A SWEET TIME
Weddings get more expensive every year and many newlyweds find themselves tapped out by the time the honeymoon rolls around. Don't let the financial stress of a wedding deprive you of a lovely post-nuptials holiday. Cheapism.com found 10 destinations with a variety of budget accommodations for a sweet but affordable honeymoon.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
Many people get hitched in Vegas and for couples who like to party it's a great post-wedding destination as well. It's easy to find inexpensive hotel rooms all over town, and politely letting the front desk know it's your honeymoon might result in a free upgrade. There are always new shows and musical performances to catch and loads of free activities and attractions. The Hoover Dam and beautiful desert scenery are just a short drive away.
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
A delightful mix of southern culture and modern convenience, Charleston offers romantic charm, delicious cuisine, and interesting historical sites. Take a day trip to the sandy beaches of Kiawah Island, which was voted best island in the United States (and second best in the world) by Condé Nast readers. Back in Charleston, walk along the waterfront, explore the food and live music at City Market, or take a sightseeing tour in a horse-drawn carriage.
The drive down the Overseas Highway through the Florida Keys is spectacular. There are several destinations to choose from; Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, and Key West are the most popular. For the best rates, avoid traveling to the Keys during high season (winter). Fortunately, the high season for weddings (summer) is the low season here.
SOUTH BASS ISLAND, OHIO
South Bass Island, sometimes referred to as "the Key West of the Midwest," was described as "picture postcard perfect" by one reviewer on TripAdvisor. Visitors get to this small island in Lake Erie via ferry, chartered boat, or plane, and travel around the island on golf carts. Weekends can get busy, especially during the summer, but stay a week and you'll get a mix of solitude and local festivities.
VIEQUES, PUERTO RICO
A few miles east of the Puerto Rican mainland, the island of Vieques is still largely undeveloped. There's only one major resort and most of the lodging options in the small towns of Vieques and Esperanza are inexpensive. The island offers pristine beaches and top-notch snorkeling and scuba diving. Wild horses run free on Vieques, adding to the magic. Access to the island is via ferry from Puerto Rico or small plane.
Newlyweds who want to experience the lush beauty of the South Pacific on a budget should consider the Cook Islands. The 15 islands that make up the country have many secluded beaches, hiking trails, and snorkeling spots, and a wide range of accommodation options. Tourists usually stay on the main island of Rarotonga, but it's worth a day trip to the island of Aitutaki, known for its stunning turquoise lagoon.
Thailand isn't as cheap as it once was but it's still an affordable – and astonishingly beautiful -- travel destination for many Americans. It can be hard to find deals on flights to Bangkok, but once you've arrived, hotels and dining are inexpensive. Get away from the capital and explore popular honeymoon destinations such as the beaches of Ko Samui, the cultural capital of Chiang Mai, or Khao Yai National Park, known for its elephants.
Cambodia's tourism industry is still fairly new and as a result prices are low. Couples shouldn't expect the same level of luxury as in neighboring Thailand but if that sounds good to you consider the small, quiet island of Koh Rong Samloem. The Lazy Beach resort in particular gets rave reviews on TripAdvisor for its unspoiled setting.
An increasingly popular travel destination in Central America, Nicaragua has a few resorts but not the crowds of tourists found in other vacation hotspots. Newlyweds can visit pristine beaches on both the Pacific and Caribbean side of the country, have adventures in the rainforest, or go volcano boarding – riding down a mountain of volcanic rock on a modified ski. Those looking for a quieter trip should consider Isla Ometepe, a beautiful hourglass-shaped island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua.
A LOCAL RESORT
Many honeymoon destinations require expensive airplane tickets. To avoid that cost, consider a trip to a nearby resort. At first glance it may not seem as romantic, but there's likely a destination within driving distance that's worth exploring. Spend the savings from the airfare on romantic dinners or a lavish hotel.