I wasn't quite sure if planning our honeymoon would be stressful or fun for me. Although I LOVE to travel, spending any amount of money gives me anxiety. And I knew we'd be talking thousands of dollars for this trip. *shudder* Add to that the fact that we'll be traveling internationally, to more than one location, and will be away from our house (and dogs) for two full weeks, and you'd think I'd be an utter mess. But, so far, it's been pretty fun. Here's what keeping me sane.
- No backing out. Dates are set. We are building our honeymoon around a trip to Istanbul for our friends' wedding in July. This means that we have to go over a certain date. Which is good because it limits the "Would it be better to go in September?" "Is the winter cheaper?" "Should we do this next year instead?" sort of questions. It also means we have a fairly limited range of places to consider for our side trips. Limited options = easier decisions.
- We love to travel. It's not like I'm scared to take a big trip abroad. Katie and I are actually both super excited about it! If I ever hesitate for a second, I just think of us on an overnight flight over the Atlantic, antsy with excitement for what's to come, and I perk right up.
- It's our honeymoon, for goodness sake. Now is the time to splurge. Seriously. This is what we want to spend our money on. We're responsible with our money, we've saved up, we're not having a huge blow-out wedding, and this is (possibly) a once in a lifetime experience.
So although our flights are not yet booked, we have gotten a few big tasks out of the way.
- Passport Renewals - Kate's passport expired last year so I knew she'd have to get it renewed. I knew mine didn't expire until later this year, so I thought I was safe. But then I remembered a coworker telling me he had to have his renewed because it was going to expire too soon after he returned to the US after a trip to China. I'm guessing this is to protect you in the event that you get stuck in another country for longer than expected. (Can you imagine being hospitalized while abroad only to have your passport expire while you couldn't travel?!) Long story short, mine was set to expire in October, which was within 90 days of our planned return, so I renewed mine as well. The process was surprisingly quick, and we both got our new passports within 2 weeks.
- Vacation Time - I have been hoarding my vacation time for months and months now. We are able to accrue one week over our annual allotment, which means I will have a whopping 20 days (4 weeks) saved up by June. I'm taking a week around the wedding and two weeks in July for the honeymoon. Woo-to-the-hoo! Kate's job is way different. As a fairly new firefighter, she basically gets assigned vacation time. (They pick at the beginning of the year, and it goes in order of seniority.) There was no way she would get anything in the summer, let alone the specific week around our friends' wedding. However, they are allowed to trade shifts with others in order to get time off. Kate called in all of her favors and got enough shifts covered that she'll be off for 15 straight days.
- Kayak Price Alerts - A couple of months ago I downloaded the Kayak app and plugged our desired travel dates into the price alert section. It has been checking prices and alerting me daily to changes. At first I was disappointed to see little movement, but things dropped significantly in the past few weeks. Unfortunately they popped back up today, but I'm willing to wait it out a bit longer in hopes that it will settle again.
Ok, so all this jabber and I haven't really told you what we're planning!
As I mentioned, we're going to Istanbul for a wedding. My good friend and maid of honor, Mine, is from Istanbul and has been trying to get me to visit for years now. I'm so excited to finally get to go! We will spend about 5 days exploring the city and celebrating the wedding with Mine & Colin's families.
We are taking some extra time to travel before the wedding. To where, we're not quite sure yet. However, we know we want it to be low-key and beautiful. We're talking a laying on a beach, floating in a pool, napping in a hammock kind of honeymoon. It's so tempting to try to squeeze in as much travel as we can while we're in Europe, but we've decided to save that for another trip. This trip will be about relaxation. We will most likely end up at an all-inclusive resort on the beaches of Turkey's southern coast. But I still can't get these beautiful images of Greece out of my mind...
I'll let you know what we decide. In the meantime, I'm going to be watching Kayak like a hawk, ready to swoop down on the next good price I see.
Do you have any experience/advice regarding traveling in/between Turkey & Greece? Any resorts you'd recommend? We'd absolutely love your input!!