Regardless of what cloud you're on after the wedding, the unpredictable nature of traveling and uninterrupted "together time" on your honeymoon can take its toll. What can go wrong drinking margaritas on the beach for a week, you ask? Silly, avoidable stuff, mostly. Here are 10 tips to keep moods in check.
1. Plan Ahead
The best way to avoid stress during your trip is to take some preliminary planning steps before you leave: sketch out the trip together (so each of your interests are addressed), agree to a budget before you leave, and read our honeymoon countdown to cover all the bases.
2. Ease In
Try to avoid leaving for the honeymoon immediately after the reception. Instead, check into the honeymoon suite of a local hotel for your wedding night, catch some ZZZs, and get a fresh start the next morning.
It's also smart to declare at least the first few days of your trip off-limits for sightseeing. Why? These first few days are crucial to setting the tone of your trip. Catching up on your sleep first (without guilt for a change!) can help you fully appreciate and max out the rest of your days. If you're not a relaxer by nature, force yourself to slow down by starting your vacation on the beach or in the countryside, and then tackling a big city.
3. Be Healthy
You've just run your body ragged for months on end. It's no wonder that sleepless nights, a diet of junk food and stress, an emotional wedding, too much drinking, and jet lag combine to make your body crash -- you finally have time! Physically and mentally, you'll likely be very fragile; don't be surprised if you feel unusually tired or if tempers flare during the first few days of your trip. Speed your recovery -- and save the rest of your trip -- by balancing your time at the bar and in bed. (Knot Note: Bring along a bottle of water on excursions so you don't get dehydrated and cranky.)
4. Respect Each Other's Interests
You want to shop; he wants to learn how to surf. No problem: Divvy up the day. You watch him swallow seawater all morning, he window shops with you in the afternoon. Don't battle, balance!
5. Respect Each Other's Limits
It's the end of the day and he's tired, you're wired. An important rule of happy travel is: Don't push. Allow each other to relax and recoup in your own way. If he tuckers out, call it a day or do your own thing. (Yes, splitting up for a few hours is allowed -- even encouraged! -- on your honeymoon.) Scout out a place for dinner, read by the pool, or jog along the beach. Your reunion will be all the sweeter.
6. Don't Overplan Your Days
This can be tough, especially if you've flown halfway around the world to soak up a cultural hot spot. Avoid the temptation to do and see everything -- and the regret you might feel if you don't -- by choosing a honeymoon destination where there's just enough to do in the time you have allotted. Once there, don't assign every day a long to-do list. You've just spent months overtaxing your system with work and wedding planning -- this is your chance to chill. Having to do something or be somewhere every minute will fray your nuptial nerves in no time.
7. Take Breaks
Build downtime into your days, especially if it's hot outside. Take lots of breaks for a pint of beer or cafe au lait and people watching. It's a great opportunity to adjust your plans, read up on the next thing you're doing, write in your journal, meet the locals, and simply absorb a destination's ambience.
8. Follow Your Nose
Try to loosen the reins of control on your honeymoon. True, you've just finished micro-managing your big day, but traveling is a different animal. The memorable parts of a trip are often found when you let serendipity be your leader: a little boutique off the tourist-beaten path, a bakery hidden around a corner, a sudden change of plans from a formal dinner to a jazz cruise. Stay loose and swing your mind's door open to suggestion.
9. Speak Up
Nip petty arguments and testy conversations in the bud right away. On your honeymoon, time is precious. Don't let a day -- even an hour -- be wasted bickering or not speaking because this is not just another day in hometown, America. This is a day in Paris, or Hawaii, or Thailand. You're paying a lot for this day! Be the bigger person and extend the olive branch first. If your new spouse insists on stewing, take a break and don't let it ruin your trip. He or she will come around.
Likewise, if your vision of the perfect trip starts to derail, don't be shy about tweaking its course. Again, time is of the essence; the trip will be over before you know it. If, for example, you meet another couple and friendly hubby keeps inviting them to do everything with the two of you, gently put the kabosh on your new full-time foursome. Don't let peer pressure or "trying to be nice" gobble up your honeymoon.
10. Be Patient
The honeymoon is a transition time for both of you: you're tired, you're relieved, you may be nervous (after all, you just tied a permanent knot), and suddenly, after a year of planning, you suddenly have all this free time on your hands. Believe it or not, post-wedding blues can come into play. Be patient with each other: The honeymoon is the fun part, but each person likely has other emotional issues stirring under the surface. Don't be surprised if this manifests itself in mysterious ways.