The Honeymoon or Vacation Recipe

Equal parts of budget and passion plus a well-thought-out plan equals the perfect honeymoon or vacation.

Let's face it, no one really wants to discuss money, but it is a key element to consider when planning your honeymoon or vacation. The budget can determine when you travel, the distance, duration, the quality, and all the great little extra touches that can make your holiday special. The budget range is also the best piece of information to give a travel professional up front, if you are working with one. It is the only way to ensure that the vacation options selected actually fit your needs. I always prefer to wow my vacationers with the best experience and value for their money. I also believe knowledge is power, and knowing your costs up front is helpful when considering all your options. Get the entire vacation from "Door-to-Door" quoted, not just one portion, then you can make an educated decision, with no unwelcome surprises, and don't forget the travel insurance.

1. Vacation Packages: Most packages that travel professionals put together offer bundled discounts, locked-in rates with only a small initial deposit and the balance typically not due until 30-90 days prior to traveling. That's a great way to plan-budget and go. Best advice, plan ahead, making last minute arrangements may result in limited or no availability and may make a bigger dent in your wallet.

2. Book Early: Book while the availability for rooms, flights and cabins are wide open, and typically at the lowest. The more things book up, the costlier they can become. That old "Supply and Demand" scenario reins true. It's your vacation, booking early is best guarantee to get what you want and save money.

3. Travel Dates: When deciding on your travel dates you should consider many things; do you want to travel on specific dates or are you flexible. Some airfare is less expensive if you are willing to be flexible on the dates. You may also find seasonal discounts available. You'll also want to research the weather and seasonal changes such as hurricane season and the rainy season for instance, so you don't dampen your holiday. Major events being held in the region you're traveling to can also affect availability and prices, so be sure to check.

What are you Passionate About?
1. How you travel does matter: Do you want a private experience, a family or a group trip? International or Domestic? Luxury or Budget? By Air, sea, rail, boat, bus or car? Hotel, B&B, Stateroom, Villa Rental or Camper? Do you want an all-inclusive or a more spontaneous on-the-go style of vacation? Do you want a romantic beachy getaway, or a cultural immersion into history, cuisine and wine? Do you want to bike across Europe or relax on the beach in the Florida? Do you want to take cooking classes and a gondola ride in Venice or curl up together next to a warm fire in Iceland? With so many options it really should come down to what are you passionate about? What activities or experiences do you want to have during your trip? Take in an event, hike, spa treatments, concert, cooking class, wine tasting, theatre, scuba dive, fish, dance club or festival? These activities can make your vacation memorable.

2. Research: Do your research to find the best location to have those experiences, or ask your travel professional. Plan ahead so you don't miss out on the opportunity to make your vacation or honeymoon extra special. The more complex your trip is the more valuable a travel professional can be to assist in a seamless and perfectly planned experience.

3. Confer: My best advice, is to set aside some time to discuss all the above with your partner or fellow travel companions and reflex on your ideas, your wishes and your MUST SEE and DO lists. Being open about your expectations and realistic about your budget will safeguard that you have the best honeymoon or vacation.

I believe every vacation is a trip of a lifetime, so make yours magical.

Laura Wake Kennedy is the owner of Wake's Travel, 860 W. Long Lake Rd. in Bloomfield Hills. Contact her at 734-464-0866 or via email at [email protected]. For more information, visit