Author Topic: Honeymoon  (Read 8607 times)

gobius

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Honeymoon
« on: March 24, 2014, 03:51:56 PM »
We were planning on going to Rome, Italy for our honeymoon and stay at that "smallest house in Italy" for about $800 for 11 nights.  Thing is, the whole trip would probably cost about $5K if I had to guess (tickets with less than 30-hr flight times are $1700+ each).  I can't go from Sept-Dec so we would have to go in the summer (probably August) or wait until next year.  I'm fine with next year; I think she wants to do something this year but if a different time of year is better we could do that.

We've considered going to Anguilla as well (a coworker recommended it), which would be cheaper, but still a decent amount.

We are asking for money for wedding gifts (to help pay for the honeymoon) since we don't need any more material possessions; we have too many as it is.  So, the $5K would not all be covered by us.

At first I was fine with dropping a decent amount on a honeymoon but the more I think about it, the more it just seems to be a waste to spend that much money for 2 weeks of vacation, especially when we are paying for our own wedding too.  We have the money saved up and don't have "hair on fire" debt.  $5K (minus wedding gifts) isn't much in the grand scheme of things but is still substantial.

I'm curious on a few things:

1.  If you know a lot about traveling to Italy, when is the best time of year to go, cost-wise?  Also, where are some good places to stay in Rome besides what I mentioned above?  Any food tips?
2.  Where did you go for your honeymoon and/or where would be a cool place that is a reasonable cost?  We were mostly thinking international but if someone had a kickass honeymoon in the U.S. it may give us some ideas.
3.  What are some good travel websites to find deals?

Obviously I should have been doing my homework sooner on this, but have been procrastinating for months.  I don't really like planning trips buy my fiancee has been planning a lot of the wedding stuff so I need to contribute to the load somehow.

MDM

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2014, 04:32:39 PM »
First marriage for both?  Seriously planning for this to be the last marriage for both?  If yes to those questions, then this is indeed a once in a lifetime thing and you should do it.

Can't help you with Italy.  We also paid for our own wedding, and honeymooned in Hawaii.  Absolutely fantastic.

Weyfarere

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2014, 05:06:26 PM »
1.  If you know a lot about traveling to Italy, when is the best time of year to go, cost-wise?  Also, where are some good places to stay in Rome besides what I mentioned above?  Any food tips?
2.  Where did you go for your honeymoon and/or where would be a cool place that is a reasonable cost?  We were mostly thinking international but if someone had a kickass honeymoon in the U.S. it may give us some ideas.
3.  What are some good travel websites to find deals?
The only one I can answer is #2. We stayed at a cottage in Madison, Indiana for about six days. My idea of a kickass honeymoon was someplace pleasant with lots of unscheduled free time and some tourism options, but inexpensive enough we wouldn't think we HAD to do all the tourist stuff. The cottage in Madison qualified. If we'd had 11 days and maybe a larger budget, we probably would have traveled further, but not overseas.

2527

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2014, 05:12:17 PM »
We didn't have a honeymoon for some valid reasons, such as work schedule, moving, and we starting to live in Europe and traveling a lot anyhow.  But also for some stupid reasons of mine, mostly around frugality. 

We had a wedding reception in Turkey that ended at about 1 in the morning and woke up at around 3:30 in the morning to get on an Air Force cargo plane and fly back to Germany.  We spent the flight looking at a diesel generator.  My wife did not consider this to be an adventure. 

I recommend you do some kind of honeymoon that you both like, whatever your budget is. 

For the rest of your life, whenever the topic of honeymoons comes up, you don't want to know your wife is thinking or saying, "We didn't have one because my husband was a jackass."
« Last Edit: March 24, 2014, 05:22:16 PM by 2527 »

geekette

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2014, 05:13:46 PM »
So much depends on the type of travel you like/want.  Lots of history and sightseeing?  Lots of natural beauty and relaxing?  Activity?  Pampering?

After our wedding (30 years ago next month), we just wanted to relax for a while and drove to Savannah, GA (young and poor!) 

