Destination Wedding & Honeymoon travel: Advice from a Travel Agent

Planning a destination wedding with lots of people involved can be daunting. Even planning a honeymoon for two can have its headaches.  Travel agent Jennifer Doncsecz of travelbyvip.com is known for her travel savvy and insider perspective on under-the-radar destinations. Here, she shares her best advice on planning a get-away, via Martha Stewart Weddings.

How is working with a travel agent beneficial when booking a destination wedding?

When you book a block of hotel rooms directly or with an online travel site, you always pay the full fee upfront. When you work with an agent, s/he can negotiate a group hotel rate, and then renegotiate as your date gets closer, when hotels know more about their occupancy levels. Low occupancy equals deals! With an agent, final payment sometimes isn’t due until a month prior, which gives you extra time to firm up your guest list.

Are there discounts for group air travel?

Yes! For example, American Airlines will create a savings code — usually 5 percent off –if you have at least 10 people traveling their airline . They do not need to fly from the same airport.

How can newlyweds get upgrades?

When making a reservation, let your hotel know it’s your honeymoon! They’ll often give you a little something extra like a welcome bottle of Champagne, breakfast in bed, or even a nicer room at no extra charge. (Note: adults- and couples-only resorts don’t normally offer extras, as they cater almost exclusively to honeymooners.)

Any tips for arranging flights?

September us generally a cheap travel month as kids in the U.S. are back in school, Europeans are home from summer trips, and it’s hurricane season in the Caribbean and Mexico. Midweek flights can be cheaper than weekends. If you’re making numerous stops, consider a “circle trip,” which many airlines offer. It starts and ends at point A, but includes stops in between. This should cost less than buying a bunch of one-way tickets.

What  important issues do travelers often overlook?

Some airlines charge luggage fees. Some, like Delta, give you one free bag on international flights.  You also need to check visa requirements; many cruise lines leave it up to you to arrange visas for their ports of call.  And don’t forget to make sure your passport is valid. For countries like Costa Rica, your passport must be valid for 30 days after arrival, but others, like Fiji, count three months past departure date.

What are some necessities for long flights?

A blanket that comes in a bag is handy– you can use the bag to cover the airplane pillow!  Healthy snacks, like trail mix, are a must, since airplane food is either prepackaged or pricey. And DK Eyewitness Travel Guides are great for studying up on your destination.

Any advice for those who don’t use an agent?

If you can, book well in advance. Sign up for airline and hotel e-blasts, and monitor their Facebook and Twitter pages for deals, too.

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