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Instead of Gifts: Try a Travel Registry

Traditional wedding gifts are nice. A bottle of wine. A toaster. Bath towels. But what if you would really like to go on a splendid honeymoon but you can’t afford much of a trip? Higgins Travel Leaders, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, recommends you set up a travel registry. Higgins Travel Leaders has been offering travel registries for about five years.

If you agree to eventually book your honeymoon through Higgins Travel Leaders, there is no fee to set up the registry. You can come into the office and chat with an agent, or you can communicate with the office through a phone call or an email. The registry can easily be set up on the Higgins Travel Leaders website.

Travel Agent Heidi DesJarlais explains how the registry works. “We put the couple’s picture and write-up on our website, and guests contact us via the online request form. We don’t like to have people submit their payment information online, so we typically discuss that over the phone. If requested, we can print off inserts that the couple can put in their wedding invitations. Those are complimentary as well.”

The couple can customize the registry to some extent. “Couples can either simply take monetary donations OR they can have a ‘wish list’ of things like a romantic dinner on the beach, parasailing, ziplining, etc.,” DesJarlais says. “Also, some couples encourage guests to donate to their registry in lieu of shower gifts.”

DesJarlais reports that the registry idea is very popular, as most couples already have been living together and don’t need household goods but they’d really love to have a nice honeymoon. “It’s also a fun way to give and receive money as a gift,” she says. Usually the money given toward the trip only covers about 5 percent of the costs. But most couples offer the registry as one way guests can gift them, while also accepting traditional gifts.

One challenge with the travel registry is that guests tend to wait until the last minute to contribute to the registry (like, the day before the wedding). DesJarlais notes, “Typically, final payment on a travel package is due thirty to forty-five days prior to departure. If a couple is traveling RIGHT after their wedding, they won’t yet have the registry money to apply to their travel package, so they have to pay the full amount on their own. Fortunately, we simply give the money to the couple, and they can do whatever they want with it, whether it’s applying it to a credit card balance, spending money on the trip, or paying their rent!”

What tips does she have for couples considering a registry? “DO IT! It’s free and fun!”

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