I hate to put that "once in a lifetime" pressure on a vacation.  You will, I hope, have other special times.  Build it up too much and little disappointments can cause more problems than they should. 

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2014, 05:37:49 PM »
Can't remember details, but there are wedding gift sites that let people sponsor your vacation. E.g., spend $100 and the lovely couple gets a massage. That kind of thing. More personal than cash for some folks.

That said, honeymoons certainly aren't necessary. We're waiting to do a FIREmoon.

Eric

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2014, 05:48:01 PM »
I would recommend against going in August.  August is when most Europeans take their holiday so most stuff is more expensive and lots of things are closed as a result.

If you could swing July or September, you'll be happier.  September could be a little cheaper in general, but there's not a huge difference as it's still pretty much the high season.

I'd highly recommend picking up a copy of Rick Steves Italy book.  I don't think I could travel anywhere in Europe without his expert advice.  And he's a pretty mustachian traveler, so there are plenty of tips and tricks to save you both time and money.  For example, you can use a Roma Pass to completely skip the line at the Colosseum.  That will save you somewhere between 1-3 hours, which is a big deal!

Rome is an absolutely incredible city.  There are a million things to do and tons of neighborhoods to wander.  That said, 11 days is a long time.  I'd consider taking the train up to Florence or Venice for a few of those days if I were you.  Fly into Rome and out of Venice or vice versa.

As far as places to stay, I've never heard of the "smallest house in Italy" so I can't comment on that, but I like the area around the Campo di Fiori or the Piazza Navona.  Both squares are incredibly entertaining with artists (off all kinds, musicians, painters, magicians, scamers) and can provide hours of free entertainment, especially at night when other stuff is closed.  It's usually a little more expensive than other parts, but the central location and free entertainment / people watching make up for it for us.  Or course the central location may not matter as much to you if you have 11 days there.  You'll have to figure that out.

I like Kayak for flights and I used Booking.com for hotels in Italy with success.  (also cross-reference Trip Advisor reviews before booking) 

Daniel

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2014, 06:00:26 PM »
I haven't been to Italy.
My wife and I went to Vancouver, but we were also considering Nova Scotia (both international since we are in the US). Vancouver was great, it's a very nice city, and the city center is walkable with lots of things to do and see. My Honeymoon was probably the most I've walked in a week excluding backpacking trips. Definitely the best advice I got was do what you like to do. If you like cities visit a big city, if you like nature, travel to a beautiful natural park.

KS

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2014, 06:02:35 PM »
So much depends on the type of travel you like/want.  Lots of history and sightseeing?  Lots of natural beauty and relaxing?  Activity?  Pampering?

^this! Rome is amazing, but it is a lot to take in and can be tiring with all the history and sightseeing (Sounds like you'd be there much longer than the 4 days I was there though, so you would probably be able to take it slower and also have time to take some side trips out to nearby places if it's in your budget to do so). So, as long as that's the kind of honeymoon you're looking for that's great. Personally we wanted to have things available to do but still be able to relax when we wanted and not feel guilty about it so we went to the Canadian Rockies and had a great time.

As to your question on when to go if you pick Rome: I have heard August is HOT and very, very crowded. I believe it may also be when the locals take the month off, so some things are closed or have reduced hours? (not sure about that, but something to look into) If you can work things out to go a different month, it may be better. We went in May, which was pretty good in terms of weather and crowds, although the major sights were already pretty packed.

Some of the other travel threads have lots of good suggestions for keeping costs down, but I'll re-state a big one here: check out VRBO, AirBnB, Homeaway, FlipKey or other similar sites for apartment/home rentals in whatever area you choose to go. Not always but often cheaper than other lodging options, and can have added benefit of a kitchen to save $ by not eating all meals in restaurants, sometimes a washing machine so you can pack lighter, etc. (But $800 for 11 days in Rome sounds like a pretty good deal, although I haven't looked up that specific place so I don't know how well it's located and the amenities and such)

EDIT: looks like I was typing at the same time as Eric's similar post, sorry for any harping on the same points
« Last Edit: March 24, 2014, 06:04:53 PM by KS »

Jeremy

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2014, 06:44:12 PM »
We had an amazing honeymoon, hiking 100 miles on the Wonderland Trail around glacier-capped Mt. Rainier outside Seattle. 

