Honeymoon Discussions
Options

First Time Travelers

My fiancé and I are getting married in December 2013 and we’ve just begun our honeymoon ideas. We both agree that Italy is our dream honeymoon but neither of us have gone much farther than home in northwest Indiana. I know he won’t admit it, but I’m a little nervous just thinking about it and I’m afraid I’ll miss out on this once in a lifetime chance just because I’m afraid of the unknown. I’ve looked into fully guided tours etc.. But it’s averaging 4500.00 each. Not including airfare, we couldn’t swing that without doing financial damage to our savings. Its obviously cheaper to book on our own.. So are there any ideas or advice from others that were in our situation? How about Italy in December; should we wait until early spring?

Re: First Time Travelers

  • Options
    oooh!!  So exciting!  I know that traveling can seem daunting when you've never done it before.  I remember when I had to change planes the first time I flew alone - I was sure I'd mess it up.  I did just fine and so will you guys!!

    An idea for you might be a meditterean cruise.  You would only need to travel to, say, Rome.  After that, you'd get on a ship that would take you around to all the awesome cities in Italy and Sicily.  You'd get to see the sites without the pressure of making a lot of arrangements.

    The other thing I'd recommend is picking one city in Italy and spending your whole vacation there.  It could be a city that you can get a direct flight to (no need to change planes in other European countries) and you could get your bearings walking around the same city each day.  Travel books are awesome at pointing you towards sites, hotels, and places to eat.  They also tell you roughly the cost of cabs, eating in various restaurants, public transit, and hotels.

    I'd set a budget first.  Then look at flights and hotels.  You can decide how much you have to spend on flights and how many nights you can afford.  Set aside money for eating (again, the books are great at giving you estimates), visiting attractions, and buying souvenirs. 

    Good luck!!
  • Options
    Sometimes booking on your own can cost you more than booking with a travel agent.
    I din't book my whole honeymoon as a package just a few things. I got airfare when it was on sale and did that myself, as well I booked our cruise in advance when deposits where half price and there were upgrades available.
    My parents did the Mediteranean cruise and said that it was amazing! They left 3 days early and explored Barcelona and Venice, then stayed and extra 3 days in Paris after they got off of the cruise ship. That way they got the best of both worlds.
    I would suggest going in and seeing a travel agent and get them to help you customize your trip the way you want it. I don't suggest doing the "pre-done" packages. Once you decide where you are going start watching flights and prices. I did, and I ended up getting 2 tickets for the price of 1. Also you can create an account with Trip Advisor and it will send you updates when prices drop on the flight to your destination.
    If you book your cruise early, usually there is an early saver discount as well as the ease of doing monthly payments so there is no big payment at the end, when you are paying for your wedding.
    I hope some of this helps :)
  • Options
    First decide how much your budget is for the trip and then length of time you will be able to dedicate to the trip.

    Once those two items are somewhat finalized, I would recommend buying or checking out guidebooks on Italy from your local library to determine exactly where you want to go. My favorites are Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, and DK Eyewitness (for awesome pictures). Rick Steves also has a very helpful website that you can begin looking at now for ideas.

    I have been to Italy twice. On our most recent trip last September we went for two weeks visiting Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, Milan, and Venice. I have a listing of the entries in my travel blog on Italy here.

    For a first trip to Italy, I would recommend Rome, Florence, and Venice with a day or two in Tuscany (assuming you have at least two weeks). If you've only got a week, then I would stick to two cities or less.

    In terms of when to travel, I would personally avoid December because I like to travel when it's warm/hot/sunny out. I would wait until spring, but again, that's a personal decision. If you visit during the off-season you will likely get reduced rates on hotels and your airfare, so that's something to consider.

    For our two week trip we spent $5000 total, not including flights there (we had frequent flier miles to use and got our tickets for free).

    While guided tours seem easier and less stressful for travel newbies, they are definitely much more expensive than what it would cost to do it on your own.
  • Options
    Great ideas! The idea of a cruise is very intriguing especially the peace of mind of knowing at some point we’ll get there and have help. A lot of them port at Rome.. Did you have any trouble navigating from the airport? Italian is beautiful to listen to, but I honestly can not read any of it. How about with converting currency? I’m sure I’ll have tons of questions as I think of more, so thank you in advance for everyone’s help. We’ll definitely be making an appointment with a travel agent, so if there are any questions I should be asking I’m all ears!
  • Options
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_honeymoon_first-time-travelers?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:11Discussion:14013960-a66c-4f2e-bcfd-87e48b07aa61Post:2e095fa2-a8c4-43ee-83a2-abbbb2fe24aa">Re: First Time Travelers</a>:
    [QUOTE]Great ideas! The idea of a cruise is very intriguing especially the peace of mind of knowing at some point we’ll get there and have help. A lot of them port at Rome.. Did you have any trouble navigating from the airport? Italian is beautiful to listen to, but I honestly can not read any of it. How about with converting currency? I’m sure I’ll have tons of questions as I think of more, so thank you in advance for everyone’s help. We’ll definitely be making an appointment with a travel agent, so if there are any questions I should be asking I’m all ears!
    Posted by kpeterson21[/QUOTE]

    <div>I agree that pp have given great advice.  DH and I did a mediteranean cruise for our honeymoon last year.  We flew in and out of Rome, and visited Sicily, Turkey, and Greece on the cruise.  You can set all your excursions before you even leave.  We booked through expedia and made sure to get transfers from the airport to the boat and vice versa.  Thank god we did that b/c the airport in Rome is a bit of a nightmare.  And it took about 30-40 min by car to get to the boat if I remember correctly.  Luckily I speak Italian so was able to understand pretty much everything.  But, most people speak English anyway so you'll be fine.  You'll have to convert dollars to euros which I'd recommend doing before you leave.  You can also use your credit card while there.  </div>
  • Options
    Also dont be worried about currency conversion.  The Euro is very easy to work with.  Normally when I travel abroad I try to use a credit card for everything i possibly can and then I just stop at the hotel ATM to take out cash.. my bank exchange is not all that bad.
  • Options

    After establishing a budget and the length you want your trip to be, I'd also consider what kind of trip you want.  Do you want to be on the go and exploring, or something more relaxing?

    We did our first trip to Europe in Spring and the majority of the days we were out and about 12hrs+ straight. We both agreed that we were happy to have done an all-inclusive for our HM and to save the more active trip for a vacation.

    Personally, I won't cruise in Europe, just because there's to much to see, I'd rather be on land.  Similarly, booking a European vacation takes a lot of research and time, but I would rather do that than prebook a tour because then you can include what's important to you in your schedule (plus often times I find them way over priced; I know Italy is expensive, but for example, we did an 18-day trip to Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona and London and spent $7,500, including airfare (although that didn't include 5 nights of lodging in London bc we had somewhere to stay).  Best of luck!

  • Options

    I agree with PP, I wouldn't cruise Europe either.  If you decide to do it, make sure you factor in excursion times/prices.  Your time is limited at each stop, and if you don't book an excursion, you may find yourself waiting in long lines to see a site and not get to see everything you wanted. 

    If you book an excursion, you often avoid that.  But that comes with a cost.  For example, on Princess, an excursion to see St Peters, Sistene Chapel, Trevi Fountain and Colliseum will run you $350/person!  This adds up really quickly! 

    FI and I found an escorted tour of Italy that included everything we wanted to see.  Many of our meals were included and we had a nice balance of time away from the group.  It was our first escorted tour and we were really hesitant because we like to do things on our own, but we loved it!  It was great bypassing all of the long lines to the tourist sites.  We would've never been able to do and see all we did on our own and stress/worry free like we did.

  • Options
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_honeymoon_first-time-travelers?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:11Discussion:14013960-a66c-4f2e-bcfd-87e48b07aa61Post:2e095fa2-a8c4-43ee-83a2-abbbb2fe24aa">Re: First Time Travelers</a>:
    [QUOTE]Great ideas! The idea of a cruise is very intriguing especially the peace of mind of knowing at some point we’ll get there and have help. A lot of them port at Rome.. Did you have any trouble navigating from the airport? Italian is beautiful to listen to, but I honestly can not read any of it. How about with converting currency? I’m sure I’ll have tons of questions as I think of more, so thank you in advance for everyone’s help. We’ll definitely be making an appointment with a travel agent, so if there are any questions I should be asking I’m all ears!
    Posted by kpeterson21[/QUOTE]

    there is a train from termini (the central rome train station) to civitavecchia (the port) about 6 times a day. i've taken it. it's about 5 euro a piece and it's EASY and about a 60 minute ride. you can't miss civitavecchia-it's the last stop. not to worry about the language-in most large cities and especially in airports and large train stations english is widely spoken.
    currency conversion is no big deal. you can convert some (just call your bank and ask how) here and then use an ATM there.

    and jsut FYI-i'm of the belief that no trip is once in a lifetime unless you put that restriction on it. so don't worry :)

     

  • Options
    also-winter is a great time to visit. i've been 2x in sept/oct and one in jan/feb-all in the past 3 years. i actually prefer winer. rome is pretty warm-int he high 50s during the day and chillier at night. florence was about 10 colder. and it was empty!! and lovely!! and cheap!! to give you an example-the hotel we stayed in rome is about 500/night in the high season. it was less than 100/night in january. i dont find the food or drink to be expensive at all. less than average.

    there are many resources for you-both online and in print. rick steves books are great for budget itdeas for hotels, restaurants etc... and his pod casts are great for downloading and walking around iwth and avoiding the 15euro or whatever fee at the sites.

     

  • Options
    I've been on 2 Mediterranean cruises and a Baltic cruise and I had to be mindful of the price of excursion when budgeting because they were very pricey (many over $100).  So while the price of the cruise was enticing, when we added in the extras it started to add up. 

    I've also done 2 bus tours of Europe and I have to say, cruising was more exhuasting than the bus tours.  You are in port from morning till dinner (mostly) and then you come back and dress for dinner and then do the shows and evening entertainment (optional). 

    If you go to one city as your base, you could do guided day trips from there through companies like Viator that will pick you up at your hotel.  I'm not a fan of Rome, so I would recommend Florence as your base.  You could do day trips into Tuscany, Pisa, Capri, Cinque Terre, Sorrento, Pompii, etc....  This could give you flexibility and save some money.

    Now I want to go there!
    image
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards