StLucia

St. Lucia, considered by many to be one of the most romantic places on earth.

Planning a honeymoon or a destination wedding can be a daunting task. Fortunately, there are experts who can make the process much simpler.

Deb Streese of Carefree Travel has been working with couples for over 25 years to plan their dream honeymoons. She offers several reasons to use a travel agent:

• Travel agents save time and money, and offer the most bang for your buck.

• Travel professionals advise on the best destinations, tours, restaurants, and shopping. They also advise where not to go. Chances are good someone from the office has been there already and experienced it firsthand.

• Travel agents book with reputable companies who are secure and can help with any potential problems that may arise, such as flight cancellations, illness, death, etc.

• Travel agents advise on special requirements for entry into countries, such as the need for a visa, traveling with children who may need notarized permission to travel out of the U.S., required vaccinations, safety information. Some countries have special rules for entry. For example, with a DWI you may be denied entry into Canada.

• The new Real ID requirements for domestic flights begin October 2020. Learn more at https://dps.mn.gov/divi sions/dvs/real-id/Pages/real-id-faq.aspx.

Couples planning a honeymoon have many options to fit their needs and desires. There is no right or wrong. One’s dream vacation may include lying in a hammock sipping margaritas and watching the sunset. Others might want more excitement and a Las Vegas trip might be more their style.

A destination wedding, loosely defined as a wedding in a place other than your hometown, have become a popular option. Streese plans many destination weddings, and notes several things the couple should keep in mind.

Consider costs. If grandma and grandpa are on a fixed budget and you want them to attend the wedding, do keep in mind the cost of the trip for guests.

Travel logistics. A nonstop flight may be a little more expensive, but may make the trip easier. If children are attending, it might be a better option.

Venue. Will the resort be all inclusive, where meals, drinks and activities are included in the price? What activities are offered for guests?

Weather: Check the weather norms for the time of year you will be traveling.

Wedding coordinators. Some have a wedding coordinator on site to assist in making the occasion both unique and stress free. Some resorts even go so far as to offer free or reduced wedding packages based on the number of guests.

Documents: Know beforehand if you need to arrive a few days early and/or bring certain paperwork to satisfy wedding requirements.

Symbolic vs. legal. Marry in the U.S. and have a wedding celebration at the destination, or plan a legal wedding in the destination location, which involves more paperwork or possibly blood work.

Whether couples plan a destination wedding or honeymoon, the choices are plentiful.

Mexico is one of the most popular wedding destinations at At Carefree Travel. The U.S. dollar is very strong there, and it is a great destination for everyone with plenty of tour options. Favorite destinations in Mexico include Cancun or Riviera Maya (south of Cancun) for their stunning beaches and myriads of tour options available or Puerto Vallarta on the west side of Mexico, known for a very laid-back, traditional Mexican feel.

Another very popular destination is Jamaica.

“If steel drums and jerk chicken are your style, this may be the place to go,” Streese said.

Jamaica is known for great weather, with an average year round temperature of 81 degrees, and beautiful beaches.

One of the most popular Jamaican resorts booked through Carefree Travel is Sandals Resort, an adults-only inclusive property known as the world’s leading luxury resort, where “love is all you need” because everything else is taken care of. Streese said they have a stellar reputation for customizing weddings to fulfill a fantasy.

A third popular wedding destination is St. Lucia, considered by many to be one of the most romantic places on earth. Stunning views, and great water sports are included, with staff that pampers guests with great spa treatments and royal treatment.

Streese points out that for honeymoons, the sky is the limit. Couples can take in the sights of Las Vegas, scuba dive in the Pacific, or do a river cruise in Europe.

“There is a trip available for virtually any fantasy or any budget, where dreams really do come true,” Streese said.

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