Along the road to the wedding there is an inevitable lull in activity – a time to pause, reflect and realize that you actually enjoy all the pomp and want this break to hurry up and end! (I acknowledge these feelings may be unique.)
This six to eight month mark is the best time to envision the real after-party: the honeymoon!
As noted, Tim and I crave water and worship the sun. But we’ve heard contagiously amazing stories from friends and colleagues about cultural post-nuptial trips. Even more persistent is the idea of the mini-moon, which gives you instant gratification and is only part one in a saga of relaxation.
So where did we start?
Like the start of many good decisions, we went with our gut; water simply had to be a part of the equation. After getting that priority straight, we addressed our limitations, which is a key factor in narrowing down your targets. Refinement number one: A mini-moon simply wouldn’t do – we had to indulge, and for two late-working Washingtonians, ten days sounded like a serenade. Refinement number two: October is hurricane season, which knocked out our fail-proof destination, the Caribbean. (Our home away from home, the Rockhouse Hotel, is suitable just about any other time of year and would be a sweet and sleek honeymoon for many couples!) And finally, refinement number three: Temperatures in October vary around the globe; we needed warm rays.
With an intimidating amount of locations left, we sorted through recommendations in the Mediterranean, Mexico, Hawaii, the Pacific islands and South America. And then we became distressed – how could we make sense of all of the eye candy?
That’s when a travel agent came in very handy.
I wince at planning a trip offline; I’m busy most hours of the day and I just plain wouldn’t know where to start. Without reviews, traveler photos, deals and airfare alerts, I’d be without a compass! Though Tim and I like to travel (a lot), I wouldn’t say we are travel-savvy enough to be experts – would you?
At this point, I will say I was lucky. Jamie pointed us in the direction of a trusted source and we discovered so many more benefits than we would have achieved on our own. That same birdie advised us to get started early. So while we officially started the process seven months in advance, the gears were turning when it struck 2013.
You could have fooled me that working with a travel agent is of little cost to the traveler. Due to relationships, deals and (let’s admit it) industry secrets, most agents are compensated by the third parties and the destinations themselves. As we worked out way through the process, our advisor took care of every single reservation, ticket and need and will continue to do so well in advance of our journey.
If you’re thinking about approaching a travel agent, have a very good idea of your likes, dislikes, constraints and questions. We chatted with our aid very frequently and even filled out a long yet thoughtful questionnaire to get better acquainted. Our next step was to sit back and watch the magic happen. We reviewed quotes from four different countries and each one was just as intriguing as the next with perks, events and hotels we would have never explored. We were also given great recommendations on insurance – a must when a vacation is akin to an investment.
Truly, the service and deals we received would not have been possible without someone to hold our hand and both plan and book our trip – those thanks go to Lori at Power Trips.
Cabo San Lucas turned out to be the third party in our relationship. Sunny and quite warm (the average in October is mid-80s), Capella Pedregal is its own paradise but is close to outdoor activities, shops and dining only a ten minute walk away. Relaxation and sophistication came first, but options were a close second. So while I gorge on daily deliveries of Coronas and guacamole, Tim can ride the waves with some of the sport fishermen out of the local marina.
As seafood fanatics, we were also tempted by Cabo San Lucas’ local fare and the abundance (and inclusion) of fresh fish in just about every meal. Tropical drinks and tequilla tastings also don’t hurt to cap-off a celebratory trip. We’ve also quenched our water obsession by choosing a hotel with a private plunge pool outside of every room – just wow.
My next challenge will be to pack the ultimate bridal suitcase. I’m envisioning bright tunics, large hats and more than a few white bathing suits. Any newlyweds have tips, tricks and advice for what to bring and what to leave behind?
For now, we’re looking forward to enjoying every sunset right here: