Human desires can be full of contradictions.
On one hand, we yearn for an ideal world, where good things are always at our disposal and enjoyment. On the other hand, we derive pleasure from enjoying our hard-earned achievements. It is an ironic fallacy of the human condition.
When it comes to honeymoons, like everything else, we want them to feel like the hard-won prize we deserve.
Yet, at the same time, no one wants to struggle too much with making this magical time a reality.
We always want to feel that the price (or the struggle it took us to get it) was well worth it.
Prior planning for honeymoon trips helps couples strike the perfect balance between these seemingly conflicting desires.
A well-organized honeymoon means perfectly timed trips and activities you will both love. It gives you the satisfaction of knowing that your monetary investment was well worth it.
Every money-saving plan begins with a financial outlay.
Budgets are roadmaps that help us manage our expectations and goals. Most people tend to budget and plan for the wedding and honeymoon separately when it comes to nuptials.
That approach can sometimes escalate the actual amount spent on each.
Instead, why not budget for the two together? Determine what portion of the budget can cater to the wedding and how much for the honeymoon. An easy way to do this is by considering how long each event will take.
While a wedding takes an average of 6-8 hours, the honeymoon may range anywhere between 4-14 days. Looking at the big picture allows you to have a rough estimate of what percentage of resources should go to each event.
The budgetary limits you set will inform which details you can include while focusing on what is truly important to you.
Typically, the more comprehensive the plan is, the better it is at anticipating different scenarios and preparing adequately for them.
Therefore, to kick start your planning, adequate research is essential.
When planning, it is vital to bear in mind your preferences as a couple and as individuals. Consequently, the couple should ideally be in consultation with each other throughout the planning process.
Having a clear idea of what you both want enables you to narrow down the prospective destinations and avoid researching places that might not appeal to you.
With several destinations in mind, it is time to look into their rates and ballpark season charges. That includes what the best facilities are offering and what their lower budget counterparts have.
In the hospitality industry, destinations offer different rates depending on the season you visit. When in doubt, consulting a travel and tour agency that offers honeymoon deals in your desired area will give you an idea about the prevailing rates.
For instance, Kenyan safari travel consultants are best placed to advise you on honeymooning among the Big Five in the world renown Maasai Mara.
Getting accurate and reliable information allows you to make informed decisions and avoid committing to unnecessary costs.
Besides learning the different available package options, this information lets you know when to book and, most importantly, what to expect once you get there.
Some of the cost-cutting measures worth considering are whether you want to book a weekday vacation or one that falls on a long weekend.
Weekday vacations might come at a lesser cost in some places.
Similarly, off-season vacations are cheaper than those offered during peak season.
The same applies when you go for package deals. Depending on the hotel, booking a bundled package deal for both the wedding and honeymoon will, in most cases, avail you of discounts and bonus extras.
Power of collaboration
Obtaining organic information during the planning process can be further aided by making strategic consultations and collaborations.
For example, when considering bundled package deals, consult the venue management and learn all they have on offer. Enquire whether they can make a few tweaks further to accommodate your unique preferences (if any).
That allows you to get what you want precisely, without having to pay extra for it.
Speaking of collaborations and tweaks, you could also consider pairing with a tour agent for a customized honeymoon deal.
The best way to go about this is by having the agent craft a custom-made honeymoon trip based on your input.
Unlike the prepackaged deals offered by tour agents, a tailored vacation will only comprise activities handpicked by the couple, which means never having to pay for activities that do not interest you.
Other collaborative efforts can include sourcing information from friends and family.
A colleague of mine had the foresight of chatting with a foreign exchange student about his honeymoon ideas.
Since the student was a native of the country he wished to visit, they discussed the beautiful attractions that her country had.
More importantly, she shared some valuable tidbits about her people and culture and ways that the couple could save money as foreign visitors.
The point is, planning can sometimes bring you invaluable information from unlikely quarters.
If collaborative approaches do not appeal to you, you could try the independent yet hands-on approach of direct booking. That means contacting the hotels and other service providers directly and making the reservations yourself.
Direct bookings still save you from having to deal with brokers, some of whom might cost you extra in commissions and fees.
An organized honeymoon is a romantic getaway that can double up as a safari opportunity to exotic places.
It is an opportunity to experience adventure, and an intimate, relaxed vacation all rolled into one.
Therefore, planning and scheduling visits to exciting attractions during your honeymoon could mean experiencing two types of vacation for the price of one.
The author is managing director, AJ Kenya Safaris.