How to plan and pack for your elopement when traveling to location
I do not really consider myself a travel expert, but after 5 years of extensive travel all over the United States and several other countries , 6.5 months full time living on the road and being an elopement photographer I hope that this blog post will help you in planning your travel for your elopement and help you pack before heading out on the trip of a life time. Eloping has a huge benefit of being more environmentally friendly over big traditional weddings. While traveling can be take away from that benefit, unless you are traveling to your honey moon location, I hope that in this blog I can also offer you some advice in keeping the impact as low as possible too.
Your elopement location will massively effect how you plan and pack for you elopement day. From traveling in state by car, a different state by plane or a different country the plan will look different and what you need to pack may be different. What you are doing on your elopement day will also hugely effect you list because you could be hiking, snow shoeing, canoeing, cliff diving or swimming! So take note and keep in mind as you read through the blog what may be unique to your day, because remember every single elopement is different, it is a wedding day uniquely designed to your love <3
Planning your Travel…
In this blog I will not go over how to select your elopement location, but you are more than welcome to download my free guide to walk you through the process of selecting your elopement location or check out any of the many blog posts on different elopement locations. For the sake of this post, you have an elopement location selected yay! Now, how are you going to get there?! Where are you going to stay?? How long are you going to stay?!
If you are traveling more than 3 hours to your elopement location it is my suggestion that you arrive no later that the day before your elopement just to make sure everything is ready and set to go for the next day, especially if you are doing a sunrise elopement. If you are traveling across seas and there is a bigger time difference I suggest getting there no later than 1.5-2 days before your elopement so you have time to adjust to the time difference and newer surroundings.
If you are not traveling far you could drive your own car. If you need to book a flight I personally always book with Delta because of comfort and trust. To book cheap flights download Skyscanner and it will notify you on days the flights you are considering are at their cheapest. If you are planning your elopement far enough in advance you could open a credit card with the airline you want to fly and use free flight miles to fly, if you play the game right. Keep in mind not all airlines go everywhere everyday, this is especially true for Iceland. I suggest to start looking at booking your flight no later than 35 days in advance to ensure that you get a flight. Be sure when you book your flight you know the airlines rules with luggage so you know any extra fees you may have to pay or know what you can bring with you luggage wise. If you are traveling with a pet be sure to get all the information you need from the airline in advance and get everything squared away with your vet. You will most likely need to carry on paper work from your vet, so be sure to pack that! Know that summers, weekends and holidays in the airports can be super busy so if you want to avoid the stress of crowds try flying outside of those times. I always suggest booking a flight where you can pick your seat and you know will you be comfortable. There is no reason for travel to be stressful, this is apart of your wedding experience, make it as easy on yourself as you can.
*** Environmental tip: Pack light, weight effects the carbon foot print of every plane. If you do not need an off road vehicle or a lot of space, but need a rental car book something that is eco friendly. Travel with an re-usable water bottle like a Nalgene or Hydroflask. You will need to go through security with it empty but you can refill it before boarding the plane. Support local where you fly to and even on the plane with your beer selection if you partake 🙂
So you got there! Woot, woot! Now where are you staying?!? A lot of this depends on the experience you wish to have, where you are and the weather for where you are, but let’s go through some of the options! You could always camp! Tent camp or van life camp is a great way to be outdoors for all of your elopement, nothing more romantic than being by the campfire under the stars. For suggestions on campsites I suggest downloading the app, Campendium or using Free Campsites.net. You could “fancy camp” this is a great option for just you two or if you will be having guests at you elopement. Some fancy camp options are Under Canvas near Moab and the Grand Canyon, Auto Camp near Yosemite, or use Hip Camp to find more unique camping experiences all over the United States. If you are traveling to Iceland or anywhere that you plan to do a lot of road tripping around the country before, during or after your elopement look into renting a van that you can stay in. Iceland is great for this because you can almost sleep anywhere in the van you rent. If you don’t want to rough it in any way possible you could consider renting a cabin there are especially some beautiful A-Frame cabins in the Pacific Northwest, a private room in a Hostel or Bed and Breakfast. Always check out Airbnb or VRBO and local listings with reviews. If you rent an Airbnb or VRBO and plan to have any sort of small reception type event on property and for it to be photographed be sure you message the home owner before booking to verify permission. Most Airbnb owners are fine with it, but always ask. The site also recently added a new feature where you can search places that are already allowing of this!
When selecting where you are staying for your elopement be sure it is an option that you feel comfortable staying for one, but also comfortable getting ready for your elopement day. Be sure it accommodates the experience you are looking to have for yourself and or your guests. Be sure that you can access the place you are staying in winter months if it is in the mountains in case of any major weather. Be sure ahead of your elopement you know how long it will take to get from where you are staying to your elopement location so we can plan accordingly on the big day. Always, always read reviews!!!
What to pack for your elopement travel…
Alright! Travel plans are in place and you’re getting closer to the big event. What do you need to pack?
Here is a list of items no matter what you are doing on your elopement day or where you are going that you will need to bring with you:
- Attire for the day of, including any accessories
- The rings
- Marriage License (if you have already obtained it, if not you will need to bring your documents needed to obtain your marriage license)
ID and if flying overseas a Passport
- Re-useable water bottle
- Shoes – the shoes you want to wear during the ceremony or for photos, but I always suggest if you are doing any hiking to bring the proper shoes for the activity
- Any toiletries items you may need for the day of or the trip in general
- Chargers for phones
Now those are the basics!!! If you are traveling anywhere cold you want to consider bringing layers, gloves, hats and for under the dress a nude tight. If you are going somewhere warm and coastal bring your bathing suit even if you don’t plan to hop into the water, don’t limit yourself. Consider bringing a blanket in case you decide to sit by a fire, lay under the stars or have a picnic. Bring any memorabilia that you may want for the ceremony. Snacks are a must if you are doing any sort of activity or having an elopement in that 4+ hour range. Bring a pack! If you are going on a short hike you could bring a day pack, but if you have a lot of things to carry or going on an extended hike bring a bigger pack. Bring anything you need to any specific activity you are doing this day. If you are snow shoeing to your location, climbing, biking, hiking, or base jumping to your location have all of the right gear you need for the adventure. Pack like you are packing specific for that and then pack specific for your elopement so you do not miss anything! Consider bringing things you may not need but would be good to have like a small first aid kit, medicines for headaches, altitude sickness or the unexpected cold, a small sewing kit, tweezers, etc. Make a list of what all you want to pack and check it off as you pack, you can start this list as early as you start the first stages of planning your elopement, do not procrastinate!
***Environmental Tip: Pack a re-usable bag so when you are out shopping locally you do not use plastic bags. Pack it in, pack it out where ever you are going and with anything and everything you bring with you! As always, practice Leave No Trace Behind Principals on your elopement day.
No matter where in the world you want to elope I can help you get there….
From capture to connection I am with you every step of the way. There is nothing I am more passionate about than helping you find the perfect nook to share your vows together in a way that allows you to express your love fully. I would love to your photographer for your elopement day and help you in the planning process leading up to the big day. Feel free to reach out to start planning your most epic adventure, marriage.