Weddings are expensive… so here are some tips to enjoying yourself on your honeymoon without breaking the bank.
1. Stay in One City
For most of us, a honeymoon is the only excuse we will have to take a week or more off of work. With that kind of time, it can be tempting to try to see as many new and exciting places as possible. One of the most expensive parts of a honeymoon is transportation to and from your destination(s). If you’re flying, it’s going to be expensive, especially if your flight is international. To minimize your travel expenses, opt to stay in one city or one general area for the whole trip. The more time you spend in one place, the more like home it starts to feel–you make it “your place”. Explore different restaurants, take a day trip or two, plan fun excursions!
2. Take Local Transportation
This may sound a little scary, especially if you haven’t traveled to your destination before – but don’t fret! Many honeymoon locations are hot tourist spots too and have the public transportation systems totally figured out–maps in different languages
3. Pack Light
We know this is a tricky one–you want that perfect look for each day (and night) of your honeymoon! If you are flying to your honeymoon destination, look into the baggage regulations for your airline. Most allow one free carry-on bag and a personal item, so do your best to squeeze your dream honeymoon wardrobe into those two bags. A few airlines still allow a free checked bag for certain flights – which is awesome! Just make sure to weigh your bags before you get to the airport to avoid any overweight fees, we’ve all been there…
When you’re packing, start with the essentials. It is easy to get caught up in the frenzy of packing for a big trip and forget the most important things. This can add up when you need to buy replacements at a markup while you’re traveling. Make a checklist for yourself and don’t leave until you’ve checked off every last thing.
Here are some must-haves that are often overlooked or left behind:
- Travel umbrella
- First-aid kit
- Purse-sized snacks
- Refillable water bottle
- Phone chargers
- Toiletries: sunscreen, hairspray, dry shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant
4. Use Your Rewards Points
Rewards points are a great way to save money, and many of us forget they even exist! They pile up and we forget to use them before they expire. Now is the time to use those babies up! If you’re still in the wedding planning stages, use a credit card that has great travel rewards to pay your vendors–this way you can feel good about spending the money because a portion of it is going toward your honeymoon.
If you are considering applying for a new credit card, look into getting one with no foreign transaction fees. They can be a big unexpected expense if you are planning an international honeymoon. Most foreign transaction fees are around 3%, which can add up fast!
In addition to credit cards, most travel companies have their own rewards systems. Almost all airlines have some sort of rewards program that adds up to free flights or at least a discounted ticket. Car rental companies offer rewards members free upgrades along with other discounts and benefits. Hotel reward programs offer upgrades as well, and with enough, you may even get a few free nights!
5. Choose a Hotel with Perks
You’ll need a place to sleep while you’re away, but a hotel can be so much more than a room with a bed and bathroom. Look for a hotel that has a kitchen or a kitchenette! As we all know, it can get a bit pricey to eat out for every meal. Make a day of going to the market and stocking your kitchen with local goodies. You’ll spend less time worrying about where to eat and more time cozying up! Some hotels even offer a complimentary breakfast or happy hour. It’s a great idea to take advantage of these perks so you can save your money for going out to fancy romantic dinners.
Another tip! Your hotel may also offer transportation to and from the airport or discounts on local attractions. Call ahead and find out everything they have to offer so that you get the most out of your stay.
If you really want to live like a local while you’re honeymooning, consider a vacation rental, like Airbnb instead of a traditional hotel. While there are some over-the-top expensive vacation rentals, most tend to be more affordable than the average hotel. Plus, you get all of the perks of a home away from home–most hosts even stock the refrigerator with treats! It’s the best way to truly immerse yourself in the local culture of your destination!
6. Exchange Your Money Before You Travel
It is always a good idea to have cash on you when traveling, but converting money when traveling internationally can be costly. For the best exchange rates contact your bank or credit union before your trip. Most major banking companies offer their customers generous exchange rates with lower fees than you will find at the airport or another exchange counter at your destination. Some may require advanced notice to acquire the currency, so allow about a week for it to be ready to pick up.
7. Consider All-Inclusive
I know what you’re thinking, all-inclusive sounds expensive…and it usually is, at least upfront. The price can be scary to look at, but remember that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, hotel…everything! If you still have sticker shock, consider pricing out what the same vacation would cost if you purchased those things separately. On average, the all-inclusive price is less expensive in the long run. That being said, make sure you’re going to get your money’s worth. Additionally, if there are restaurants in the city that you want to try, think twice before committing to an all-inclusive package or you may end up double paying for your meals – it all depends on the location!
Speaking of all-inclusive – most cruises also fall under this category! Not only are your meals paid for, but your transportation as well! Cruises can be a fun and stress-free way to travel without having to deal with airport lines and driving. Another plus is that there is little to no access to cell service or internet, so work will just have to wait till you get back.
8. Check Deal Sites & Local Entertainment Books
Trying to save money and planning an enjoyable trip can seem like two different goals, but they don’t have to be. There are so many websites that offer great travel experiences and activities at a discounted price (up to 70% off!), like Groupon and Living Social to name a few.
Most cities or states in the US have local Entertainment Coupon Books that are sold on their website. These books include coupons for restaurants, experiences, and discounted admission to museums and other attractions.
9. Check with Your Concierge
When you arrive at your hotel, check with the concierge to see if they have any recommendations for restaurants or activities. You can also inquire about discounts that different vendors may offer guests of the hotel! Finally, some hotels have brochures for popular attractions that may have coupons inside. All in all, we definitely recommend speaking to your concierge upon arrival, they have a wealth of information that is sure to make your stay a memorable one!