Hi BSB-ers! It's been a while!
I'm happy to report that I have been successfully married for more than one month. Recently, dear HUSBAND! and I returned from our week-long honeymoon in the Bahamas. I have lots to report about our trip and some honeymoon tips to make your honeymoon even a little more enjoyable!
A couple things first. For those of us who are funding our honeymoons entirely on our own, I recommend booking as early as possible and using a travel agent. Why? Because flights cost more when booked closer to the departure date. We booked our January 2013 honeymoon in late April 2012 and we definitely reaped rewards. First, we took advantage of about $400 off our stay through a tourism promotion for the Bahamas. Second, with our travel agent (we used Sue at World Wide Travel in Walla Walla, Washington), she was able to get us even better deals we may not have known about otherwise. She timed the purchase of our airfare to get the lowest price possible. She booked everything for us, coordinating layovers, etc. and answered questions we had about tipping and airports before we departed. She even faxed our wedding invitation to our resort, the Sandals Royal Bahamian, for us and we got a special breakfast on our balcony, wine and rose petals. Plus, she was the one who recommended the Bahamas to us! You're awesome Sue!
Another one of our BEST decisions: We waited to depart on our honeymoon almost one month after we got married. We got married on Dec. 15, a very busy time with holidays and family. I was making a career transition on top of all of it. Leaving one month after allowed us to get out all thank you cards, put away all wedding gifts, complete our registries, and generally feel ready. In addition, I took the Friday off of work before our Saturday departure to get the house and all of our bags ready. So glad I did that. Preparing for a week-long vacation can be stressful!
Finally, I recommend getting a credit card with airline miles or a travel rewards program if you are funding your honeymoon. One month before Dane and I got engaged, I did some research and signed up for an American Express Blue Sky card. I was worried because Bank of America was talking about charging me fees for using my debit card, which I used all the time. So, I started using my AmEx as my debit card. Every time I swiped it, that money would “disappear” from my account. I record all my money, in and out, in a small notebook I keep in my purse. Then, each month I paid off the card and reaped the rewards. By using this AmEx for my regular spending and the big-ticket wedding items like stationery and photography, we got an extra $300 off on our honeymoon. I paid no annual fees or interest because I paid it off each month.
OK, so you want to know how the Bahamas were in January? Amazing. We stayed at a Sandals resort on Cable Beach right outside of Nassau. The Sandals folks treat you right. Everyone was friendly and helpful. The hotel was quiet, our view from our room was amazing and the activities were endless. We took the boat to the resort's private island, swam in the ocean, lounged by the pool, enjoyed the swim-up bar, played ping-pong and cuddled by fire pits in the evening. We did go into town twice, via the bus, to see downtown Nassau and to visit Ardastra Gardens. The drill marching flamingoes are a must-see! And because of the time of year, our resort was anything but packed. We even got to catch glimpses of brides and grooms getting married at our resort.
Our resort was all-inclusive, meaning all food and drinks were already paid for. Dane loved this because he could eat a ton and not worry about price. I loved the fancy French cuisine at Baccarat and what we termed “crack chips” at the pub. There was food for every preference. I also loved that the drinks were included and our room even had its own fully-stocked bar. No one felt like they were going without in any regard. Plus, resort photographers mingled with guests day and night to snap photos of us. We even got a free photo session and we loved the photos so we bought some.
We loved our trip to the Bahamas so much we're definitely planning to return. Where are you honeymooning? Somewhere warm and relaxing or somewhere that offers more adventure?