Honeymoon Discussions

Travel Agency Advice

Hey there,

My fiance and I are getting married in October of this year.  We just recently started doing research on honeymoon destinations and are pretty overwhelmed.  We know we want to get out of the country, go somewhere warm enough to swim in October, be all-inclusive, and adults only.  Even when narrowing down to those criteria, it is still a daunting task. 

We've decided to look into travel agencies and were hoping you ladies (and fellas) might have some advice.   

If it helps, budget is $3000-$3500.  Is this budget to small for travel agencies to work with?

Thanks in advance! 

J

Re: Travel Agency Advice

  • It would depend on where you are flying from? Without that information it is hard to say what countries would be in your udget
  • I live in Chattanooga, TN and will be getting married in Asheville, NC.  We can leave from several airports: Atlanta, Nashville, or Charlotte.  
  • You can look at the Southern Caribbean islands. They would be warm in October. St. Lucia, Puerto Rico, Grenada, Curacao and Aruba are islands I have visited. Also cruises are a nice way to see many islands on one trip. Most cruise lines now have a drink package that makes it seem like more of an all inclusive vacation
  • We went to Couples Tower Isle in Jamaica for our honeymoon and absolutely loved it! It is all inclusive (even includes some excursions like snorkeling, a glass bottom boat tour, climbing Dunn River Falls, etc.) Great food and drinks too, and the staff are soo nice. It is adults only (actually couples only), and is definitely oriented towards a romantic/couples atmosphere. Not sure how the price would differ since we flew out of a different airport, but we paid right around $3k for a week. We booked through Cheap Caribbean, and had no issues.
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    edited January 2017
    That was our budget and we used a local travel agent.  It was a much easier process once we involved her compared to when we were trying to do it on our own.

    ETA:  we stayed at the Excellence Riveria Cancun and it lives up to its name.  They have a few resorts in Mexico and one in Punta Cana that I know of.
    image
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited January 2017
    First, understand that ALL online travel sites, like Travelocity, VacationstoGo, Expedia, AAA, are actually travel agencies.  There are a few things to watch out for:
    1.  A travel agent will not charge you a fee for their services.  If they do, run!  They are paid by the resorts and cruise lines.
    2.  Travel agents do not usually book air flights unless it is a part of a package.  You can book your own flights yourself, either on a travel site, or from the airline.
    3.  You have a choice between an on line travel agent and a local, brick and mortar travel agent.  If you are booking a cruise (They are very budget friendly.) make sure your travel agent specializes in cruises.   (I, personally, have used the same on line agent for may last eleven cruises.  PM me if you want his info.  I know he does a good job.)

    I have been on 23 cruises.  I wrote a sticky about them at the top of this board.  I'll be glad to answer any cruise questions you may have.  Your budget will be fine for a Caribbean cruise, and October is bargain season.  Always buy trip insurance!  Your medical insurance will not cover you if something should happen in Jamaica!

    Carnival sails from New Orleans for Mexico and Roatan, 7 days for $673 pp, balcony cabin, on Oct.22.  Nice deal.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • I loved St. Maarten - resort was Sonesta Ocean Point. Amazing!
  • Are you a AAA member? I've used their travel services and had a good experience. If not I'd try a local travel agent, they'll be able to narrow down your choices and give you options in your budget. 
  • Thanks everyone for your comments! This is very helpful information. 

    I am an AAA member and used their travel services that last time I was in London.  I was looking at travel agents that specifically handle honeymoon travel.  I have heard (read on these boards and others) that agents who specialize in romance travel can get those extra trappings like complimentary sparkling wine, breakfast in bed, couples massage, etc.  

    Thanks for the tip about fees.  I had a consultation with Bliss, but they want a $100 deposit.  I was told by the agent that this would be refunded once we spent $5,000 in travel through them, but since my budget is less than that, I will still be eating the $100 and that doesn't sit well with me. It may seem silly to squabble over $100 in the grand scheme of how much we are going to spend, but it still seems like a fee to me. 

    I have also cruised (only 5 times thought, mostly with Royal Caribbean), but I don't believe they do adults only (or couples only) cruises.  If I am wrong, please point me in the right direction! 

