Dec. 9, 2013 -- As both a reward for surviving the stress of wedding planning and a celebration of your new partnership, a honeymoon should be as relaxing and idyllic as possible. The question is, do you get the best experience by booking online?
Travel agents say that nothing can replace the personal touch and insider perks you can get from their relationships with hotels, airlines and other resources.
"Oftentimes, travel agents have access to special rates or exclusive packages," said Katie Frederick of Ever After Honeymoons. "Plus, a lot of hotel brands have executive agent programs for their top agents, which means great perks and amenities passed on to clients.... I frequently receive emails from couples during their honeymoon thanking me for their upgrade to the penthouse, bottle of champagne and snacks in the room when they arrived, or a special perk like a couple's massage or a unique experience like tequila and ceviche tasting."
Frederick, who coordinates honeymoons for couples with a minimum budget of $6,000, told ABC News that while booking online is convenient, it has drawbacks.
"If you book through an online booking site, you are just another guest at the hotel," she said. "By booking with a honeymoon planner, you have a contact to reach out for help while traveling."
Using a travel agent -- whether booking for a honeymoon, ski trip or summer vacation -- is still popular. Approximately $2 billion in sales ending June 30, 2013, was for Flight Centre USA, the USA umbrella company for Liberty Travel. In fact, the U.S. is the second largest contributor to the global Flight Centre's total sales of nearly $15 billion.
If you have a limited budget, agents can also work to find solutions and offer advice.
"Don't spend a huge portion of your budget on flights -- splurge on great hotels and experiences to make your honeymoon extra special," said Frederick. "Also, don't travel during holidays or peak season for a specific destination; take advantage of slower seasons, or the time just before or after peak season."
All-inclusive resorts are also an easy way to keep spending in check. Riviera Maya, Mexico, has lots of resorts, beautiful beaches and affordable flights from many cities in the U.S., suggested Frederick.
And agents may recommend a locale that wasn't previously on the newlyweds' radar.
"A majority of couples that reach out to me don't know where they want to go for their honeymoon," she said. "By going over their budget, travel dates, interests and things they are looking to do, I am able to create custom options for them. Oftentimes the destinations couples decide to go are places they never would have thought of!"