As you may know, I am getting married in less than five months to my long term love Nemanja. It’s crazy that it was well over a year ago now that he was down on one knee in Mexico, time has flown by. We took a little while to just enjoy being engaged (which I highly recommend btw) before throwing ourselves into planning. The one part we hadn’t really considered until recently was our honeymoon.
Now that all the big decisions about the wedding itself have been made and the invitations sent out we have been able to sit back and relax a bit. We know what everything is going to cost and what money we will have left over (or now need to save!) so we started thinking where we would like to go on our honeymoon. Neither of us really knew where to start so we went online to look at packages available with a few travel agents to get some ideas. We toyed with the usual beach destinations but we both agreed that we wanted to do something new and make it a once in a lifetime trip before we have a family to think about. Nemanja especially had his heart set on a safari. We couldn’t find exactly what we wanted in the packages offered so we looked at a company I have travelled with in the past with my family, Audley travel.
Now I should state, this is not an ad and I didn’t plan on doing a blog post about our honeymoon but I was so blown away by the service we received. I know some people adore all the research and planning every step of their trip themselves but I always get so stressed out in the process. Especially with a long haul trip with multiple stops I always panic about all the connections and transfers. What sets Audley apart from other travel agencies is they completely tailor make your holiday for you and take care of every tiny detail. I put in an enquiry online about trip options to Tanzania and I received a call back the next day from one of the Africa team, Erin. All of their consultants have extensive personal travel experience in the area they advise on, so they can give you lots of tips and feedback on which accommodations will suit you best. Erin was so informative and had stayed in a lot of the places we were looking at online so gave fantastic feedback about the accommodation options.
In our first phone call she asked me lots of questions to get to know Nemanja and myself and what we look for in a holiday experience; whether we like being off the beaten track or in the centre of the action, what hobbies we have and if we prefer a relaxing break or an active trip, all those kinds of things. From our conversation she made some suggestions and we made a rough plan for how long we wanted to be away and time of year that suited us best. She then went away and compiled an itinerary for us, which was posted out to us and also available for us to access online, with lots of photos of all the options for us to review. She also put flights on hold for us and gave us a comprehensive cost breakdown. It was so straight forward and we were able to do a little research ourselves about the hotels and safari lodges and get back to her with some tweaks.
We decided to do a shorter safari break but to jam pack our days full of safari activities and opt for the more traditional style accommodation to really immerse ourselves in the safari experience. We will have the opportunity to do game drives, boat safaris and even walking safaris led by the local Masai tribesmen if we are brave enough. Then we will fly to Zanzibar island for a more traditional honeymoon experience, but with lots of opportunities to explore the local culture and do lots of day trips. We decided to go all out and upgrade to the luxury hotel option here so we can have some pampering after our first few days of game drives. Erin made lots of suggestions as to how we can use our budget wisely, for example choosing the half board option so we get breakfast and dinner included in the hotel, but not lunch. As we plan on doing lots of excursions and will likely be out and about for most lunchtimes, so opting for half board rather than all inclusive will save us from essentially paying for lunch twice on the days we are out of the hotel.
Those little tweaks and having every detail taken care of like private transfers between flights and hotels just make it such a stress free experience. I think for a special trip like a honeymoon it is so lovely to not have to worry about those little things. Once we booked our trip and paid a deposit we were sent a country dossier which contains all the information you need; from the temperature averages, tips on how to dress to be culturally appropriate, check lists of things to bring, what inoculations are advised, literally anything you can think of they have prepared information about. You also receive additional information two weeks before you fly out with all your tickets and itinerary information.
The whole experience of booking the trip from start to finish was so much fun and made us so excited. Erin had so much patience with us when we couldn’t make up our minds on certain things or had lots of questions and always went out of her way to give us plenty of options. My parents went travelling across India for a month last year and also used Audley and said it was incredible so I feel so secure knowing we are going to be so well taken care of. They also offer a free service of setting up a honeymoon gifting website so your wedding guests can contribute to your trip as wedding gift! They really have thought of everything. I cant wait to make memories with my future husband and get to experience this once in a lifetime trip. Its such a nice feeling knowing everything is taken care of and the only thing we will have to worry about is what type of cocktail to order by the pool!
Until next time…
Note; this blog post is my personal experience and not a paid promotion. We are paying for our trip ourselves in full. Our Audley advisor was Erin Sparks and I would highly recommend speaking with her if you are looking to travel to Tanzania. You can find further information about the trips they organise at audley.com