Wonderful views, fresh air, sunshine, wild flowers, waterfalls... doesn't get more romantic than that ;)

And it cost about $0

renaite

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2014, 07:16:03 PM »
Congratulations!

I am honeymooning in Paris and Rome next month, and it will be my first time going so I don't have experience to offer yet. We booked through Virgin Vacation packages and were able to get direct flights (from JFK.) The cost started at $2500 or so, including flights, and ranges to about $5000 depending on the hotel ratings and such that you choose. You can book online or call them at 1-877-740-4301: I spoke with Anna at extension 1390 and she was very nice. We picked something pretty luxurious around $4000 (*braces for facepunches*).
http://www.virgin-vacations.com/Europe_Vacations/Italy_Vacations.aspx

I've been told by friends that we will save a lot of time and money by buying tickets for attractions online ahead of time (like the Coliseum) so we plan to do that for sure.

I have also heard that Costco has great packages that will get you the flight and hotels for something very reasonable. We have no Costco remotely near us so I don't have a membership personally, but my boss went to Italy last year and was really happy with them.

Best of luck with your plans and growing 'stache!

homehandymum

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2014, 08:32:31 PM »
+1 to what Geekette said.

It really depends on what spins your wheels.  I understand that people exist who love long-haul flights, jet-lag, and teeming hordes of people at busy sight-seeing destinations, but I am on the outside looking in.

My DH and I went to a lonely cabin on a deserted beach for a week.  We read books, played board games, and just hung out.  That was our bliss :)

But I also understand that that would send some people up the walls in boredom after about half an hour.  It's quite a personal thing, really, but do try to work out what it is that you'll be wanting from your holiday, and don't try to cram too much in.

windawake

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2014, 08:41:11 PM »
Both of you should open airline credit cards with large bonuses (Citi has a great AA card with 50k miles after you spend $3k in the first 3 months). Make the threshold to get the miles. Could take 6 months for everything to come through. Use the miles to fly to Italy. Save some money.

Sounds like a fun trip. I'd try to go for longer if you can! Really make it worth your while.

Jules13

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2014, 08:49:33 PM »
Quote
Rome is an absolutely incredible city.  There are a million things to do and tons of neighborhoods to wander.  That said, 11 days is a long time.  I'd consider taking the train up to Florence or Venice for a few of those days if I were you.  Fly into Rome and out of Venice or vice versa.

Would have to agree with 11 days being a long time in pretty much any city that you are visiting, unless you are just really into slow traveling.  Some people are and that's fine, but just depends on what you wanting to do there.

I have not been to Rome, but only to Florence and Venice and Le Cinque Terre.  I loved them all. 

And yes, it would be HOT in August.  And make sure your fiance/wife takes a skirt or pants if you are visiting churches.  I remember not being able to go in one on a particular day because I had shorts on.  I think it was in Venice.  Over 15 years ago now...so getting a bit fuzzy. :)

That said, I travel is nearly always worth the money.  However, I looked up that "smallest house in Italy" and it doesn't look very comfy after hours and hours of exploring a city.  But, $800/11 nights seems like a good price....just not sure if it would be worth it for me. 

2nd Rick Steeves.  He's great.  And 2nd getting an airline credit card.  We use ours for flights to Australia, but Europe requires less miles. 

gobius

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2014, 08:53:54 PM »
Thanks everyone! 

@MDM:  Yes, first for both, and yes, hopefully last!

@Eric and @KS:  I wouldn't be able to go in September this year (in fact from September through December), but next spring would be a possibility.  July is possible this year too; is it less busy at that time?  My aunt (who also recommended Rick Steves and booking site-seeing online) said she went in March-April.  We would have considered going around this time this year but I also can't go anywhere this spring due to work.  Have you heard anything about going March-April timeframe?

@Eric:  My aunt suggested the flying into Venice/out of Rome as well; when I looked up flights the first time, it was more expensive than flying in/out of the same airport.  We were going to try hitting up a few different places but figured Rome was so big we could probably make it more relaxing and find stuff to do there for 11 days.  We may try a day trip to a few places, like you suggested, since train travel is so cheap.

