Honeymoons Q&A

Honeymoons Q&A

If you've got questions about planning your honeymoon, we've got the answers!

For more questions and honeymoon experiences from real couples, check out the 2013 issue of Unique Honeymoons magazine - on sale now! Plus you can pick your perfect trip with our Honeymoon Finder (one less thing to worry about!) and tell us exactly what you're looking for (with a chance to win a £100 photobook) by doing our reader survey...

Q: We want to go on safari - where's best for first timers?

A: Kenya's Masai Mara is perhaps Africa's most iconic safari destination, and its open savannahs virtually guarantee first-timers a wealth of wildlife sightings. The famed Great Migration - a mass movement of millions of wildebeest and zebra - is best seen here July-October. The park does get very busy; for a more exclusive experience head to the upmarket camps in the west or the surrounding private conservancies where walking safaris are permitted.

At nearly 15,000 sq km, the Serengeti (just south of the Mara) feels less crowded and more varied. To witness the Great Migration here, seek specialist advice on the best locations - or splurge on a camp which moves with the wildlife like Serengeti Wilderness Camp. Ngorongoro Crater, east of the Serengeti, is an improbable concentration of wildlife - if you only have a day to safari, do it here.

Finally, Kruger National Park is probably the easiest safari to access owing to South Africa's excellent infrastructure. Some argue it's a bit too managed, but at 22,000 sq km there are plenty of opportunities to get off the beaten track, and the Big Five (lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino, elephant) can all be seen. It's also the best option for those on a budget, offering a wider range of accommodation.

Check out out special Safari Q&A for more info

Q: can we wangle a flight upgrade?

A: Well, if you don't ask, you don't get: you've got nothing to lose! That said, the only way to guarantee an upgrade is to pay for one. Tell your booking agent that you're honeymooners - they might have more sway with the airline. At the airport, tell check-in staff you're on honeymoon, turn on the charm and ask politely for an upgrade. They will almost always say no at this point, but might make a note on your booking; if you're lucky, you may get a nice surprise at the departure gate. Your chances are improved if you have a loyalty card with the airline or fly with them frequently.

Even if you don't receive an upgrade (and it's a long shot), tell the onboard staff that you're on honeymoon and they'll almost certainly want to do something special for you: complimentary champagne or a Business Class goodie bag perhaps. Also, improve your flying experience without upgrades by researching your plane. Look for a plane offering a 2-5-2 or 2-3-2 seat formation so you can sit by yourselves; check-in online early to reserve the best available seats.

Q: can we volunteer on our honeymoon and still have a romantic trip?

A: As far-flung destinations become more accessible, finding a truly memorable honeymoon is increasingly difficult. There's a growing trend for couples wanting more meaningful-'moons, with a little more heart and a lot more action.
Environmental work in rainforests, wildlife research, diving conservation on coral reefs: all are options. You don't need specific skills, although if you have particular expertise it may be utilised.

You will need to pay for most volunteer placements so ask exactly where your money is going; reputable companies will be able to explain the costs involved. Many couples put the trip on their giftlist, so guests can make contributions. Romance doesn't have to be lost because you're volunteering. You'll find your passions fired by the good you're doing, but you can also pick projects that allow for a little more privacy and luxury.

Q: is a cruise a good honeymoon option?

A: There are many advantages in honeymooning at sea: you only pack and unpack once; it's hassle-free and safe, and you get special attention if you want it. It is also easy to budget in advance as one price often includes airfare, cruise, food, entertainment, several destinations, shore excursions, and pre- and post-cruise hotel stays.
Although no ship as yet provides bridal suites, many ships have suites with king- or queen-sized beds. Some also provide tables for two in the dining room, if you just wish to dine together. A variety of 'moon packages are available; perhaps champers and caviar for breakfast, flowers in the cabin, a complimentary cake or a private captain's cocktail party.

Most large resort ships accommodate honeymooners. However, couples averse to crowds might try one of the smaller, yacht-like vessels such as those of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn, Silversea Cruises or Windstar Cruises. And for quiet moments? The deck to the forward part of the ship, near the bridge, is the most dimly lit part and the quietest - except, perhaps, for the whistle of the wind.

Q: we're going on safari - is malaria a worry?

A: Malaria is a serious risk in much of sub-Saharan Africa. There are regions that are usually malaria-free, though many aren't so good for seeing the Big Five. Antimalarials don't have to be started weeks in advance; tablets that are taken daily (doxycycline and Malarone) can be started 24-36hrs before arrival. It's best not to try for
a pregnancy immediately - let the antimalarials leave your body first. 

Malaria isn't only a risk on safari. Other tropical and subtropical destinations (including areas of Latin America and India) have a lower risk but still require precautions. Check www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk for malaria-risk maps. And check our guide to Honeymoon Health for more of Dr Jane's tips.

Still got questions?

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