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  • January 2011, Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan — 9

    With all the work that goes into planning a wedding, it can be easy for couples to overlook their own honeymoons. But in the middle of all those seating arrangements and reception hall nego- tiations, couples also need to plan and look forward to the rest and relaxation that awaits, which will no doubt be a well-deserved escape once the wedding has come and gone.

    Couples can take the following advice to ensure their getaway goes off without a hitch.

    • Be budget-conscious. Many couples could enjoy a honeymoon to Siberia in the dead of winter after their big day has passed. After all the stress of planning and paying for the wedding, couples will likely just enjoy the time away. Take this into consideration when planning a honeymoon. If a dream trip isn’t in the budget after all the wedding bills have come due, don’t fret. A less expensive get- away is still a getaway, and couples will enjoy their well-deserved break no matter where it is they’re putting their feet up.

    • Plan an off-season honeymoon. That dream honeymoon might be affordable after all if couples can wait till it’s not the height of tourist season. Most weddings occur during the summer months, when tourist season is in full swing.Couples who can put off their honeymoon until the off-season will no doubt find their dream honeymoon is much more affordable.

    • Start early. It’s never too early to start planning the honey- moon. The earlier couples begin to research possible destinations, the better feel they will have for what they can and can’t afford. Research can be done well in advance to give couples an idea of what their dream trip will cost. But don’t book any flights or make any reservations too far in advance. The best deals are often avail- able a few months before the trip.

    • Spread the news that you’re newlyweds. Hotels love hosting newlyweds, and many will upgrade rooms for recently married guests. Couples should not be too brash about it, as fully booked hotels won't be able to upgrade their guests. But let the hotel know you're on your honeymoon when checking in, and they might just upgrade your room and comp you a bottle of champagne as a gift.

    • Think outside the box. When asked about a dream honey- moon, couples will often bring up Hawaii or even Paris. While those are beautiful places to spend a honeymoon, they’re also expensive. Fortunately, there are a bevy of locales, be it domestic or international, that aren’t nearly as pricey as the most popular honeymoon destinations but still make wonderful options for a honeymoon getaway couples won't soon forget.

    Ideally, a honeymoon offers newlyweds the chance to kick back, relax and enjoy the start of their lives together. But when something happens to foil honey- moon plans, couples could be fac- ing anything from financial hard- ships to a spoiled trip. Travel insurance may help couples pro- tect their assets while honey- mooning.

    Travel insurance can protect couples against lost funds and other incidentals on their honey- moon. Depending on the cover- age purchased, a portion or all of the money paid for the trip could be refunded in the event of a can- cellation or emergency that calls off the honeymoon.

    Purchasing a travel insurance policy could be effective in an number of situations.

    * Couples are booking a hon- eymoon well in advance (such as a year or more) and want to pro- tect themselves in the event the resort, cruise line, etc., folds before the trip can be taken.

    * The honeymoon locale is fre- quently affected by harsh weather conditions, such as hurricanes, earthquakes or typhoons.

    * Couples want protection in case the trip has to be cancelled due to a medical condition or a family emergency.

    * The honeymoon is very expensive and the couple is not comfortable with losing deposits or money paid in such high amounts.

    * The honeymoon involves complex plans of planes meeting with cruise ships, or a similar sit- uation that is tightly scheduled.

    * A couple is taking a cruise. Many cruise lines have a no- excuses policy and may not be willing to offer refunds without a travel insurance policy in place.

    Couples should realize that not all travel insurance is the same and they may already be protected against some travel incidentals. Many credit card

    companies offer cancellation insurance on purchases, which makes buying another policy unnecessary.

    When shopping around for travel insurance, the trip itself can dicate the necessary coverage. Travel to an international country may require additional medical insurance for domestic policies that do not offer coverage over- seas. Medical insurance also may include a portion for emergency evacuation or airlift in the event of a serious accident. Cancellation/interruption insur- ance covers the nonrefundable and additional costs to couples should they need to return home mid-trip or cancel the trip alto- gether.

    It's a good idea for couples to purchase travel insurance from a third-party instead of through a resort, airline or vacation compa-

    ny itself. That's because, should the trip be cancelled because the resort goes bankrupt or experi- ences other financial hardships, there's no telling if that resort's insurance policy will be honored. A safer bet is for honeymooners to contact an insurance company with which they feel comfortable and inquire about the different travel insurance options.

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    Travel insurance could be an added precaution couples take when they book their honeymoons.

    Travel Insurance May Be Honeymooners’ Saving Grace Honeymoon Planning How-To