It may not be romantic, but checking the fine print and doing your homework to find a reputable tour operator will help ensure a hassle-free holiday.
Ask the Expert: honeymooning planning made easy
My husband and I are planning a honeymoon from the UAE but are concerned about the amount of money that we will have to spend on what is essentially a package holiday. We normally book our own hotels and flights and we tend towards more budget places, but on this occasion we want to enjoy a luxurious break and really spoil ourselves. What measures can we take to make sure that we get what we've paid for?
Whether you are a first-time or well-seasoned traveller, the same principles apply with regard to preparing for a successful holiday: check everything, then check it again - before you pay and before you set out. This is not the time to turn misty-eyed and forget about the small print.
The first thing you need to check is the price. Once you have settled on a destination, or perhaps a choice of two destinations, consult a range of tour operators and travel agents to compare prices. If you go to each with the same set of requirements, it should be relatively straightforward to obtain a selection of quotes. It is normally worthwhile booking through a well-known tour operator specialising in honeymoons, which has a reputation to protect and a long track record of providing holidays to people such as yourselves.
In each case, check what is included - taxes, transfers and breakfast can sometimes be conveniently left out of quotes. It is also often worth looking at the cost of arranging the same holiday at the same accommodation yourself - that is, booking the flights and accommodation separately. There is nothing to stop you doing this just because it's your honeymoon, though you may find that it is cheaper to go with a tour operator, in which case you should also be asking what else they can offer. Tour operators often block-book rooms at hotels, so make sure that you ask for a room upgrade and enquire about the cost of upgrading your flights. It may be that a tour operator can throw in something extra to incentivise you to book.
Sometimes, of course, the best planned holidays may not happen exactly as you hoped and some hiccups may occur. In such cases, it's important to tell your tour operator and local representative or hotel manager about any problems at the time, so that the company has a chance to rectify the situation. You will then have a stronger case for a complaint later if your holiday does not end to your satisfaction. Take photographs of any substandard accommodation and keep notes of any serious problems, complete with names and times. However it is always better to try to resolve any problems at the earliest opportunity, as once you have left the resort the enjoyment of your honeymoon will not be able to be recaptured.
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