Thursday, January 31, 2008

Honeymoon (and trip) planning tips

Calvin and I planned our honeymoon without the help of a travel agent. I'm definitely DIY when it comes to travel, and this was no different. (I've used a travel agent once. It was fine. But I could have just as easily done it myself.)

Planning this trip was different from the other trips that I've planned for a number of reasons. First, while we were concerned about price, we were also concerned about service (especially for the 18+ hour flight to Bali!) We booked our flights through Singapore Airways, because we have both heard really good things about their service (and food!) Since the flights are so long, we looked at seat guru to help us pick our seats. Not that we were willing to spend any amount of money (I did keep an eye on prices for several months), but if you are traveling that long, it can be nice to have the better service. Tip: The airline may not tell you what model the plane is when you book, but by comparing the airline's seat diagram with seat guru's, you can get a pretty good idea.

Another airline tip: Many airlines (especially foreign airlines) will let you do a stopover for free at their largest hub. We're stopping in Singapore without any additional cost.

All of our hotels were found using tripadvisor. Whenever we travel, we check out TA for reviews of potential hotels, and have yet to be misdirected. Naturally, that was our key resource for hotels for the honeymoon. Tip: The fairly recently redesigned site is much better at making it available, but definitely be sure to check out the specialty lodging/B&Bs tabs on the site, if you are looking to stay at smaller, locally owned places.

Finally, I've found tripadvisor's travel forums to be especially helpful when looking for a more general view of things to do in a particular location. Tip: Like most any online message board, take what is written with a grain of salt. Try to find a couple of people who seem to have similar interests and views on traveling; their suggestions will be the most useful. When my mom and I traveled to Playa del Carmen, I avoided the advice of people staying at large, all-inclusive resorts, since we prefer to stay at smaller, boutique hotels and explore the local restaurant scene. At the advice of a couple of other people with similar travel preferences, we were directed to an absolutely amazing restaurant off the strip that was completely authentic Mexican.

If you have other travel planning trips, please share them!

No comments: