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Venice, Italy by boat

It's almost honeymoon time! Christian and I intended to go on our honeymoon this past May but he wasn't able to get off work at that time so we pushed it to September to celebrate his birthday and our first anniversary on the trip! Here's how we went about planning our honeymoon and some guidelines for you to keep in mind.

*This post was made in partnership with Nakturnal.

View of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo

Funding the Trip

Will you save up the money on your own or use gifts from your wedding? An easy way to do the latter is to use a honeymoon registry site like Traveler's Joy to let friends & family choose a part of your trip to contribute to. Since we had a simple wedding party Christian and I opted to not focus on having a registry - we had one with maybe 10 items on it - and allocated cash gifts from our wedding to the various items we needed. This meant anything from small home appliances, a couch for the basement and a security system all the way to our honeymoon fund. We also added some of our own money because we wanted to take a long trip. If I had to do it over again I probably would have included a honeymoon registry too. It's such a fun way to let guests give money knowing what it's going toward.  What do you think of using a honeymoon registry?

Deciding Where to Go

Picking your honeymoon location may be the hardest part about the planning process. So many places to go, so little time! When we discussed locations we thought about a shorter trip to somewhere like London or Aruba but since this is Christian's first big international trip I wanted it to be AMAZING. He's a big fan of Ancient Roman and Greek history so I suggested we do a 2 week whirlwind tour of Italy and Greece!

We'll head to Rome for a few days, including a day trip to Pompeii, and then head to Florence for a couple nights. After Florence it's off to Venice for a few days - where we will celebrate our anniversary. After Venice we're off to Santorini, Greece for  three blissful days in a cave house! Our trip finishes up in Athens to visit as many of the ancient sites as we can and eat some tasty lava cake (if the restaurant still sells it!)

View of Santorini from Airbnb

When to Go on Your Honeymoon

Most people will go on their honeymoon right after their wedding. This means you need to have the money already saved up before the wedding. This is where a registry website would come in handy. Your guests could fund the pieces of your trip before your wedding so you don't have to worry about fronting the money.

Christian and I decided to wait a year to go on our honeymoon so we could save up more and he could get extra days off work. We will be gone 16 days (10 work days) and 2 of those are almost full travel days.

View of Venice from San Giorgio Maggiore

Booking Transportation

One of the biggest expenses of your trip will be transportation. How will you get there and what forms of transportation will you use after you arrive?  When to book the flights is also important because you want to get the best price! Unfortunately for us we hit some roadblocks when booking our flights because prices kept going up and down. We ended up panicking and buying tickets with a layover because the direct flight was 3 times the flight and then 2 weeks later the direct flight went down. That's the risk you take though, if we had waited we may have missed out all together. So decide what's important to you and take a leap of faith (and then don't keep checking prices or you'll just upset yourself.)

Christian and I will get to Italy by plane and travel to the different cities by train.  Most of our city travel will hopefully be walking distance so we won't have to worry about using public transportation. After that it's another plane to get to Santorini and to Athens.  Since we will arrive in Santorini late at night we're going to be using our Airbnb's shuttle service which will cost a bit more than other options, but we want the convenience.  The same goes for getting from our Athens Airbnb to the airport. Since our flight is super early in the morning we have to take a taxi because public transportation won't be running when we leave.

A lot of companies offer coupon codes so be sure to check for those before making any purchases! I saved some money on our Italy train tickets by checking the company's Twitter. Every Friday they release a coupon code for 25% off select trips and a couple of ours happened to be discounted with the code, yay!

Traveling by Train in Italy

Hotel, Hostel or Airbnb

After buying flights, the next big step is figuring out where to stay. Do you want to go super cheap and stay at a hostel? Or do you feel safest when you're in a hotel? We went for the middle-ground and opted for Airbnb's so we could stay in a nice place but not pay as much as a hotel (in most cases.) Plus you can feel more like a local this way by spending your time in an actual home rather than a stuffy hotel room. Another great thing about Airbnb is you can choose to stay in a single room or rent out an entire apartment so you don't have to feel awkward about being in someone else's home and clashing with their routine.

For our honeymoon we went on the cheaper end in Rome, Florence & Athens and splurged on our lodging in Venice and Santorini. We booked the same cave house I stayed at on my first trip to Santorini in 2015!

Airbnb in Santorini, Greece

You've Made it There, Now What?

Planes, trains, cars and lodging booked, what's next? Time to figure out all the places you want to go within each location.  I love the planning process and figuring out how we'll be spending our time but I don't want to have every second planned because that can be a little stressful.

What I like to do is create a spreadsheet with where we'll be, and on what days. Then I fill in the important details like flight/train departures and arrivals and hotel check-in/check-out times. This gives us a basic guide of what our days look like.

