How to Plan a Budget-Savvy Honeymoon

Planning your honeymoon

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You could argue that the honeymoon is the best part of the wedding. Yes, you’re excited to finally say “I do” to the man of your dreams and celebrate with your friends and family, but when all is said and done, you’re really looking forward to that much-needed downtime with your new husband. But you still want to do it without spending a fortune.

I’m a ridiculously frugal person — I reuse sandwich bags and had a heating bill for $35 one January — so when my best friend asked me to help plan her wedding since her and her fiancé were covering all the expenses, I jumped at the chance. The best wedding present I could give her was a couple of thousand -dollar savings, and the honeymoon was one of the biggest money savers. Here’s how we did it.

Use a Great Travel Agent

Once thought to be a shrinking industry, travel agencies are, in fact, alive and well. Why?  If you visit Google and search “honeymoon,” you will be welcomed with 115 million responses.  And yes, they will save you money.

With their knowledge of the industry, travel agents are able to match you with the vacation best suited to your needs. For example, choosing a cruise is not the same as selecting a flight or hotel. You will also receive insider tips for your destination, including, but not limited to, excursion ideas, ways to save while traveling, and suggestions on what to pack.

A good travel agent also has close relationships with hotel and cruise suppliers, so they are able to offer fares and discount cruises that you might be unable to find on your own. They also have representatives and contacts they can contact on your behalf if you encounter any problems.

Know the Right Tools to Use

If you’re turned off by the idea of a travel agent and have some time (or some great friends) to help you do some bargain hunting, there are some fantastic tools that you can use to ensure you do get the best price.

For my friend’s honeymoon, they found a 10-day cruise that ended up being the best deal for them. Pro tip: Don’t go directly through the cruise lines. There are some great cruise deal websites that with a little digging, you can find a great price. We used I Cruise, and I highly recommend it.

If you need a flight, definitely use Bing Travel. They have a Price Predictor that will tell you if you should wait to buy because fares will be dropping. It’ll tell you how much they expect it to drop by and how confident they are, so you can better gauge. And from experience, they’re usually right.  We were able to save $200 on flights to the cruise port just be waiting a week to book.

Virtual Tourist was also a huge help in figuring out things to do at each of their destinations. It’s all user-generated content so you get tips from an insider’s perspective.

Consider Budget-Friendly Destinations  

When you are planning a honeymoon on a budget, you want your dollar to stretch, so think about traveling where the dollar hasn’t deflated quite as much. A European honeymoon, while dreamy, might not be realistic when you consider that you will pay almost twice as much.

Mexico and Canada are popular honeymoon destinations, as the dollar goes a long way, and they are closer to home so the travel to and from your vacation is convenient. All-inclusive resorts in Mexico are packed with value, or honeymooners like cities such as Montreal and Quebec as they are like Paris, but you don’t have to go so far and spend as much money.

Also think about proximity to where you are. Hawaii isn’t a good option if you’re living on the east coast because of the flight itself, but it can be fairly reasonable if you’re already in California.

Take Advantage of Booking Early

Booking early allows you to choose the room you want. For example, you can book a cruise 12-18 months in advance, giving you a chance to secure your honeymoon by simply putting down a small deposit and making payments throughout the year.

Planning your honeymoon early also lets you take advantage of booking during off or shoulder seasons (the period right before and after high season). During this period you can still find good weather in most places, but enjoy less crowds and lower prices.

Welcome the Value of All-Inclusive

On your honeymoon you want to enjoy each other, you don’t want worry about taking out your wallet at every turn, or hidden fees and surprises. While the up-front cost can sometimes seem expensive, an all-inclusive vacation offers the most for your money.

Most all-inclusive rates include your accommodations, dining, activities, and entertainment. Some will even include alcoholic beverages, gratuities and transfers. Call the cruise line or resort (or talk to your travel agent) so you know exactly what’s included in all-inclusive.

About the Author

Erin Leigh is a writer, blogger, Internet-addict and lover of all things budget friendly. She’s parlayed her master of frugality into helping her friend plan a celebrity wedding on a working-class income.

Editor’s note: During this time of quarantine and social distancing, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Learn more here

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