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20October2017

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Plan an unforgettable honeymoon!

If you've left all of the honeymoon arrangements up to your future husband, make sure that he reads this article carefully! It’s probably the most expensive holiday you’ll ever take, so make it memorable – wherever you’re going.

There are still hairpins in your wedding-day do, and your mascara has melted into raccoon eyes to rival the worst make-up jobs. Perhaps you’re still wearing your white meringue dress. But the stomach ache that you've developed over the past few weeks and the blisters on your feet are the last thing you’re worried about because you are finally… a Mrs! And your first, unforgettable holiday as husband and wife awaits you... or so you hope. Here are a few tips to help you plan a honeymoon that will leave you with unforgettable memories. Some of these only the two of you will share, and others you’ll laugh about one day with your grandchildren!

In keeping with tradition, it is wise to keep your honeymoon destination a secret – for obvious reasons! Making sure that the destination is the right one is also vital – because therein lies the creation of the right atmosphere for you and your spouse to relax after weeks of stress and enjoy the privacy you deserve (and need) to have unbelievable sex! “A honeymoon destination is so important as it sets the tone for sex in your relationship for years to come, so don't take it lightly,” cautions Carolyne Nakazibwe on The Weekly Observer’s website. “Two nights at a swanky hotel doesn’t qualify as a honeymoon, but rather a quick break. And prepare yourself for the fact that only very few newlyweds can have sex on the wedding night as they are either too tired to enjoy it, or too worried about guilt to get in the mood.” A honeymoon is an important time for a newlywed couple to get to know each other and enjoy themselves together.

Where on earth?
In earlier times, an Aventura resort was the order of the day, or a lodge 100 km away from your home town. Over the past few decades, however, the nature of a honeymoon has changed completely. Couples today get married later on, and are therefore financially better-off than their predecessors (who borrowed money from daddy for the honeymoon!). The world has become a global village, and many couples spend thousands of Rands on overseas honeymoons. Even those who can't really afford it are prepared to pay it off over a couple of years. “We had a very expensive honeymoon. The money was available, thanks to a windfall, but many people said that we could have spent it better otherwise. It was a honeymoon that we will probably never be able to afford again – idyllic and unforgettable! Even though we had to live on bread and love for the next couple of months after the holiday, and had to borrow money to survive, we would make the same decision again in a heartbeat. It gave us the most precious memories, and we will probably never get the opportunity again. I would recommend that anyone overspend on their honeymoon (although many financial experts would differ!). You can always save the money necessary for a deposit on a house or a car, but you'll never again recoup those first few euphoric weeks as a newly married couple,” says Annie (33).

Of course, this is just a suggestion, and there are many couples who, in contrast, admit that they had a wonderful honeymoon on a strict budget, and closer to home. If you are confused as to where you should go, make sure that you have Internet access. There are many websites that can help you make this decision, such as www.thetravelerszone.com. Also ask travel agents and friends to help you. Many brides and bridegrooms decide on a sunny beach holiday like Hawaii, or a trip to Mexico, but there is no rule that says you can't rather climb the Andes together! Remember, the best source of information is other couples. Chat online on sites such as www.theknot.com/talk where you can ask other couples about their experiences. This is probably one of your first tests as a couple on your ability to compromise. You and your husband will not necessarily agree on your idea of an ‘ideal holiday’. If you’d like a relaxing beach holiday, while he wants to try every adventure possible, you’re going to have to find a way to satisfy both of your expectations. Go to a seaside destination that also offers activities such as scuba diving and horse riding, or divide your holiday in two – a week in a Tuscan villa, and then a flight to Rome for sightseeing.