@renaite:  Congrats to you as well!

Thanks again to all of you; if you or anyone else has any tips I would be more than happy to read them.  We may just say screw it and go to Rome but push it off until next year, doing something small this year.  Still thinking about other options but dammit if you guys aren't convincing :).

Saverocity

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2014, 09:00:36 PM »
We enjoyed Italy, flew into Milan, stayed one night there at the Park Hyatt, moved on to the Rome Cavalieri hotel for 4 nights and did some excursions from there, I found 2 days enough to see all the big sites in Rome, inbound Coach, which I won't do again, makes me a grump, outbound via 5 nights work in Dubai and back in Business class. Total cost was about $80, and some credit card points.

Our honeymoon we spent in South Africa, then Mozambique, Tanzania and Zanzibar, starting off with Diving in Pemba on a deserted beach, had a great adventure crossing into Tanzania with no cash via land and sea, a Safari to NgoroNgoro, and a great time in Zanzibar at the end.  We were ripped off once, and missed our flight back from Joburg, but it was all rather fun.

If you are in control of your credit, I could suggest how do something like that with a few applications.

gobius

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2014, 09:06:20 PM »
Forgot to include the website for the place we are considering staying:

http://www.lacasapiupiccoladitalia.com/Index_en.html

The credit card ideas sound good as well.  I already have 2 and even considered getting one with airline rewards but instead got ones with cash rewards.  I don't use them much but 50,000 miles for $3K in 3 months sounds almost too good to be true.  Do miles really work like that, where a flight to Italy and back twice (20-25,000 miles for 2 people each trip) would be covered by $3K of spending?  Any hidden fees?

Yeah, 11 days in one city is kind of slow traveling, but we figured we would perhaps take a few day trips.

mlipps

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2014, 09:16:27 PM »
Have you traveled enough before to know that you will enjoy Rome? I got to go to Italy for work last year and it really didn't do much for me. All that art that I know nothing about, and history that I've long forgotten. Obviously lots of people love it. But make sure you really think about why you want to go there and not just the idea of a certain place. I spent 4 days in Rome, 2 in Venice, and 3 in Florence. I really wish I'd gone to a small farm instead of Florence, it was so boring to me.

Saverocity

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2014, 09:19:52 PM »
Forgot to include the website for the place we are considering staying:

http://www.lacasapiupiccoladitalia.com/Index_en.html

The credit card ideas sound good as well.  I already have 2 and even considered getting one with airline rewards but instead got ones with cash rewards.  I don't use them much but 50,000 miles for $3K in 3 months sounds almost too good to be true.  Do miles really work like that, where a flight to Italy and back twice (20-25,000 miles for 2 people each trip) would be covered by $3K of spending?  Any hidden fees?

Yeah, 11 days in one city is kind of slow traveling, but we figured we would perhaps take a few day trips.

Yep, day trips are great and it will work.

For the cards, the cheapest you can use miles to EU is using AAdvantage (american airlines) on off peak coach for 20K per person each way, so you would need a min of 80K, if you can hit the off-peak season, it is quite broad and I get it by chance more often than not, but I forget the exact dates.  There is an AA card now with 100K signup bonus. It has an annual fee of $450 but a credit of $200 which offsets that.  You need a 10K spend on that card, but it might be good, it would get you there, or get one each and fly in Biz.

jwilliams0215

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2014, 08:33:01 AM »
Getting married next month and we did a fair amount of research in regards to the honeymoon and Italy specifically.

We also signed up for Honeyfund. Basically you can put whatever you want on there (flights, hotels, excursion, etc.) and people sign up to pay for those items. There's no fees or expenses (you can sign up for an upgraded account if you like) since all people do is find what they want to gift for you, check it off the honeyfund list, and give you a check for that amount. But this way, you give people the choice to pay for certain activities and items vs. a blank check.

