Ah, the age old question of letting a professional handle your eight days of relaxation or getting hands on and researching the hot spots. First off, there are a few things to consider before even weighing in on which service to use.
1) A honeymoon is not your average family vacation. It’s a chance for you and your partner to discover yourselves for the first time as newlyweds. Seems fairly obvious but it can get overlooked a lot!
2) Honeymoons are usually planned around 4-6 months before a wedding (hopefully! otherwise there will be hell when wedding planning gets in the way).
3) 55% of Modern Bride’s readers travel on a honeymoon package, a third of which stay at all-inclusive resorts.
With that done and said, there are also a few stereotypes that go along with online discount booking services and travel agents. First off, not all travel agents charge ridiculous commissions and they sometimes do provide better package deals than Expedia. Secondly, discount sites are not just for people on a tight budget, just about everyone uses them!
If you are two months away from your wedding, which you are trying to plan yourself, by all means go use a travel agent and save yourself some serious hassle. Travel agents help you out with just about every step of your honeymoon planning process. An excellent one will work with your budget, listen to what you want, provide you with multiple options, provide support and help if plans go awry (flight delayed, etc), and have testimonials or good references. Some agents won’t even charge you (or charge a nominal fee), as they receive commissions from hotels and airlines they refer you to.
However, probably half (well, probably more like a quarter) the fun of a honeymoon is researching all the exciting destinations with your fiancee. I know I get pretty excited just planning a weekend trip, so for those planning and detail enthusiasts, online booking services may be the thing for you.
What service you use can depend on the location of your honeymoon too. A four city hop across Europe can be pretty daunting to plan if you’ve never done it before and a travel agent can be of huge assistance. Likewise, a very competitively priced, all-inclusive package to Aruba simply takes a few clicks on Orbitz to book.
Your personal level of sanity during a crisis and tolerance for mishaps can also be a factor. A lot of posts on forums I’ve read have insisted that couples choose travel agents to avoid dealing with delayed flights, canceled hotel reservations, and other potential honeymoon destroyers out there. Frankly, it can be pretty easy to rebook a room or flight on the fly. Most (and I emphasize most) airline/hotel managers are pretty good about keeping their customers happy, especially if the fault is theirs. It’s important to note for every “disaster” honeymoon out there, there are plenty of excellent ones that were planned without a travel agent. A lot of travel agents play the “what if” card to the worry prone folks out there. That said, bad things do happen and a good travel agent can take care of these unexpected incidents for you. If you are unfazed about getting lost in the Urals on your honeymoon or are a crisis manager by profession, then the assurance that travel agents provide need not concern you.
So all in all, the decision is really up to you! Depending on your destination, timeline, budget constraint, and personal fortitude, your local/national agent or one of the many booking sites out there may be the thing for you. Happy planning!