We finally booked our “real” honeymoon last week for January 2013 and I couldn’t be more pleased. Originally I looked up different places, got some ideas of prices for flights and all-inclusive resorts to see what we could afford. We had places we were dying to go to, but the price just wasn’t right (aka Bora Bora, Brazil, Maldives). Even though our parents are paying for the wedding, we still couldn’t justify spending 10K+ of our own money for one week’s vacation! I even know someone that financed their honeymoon to an expensive resort! Can you believe that?!
A friend of mine told me her mom was a travel agent and even though I trust her, I was still a little leery on the concept. My family doesn’t really travel much and when we did, we planned our own trips. So, I gave it a shot and gave her mom our information, what we were looking for and what kind of budget we had. We had a resort in mind, so I made it easier for her.
The way it works is that you don’t really pay extra to have the travel agent plan your arrangements. The travel agency has accounts with tons of companies and the way they get paid is from the company or resort that you book with. Most of the time, they can get you a cheaper rate! They receive a certain percentage of commission based on your reservation from the resort/cruise line/rental car company etc. The only thing you would really be paying extra for is a nominal fee (around $30-$50) for the agent booking your flights. Airlines almost never pay commission, but the fee is worth it when they are monitoring flight prices daily for your trip and get you the best deal.
Our travel agent told us when we inquired in January this year that contracts are usually negotiated and prices are lowered for the following year around March/April and that we could book then, but it was probably smarter to wait for prices to drop. She checked daily for about 3 months and last week she got everything together for the best price. For a week at Cocobay Resort in Antigua with everything included (flights, transportation, room and board, food, alcohol, water sport activities, roses and Champagne on arrival, etc) we booked for under $5,000 for the premium cottage with an infinity pool! Everyone I told was like “WOW! That is a great price!”
So, I have to say that I totally recommend booking your honeymoon (or any large trip) through a travel agent! Knowing someone is a bonus that way you trust who you are working with, but an easy Google search can find you a reputable agent to work with. Planning a wedding is hard enough, so why not have someone else handle your honeymoon arrangements?