We can almost hear the sound of the ocean waves and taste that pineapple prosecco. Engaged couples, are you excited to plan your honeymoon now?? For partners to make your wedding celebration and honeymoon planning stress-free, check out the Atlanta Wedding Extravaganza vendor directory.
All photos courtesy of Brittany and Ryan.
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