Save on luxury trips:

  • Get your priorities straight. Decide what the purpose of the holiday is, and what your expectations are.
  • Making use of a travel agent can save you a lot of money. They offer fantastic packages and last-minute offers, and can provide advice from personal experience. Make sure your agent understands your needs.
  • Find out if your travel agent has a honeymoon registry which allows guests to make a contribution to your honeymoon. Some sites, such as www.honeyluna.com, offer guests the opportunity to sponsor certain activities such as boat rides, a scuba outing or a meal at a romantic restaurant.
  • Save by booking out of season. If you choose an overseas honeymoon, choose a destination whose off-season times (the time directly before and after high season) coincide with your travel dates. This will save money and guarantee you more privacy.
  • Choose to visit cheaper destinations where the economy is either bad or there is little tourist traffic. Natural disasters can’t be predicted, but a tsunami or earthquakes will have a definite effect on the affordability of a destination.
  • The closer you are to home, the cheaper the flights. It is wiser for South Africans to enjoy a tropical island holiday in Mombasa or Zanzibar rather than Hawaii or Tahiti.
  • Book early. This will ensure that the cheaper rooms are not sold out yet. On the other hand, you can also snap up wonderful last-minute bargains eight weeks before you leave if, for example, a luxury cruise liner is not fully booked.
  • Consider alternative routes. Sometimes you can fly for much cheaper by stopping over in another country. This is worth the trouble, especially if you stop at an interesting airport (such as Dubai) where you can shop around for once-off bargains.
  • Book or bid online. On www.priceline.com, you can bid for free, but remember that although you can choose the city, area, day and level of accommodation (one- to four-star), you cannot request a specific hotel. If Priceline locates accommodation that suits you, you are forced to accept it, and your credit card is immediately debited for the full amount.
  • Consider staying at a bed and breakfast. Although this kind of accommodation sometimes robs you of your privacy, this is not true in all cases. Usually these destinations have more character and romantic nooks and crannies, and the price is usually reasonable as it includes breakfast.
  • Consider booking a package. This will ensure you get many extras (especially if you mention you are on honeymoon) such as a spa treatment, bottle of wine in your room, etc.
  • Save by booking the cheapest room in the most expensive hotel. If you are not planning to spend much time in the bedroom during the day, it makes little difference if you have a sea view or not.
  • Consider taking an all-inclusive package. This will ensure there are no unpleasant surprises and you can really indulge to your heart’s content! You can live like a king for a single fee. Most tariffs include a bedroom, all meals, drinks (some packages include alcohol, others don’t – confirm with your travel agent) activities, entertainment, all fees, taxes and airport tax. If you're considering booking a package like this, make sure you enjoy most of what is on offer as it won't help very much if you don't get value for your money.
  • Don't accept a price without first shopping around. Ask: Is this the absolute cheapest tariff that you can give me? What can I do to get a cheaper tariff?
  • Make sure the person who is booking your trip knows that you are on honeymoon. In many cases, this will ensure that you get a better table or free glass of champagne. And if you're going out of season, you may even get a bigger room!

Tips for the flight:

  • Stay sober. Although you and your husband probably want to toast on your new titles, and want to share the news with the whole flight, this may not be such a good idea. Alcohol will only dehydrate you further. If you do decide to drink something, make sure that you drink twice as much water.
  • If your flight or ride is longer than four hours, put facial cream on every few hours to protect your skin from drying out. Take a bag with a toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, hand cream, disposable razor and Tylenol. Also remember contact lens solution, lip balm, a travel cushion, a small blanket, slippers, sunglasses and a cap.
  • If you get bored on the flight, you could always join the mile high club…

When to do what

Six months ahead

  • Set a budget and start sharing your honeymoon fantasies with each other. Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? Ask friends for ideas, visit travel agents and surf the net.
  • If you're planning to have your wedding away from home, start investigating the necessary paperwork and contact a wedding planner who specialises in destination weddings.
  • Find a travel agent who specialises in the destination you want to visit, the activities available there (like an adventure tour or scuba trip), and the modes of transportation you require. For specific types of bookings, always ask an expert for help (a cruise specialist, for example).
  • If the price tag for your dream trip doesn’t fall within your budget, brainstorm ways to save money
  • Book your tickets, get seat assignments, order special in-flight meals, and check luggage allowances, especially if you're transporting skis or scuba gear.
  • Research hotels and check room availability. Reserve a room and inquire about renting a car.
  • Check whether certain vaccinations are recommended or required before visiting your destination as some programs need to start months in advance of your trip.

