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Publication: Travel Tips
Heading For The Honeymoon

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Tips & Advice for the Seasoned and Armchair Traveler Alike! 

April 8, 2008 

I am terrible at buying wedding gifts. 

Once, on the night before a college friend's wedding, I 
chipped in with five other people for some patio furniture 
I'd never seen and didn't really think about. Nobody, it 
turns out, checked beforehand to make sure the happy couple 
actually had a patio.

Another time - and this time I was actually in the wedding 
party - I drove myself crazy trying to find the perfect 
gift. I never did. Instead, I basically gave them a fancy 
IOU that said something special would be arriving soon.

That was 19 years ago. As far as I know, they're still 

In this week's issue: 




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Honeymoons are often the biggest travel adventure of a young 
couple's life. It's an excuse to spend outrageous sums of 
money that become increasingly difficult to justify as you 
add children, mortgages and other responsibilities into the 
marriage mix.

It's also one of the few opportunities people have to get 
others to pay for their travel dream vacation.

Honeymoon travel registries have become an increasingly 
popular trend in recent years. Newlyweds like them because 
they pull more resources into the travel planning and 
generally allow couples to upgrade their travel plans.

They are especially attractive to couples who get married 
later in life, or who have already been married at least 
once before. These are people who - if they needed a bread 
maker or a juicer - probably already have one. 

Honeymoon registries generally work by allowing a couple to 
select elements of their honeymoon - airfare, hotel nights, 
meals, tours, golf rounds, spa treatments, admissions, 
spending cash … whatever - that friends and family can put 
money toward as wedding gifts.

So, instead of investing in unusable outdoor furniture, I 
could have picked up the honeymoon couple's tab at the hotel 
Tiki bar. That probably would have kept me on their 
Christmas card list.

What kind of honeymoon gifts can you buy for a newly hitched 

The Big Day (http://www.thebigday.com)  one of the top 
honeymoon registries on the Internet, lists the most recent 
gifts purchased through the company on its website. Last 
time I looked, it included horseback riding for two, airfare 
from Los Angeles to Tahiti, scuba lessons and diving, a 
toiletries organizer, a sailboat cruise for two, breakfast 
in bed and 500 miles of airfare. 

There are several honeymoon travel registries available on 
the Internet. Many travel agencies also provide honeymoon 
gift registry services. 

As with anything else, you need to be a smart shopper when 
choosing a honeymoon bridal registry. Here are some tips: 


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* Beware of fees.

Honeymoon registries typically charge a "service fee" based 
on the total dollar amount of gifts contributed. This means 
the couple gets a check before the honeymoon, minus the 
registry's cut. 

If you're not careful, this can erode the actual value of 
the travel gift by as much as 15 percent, according to Susan 
Breslow Sardone, editor of About.com's guide to honeymoons 
and romantic getaways.

Honey Luna (http://www.honeyluna.com), one of the oldest 
registries, charges 15 percent of the total gift purchase. 
So, someone wanting to buy a new couple a $200 night at a 
hotel would actually have to pay $230.

The Honeymoon (http://www.thehoneymoon.com/), another of the 
veteran players in this field, charges a sliding scale fee, 
starting at 8.85 percent, that decreases as the total value 
of the gifts booked through them increases. 

The Big Day does something similar, starting at 9 percent, 
and offering discounts when the total purchase hits $2,000. 
If the honeymoon travel package hits $3,500, the fee drops 
off completely. 

* Know who you're dealing with.

Honeymoon registry companies, which are basically travel 
agents who specialize in this area, are not the only ones 
providing this service. Increasingly, lodging chains are 
also offering to collect money from wedding well wishers to 
pay for a honeymoon stay.

These chains, which include Marriott, Starwood and Sandals, 
usually don't charge a fee because they're booking their own 
properties. On the flip side, it limits what the money can 
be used for. Couples may select only tours, meals and rooms 
operated by the company and affiliated businesses. 

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* Be aware that you're on the hook.

In a traditional wedding registry, you post a wish list of 
gifts. If nobody ends up buying you that imported set of 
sushi knives, no big deal.

Honeymoon travel, however, requires money to be spent up 
front. You've got to book flights and hotel rooms, and 
that's got to be done in advance. If you've spent more than 
you can afford and your friends and family don't come 
through, you could find yourself collecting empty deposit 
bottles to raise some vacation spending cash.

* Beware of expiration dates.

Always ask, particularly when dealing with lodging chains. 
Starwood's registry gifts, for example, expire two years 
after their purchase date. 

* Don't assume you're getting a good deal.

In fact, you're probably not. As soon as you use the word 
"wedding" in a discussion with travel professionals, they 
know there's an opportunity to get you to spend more than 
you'd normally be willing to part with. 

Well, that's it for this week, group. Thanks again for 
reading, and please keep those comments, complaints and 
questions coming in. 

You can send me an e-mail message at: Email Pierce

Until next week, thanks for reading.   

Your Tipmeister,   



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