You’re engaged; the date is set, congratulations! Where will you honeymoon? For some couples, this is the easiest question they will have to answer surrounding their nuptials. For others, it can be a source of great stress and frustration. If international travel is definitely on your radar, here are some things to consider before you set down your final plans.
Getting a Passport
If you’re already a jetsetter, you’ve probably taken care of this step. Even if you’re not, it can be a painless if time-consuming process. So first, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to fill out the paperwork, have your photo taken and get the passport in the mail before your departure date. Also, if you plan on changing your name, consider waiting until you return from the honeymoon to do so. Even with your marriage certificate in hand, explaining to someone at customs, whether they speak your language or not, that you are the person in your passport AND someone with a different last name is not the way you want to kick off your big adventure.
The allure of being totally anonymous in a sea of people speaking an unfamiliar language can be romantic and exciting—all good things for a honeymoon. However, trying to communicate your needs (a smoke-free room, directions to the nearest bathroom, etc.) when you do not speak the language of the natives can be frustrating. Consider limiting your travel options to countries where you are near fluent in the language to avoid these headaches.
Ease of Travel
Although you may have always wanted to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo or maybe Russia, not all countries are equally easy to access. Some countries require visas, proof of vaccination or even letters of invitation. First, be sure you know the requirements of the country you are visiting well in advance, bearing in mind that these can change with shifting political climate. Second, be sure that you are comfortable meeting these demands should the need arise despite the added pressures of planning and executing your nuptials at the same time.
Depending on the type of vacation you are planning, clothing may be of minimal concern. Bear in mind though, the transportation in many foreign countries is not the same as transportation in America. If you’re planning on staying in the middle of the woods somewhere, for example, you’re likely going to land and then take a train, bus, taxi and maybe a combination of all three before you get there. You don’t want to be lugging around two or three bags apiece under the circumstances. Make sure you have the essentials planned—outlet adapters are an easy one to forget—but unless there will be a bellboy waiting on the other end, plan on toting these essentials on your person for a while.
Means of Contact
It may be your goal to drop off the face of the planet during your foreign stay, in which case, perhaps you don’t want anyone to be able to contact you. On the other hand, you may want something in case of emergencies or to let the people back home know you arrived safely. Check with the place you will be staying to see if they have a computer or phone for common use and their policies on international calls. If you wish to use your cell phone make sure you are familiar with your calling plan’s policy. Often, even having your phone operating in a foreign country can result in higher charges whether you make calls or texts on it or not.
Your honeymoon should be relaxing, stress-free and fun. While not everything may go exactly according to plan, a good introduction to married life anyway, it can certainly be a smooth and enjoyable process with a few key considerations.
Ken Ripoll is the founder of AllstarPassports.com, a Los Angeles Passport expediter specializing in passport renewals and visas to China.