Three months ahead

  • Secure your passports and visas, if necessary. This usually takes 6-8 weeks, and the rules are very strict, so do so timeously.
  • Consider signing up for travel insurance if one of you has health issues, or you're concerned about your safety, or the weather threatens to wreak havoc on your honeymoon (during hurricane season, for example).

Two months ahead

  • Buy a camera and luggage – or place them on your registry before your bridal shower! Practise using your camera and make sure it's working properly.
  • Research tours, theatre tickets, the best restaurant seats, and any other activities that require reservation – earlier if you're travelling during peak season.
  • Get certified to scuba dive or take lessons for any other activity you hope to pursue on your trip.

One month ahead

  • Start a packing and shopping list.
  • Reconfirm all reservations.
  • Make kennel reservations or contact your house- or cat-sitter to make sure they're available when you’re away.
  • For brides-to-be on the pill: If you want to postpone your period because it coincides with your honeymoon, talk to your gynaecologist about skipping the placebo round and starting the next cycle right away, thus "skipping" your period for that month. This is perfectly safe. Make sure you have plenty of pills on hand or order more, if needed.

Two weeks ahead

  • Pick up your airline tickets and all applicable vouchers from your travel agent. Read all the material carefully to make sure the information is correct. If not, your travel agent will be able to correct it.
  • Make sure that your traveller’s cheques, credit card details and foreign currency are in order.
  • Exchange about R500 into small bills in the currency of the country you'll be visiting. There is usually an exchange counter or ATM at the airport, but it is nice to have some cash on hand even though you’ll only be using traveller’s cheques otherwise.

One week ahead

  • Arrange to have your mail held at the post office during your trip.
  • Stop newspaper delivery while you are away.
  • Make two to three sets of photocopies of your passport, credit cards, insurance, traveller’s cheque numbers and wills – i.e. any paperwork people would need if your wallet were stolen or something happened to you. Give one set each to parents, pack one set in your luggage, and leave one set in your safe at home.
  • If your guidebook weighs a ton, make copies of the relevant pages and have these bound.
  • Ask a relative to take care of your wedding gifts.
  • Make sure you have extras of everything you can't live without: migraine tablets, allergy pills, asthma inhaler, glasses or contacts, etc. Carry all medications in their original prescription bottles to avoid being questioned at customs.
  • Touch base with your house- or cat-sitter to reconfirm when they'll be coming over to collect the keys. Give him/her a copy of the vet's number and your contact info, etc.

Three days ahead

  • Reconfirm overseas flights.
  • Order champagne for yourselves which you can enjoy on arrival at your hotel room.
  • Buy books and magazines for the trip. (Don’t forget to take the latest INTIMACY!)
  • Transfer the addresses of friends to whom you'll want to send postcards, plus important phone numbers into a travel-sized notebook.
  • Make arrangements for your lifts to and from the airport.
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary and a set of house keys with a relative or close friend in case of any unforeseen emergency.
  • Check weather forecasts at your destination.
  • Prepare your house or apartment for your departure – eat or dispose of perishable food, water plants, etc.

One day ahead

  • Reconfirm flights.
  • Make sure your luggage is clearly labelled both on the outside and inside with your name, hotel address, and phone number.

When you pack your bag:

  • Do laundry a few days early so that everything you need to pack will be clean.
  • Start your packing list a week before you leave so that you can add items as you think of them and keep an inventory list should the bag go missing.
  • When selecting your wardrobe, pack coordinating solid colours, wrinkle-resistant microfibres (Lycra, nylon, spandex and Tencel), and versatile shoes. Remember that light-coloured fabrics show stains, but are cooler than dark clothes.
  • To avoid wrinkles, roll or wrap clothes in tissue paper or plastic dry cleaners bags. Roll – don't fold!
  • Avoid taking shoes or clothes you've never worn before (though we know this is almost impossible!).
  • Stuff socks and underwear into shoes or handbags to help these items keep their shapes.
  • Pack an extra bag. If you have a luggage set, pack everything inside the second-largest bag, then put that bag inside the largest one. When you arrive, feel free to stock up on souvenirs and duty-free goods – you have an extra bag to carry it all home in after all!
  • Bring items that do double duty: a hair dryer with a curling iron attachment, an alarm clock and radio, a calculator and translation guide, etc.
  • When you've stuffed your bag to overflowing, zip it up and tap it on the floor a few times to make extra room.
  • Don't overstuff! Suitcase zips may bust en route, or you could exceed airline weight limitations and have to cough up extra dough at the ticket counter.
  • Share bathroom basics (toothpaste, shampoo, etc.).
  • Pack your suitcase like you would a grocery bag – heavy items at the bottom, lighter ones on top.
  • Pack all your valuables, one change of clothes, non-perishable snacks, a small bottle of water, and your minimum toiletry needs (at least your toothbrushes and toothpaste) in your in-flight bag in case your luggage gets delayed.
  • As soon as you arrive, unpack and hang your clothes up to avoid further creasing.

