When it comes to planning your honeymoon, things can quickly begin to feel financially overwhelming—aside from picking a destination (or multiple), you also have to consider transportation, accommodations, and a budget for activities like cooking classes, wine tastings, and excursions. Needless to say, all of these travel planning elements can add up very quickly. While many couples choose to go all-out on their honeymoon and pick a bucket-list destination, there's no rule that says your honeymoon has to be a huge, expensive trip. Budget-friendly honeymoon ideas are ample, and when it really comes down to it, this special love trip is just about that: Love, and celebrating your new marriage together.
For couples looking to book an affordable honeymoon, there are a lot of opportunities to keep things within a reasonable budget, from booking early to using loyalty program points for airlines and hotel brands. "There are so many ways to travel on a tight budget!" says Sara Margulis, CEO of Honeyfund. "Remember the honeymoon is about the experiences you'll have and the focused time together, so any destination can be wonderful."
MEET THE EXPERT
Sara Margulis is the CEO of Honeyfund, a free honeymoon registry website.
Here, we speak to Margulis about her top tips for planning a budget-friendly honeymoon that will be a trip for the books.
Choose a Budget-Friendly Destination
First things first: Choose a destination that may be a little easier on the wallet. Of course, this is highly variable depending on where you call home. Margulis encourages couples to think about destinations that aren't too far from home—maybe ones that don't require booking a flight, for example. "Locations closer to home and countries with good exchange rates can save you a lot," she explains. Consider going on a road trip to states or cities you've never been together or booking a long staycation in one of your favorite nearby destinations to cut costs on transportation.
Be Flexible With Travel Dates
If you're looking to save money when booking your honeymoon, don't limit yourself to a certain timeframe, as some destinations will be much more pricey during their peak seasons. "If you are flexible with your travel dates, consider traveling during the off-peak season. In addition to saving some money, you might like the less crowded vibe," Margulis says. For example, if you really want to go somewhere like Nantucket or Cape Cod for your honeymoon, instead of booking a trip for high-season in the summer, consider a shoulder season like spring or fall, when things may be a bit quieter but prices for accommodations will be much lower.
You know what they say: The early bird catches the worm—or, in this case, the good travel rates! "Be sure to book flights and accommodation as early as possible and look for package deals," suggests Margulis. "Look in January for summer or fall honeymoons. You'll get the best available in the lower price ranges," she says. Additionally, Margulis recommends following your favorite destinations on social media to stay up to date on current promotions—you never know what you might find.
Consider Vacation Rentals
Just because you're planning a honeymoon definitely doesn't mean you need to stay at a luxury hotel. In fact, Airbnb or VRBO rentals can feel just as luxurious, and you can have more control over being in an intimate, romantic setting. "Vacation rentals can be much more cost-effective per night than resorts," says Margulis, "and you can save a lot on dining out by grocery shopping and cooking at home." Breakfast in bed every day? Check.
Use a Honeymoon Fund
If booking an incredible honeymoon experience means a lot to you and your partner, instead of opting for a traditional wedding registry, consider using a honeymoon registry to source funds from friends and family during the wedding. "A honeymoon fund can be a great way to help couples offset honeymoon costs or activities that are outside of the budget," explains Margulis.
Look at All-Inclusive Options
Just because you're booking an all-inclusive trip doesn't mean it has to break the bank, Margulis notes. "Look for an all-inclusive destination that offers time-share promo trips. You can get four nights and five days for as little as $500." Especially if you book early!
Sign Up for Loyalty Points
If you and your partner use a credit card that offers a loyalty program tied to an airline or hotel brand, or if you sign up for airline and hotel brand programs, that will be a great way to compile points for booking travel—especially if you plan far in advance and save those points up. "Hotel loyalty points can add up fast when linked to a credit card you use often," explains Margulis.