In October, Minnesota is one of the most beautiful places in the US. You have leaves changing to a variety of different orange's, yellow's, and red's. The weather is typically cool and crisp. It's football season, so what American doesn't like that? You have fall festivities happening like apple orchards. It's just, well, perfect! You would think during that time of year we wouldn't have a problem with finding a place to go for our honeymoon, right? WRONG!
We have always wanted to stay in an over-water bungalow. Why? Because we think that jumping off your private deck into crystal blue water right after breakfast or the fact that you can see tropical fish while sun bathing sounds amazing! Since we have been living together for awhile as well, we are asking for money to contribute to the honeymoon because we basically have everything. So we figured, when's the next time we'll have a bungalow paid for? Never.
What's the first place/area you think of when it comes to over-water bungalows? You're probably thinking the Caribbean, right? We did too! As you know, I lived in Miami for about 3-4 years so after awhile I thought, "Oh no!! It's hurricane season in October!" That is one thing I would not want to be caught in; it rains HARD for hours, and hours, and hours! You can't go anywhere, you're just stuck. What kind of honeymoon would that be? Sure, it could be nice the week after our wedding, but we definitely don't want to chance it. My future sister-in-law even said that when she went on her honeymoon to the Caribbean, which was in June, there was a storm coming. The hotel told her to pack her things because when they come to get them to go to the airport, they have to be ready to go on the spot. Ummm....that sounds petrifying if you ask me. So that was out. We looked at Central America like Costa Rica and Panama. It was exactly like Miami during hurricane season; you get the after effects of the hurricane so you're stuck in a torrential downpour. Don't. Think. So.
Other places that have bungalows were Mexico, which was the same situation, hurricane season and we have also both been there. We wanted to go somewhere we haven't been to. There was also Tahiti. Tahiti, huh? Hmmm....not a bad idea. So next step was to plan it and get pricing.
I love to plan things, but honestly, just didn't want to this time around. Especially since it was going to be an international destination. We had just signed up for AAA the beginning of Winter, so we thought we would test them out for our travel needs. Honestly, wasn't impressed. You always hear that they offer discounts, etc. All of the packages they were giving us were not discounted what so ever (but maybe it's because we were looking into specifics, we weren't flying by the seat of our pants). Also, our agent was always MIA. I mean we would email her and not hear back from her for at least a week or 2 so we had to keep following up with her. She didn't give us guidance what so ever or even give us her own opinion about some places, which sometimes you want someone to just tell you what to do.
We looked further into the whole Tahiti thing and the activities they had were snorkeling, scuba diving, 4-wheeling, hiking, and that's pretty much it. We LOVE that type of stuff and we obviously love the beach, but we thought about it more and it just wasn't enough. We wanted to go sight-see which don't get me wrong, Tahiti is pretty, but we like more of the sight-seeing like architecture, history, etc. Long story short, we scratched that off our list.
Now we were back to square one. It dawned on us that we should probably look to see where the Zika virus was. Um.....it's everywhere!! So on top of the whole hurricane season ordeal, now we had to think about this stupid virus. Looked at Dubai, seems pretty. However, it seemed a little too busy for us. Yes, we want to do sight-seeing and such, but to an extent. So then we looked at Crete then traveling over to Athens for the end of our trip. OMG! Perfect! We would have the luxury of the beautiful beaches and then the luxury of history. The perfect balance we were thinking for. We looked at the weather and it's typically 65 degrees in Crete in October. That's a little too cold for the beach :/ Ugh! So we crossed that off our list.
We looked at going to a few places like Paris, London, Spain, and Ireland. We even looked at the multi-stops on Groupon. Seemed too exhausting for a honeymoon just from reading the descriptions. There was so much hopping around from one country to the next, with the transfers, the tours, I could go on and on. Seems like something we would like to do, but not for a honeymoon. One thing that caught our eye was that the Vikings announced that they were going to be playing in London the end of October. Ummm....can we say perfect?!? I know all of you that read my blog regularly KNOW that's a perfect match for us too! We waited anxiously for the schedule to be released and we found out that it was going to be on October 29th. Obviously, we would NOT want to travel the day after the game.
We had to also take into account the fiance's PTO. He has 2 more bachelor parties to go on, his bachelor parties (yes, he's having 2), we have a wedding in Mexico on May 5th (yes, Cino de Mayo...Arriba!), one of my bridesmaids recently became engaged so we have that wedding to go to next fall in Miami, we go on an annual family trip to Breezy Point every July, plus we travel for my birthday which is on New Year's. So it just wasn't going to work out for us this time around due to time. But how amazing and fitting would that have been for us?
Then we looked at France which was my top choice. Great food, romantic, but the crime has been crazy over there, There's crime everywhere, but I think we will pass this year. What's closest to that romantic, prettiness that we now were aiming for? ITALY!! Yes, Italy! Food, history, relaxing, romantic, it was perfect! Did I mention that we started brainstorming for a honeymoon late last year (we love to travel, so we were super eager to get it planned so we had another thing besides our wedding to look forward to). It was now end of May-beginning of June when we decided on Italy. Isn't it mind blowing how we love to travel, but there were so many factors to take into account to get to Italy? Whew!
So we reached out to the AAA agent again. Same ordeal; she took forever to get back to us and the packages weren't really discounted. One thing we were running into was the packages itself. We found some, but it was bundled which meant that it also included tours along with travel and hotel. Sounds great because we want to do that sort of thing, but why the hell would we get up at the crack of dawn to go on a tour while on our honeymoon? Yes, that's right. All the tours were in the AM at like 7:30! I sure don't want to get up that early. I want to sleep in if I want, eat breakfast whenever, it's my honeymoon. Enough said. One package we found was with Gate One which sounded perfect, but it was a bundled package again and the thing that tipped us over was that you're traveling with the same group the whole time, even having breakfast and dinner with them. The discount was great for what you got, but we decided that it just wasn't the time to do that sort of package. Some honeymooners may like that sort of thing, but it just wasn't for us.
It came down to that now we are planning it ourselves, from scratch! Not something I was looking forward to. With my busy schedule and with me planning multiple weddings on top of my own, I delegated this to the fiance, He loves doing that sort of thing, so it's actually working out (at least I think so?!). I just told him the cities I wanted to go to and some of the historic landmarks I wanted to see and he was off!
Minor detail though, I don't have a passport. Yup! I am that one person that you never knew existed that doesn't have a passport. Even after living in Miami where traveling internationally to the islands is dirt cheap, I still don't have a passport. I'm an idiot. So we planned one weekend to get that done along with my driver's license. Yes, I still have a Florida ID. So we stopped at the post office, filled out an application, submitted my ID, birth certificate and then they wanted another form of ID that had my name and photo on it. Costco card it was!
A few weeks go by and I get a notice in the mail saying that I need MORE forms of identification because I WAS DENIED A PASSPORT!! What?!?!? How is that possible? My fiance was going to run to the post office to ask what else they needed, but when he didn't have time his mother went. She asked a very good question, "Why was she denied when she gave her birth certificate and ID? Is it because of her last name?" The lady actually SAID NOTHING and looked down at her paper. So that answer was a yes. Awesome!! Just another MAJOR obstacle! No big deal >:/
So this is where we stand currently with this blog post AND our honeymoon: We are now 3 months away, I just had to mail 5 or more documents that were 5 years or older to the Passport Agency (which all of the documents that they said I could use I didn't have except my social security card and a few other things - meaning 1-2 other things), we haven't booked ANYTHING for our trip; no hotel, flight, tours, nothing. Now we just have to patiently wait to see if they accept my documents. For the record, we also sent my taxes from 2003 and 2004, so if they don't approve me then, I'm going to be P.O. and the government WILL be hearing from me. So with that being said, cross your fingers readers!!