Whether you’re planning on staying stateside or hoping to cross the world, your honeymoon is a magical once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Today on the podcast, Denise Poliquin of World Wise Travel shares the importance of taking some time away after your wedding, why you should consider enlisting the help of a travel agent, and how to be realistic with your honeymoon dreams.This jam-packed episode will leave you full of wanderlust and hopefully, help you discover the perfect trip for you and your brand new spouse!
I’m the owner of Worldwise Travel! I’ve owned my own agency since 1985 after traveling for many years and working for other agencies. Here I am, still in business in 2022 and I’m really proud of that. There’s been a lot of changes in the industry, but I love making people’s dreams about their travel come true. We work together to creat something really personalized and unique for them. And I just love honeymoons because it’s the start of something new and everyone’s so excited. I’m located in Seekonk, Massachusetts but I have clients all over the US and Canada.
Why do you feel that it’s so important that people take their honeymoon?
Well, one of the first things that come to mind is that you’re exhausted after the wedding and all the planning, and now you have something else to look forward to when that’s over that’s just for you. The honeymoon should be just for you two to go relax, enjoy each other’s company, and look back on your wedding day. Plus, it may be one of the best times of your life to justify going away and taking a trip like that. I mean, there’s definitely a budget to follow but it’s easier to tell yourself you can go.
Let’s talk about the budget of a honeymoon!
Absolutely. Weddings are expensive. Everyone knows that. But, the honeymoon is part of your wedding and it’s part of you getting married, so you definitely want to include that in your budget. It might push you a little over your budget but it should never be something you’re paying off for years to come. We can plan a great trip no matter what. I’ve had honeymooners just do a weekend away and others do a 3 week trip to Europe because that’s what they want.
So figure out how important the honeymoon is in your scheme of things. Think about justifying the expense, because it may be the only time that you can. Then, make sure to plan in advance so you have more options for rooms, places, and more.
How far in advance should people plan their honeymoon? When should they start talking to you?
Well, it doesn’t happen very often but honestly I really like to start the conversation about 11 months in advance, especially if it’s somewhere that involves a bit more planning than an all-inclusive resort, for example. That also allows me to start watching prices and trends for sales. For example, I know there’s always lots of sales for Aruba in November so if I know people are going there, I watch for those!
If you’re planning to go overseas or somewhere you need a passport, know that it’s taking more than 2 weeks to get that done – so you definitely need to plan ahead.
I know you mentioned your industry has changed over the years. What have you seen that’s different between now and 10 years ago?
The internet has exploded and there’s a lot more knowledge which means there’s many more choices. Not only that, but prices change so frequently. I could quote someone a flight at 10am and by 2:30pm, it’s changed prices already. With all of the new knowledge so available, people also tend to plan for themselves – which is fine. But it can also be overwhelming to understand and know what’s legit or too good to be true. Travel agents can help sort that out.
How do you take a dream honeymoon and make it a reality?
Yeah, so when clients come to me, we talk about what their dream destination is for their honeymoon. From there, we can start talking about everything they might want to do or include and we decide what’s really in their budget. It’s amazing how quickly money is spent and sometimes, you have to just decide what you really want to do within your actual budget.
Are there popular trends or destinations right now when it comes to honeymoon locations?
We sort of see trends! I would say younger honeymooners that haven’t gone too many places are just about going somewhere. So, I usually ask what kind of people they are on vacation. Do they want to be by the pool drinking cocktails? Do they want to meet people and go party? Or are they the kind of quiet travelers? From there, I can start to determine where they might want to look at going for their honeymoon.
As far as locations, the Virgin Islands are possible and Greece is still big. Europe is definitely still big. I would say some of the reasons are because of the restrictions being eased. Hawaii is incredibly popular and the Caribbean is always very, very popular for East Coast travelers!
The average timeframe for honeymoons seems to be seven days. The majority don’t seem to do more than that, but I have planned 2 week trips, too.
