Honeymoon Ideas & Answers
Honeymoons That Won't-Break-the-Bank
Travel industry experts and real couples offer savvy tips on how to live large while paying less
It's your honeymoon, so naturally, you're thinking big. Two-weeks-in-Tahiti big. Fulfilling post-nuptial travel fantasies often involves a splurge, but when you factor in today's sky-high airfares, stagnant salaries and good old-fashioned belt-tightening (and we don't mean seat belts), there's a good chance you'll end up in a honeymoon money crunch. These days, it pays to be a smart traveler who knows how to beat the system by finding its backdoors. As you plan your trip, brush up on these budget travel tips.
Go When They Least Expect You
Off-season travel is always cheaper as hotels slash rates—often by 40 percent—to attract guests. But, yes, “low season” can also be code for “bad weather.” For example, hotel rates in the Caribbean plunge from May to November, which includes the prime hurricane months of July to October. It's a risk, but one that may be worth the savings: Christine Cordes, a consultant from Falls Church, VA, and her husband, Matt, gambled on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula in June and got a good deal—and good weather. Similarly, Morgan and Sarah Stuart, a neurosurgery resident and a high school teacher from New York City, saved hundreds of dollars per night on their Curacao honeymoon last August. “We knew it was off-season, but because the island is below the hurricane belt, we felt confident the weather would be nice—and it was,” says Sarah.
“If you really want to save money in the tropics, go in September or October and spend an extra $100 for travel insurance,” advises Gabe Saglie, senior editor of Travelzoo.com, which tracks travel deals (insurance, however, won't cover a week of rain—just major weather events, like hurricanes). Don't want to risk clouds? Think “shoulder season,” the buffer months just before and after high season, when rates are reduced but not rock bottom and the weather generally tends to be fine.
Good timing extends to air travel, too. To snag deals, experts suggest flying on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and early on Saturdays. Also, sign up for e-newsletters that alert you to discounts. “Airlines have unadvertised sales all the time,” says George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com, whose e-mail alert gives promotional codes. These sales usually last 24 to 48 hours and are good for travel up to 11 months in the future. He also suggests buying peak-period (during holidays and spring break) tickets far in advance: “Fares won't come down if you wait, and worse, flights will be sold out.”
Rack Up Those Points
Frequent flyer miles and other loyalty programs from hotels, airlines and credit cards can be your ticket to paradise. If you haven't done so already, join one. Sometimes just registering gets you perks: At Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, enrollees get free Wi-Fi.