Pre-trip Checklist: 10 Tips for Happy Honeymooning

With so much wedding planning on your mind, it's easy for your honeymoon to take a back seat to the big day. To help you take off for your honeymoon with all your pre-trip to-do's done, we've put together this checklist. Check off all 10 before you head off for your honeymoon and get ready for a terrific trip!

1. Get some if not most of your honeymoon packing done as early as possible. After all, packing is not something you want to rush through at the last minute. Set aside some time to get this done at least a week before your departure date. That way, if you realize as you're packing that you're missing a few items, you'll have time to get them. Don't worry, you don't have to shove your clothes into your suitcase this early so that it gets all wrinkled; simply set everything in neat piles next to your luggage.

2. Be sure to ask a friend or family member to be in charge of transporting items you may accumulate at your reception spot to your home or theirs after the wedding, such as gifts, changes of clothing and so on. Likewise, ask someone to be responsible for making sure your dress makes it to the cleaners post-reception. This person can also be in charge of your veil, gloves, jewelry, wedding shoes and other accessories. You don't want to bring too many valuables on your honeymoon. (We recommend leaving your engagement ring at home, but if you must wear it, make that and your wedding ring the only piece of jewelry you wear while traveling. Why take chances?)

3. Before your big day, be sure to place your airline, train or other tickets, as well as your hotel confirmation forms, in a place where you won't forget them. That goes for your honeymoon luggage, too. If you're worried that you're going to leave something you need for your trip in the trunk of a car, for example, ask a friend to be in charge of making sure your bags get to where they need to be before you take off.

4. If you're traveling to another country, be sure to exchange some money before you leave, so you will be able to pay for transportation from the airport, if necessary, and offer tips when appropriate. Don't get too much foreign currency, though. You can always get more once you're there. Plus, it's better to try to put as many purchases as possible on your cash or credit card. That way, you won't have to deal with exchange rates, worry about carrying a lot of cash or feel the need to spend every last cent before you return home. The best exchange rates can typically be found at banks and cambios. Only exchange money at hotels, which tack on a surcharge, as a last resort.

Next page: romantic touches, stress-free travel and local customs



5. While you're making all those transportation arrangements for your guests, make sure you book your own transportation from your reception site to the airport or other post-reception destination.

6. Your honeymoon trip will be extra special because you two just tied the knot, but, if you want, you can also pack something that will set this trip apart from any other -- could be your new silk lingerie, a scented candle or a new romantic CD.

7. To make your arrival at your destination smooth, make sure your arrival time coincides with the time you're allowed to check in to your hotel. You don't want to land in Paris, for example, at 7am and have to lug your bags around until the 2pm check-in time.

8. To give yourselves time to get at least a little rest (and not feel so rushed) before your big honeymoon departure, you may want to follow the lead of other brides and grooms and schedule your flight for the following afternoon or evening instead of the same day as your wedding or very early the morning after your big day. That way, you'll have time to catch your breath, phone a friend (believe us, you'll want to spend some time on the phone chatting about your wedding before takeoff) and finish any last-minute packing.

9. Read your guidebooks before you go (instead of saving all that reading for the plane, train or car), especially the sections that describe the ''quirks'' of the culture. Finding out ahead of time about any special dress codes, siesta hours, the pace of the place and so on will help you pack and prepare yourselves.

10. Bring along the addresses of friends and family you may want to send postcards, too. If you're feeling extra industrious, pack some blank thank-you cards and envelopes in your carry-on bag. Although you may not want to mail thank-you notes from wherever you are, you can get some writing done on the plane, especially if you'll be sitting through a long flight both ways.

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