Are there any hidden gems – places you wish more people would go?
Oh man. That’s a tough one. Well, it does come down to money. I mean, personally I love the South Pacific very much. I love Tahiti in the islands, and that it’s expensive to fly there – and it takes 24 hours by plane. So again, be realistic: if you’re not someone who likes to fly going to Tahiti is not for you. Something else is St. Lucia, it’s called the Hawaii of the East. There’s lots of hidden gems there, smaller properties, and all kinds of crazy things.
Tell us about some of the options for things to do on your honeymoon! Do couples usually come in on the same page or does it vary?
That’s something that couples need to have a conversation about, whether it’s in front of me or amongst themselves, because you will find the wants can be different. Once we know, I try offer a solution and compromise to make both of them happy. For example, I had a client who wanted to go to Disney. That was all she wanted. Her partner hated Disney World, never wanted to go. But they wanted to go to Europe. Guess what? There’s Euro Disney in France, so they went there!
Why should travelers to use a travel agent – whether it’s for a honeymoon or another trip?
The question I would ask is why not? Why not use a travel agent? It’s the best bang you can get for your buck because they don’t charge for their services. It’s way less headache for you to book your honeymoon or trip for you. We do all the research and while yes, you can probably plan your own trip, be realistic. Are you going to do all of that research and do you really want to? Most of the time, we’ve been to the destinations, we’ve stayed at the hotels, we speak to colleagues constantly.
And with COVID-19 and all of the cancellations, we spent hours on the phone to deal with changes and cancellations. Do you want to spend 12+ hours on the phone to reach someone? If you have a travel agent, that’s my job. I stay on the phone to get the answer for you.
How does the process go with a couple working with you?
So most of my conversations with a couple begin with an email or Facebook message. After that, we either meet in person or do a Zoom call to chat about their thoughts. We talk through where they have been, what they loved and didn’t about that trip, where they are comfortable going, and budget. I’ll also ask about vaccinations and passports, so we know our limitations. From there, we can get into the nitty gritty details about deposits, planning, and payments. We also make sure to chat about travel insurance, which is super important these days, and then of course any requirements if they’re going into a new country. I make sure that all of that is planned out so there’s no question about how their trip will go.
We talked about budgets earlier. Are there ways people are being creative with a lower budget?
Of course! And some destinations are more in budget han others. For instance, right now a great option is Mexico or the Dominican Republic. They’ve got tons of great and beautiful hotels but prices are lower than places in the Caribbean.
Another great idea to help your budget is to create a honeymoon registry or fund. This is a new thing since more and more couples are living together, so rather than registering for the household goods they don’t need, they can ask for money towards the honeymoon. Or they can ask for funds for particular outings or experiences.
I love that! Where’s your favorite place you’ve ever been? Where haven’t you been that you’d like to go?
My favorite is St. John! As far as places I haven’t gone yet, I’ve got a big list. But, my bucket list is Vietnam. I haven’t been to Greece, either.
What are some key points that couples should be asking travel agencies to make sure that they are inquiring that they’re working with a professional company to ensure that their honeymoon is perfect?
Referrals are a great reference. If you know somebody that travels a lot. Ask them who they use, are they happy with them? Do they meet their needs?
Ask if they charge a fee for their services upfront. Most places don’t but I do – I have an upfront $100 fee that goes towards their trip.
How long have you been in business? The longer they’ve been in business, the longer they’ve been hands on doing it, the more they’re going to know about the destinations and most likely have been to the places that you wish to go to and can give you insider tips and help you choose the right spot for your honeymoon.
What We Discussed
Why a Honeymoon is important (5:51)
How to budget for your honeymoon (8:40)
When to plan your honeymoon (10:48)
Popular locations + hidden gems (20:49)
Why should you use a travel agent (29:22)
Tips for a lower honeymoon budget (40:56)
Links Mentioned in the Episode
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