Who doesn’t dream of spending their honeymoon in an overwater bungalow in Bali or cruising along the mint-green waters of Bora Bora in a private yacht? But unless you’re flushed with cash after Google bought your startup, these honeymoon dreams are just that – dreams. Even so, you can still have a dream-fulfilling honeymoon on a budget if you keep these powerful tips in mind.
If you’ve ever had to click “buy” on a last minute plane ticket, you know all too well just how quickly those prices can soar sky-high. Avoid hefty airline surges and give yourself a little planning time by booking as far ahead as possible. Not only will airline tickets be cheaper, you’ll most likely save on hotels and tours too. The best part? Those savings can turn into special honeymoon splurges, like a sunset wine cruise or dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Aim for Off-Season Escape
If you’re not bothered by a little afternoon rain in St. Lucia or can brave England’s breezy fall, consider a honeymoon in your dream destination’s offseason. For most Caribbean destinations, that means the height of summer, when high temperatures scorch the sand and afternoons are filled with the sound of rain trickling through the palm leaves. In Europe, November through March is officially the off-season, although winter is actually a great time to visit. Not only will crowds be less crowdy, but towns will be filled with the spicy aroma of mulled wine and historic squares will be festive with Christmas markets.
Go All Inclusive
Once you arrive at your honeymoon destination, it’s the incidental charges—two sunbeds at the beach, a sixer of local brew and countless bottles of water—that really put a damper on your dollars. All of these charges and more are forgotten at all-inclusive resorts and cruises. You pay once, and almost everything is included, from free-flowing drinks to as many meals as you care to consume in a day. Not only that, most resorts give you free reign to use their kayaks, snorkeling gear and beach loungers, so you can soak up the surroundings without breaking the bank. A few activities may cost you, like spa treatments and off-resort excursions, but you can easily stay a week without spending one extra dime.
Use a Travel Agent
Planning a honeymoon, with all its minute details and billion options, can turn your mind to mush, especially if you’re not well versed in the world of travel. But it doesn’t have to be the way. When you work with a travel agent, you stay in the dream phase of planning; you tell your agent about the experiences you want to have that will make your honeymoon absolutely perfect. It’s his or her job to sift through the options, dive into the details and put together an incredible travel package that checks everything off your list at a price that’s right for your budget.
Get Off the Beaten Path
If you want to save major coinage when traveling to places like France, Italy and Hawaii, skip the megastar towns and opt for lesser-known, but equally-splendid alternatives. Sure, nothing beats strolling hand-in-hand down Saint-Germain-des-Pres in Paris, but you can have similar moments in Dinan, a walled town on the picturesque Rhine River; or in Montpellier, which boasts the same wrought-iron balconies and 14th century architecture. Going off the tip above, consult with your travel agent to discuss the best towns to visit in your target regions. You’ll save money choosing a place that’s less crowded, and you’ll score coolness-factor points for going to unique places your friends and colleagues haven’t even heard of.
Nothing will break the bank quicker than having to pay extra for checked bags or 51-pound suitcases. Avoid the stress of paying for your bags by sticking to the carry-on game, a tried-and true-practice that travel writers and bloggers swear by. It may seem intimidating to fit a week’s worth of clothes in a carry on, but it’s actually more freeing than you think. Plus, laundry can be easy and cheap in areas like Asia, Europe and the Caribbean, so you can wash and go instead of lugging a hefty Victorinox with a wonky caster around the airport. As a plus, the carry-on only strategy makes it a cinch to breeze in and out of airports, and the airline will never lose your bag.
Set Up a Honeymoon Registry
If you and your partner have been living together for a few years, there’s a good chance you already have a knife set and coffee maker in your kitchen. So skip the normal wedding registry and create a honeymoon registry instead. This lets your friends and family pay for specific honeymoon activities—like tickets to a West End show or a flightseeing tour in Alaska—instead of giving you that panini press you’ll only use once.