When it comes to planning your honeymoon, there are multiple things you can do to make sure you’re getting the most value for your money. But your honeymoon can be more affordable than you think! Here are 10 tips to help you plan a dream honeymoon that won’t break the bank.
1. Plan early
The key to making your honeymoon dollars work best for you is to plan ahead. Planning in advance gives you a shot at getting early booking discounts, which may even apply towards travel at peak times. Another important reason for booking ahead is to snag the room you want before they are sold out.
The less expensive room categories on river cruises, for example, begin getting scarce ten to twelve months in advance. And you’ll find savings on ocean cruises if you book ten to fourteen months in advance when they announce their itineraries. Don’t fret though, if you don’t have that much time. It’s possible to snag last-minute deals up to two months in advance, although your choice of cabin may be limited.
2. Decide on your priorities
It helps if you can choose what matters most to you for this trip. Is your goal to get away from wintry weather? Or is it more important that you are pampered from morning ’til night? Ask yourself what your goal is for your honeymoon and then decide what you can live with or without. For example, if pampering is your top priority, consider a weekend getaway at a nearby spa resort. Then put the money you would have spent on airfare towards spa treatments and breakfast in bed. If heading to a tropical climate is the most important, consider Florida, the Bahamas or Cancun instead of the more expensive Caribbean islands.
3. If you’ve got a lower budget, consider places with lower airfare
Sure, a honeymoon in Tahiti is probably on everyone’s wish list, but consider the airfare cost. The further you travel, the more expensive the airfare will probably be. If you’re on the West Coast, think about a trip south to Mexico, or west to Hawaii. If you’re an East-coaster, head east to Bermuda or south to the Caribbean. Or stay in the US, where there are so many enchanting places to choose from.
4. Don’t rule out your dream destination
If you’re considering a top-level room at a high-end resort in the Caribbean, like Sandals, and Tahiti is your dream, you may find that the prices are comparable to a four-star resort in Tahiti. So be sure to consider both.
5. Consider an all-inclusive resort, cruise or tour
The best thing about an all-inclusive is that you know exactly how much you’ll be spending in advance. No surprises. At some resorts, such as Sandals,you can even get married at no cost with a minimum nightly stay. Most all-inclusive rates include your room, all meals, drinks, activities, entertainment, tips, taxes and airport transfers, and, if tours or sports are included they often include guides and equipment. Make sure that you ask exactly what is included, though; some resorts do not include drinks, for example. Each package is different.
Once you compare some all-inclusive rates, think about what is most important to you. Are you really going to to dive in that cenote or do you want to spend all of your time relaxing on that powdery-soft sand staring at the azure Caribbean water?
6. Use a Romance Travel Specialist
Sure, it’s fun to book your travel online, if you have the time to do the research somewhere between wedding planning, your day job and sleeping. But for stress-free trip planning, a travel agent is ideal. They have access to ongoing sales and can save you money with air-hotel and fly-drive-hotel packages, due to their affiliation with various travel suppliers and travel consortiums. They’ve also got years of travel experience and can help you decide what is most important to keep and what you can cut from your itinerary.
7. Avoid the crowds and travel off-season
If possible, choose a destination where off-season or the shoulder season, which is the period right before and after high season, coincides with your honeymoon dates. Not only will the crowds be fewer, but you’ll save a lot of money. And don’t worry about the weather. Many islands in the Caribbean, for example, have balmy weather throughout the year, but the rates at many hotels and resorts there spike from January to April due to East-coasters escaping the bitter cold.
8. Consider alternative airports
Is there a smaller or further airport that you can use? You may find significant savings to more than make up for the inconvenience. For example, if you live in the New York City/New Jersey area, check airfare rates in Philadelphia. You can also consider flying into an alternative airport. If you are cruising from Miami, for example, consider flying into Fort Lauderdale instead.
9. Use a honeymoon registry
Some tour operators allow you to offer a registry service in which they collect, track and apply contributions from your wedding guests toward your honeymoon expenses. With some of these services, guests can even “sponsor” specific activities such as a sunset cruise, spa treatment, or dinner at a fancy restaurant.
10. Use frequent flyer miles
Be sure to check if you’ve accumulated enough miles or points to pay for airfare, hotel rooms, car rentals or upgrades. In fact, if you’re taking a marathon flight to the South Pacific or somewhere else a long distance away, seat upgrades are invaluable, and have a better rate of exchange than ticket purchases. Allow enough time for any points or mile rewards to be transferred and keep an eye on blackout dates.