When we were planning our honeymoon, the husband deferred the task to me. I’m used to planning trips. Back in the day, my family would hit the road with little more than a map. I have no idea how my parents found hotels to book in the pre-internet age, as I don’t remember us ever using a travel agency.
When I was old enough to start hitting the road on my own, GoogleMaps and Mapquest were always at the ready. I was often staying with friends, so I didn’t worry too much about accommodations.
Then there’s the trips where you have to fly. They’re pretty darn awesome as they allow you to see corners of the world that aren’t easily accessible by your car. That’s not to say the process isn’t overwhelming. Finding flights, hotels, and the best attractions to a place unknown can lead you down the internet rabbit hole. It’s totally possible to emerge hours later, no closer to booking your trip than when you started.
When we were planning our honeymoon, and many other recent trips, I’ve found myself using one site more than any other. It’s been my one-stop shop for all things travel, being highly efficient and reliable. That site is the famed TripAdvisor.
While TripAdvisor is no secret, there are various ways you can use the site that you might not know about. Here’s how to plan your honeymoon, without having to traipse all over the entire internet.
When we were trying to identify where we wanted to go, we knew we wanted it to be tropical, and because of our geographic location, we wanted it to be in the Caribbean. That was it. That left us with an overwhelming amount of options.
I went to TripAdvisor and searched for an overview of the Caribbean, which brings up popular destinations, travel guides, photos, traveler experiences, hotels, food options, and more. We briefly considered Negril before opting for Tulum. It looked a little quieter, and the ruins sounded a-mazing.
I think I may have looked at every hotel option in Tulum, from huts to all-inclusive resorts. TripAdvisor made that task easy; when you look for one in your locale, it brings up them up in ranking according to traveler-based reviews. You can filter based on type of hotel (do you want to stay at a B&B or a vacation rental?), hotel class, style (are you going on a romantic getaway or looking for a family-friendly place?), amenities and more.
That’s how we found our boutique hotel. I almost booked a hut, but through the reviews on TripAdvisor, I decided the security, customer service, and air conditioning would be worth spending money on. And it totally was!
Things to Do
The “Things to Do” section under Tulum helped me find every last thing we did. Other users gave some of the most up-to-date information regarding pricing and travel logistics for the ruins we wanted to visit. Those reviews also helped us decided which canal float we wanted to go on, and which tour agency we wanted to use to do it.
That last part ended up being super important. It’s how we got booked with a biologist who actually knew what he was doing in a jungle that had the potential to be a little scary. It’s also how we got the most delicious and authentic lunch as a part of our package.
We traveled at peak season, so finding a good deal on a flight was pretty important. I set up a travel alert via TripAdvisor, and got emails when fellow users found lower-than-average rates. We ended up scoring our tickets for under $300 each, which isn’t half bad for where we’re flying from and the time of year.
Transport & Other Important Info
The forums were another important area I visited. While I was there, I learned that ADO was the cheapest and most comfortable way to get around the Yucatan Peninsula, saving us literally hundreds on transport to the ruins and from the airport.
If you’re headed somewhere unfamiliar, I’d highly recommend checking out the forums as you’re likely to find answers to questions you didn’t know to ask. Or you can even ask an original one yourself.
That’s how we planned our honeymoon. I leveraged all of the tools TripAdvisor provided to find the best value, figure out where we were willing to spend more, and find ways we could save a ton of money while still having an unforgettable trip.
How did you plan your honeymoon? Or are you in the process?
*This post contains affiliate links. The affiliate relationship did not exist back when I was planning, however. Thanks for supporting this blog, and I hope the tips are helpful as you plan your own adventure!*
I’m in the process of planning our honeymoon now. I actually need to book it this week. Sites like TipAdvisor are a godsend for people who prefer who value simplicity and having all the information they need in one place.
Exactly. We never would have been able to find all the value we did without it. Where are you guys heading? I can’t wait to hear all about it!
I would recommend having a good talk about each other’s expectations before. I’ve had couples come on honeymoon to my place which is remote and adventurous, and one was happy while the other would have been happier in a resort. Do you just want to enjoy each other, if so get a resort, or hire a guide. Do you want to share an adventure, rent a car and go exploring. But it has to be good for both.
I agree so much! I pow wowwed with the husband on the hotel, and whether he wanted to do Xcaret or Muyil. His input was what ultimately sent us to Muyil, despite my fear of crocs! And I’m glad… We had a great time and experienced amazing things outside my comfort zone while still coming back to a secure place at night.
My mom and I each opened a mileage card up, and we used the initial bonus to book the plane tickets. We lucked out with a friend who worked in the hotel industry, so we got $33/night rooms during our stay. Meanwhile, I did a lot of price comparisons for theme park tickets (we went to Orlando) and found some good prepaid rates that probably saved us at least $200.
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I love to plan trips, and I didn’t know about all those features on TripAdvisor. I’ll have to check them out. For my honeymoon, I traded my timeshare week (yes, I have one of those) for a beautiful resort in Maine. I used various internet sites to watch airfares, find a good car rental, and locate area attractions and things to do. We had an amazing time without spending a fortune!
I’m back. What a great article and I think some people are using Airbnb to save money lodging.