Eight musts for your honeymoon suitcase:
All the basics are in your bag, and you’ve packed cleverly. But there is another part of your honeymoon that INTIMACY is very interested in… Your honeymoon will probably be adventurous and filled with fun, but it is also the most sensual holiday that you'll ever have. You should look sexy and feel your absolute best. Make sure you pack the following in for those tropical nights!

  • Three sets of sexy underwear. This should be the kind of underwear that you don’t usually wear, and practical considerations should be last on your list when choosing it. Think lace, ribbon, satin, see-through chiffon and feminine detail. It should be the type of underwear you could jump out of a cake wearing whilst singing Happy Birthday, Mr President  to your husband. One of these should include panties, a corset and stockings (any man's fantasy!). Three sets are more than adequate, especially when you're on an island holiday. He'll probably whip it off in a jiffy and won't appreciate it for nearly as long as you had hoped!
  • Three super-sexy bikinis. It’s those tiny numbers with thin straps that we’re talking about. These days, there are so many cuts available that almost anyone can look good in a bikini. Your husband won't be able to keep his hands to himself! Buy two sexy bikinis, even if they aren't very practical. The third can be more practical, for when you do water sports and need a more trustworthy number.
  • Three super-sexy sets of night clothes. Yet again, these should be of the variety that you wouldn't usually wear. E.g. buy one sexy baby-doll dress (these usually have built-in bras which make your bust look wonderful), one delicate pair of boy-cut panties and matching strappy top, and one satin number. Know where your good and bad points are, and take a reliable, honest friend along when you buy these. Wear clothes that suit your figure and complement your skin tone.
  • If your hotel room has a CD player, make sure that you pack in some sensual CDs. Good choices are Barry White, Sade and Al Green. Latin American and blues music is also very sexy and should get you both in the mood very quickly.
  • Aromatherapy candles. There is nothing that transforms a room into a romantic love nest as fast as flickering candles, and if they smell heavenly, all the better!
  • Foam bath. This is a must for a honeymoon... a wonderful, deep bubble bath that you and hubby can soak in. Many resorts offer this as part of a honeymoon package. One of the staff will run you a wonderful bath with wonderful-smelling bath foam, candles and flowers. If this is not part of the package, buy the most expensive bottle of bubble bath that you can afford. Remember, a Jacuzzi uses about half of the amount that you would normally use in a conventional bath.
  • Massage oil. What a wonderful ritual after a relaxing bubble bath – a full body massage! Pack a travel-sized bottle of scented massage oil and apply liberally. Sensual oils and aromas include: patchouli, rosewood, sandalwood and ylang ylang.
  • Lubricant. Don't forget this one on honeymoon! You'll probably both be a little stressed and will want sex to go as smoothly as possible. Sometimes, a bit of lubricant is necessary to make the deed easier and less painful – especially in the beginning when you don't know each other's bodies well.

And there you have it! Other than this, make sure you pack the following: anticipation, passion, seduction, enthusiasm, optimism, determination, love and admiration for your new husband. The holiday of a lifetime awaits you. Enjoy it, take a lot of photos, and remember to remind each other about the utopia where your marriage first began!

Additional sources: www.thetravelerszone.com; www.wedding.theknot.com