Honeymoon Ideas & Answers

Honeymoons That Won't-Break-the-Bank

Continued (page 3 of 4)

If you live in a place that others would want to visit, consider a home exchange (think Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet in 2006's The Holiday), in which you swap your house with another couple. HomeExchange.com offers access to other willing home-loaners for an annual fee of $100. Since you'll have to coordinate on both ends—say, your New York walk-up for their Honolulu beach house—you'll need to be flexible about dates.

Enroll in a Registry
Registries devoted to making your dream honeymoon a reality are now offered by resort chains (Starwood, One&Only and Sandals), travel agencies (DistinctiveHoneymoons.com and MoonRings.com) and independent enterprises (TravelersJoy.com and Honeyfund.com). Just list what you want—such as a couples massage or a sunset sail—and your guests can gift you with it. “We didn't need more stuff to dust and wanted our guests to contribute to great memories,” explains Laura Ahlbin, a health care marketer in Sterling, VA. She used the registry offered by Secrets Resorts & Spas to raise $4,000 for her Cancun honeymoon last summer. Similarly, Heidi Weber, a cable television marketing manager in Albany, NY, used Honeyfund.com to help pay for her October 2008 safari honeymoon to Botswana. “People feel like they're not just writing a check,” she notes, “but playing a role in your trip.”

Do Something Offbeat
If you are low-maintenance types, you can save big time. Enjoy romance under the stars at a tent resort like Maho Bay on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands (maho.org) or El Capitan Canyon near Santa Barbara, CA (elcapitancanyon.com), where rates are less than half of those at nearby resorts. Or consider spending sweat equity on a volunteer honeymoon, working four to eight hours a day teaching children or protecting local species in a place such as Africa, Asia or Central America. For example, with i-to-i (i-to-i.com), you can patrol remote Costa Rican beaches on behalf of endangered sea turtles for less than $1,000 per week, including meals and rustic accommodations.

Save Your Spare Change
If finances are tight, put the official honeymoon on hold and celebrate with a close-to-home “mini-moon.” Plan a long weekend away without going broke. Meanwhile, give yourselves six months to save for a bigger trip. Lia and Ben put $20-$100 in a jar weekly. “If we had left this money in our checking account, I think a lot of it would have gone to Starbucks!” she says.

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