    Thanks again for all the info!  All your tips and suggestions will help FH and I navigate this process.   
  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I travel quite a bit to various parts of the world and we change up the type of trip each time we go. I have found that human travel agents (so, not Expedia) that specialize in the destination(s) you want to go are the best avenue. A good agent can match prices online and provide perks. However, there are some trips where it might not make sense to use an agent because it's just sooo simple to book online (air only, 2 nights in Vegas, etc.) 

    When planning a trip to an all-inclusive in the Caribbean with a smaller budget, going to an agent that charges a fee might not make sense. There are plenty of agents that specialize in that area that don't charge fees. However, if you are planning a complex, custom itinerary to Europe, a planning fee may be charged and might be worth it! It can take hours of time to pull all of the pieces together, plus with a specialist, you are getting access to their knowledge and connections. Sometimes the fees are applied to the trip, other times, you just pay for their expertise/connections on top of their commission. A $100 fee on a complex, luxury trip with private tours that costs $30K isn't really that bad. Since agents do work on commissions, for these larger complex trips, fees also make sense because there is so much planning work involved. It's like having a well known, seasoned realtor show you a bunch of different homes and then you find a place and use your newly licensed sister for the transaction. That first realtor didn't get paid for their knowledge and the time they spent assisting you! 

     







    charlotte989875
  • Thanks everyone for your comments! This is very helpful information. 

    I am an AAA member and used their travel services that last time I was in London.  I was looking at travel agents that specifically handle honeymoon travel.  I have heard (read on these boards and others) that agents who specialize in romance travel can get those extra trappings like complimentary sparkling wine, breakfast in bed, couples massage, etc.  

    Thanks for the tip about fees.  I had a consultation with Bliss, but they want a $100 deposit.  I was told by the agent that this would be refunded once we spent $5,000 in travel through them, but since my budget is less than that, I will still be eating the $100 and that doesn't sit well with me. It may seem silly to squabble over $100 in the grand scheme of how much we are going to spend, but it still seems like a fee to me. 

    I have also cruised (only 5 times thought, mostly with Royal Caribbean), but I don't believe they do adults only (or couples only) cruises.  If I am wrong, please point me in the right direction! 

    Thanks again for all the info!  All your tips and suggestions will help FH and I navigate this process.   
    I agree with Jells above that you may want to focus in on someone who specializes in a particular area, rather than a honeymoon focused agent. If you want to go beach/all inclusive/under $3,500 probably Caribbean or Mexico would be most likely from your location. 

    As to the bolded, I get that you want the "extras" (who doesn't?), but I wouldn't judge an agent based on whether they can get these for you. Those are services that get built into the costs of trips in other ways; maybe the agent gets those "extras" because they steer clients to those particular resorts (possibly at higher prices that others), or because you book a certain level of room/excursions/spend a certain amount of money. With a limited budget you want an agent who is going to get you the best quality in your price range, regardless of what resort you stay at. Additionally, resorts (and agencies) are there to make money, sadly they don't just give these amenities away for free.
    CMGragainSubwayloves
  • Thanks everyone for your comments! This is very helpful information. 

    I am an AAA member and used their travel services that last time I was in London.  I was looking at travel agents that specifically handle honeymoon travel.  I have heard (read on these boards and others) that agents who specialize in romance travel can get those extra trappings like complimentary sparkling wine, breakfast in bed, couples massage, etc.  

    Thanks for the tip about fees.  I had a consultation with Bliss, but they want a $100 deposit.  I was told by the agent that this would be refunded once we spent $5,000 in travel through them, but since my budget is less than that, I will still be eating the $100 and that doesn't sit well with me. It may seem silly to squabble over $100 in the grand scheme of how much we are going to spend, but it still seems like a fee to me. 

    I have also cruised (only 5 times thought, mostly with Royal Caribbean), but I don't believe they do adults only (or couples only) cruises.  If I am wrong, please point me in the right direction! 

    Thanks again for all the info!  All your tips and suggestions will help FH and I navigate this process.   
    I agree with Jells above that you may want to focus in on someone who specializes in a particular area, rather than a honeymoon focused agent. If you want to go beach/all inclusive/under $3,500 probably Caribbean or Mexico would be most likely from your location. 