Italy and Greece Honeymoon Itinerary
Honeymoon Itinerary

After that I'll start searching travel blogs and Instagram for must-see places and create lists for each location. This includes everything from the major sites (The Acropolis + Colosseum) and off the beaten track finds (The Aventine Keyhole) to where to find the best gelato or pasta.  One of my favorite travel blogs is World of Wanderlust, Brooke has so many different guides from all over the world so no matter where you're going she's sure to have some tips!
Honeymoon in Italy and Greece To-Do List
Honeymoon To-Do List

My next step is to create a google map with all of those locations pinned so no matter where we are I'll be able to see what we're close to.  We will have some things timed out but for the most part we will be wandering and popping in and out of museums as it suits us.

We considered booking some Airbnb experiences but we want to be free to do what we want, when we want and, as we only have a couple days per location, it's hard to book out 6 hours for an excursion.  We may still try to do a bike tour or something in one or two locations, but that will be decided right before.

Google Map for Venice
Personal Google Map of Places to Visit in Venice

The main thing I purchased ahead was tickets to the Colosseum. You can book through the official website - COOP Culture. Unfortunately we didn't nail down our dates early enough so all the Underground and Panoramic View tours were booked up.  (I was able to grab just 1 Underground tour but the release of new tickets is super competitive so I ended up having to buy regular tickets and we'll waste the Underground tour unless Christian wants to do it alone.)

NOTE: If you're interested in the special Colosseum tours I would recommend visiting this thread on TripAdvisor, they are very helpful in letting you know about ticket availability. There are quarterly releases for the big tours and then monthly releases with just 25 tickets per day for those tours. Regular entry tickets are fairly easy to purchase even the day before, I booked them early so we don't have to think about it.

Other Tips

Cash vs. Card

Make sure you know when you'll need to use cash vs a credit card. Most credit cards now offer no foreign transaction fees.  While many places will take credit cards some locations overseas are still cash only so make sure you have cash on hand.   Some examples of when you'll need cash:
  • City Tourism Tax Fees - Airbnb hosts in some cities are required to collect a tourism tax per person per night. This may need to be paid, in cash, to your host on arrival. Some include it in the cost of your Airbnb, Make sure to read the fine print to know what you'll owe! (Airbnb took out our occupancy tax when we paid for our stay in Florence but we'll pay for Rome and Venice)
  • Taxis/Car Service - One of my Airbnb hosts is helping us with booking a car service. He warned us beforehand that we will be paying the driver directly, in cash upon our pickup.
  • Restaurants - Some restaurants, like one we'll be visiting in Florence, are cash only so be prepared and read signs before entering restaurants to avoid awkward situations.
  • Public Transportation - Some forms of transportation will only take cash. When I used the bus system in Santorini in 2015 we had to make sure we had Euros on us at all times.

Phone Plans

Most phone plans will now let you use your own data for a daily fee. I have AT&T and they charge $10 per 24 hour period. I'm opting to do their international plan which is $120 for 3GB over 30 days. Since we're there for 16 days it's cheaper that way.


    No packing guide here, but I will say - leave room for purchases in your luggage! You know you'll be buying some souvenirs for yourself and family so plan ahead and save some extra space. This way you don't have to worry about stuffing it all in an already packed suitcase on the way home.

    I won't go into more itinerary details now, stay tuned for my travel guides after we return! Do you have any questions on traveling to Italy and Greece? If so, leave them here and I'll try to answer them in those posts.
    This is one of my oldest dresses. It's from back when I considered American Eagle expensive and would debate purchases there for house while my friends were buying whatever they pleased. My how times have changed, now I can spend $40 on a dress and not blink an eye - although I still question myself, haha! I've had it for at least 12 years and I think it's only been on the blog 3 times (here, here and here...oh wait, one more!)

    It's something I throw on when it's hot and I don't know what to wear. A nice plus is I don't have to wear a bra with it. Always a plus in Summer! AND it has pockets, can't beat that! I guess I never think to take photos in it because it's so old. It's definitely faded over the years but still looks pretty darn good.

    Dress: American Eagle (similar), Espadrilles: Sam Edelman 'Lars' (Net-a-Porter), Bag:: Marc by Marc Jacobs 'Perfect Purse ostrich-effect PVC' (Net-a-Porter), Necklace: BubuRuby, Sunglasses: Gucci

    I'm pretty sure this dress is mean to be a beach coverup due to it's very loose fit. That is how I normally wear it but last week I decided to style it for a family get together. To fix the "too loose" problem I added a gold belt to define my waist. After that all I had to do was add some cute Summer sandals and off I went! It's so soft, it felt like I was in pajamas all night, which is all we really want during warm Summer nights, right?

    I don't wear these sandals much, partly because they're slightly large and because I don't want to ruin them. They are the first pair of Ancient Greek Sandals I bought, way back in 2012 before they made a ton of colors and styles. Since then I've bought 5 more pairs and am planning on buying my 7th pair when Christian and I are in Greece next month for our honeymoon! Trying to resist buying a pair in Net-a-Porter's sale because they are up to 60% off! AHH!

    Unfortunately I cut off the tags of the dress and can't remember what the brand is! Such a shame because it's so soft and comfortable!

