It's no secret that planning a wedding and a honeymoon at the same time will make you (and your bank account) want to cry out "HELP!" Whether you're into booking honeymoon packages or hand-crafting the perfect bespoke itinerary, it can take serious time, energy, and Game of Thrones-worthy cunning to budget correctly for both the biggest party of your life and the once-in-a-lifetime trip that follows. Good news is, just as there are smart ways to save your precious hard earned cash on the wedding, so too will you be able to stay on-budget for your honeymoon and still have the best trip ever, no matter which destination you choose. Take a look at 10 seven tips for how to save money on the honeymoon:
1. Be flexible.
Just because you're getting married on June 10th doesn't mean you have to leave for your honeymoon on the 11th. In fact, it's now commonplace to postpone the honeymoon and opt instead for a shorter long-weekend minimoon or tinymoon (a.k.a. staying in your wedding locale for one night and then returning home). Being flexible with your dates allows you to take advantage of cheaper seasonal rates. So if you dream of walking hand-in-hand down the cobblestone streets of Positano, it will be worth your while to go in September or early October, when crowds are thinner and hotel rooms are cheaper. Another way to save is to stay at resorts during the week and in cities on weekends. "This is the opposite pattern of most travelers, and will allow you to take advantage of less costly midweek rates,” says Virtuoso travel adviser Jack Ezon of Ovation Vacations. For example, head to Napa Valley or Sonoma on a Wednesday, then spend a weekend night or two in San Francisco.
2. Cash in points.
By signing up for with the right travel rewards credit card, you can rack up rewards and snag a sign-up bonus that can be used toward flights, hotels, and other incidentals. Other points-based cards offer bonus reward multipliers any time the card is used while traveling. Now that you've accrued the freebies, time to cash in: Use points to book flights or splurge on a room-category upgrade. To squeeze the most out of each point, consider moving your desired dates to match points-available flights and rooms. “I went on my honeymoon two weeks after my wedding so we could fly using points and it saved us thousands of dollars,” says Ezon.
3. Book with a travel agent.
Many honeymooners opt to use a travel agent—with good reason, travel agents are professionals, after all. Through their own connections and inclusion in perk programs, such as Virtuoso, many agents are able to immediately add breakfast, spa treatments, and other gifts to reservations for newly married couples. If you opt to book on your own, be sure to cost-compare, research the best time to book flights and travel to your desired destination. Be sure to research travel protection and insurance plans, too. The more informed you are, the more you can save.
4. Limit the number of destinations.
Reduce the number of destinations to minimize incidentals, like airport transfer charges, checked bag fees, and porter tips. Make a wish list of your must-dos and prioritize the top two. The rest can wait for your anniversary.
5. Drive from a larger airport.
Compare prices on flights into all airports surrounding your destination. A visit the Grand Canyon is expensive if you fly into the nearest hub, Flagstaff, while driving five hours from Las Vegas can be half the price—not to mention it adds both urban and road-trip elements to your honeymoon.
6. Book a package deal.
Honeymoon packages exist for a reason: to help you get the most bang for your buck. Once you've narrowed down your honeymoon destination(s), look at any hotel/flight promotions to see if there's a package that suits your needs. But don't book a honeymoon package just because; for example, if neither of you plans to use the spa much on your honeymoon, buying a hotel package that includes daily treatments will likely be a waste of money. Do the math on all the activities and special meals you're hoping to include in your honeymoon itinerary, cost-compare to existing honeymoon packages, and decide what makes the most sense for you.
7. Avoid pricey incidentals.
Snacks and groceries from a hotel shop can be insanely overpriced, where as local grocery stores or bodegas aren't aimed at tourists and are often less expensive. If you're a snacker, pack some granola bars in your suitcase or head into town for light bites and necessities like toiletries you might've forgotten.
8. Skip the souvenirs.
It's too easy to spend hundreds of dollars on things that will stay in a drawer or cabinet when you return home. Unless it's something you see yourself using for years to come, don't buy souvenirs. Your memories and photos from the trip will be all you need to remember it for decades.
9. Make your own mini bar.
It's no secret that alcohol is expensive, especially at hotels. Avoid spending excess cash on pre-dinner drinks or nightcaps by creating your own little bar in your room. You can either pack the booze to bring yourselves, or buy it in town or at a duty free shop when you land. Even if you don't finish the bottle before you check out, it's guaranteed to be cheaper than many room service or drinks at the hotel bar.
10. Use public transportation.
Ubers and private cars are obviously luxurious and convenient, but in most honeymoon-worthy cities and destinations, opting for public transportation can save you a nice chunk of change. Do your research and speak to hotel/resort staff for more information on safety, procedures, costs, et cetera.