    As to the bolded, I get that you want the "extras" (who doesn't?), but I wouldn't judge an agent based on whether they can get these for you. Those are services that get built into the costs of trips in other ways; maybe the agent gets those "extras" because they steer clients to those particular resorts (possibly at higher prices that others), or because you book a certain level of room/excursions/spend a certain amount of money. With a limited budget you want an agent who is going to get you the best quality in your price range, regardless of what resort you stay at. Additionally, resorts (and agencies) are there to make money, sadly they don't just give these amenities away for free.
    Agree with all of this. Any "perks" you get are really not because of the travel agent. When I was researching resorts, I could easily find what each resort offered as a "perk" for honeymooners, and if you have to spend a certain amount or stay a certain number of nights to get this. I don't think using a travel agency would make a difference for this.

    We got a champagne and fruit plate with a congratulations card waiting for us in our room when we checked in, and a free couples massage because we were on our honeymoon. We would have gotten this no matter how we booked, because it is what the resort offered. 
  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Thanks everyone for your comments! This is very helpful information. 

    I am an AAA member and used their travel services that last time I was in London.  I was looking at travel agents that specifically handle honeymoon travel.  I have heard (read on these boards and others) that agents who specialize in romance travel can get those extra trappings like complimentary sparkling wine, breakfast in bed, couples massage, etc.  

    Thanks for the tip about fees.  I had a consultation with Bliss, but they want a $100 deposit.  I was told by the agent that this would be refunded once we spent $5,000 in travel through them, but since my budget is less than that, I will still be eating the $100 and that doesn't sit well with me. It may seem silly to squabble over $100 in the grand scheme of how much we are going to spend, but it still seems like a fee to me. 

    I have also cruised (only 5 times thought, mostly with Royal Caribbean), but I don't believe they do adults only (or couples only) cruises.  If I am wrong, please point me in the right direction! 

    Thanks again for all the info!  All your tips and suggestions will help FH and I navigate this process.   
    I agree with Jells above that you may want to focus in on someone who specializes in a particular area, rather than a honeymoon focused agent. If you want to go beach/all inclusive/under $3,500 probably Caribbean or Mexico would be most likely from your location. 

    As to the bolded, I get that you want the "extras" (who doesn't?), but I wouldn't judge an agent based on whether they can get these for you. Those are services that get built into the costs of trips in other ways; maybe the agent gets those "extras" because they steer clients to those particular resorts (possibly at higher prices that others), or because you book a certain level of room/excursions/spend a certain amount of money. With a limited budget you want an agent who is going to get you the best quality in your price range, regardless of what resort you stay at. Additionally, resorts (and agencies) are there to make money, sadly they don't just give these amenities away for free.
    Agree with all of this. Any "perks" you get are really not because of the travel agent. When I was researching resorts, I could easily find what each resort offered as a "perk" for honeymooners, and if you have to spend a certain amount or stay a certain number of nights to get this. I don't think using a travel agency would make a difference for this.

    We got a champagne and fruit plate with a congratulations card waiting for us in our room when we checked in, and a free couples massage because we were on our honeymoon. We would have gotten this no matter how we booked, because it is what the resort offered. 
    There are some perks offered by the resorts no matter how you book, but there are some that come from the agencies. There are certain agencies that have perks tied to their credentials. Some higher end agencies  might include breakfasts or free nights that other agencies are unable to offer. I saw this when I was booking a trip to Europe awhile back. There are also some tied to their relationships with the resorts. For example, some agents book a property brand so much that the resort may offer preferred placement or complimentary items. Or, I have personally had some agents pay for some things for me as a thank you. When I went on my first trip to Tahiti, the agency sent me a gorgeous flower arrangement before the trip and provided us with additional champagne above and beyond what was the honeymoon package. 

     







  • The best perks DH and I ever got were from United Airlines.  I mentioned to the stewardess that it was our 40th wedding anniversary, and she presented us with a bottle of French Champagne (It was a Paris flight.) and goodies from first class.  Very nice, and unexpected.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
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