We decided against Italy for the honeymoon for two reasons: (1) since we're honeymooning directly after the wedding, we wanted to maximize the days off spent in Europe given the cost to get out there. (2) We noticed flighty were significantly less expensive in March vs. April ($1,000 rountrip vs. $1,400).

We're going with Costa Rica. Inexpensive flights, any amount of adventures you want, you can keep it as expensive/inexpensive as you like. We're going ahead and booking the premium lodges since it is our one and only honeymoon and we're in a pretty good position for our age.

gobius

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2014, 08:53:01 AM »
We had an amazing honeymoon, hiking 100 miles on the Wonderland Trail around glacier-capped Mt. Rainier outside Seattle. 

Wonderful views, fresh air, sunshine, wild flowers, waterfalls... doesn't get more romantic than that ;)

And it cost about $0

Funny, I just started reading Go Curry Cracker and was just now reading the post about your honeymoon (unless you are another Jeremy who went on the same trip and also retired early to travel ;)).  When I read it, I thought, "This sounds similar to what someone posted on the MMM forums to my request".  Your honeymoon sounds awesome.  Thanks for the input; we hope to be able to do what you are now doing someday, although maybe not quite as early.

MissStache

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2014, 09:18:03 AM »
I would really, really do everything to avoid August.  Europeans vacation during that month, so anything south and warm is very crowded and especially expensive.  And it is painfully hot.  I've been in both June and July and it was also crowded and hot, but a little less than August.  Is there any way you can go earlier (May?) or later (September/October?).  You will save a substantial amount of money and enjoy yourself a lot more.

MountainFlower

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2014, 09:23:59 AM »
We had an amazing honeymoon, hiking 100 miles on the Wonderland Trail around glacier-capped Mt. Rainier outside Seattle. 

Wonderful views, fresh air, sunshine, wild flowers, waterfalls... doesn't get more romantic than that ;)

And it cost about $0

We had NO money for a honeymoon. 

We also went backpacking but in the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness outside of Steamboat Springs, CO.   The cost was 0.  We had a day in between our wedding and going backpacking.  I must admit that on that day, the idea of going backpacking sounded like a pure, unadulterated, living hell.  LOL!  However, the moment my feet hit the trail, I knew we'd made the right choice.  It was wonderful. 

A couple weeks later, we spent a weekend in Aspen.  Some work friends pooled together to give us a night in a hotel  there and we used some of our wedding money to get another night.  It was really great and memorable. 

gobius

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2014, 10:53:58 AM »
I would really, really do everything to avoid August.  Europeans vacation during that month, so anything south and warm is very crowded and especially expensive.  And it is painfully hot.  I've been in both June and July and it was also crowded and hot, but a little less than August.  Is there any way you can go earlier (May?) or later (September/October?).  You will save a substantial amount of money and enjoy yourself a lot more.

A few others have said the same: avoid August due to heat and Europeans taking that month off.  I think we will heed that advice and avoid it in August.  My job requires me being here pretty constantly in the months of April, May, September, October, and most of November this year, so we would have to wait until next year to go in May, which isn't too big of a deal.  I've seen a few other good ideas on here as well that we may consider.

nawhite

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2014, 11:26:43 AM »
You have the time before you go to figure out how to get the flights for cheap. American Airlines is offering 100k miles for one card right now ($10k spend in 3 months, $450 annual fee but get $200 back). So for $250, you could get enough miles for 2 round trip international flights to Europe (would cost 80k miles). You have to figure out how to manufacture $10k in spend in 3 months but if you pre book the rest of the vacation on that card, do some amazon payment churning, and maybe do some loyal3 churning, you could get there.

As for our honeymoon, we went to Venezuela for 11 days. We did 4 days around Angel Falls (tallest waterfall in the world) and 5 days on Margarita Island. It was an awesome place to visit (maybe not right now due to riots) but it was not exactly a honeymoon location. It was just too much work and stress because it wasn't familiar. I recommend you go somewhere that is not stressful for you. If trying to communicate with people who don't speak your language isn't your idea of fun, don't go there for your honeymoon. If backpacking and not knowing where you'll stay that night is stressful, don't do that for your honeymoon.