    Dress: blue & white striped coverup via Marshalls, Belt: Kenneth Cole Reaction (Marshalls), Sandals: Ancient Greek Sandals 'Ikaria', Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs 'Perfect Purse ostrich-effect PVC' (Net-a-Porter), Necklace: Simple Pearl Necklace c/o AUrate, Sunglasses: Chanel

    I think I'm in a blog funk. Christian hasn't been able to take as many of my photos lately and when I have my Dad take them I don't like to take up too much of his time so we just take 5 quick shots and I'm done. So even though my Dad is a great photographer (it's one of his favorite hobbies) a lot of the time the photos just aren't up to snuff because I rush.

    In this case it was my shorts fault, the linen wrinkles SO easy and I had already been wearing this outfit for half the day. I also stupidly covered the graphic on my shirt with my still wet hair.  Plus my cousin was visiting from Ohio so I REALLY rushed these photos. At least there's a cute puppy (my brother's) to distract from all of that. 

    Graphic Tee: EPCOT Food & Wine Festival Passholder Tee, Shorts: Splendid Arabesque Cargo Short in Antique Military Olive (Marshalls), Sandals: Ancient Greek Sandals 'Alethea' (bought in Santorini),  Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs 'Perfect Purse ostrich-effect PVC' (Net-a-Porter), Sunglasses: Chanel

    If you know me, you know the fact that I love this shorts is a miracle. I'm not the biggest fan of white because I'm terrified of getting it dirty. But somehow with these shorts that doesn't matter. Maybe it's the purple? Or perhaps the large floral print? I've had them for SEVEN years and have worn them with everything from a purple button down to a knitted tank.

    Tee: Everlane Cotton U-Neck, Floral Shorts: Zara, Sandals: Ancient Greek Sandals 'Astrapi' (Net-a-Porter), Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs 'Perfect Purse ostrich-effect PVC' (Net-a-Porter), Sunglasses: Chanel

    On super hot Summer days all I want to wear is a loose dress and sandals. This Splendid zebra print dress is always a good choice.  Unfortunately we still have 2 more outfits (including this one) where my camera was acting up. Hopefully we fixed it so no more issues when my Dad takes photos, ha ha.

    Dress: Splendid Zebra Print Dress (NETAPORTER, also here), Beaded Sandals: Seychelles (DSW), Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs 'Perfect Purse ostrich-effect PVC' (Net-a-Porter), Sunglasses: Chanel

    I wore this to do some window shopping with my mom over the weekend. I'm trying not to shop too much the next couple months but did end up picking up some cards for a few upcoming weddings. I resisted buying anything else though. Woo!

    My camera was not happy the day my Dad and I took these photos, I think I messed with one of the settings and after we took the photos I was too lazy to fix and redo them, haha. But at least you can see the outfit.

    Knitted Sweater Tank: Made By Grandma, Jungle Print Skirt: Carven (Net-a-Porter Sale), Sandals: Malu c/o Marshalls, Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs 'Perfect Purse ostrich-effect PVC' (Net-a-Porter), Sunglasses: Chanel

    I had a successful no shopping month! I did buy some nail polish during Net-a-Porter's Flash Beauty Sale but I used advertising money on it so it doesn't count, ha ha. Plus that's beauty, not fashion.  I still haven't bought anything in the Net-a-Porter End of Season Sale, trying super hard to resist so we'll see if I make it through the last couple weeks.  

    I also have to keep our honeymoon in September in mind. I want to buy another pair of Ancient Greek Sandals while we're in Greece (because 6 pairs isn't enough, ha ha!) and I was hoping to buy something in Italy as well. I won't have enough saved up for my teal Gucci Marmont bag by then so we'll see what I do.

    THE (modified) RULES
    1. Be mindful of purchases 
    2. Quality over quantity
    3. Basics are best

    1. Autumn Cashmere Landscape Intarsia Cashmere Crew ($240, retail $440, used Christmas + ad money)
    2. Sandro burgundy double breasted blazer ($36 via Roundabout Resale, retail ~$500)
    3. Massimo Dutti white wool blazer ($19 via Roundabout Resale, retail $130-$250)
    4. Rag & Bone 'Jackie' purple leather trimmed wool jacket ($32 via Roundabout Resale, retail $495)
    5. eight sixty floral camisole dress ($7 via eBay, used ad money)
    1. J.Crew Tissue Turtleneck ($5, retail $30, used gift card)
    2. J.Crew Ribbed flare-sleeve turtleneck ($8, retail $45, used gift card)
    3. J.Crew Midrise skinny jean in velvet ($10, retail $80, used gift card)
    4. AG Jeans 'The Evan' pleated linen pant in Sulfur Harvest Olive - also here ($39 via Marshalls, $178 retail) 
    5. Splendid Arabesque Cargo Short in Antique Military Olive ($29.99 via Marshalls, $108 retail)
    1. Lanvin Studded Suede 'City' Sandals ($60 via The RealReal, $790 retail, used ad money) 
    2. Lanvin Studded Leather 'City' Sandals ($60 via The RealReal, $790 retail, used ad money) 
    1.  None Yet
    Gifted from Brands:
    1. None Yet
    Total spent in July: $0

    Total spent in 2019: $155.5

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