Brides and grooms often describe their honeymoon as among the most magical of moments in their lives. While moments do not last forever, the memories sure do! We spoke with Mark Elie, president of the award-winning Wellington travel agency K&E Travel, to get his must-haves and other important items when planning your dream honeymoon. Where to go? How to book it? What’s a reasonable budget? Let’s find out!
Q: How long have you been planning honeymoon travel for couples?A: K&E Travel has been in business for more than 31 years, planning vacations and honeymoons for people all across the United States.
Q: Tell us a bit about your business, K&E Travel?|
A: K&E Travel has been in business since 1990. We have more than 300 agents across the country who work under our umbrella. We handle any kind of travel, except an individual airline ticket by itself. As the owner, I was listed in the top 150 agents across the country in 2019 and 2020 for Celebrity Cruise Line as part of their Iconic Agent program. We are part of the Travel Savers Consortia, one of the largest groups of travel agencies across North America, and K&E is in their top 50 agencies out of more than 2,500.
Q: What are some of the more popular destinations that couples choose?
A: Popular destinations for South Florida couples are the Caribbean, such as Saint Lucia, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Turks & Caicos and the Bahamas, as well as Mexico and Hawaii. Very rarely, some pick Europe.
Q: What are some of the budget price points that people use when planning a honeymoon, and what is the average cost and length of stay?
A: People will often look for a particular room type, for example, a private pool, a butler, oceanfront or over-the-water bungalows. An average honeymoon runs from five to seven days with an average cost of $3,000 to $7,000, depending on the type of accommodations.
Q: How far in advance should a couple start planning their honeymoon travel?
A: We suggest that they start thinking about planning as soon as they have made the arrangements for their actual wedding venue. We usually have them wait until then, so that in case certain dates change, they do not pre-plan and deposit something that could change. Usually, this would be six to 10 months in advance.
Q: How much research should couples do on their own before coming to you to finalize the process?
A: I think they should at least try to narrow down whether they want to go to a place with beaches, Europe, the Caribbean, etc… But sometimes they do not realize what is involved to go to certain places, and during our pre-planning stage, we let them know logistically what is involved, especially now with the pandemic coming into play.
Q: Do you offer destination wedding planning as well as honeymoon guidance?
A: Due to the amount of time and effort these take, we no longer do the wedding planning portion of the trips, since that is not our expertise. However, we would set them up with the wedding planner at a resort, and we could handle the reservations for the guests.
Q: What is one of the most unique, over-the-top honeymoon destinations you’ve seen?
A: One couple is going on a 12-day cruise tour to the Galapagos. Their flight to return home includes a layover in Fort Lauderdale before traveling to Mexico for five more nights!
Q: What would you recommend for “staycation” honeymoon options for those concerned with travel right now?
A: There are many places that they could go to depending on their interests. For example, the Florida Keys has been a very popular place to go during the pandemic. There are many Disney enthusiasts who love to go to Disney and Universal for a few days. The west coast of Florida and the panhandle are also popular. If they want to venture outside of Florida and just stay here in the United States, there are many other options, depending on the time of year.
Q: What kind of honeymoon travel adjustments do you see throughout the industry in this time of uncertainty?
A: The biggest adjustment is for those who choose not to vaccinate. They would have, for the immediate future, less options to go outside the United States, as many parts of the world (although not all) have instituted vaccine requirements. For those who are vaccinated, there are more choices around the world. But there are still many different choices either way.
Q: If you had one piece of advice for all couples planning their wedding honeymoon, what would it be and why?
A: Pick a location that would give you as much as you want within your budget. The budget is very important. You do not want to have in your mind plans to go to some high-end resort or location because you saw it online, and then find out that it really does not fit your dream. That is why we ask from the beginning what that budget would be and what your wish list is, and then we can give you a realistic destination and resort or accommodations.
Although there needs to be an added layer of safety during this time of travel, don’t let that stop you from enjoying your special time together! There are plenty of options available for a fun and safe honeymoon as you begin your married life together. Be sure to consult a travel expert to help make it all happen with ease.