We used https://www.depositagift.com for our honeymoon registry. We could put "Breakfast in bed: $20" or "Jetski rental: $100." Then people could "buy" us these things and we would get the cash. We put little stories about how that event fit with our itinerary and it was a big hit (got around $700). After your wedding, you just withdraw it as cash and decide how you want to spend it. Then the thank you cards to people who bought those things included a picture of us on our honeymoon doing something related. If someone bought us breakfast in bed for $20, we would grab things from the continental breakfast buffet, stage it near the bed and take a picture. We had a lot of fun trying to stage pictures for stuff. "Wine on the beach" became BYOBag and borrowed glasses. Some meals were easy and we did windsailing lessons instead of jetski rentals but we had a blast. It was a lot of work traveling there though and on your honeymoon, you don't want to do work.

simonsez

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2014, 11:48:30 AM »
1. No
2. New Zealand and Fiji for 10 days.  We did a delayed honeymoon.  We were married in September and wanted a few months to be able to save/recover from the wedding and especially to be able to escape someplace in the middle of winter (plus my wife had never touched a drop of the Pacific Ocean and a South Pacific place where they speak English sounded good to us).  So we flew to Auckland in late February and it was amazing!  Feel free to PM for more details so I won't be as obnoxious to others.
3. Type specific questions into Trip Advisor.  You may receive some responses that are not helpful but you may learn something from others.  Seriously, who knew there were all these experts well versed in their Northwestern Viti Levu beaches and offshore islands?  Zero risk to ask.  That and good old fashioned google plus the tramping guides at the library were all we needed.  We like the Lonely Planet books, they seem to be geared toward people that are open to being physically active and exploring the natural side but have a nice balance with other travel info.

As for dollars earmarked from the wedding for travel, our entire wedding was map-themed.  Our guests signed an "adventure book" where they could tell us where to go or where they enjoyed spending time.  There were items we registered for but it was no secret we planned on going away somewhere.  We didn't even send out thank you cards until after our delayed honeymoon 6 months later (postcards that had a montage of pictures from the honeymoon).  I can see how allowing guests to buy something specific with the dollars could be cool, though.

Good luck!

KS

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Re: Honeymoon
« Reply #26 on: March 25, 2014, 12:56:48 PM »
I think July is also high season... most places June-August is peak travel time so flights/lodging do tend to be higher in those months, and there will be more crowds. March-April would be less busy, I would think. You may have some rain at that time of year (we did even in May) but for us that wasn't a deal-breaker. Most of the guidebooks, Rick Steves included, have a pretty good summary of the different seasons and what to expect. Check your local library, ours had practically a whole bookcase just of Italy guides to choose from. And if you do like Rick Steves, he has some pretty handy guide apps you can download free to your phone that we used for some of the major museums where we didn't want to miss the big stuff but would have been overwhelmed otherwise.

Also just FYI, I didn't have time to link to this yesterday but here's another thread specifically about Rome I remembered posting in previously, people had lots of good tips in that thread as well:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/ask-a-mustachian/about-to-take-a-big-speedy-trip-to-rome-how-do-i-make-it-more-mustachian

Also agree with folks that if you have 2 weeks, it may be worth doing a bit more than "just" Rome, unless you love museums/churches/art and want to really dig into all that. At some point for us there were only so many "Madonna con Bambino" paintings we could look at. We did this: 1) Fly into Rome, 4 days there, 2) train to Siena, 3 days, 3) train to Florence, 4 days, 4) train to Venice, 4 days, flew out of Venice. It was a bit of a whirlwind so I don't necessarily recommend that exact itinerary for your honeymoon, but just an example of how far you can feasibly go in about 2 weeks. 4 days was maybe a bit short for Rome, but I don't think we'd have known what to do with ourselves for more than a week there, as we easily took in most of the major sights within that time.

If (hopefully when) we go back to Italy someday, we would likely try and spend most of it in the countryside/smaller towns of Tuscany/Umbria. Big cities are great for all the "must see" sights but we get pretty burnt out from the bustle, and the countryside we saw from the windows of the train was gorgeous. Again this is all a matter of travel preference, I know some people can't get enough of the city!