Monday, June 4, 2012

The Castles Abroad

We had an amazing honeymoon. It probably wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, but it was perfect for us. We didn't stay in fancy hotels, we didn't splurge on honeymoon massages or breakfast in bed. We had a strict budget, we stuck to it, and we did A LOT. My favorite quote from our honeymoon comes from Mr. Castle. At the end of a full day of museums and sight seeing Mr. Castle turned to me and said, "My brain is full." Perfect description of our honeymoon. We saw so much, learned so much and took in so much from the different places we visited. We were basically exhausted by the end of our trip. We now totally understand the allure of relaxing on the beach for your honeymoon. Our next trip will be just that! But we wanted a European adventure for our honeymoon and boy did we get it!
Personal Photo / Showing off our rings while checking the map in Rome

Before I go into the details of our honeymoon, I wanted to share how we made our plans. I never got a chance to blog about it pre-wedding because I was too occupied with wedding posts!

First off, we did not use a travel agent for our trip. We booked our airfare, train tickets, and all six of our hotels ourselves. That's right six! One for Rome, Florence, Venice, two in Paris and one near Disneyland Paris. We tried to stick to a budget of $100 a night for our hotels. We were a little over on some and a little under on others but for the most part we did pretty well. Most of our hotels were pretty decent, some were very nice and only one was disappointing. But we didn't spend much time in our hotel rooms, we were out exploring! So as long as it was clean and had a decent bed we were happy.

We found all our hotels by scouring reviews on tripadvisor.com. Once we found a hotel that looked OK we would check the rates and compare with others. We also found a lot of great restaurants using tripadvisor. I downloaded their free app on my iPhone which has guides for specific cities that works offline. I used it in Florence and Paris (They have one for Rome too but I forgot to download it.) It was a huge help when we would be somewhere and have no idea where to eat! Seriously, trip advisor fan here. It's such a great site to use when planning trips.

We decided to book tours of some of the "must see" spots on our trip. We booked tours for the Vatican, Ancient Rome, a Florence Sunset Bike Tour, Venice in a day, Paris ghost and mysteries tour, and finally a Palace of Versailles tour. We booked all these tours through a site called Viator.com. This site has so many tours for a lot of different locations. All our tours were great, very informative and well worth booking. Our bike tour of Florence was our favorite. The only thing I have to say, that isn't necessarily negative but worth noting, is that we were almost always the youngest people on these tours... I guess going on a guided tour isn't really the cool hip thing to do... but we're nerds and learning the history of these sites was important to us. :)

Last thing I want to add before jumping into details is that our honeyfund registry paid for most of our honeymoon. I know there are a great deal of people that frown upon honeymoon registries because they feel like it's asking for money. I've also heard people say you shouldn't plan a honeymoon you can't afford and make your guests pay for it. Well in our case we budgeted for our honeymoon and decided to use our honeyfund registry for experiences, like the tours. Shortly after our invites went out all the tours were purchased, so we added more... and they all got purchased as well. So we started adding dinners, desert, wine, hotels, train tickets, pizza, gelato, etc. People bought every dang thing on there! Our normal Bed Bath and Beyond registry was not as popular. I think mostly because people didn't want us to have to bring gifts back to New York with us. Our guests were so excited to give us something for our honeymoon. I had so many people tell me how cool it was and how they couldn't wait to hear about the experience they bought us. So with the popularity of our honeyfund we got to save the money we budgeted to go towards our honeymoon. And now we'll be spending it on things we want from Bed Bath and Beyond. So really it all came full circle :) Point is if you are thinking about doing a honeymoon registry I say go for it!

Alright enough about all that! Next up, The Castles abroad: Italy!
Personal Photo / Silly American

I'm curious, how do you plan your trips? Do you have a site like tripadvisor that you use for ideas? Anyone else create/creating a honeymoon registry?

1 comment:

  1. Wow thanks for the info I will be going to Italy for my honeymoon in two weeks...I booked everything through European Destinations.com and we booked a perillo tour too...I am looking at booking a tour for the Vatican and Colosseum today!

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