ROMANCE AT LOVABLE PRICES
The "big day" can put a big dent in a bank account, leaving very little leftover for a honeymoon. A post-wedding trip doesn't have to be expensive to be extraordinary. Here are 20 money-saving tips for thrifty honeymooners.
Come up with a list of locations to research and get an idea of pricing. Don't be afraid to suggest places that sound too expensive; they may be more affordable than expected for couples who book early.
Think about what will make the honeymoon most enjoyable and focus the budget on that first. If you really want to be pampered, book a stay at a resort with a high-end spa -- but maybe skip fancy dinners out every night.
LET SOMEONE ELSE DO THE LEGWORK
If you're overwhelmed by honeymoon planning and research, try outsourcing it through an online service such as TaskRabbit. For about $30 an hour (historically the site's most popular price for vacation planning services), you can hire someone to help.
SET A BUDGET
Couples should discuss and agree on a honeymoon budget before choosing a destination. Without a budget, spending could get out of hand, starting with reservations out of your price range and leading to further overspending while on the road.
KEEP TRACK OF DEALS
One way to cut honeymoon costs is to keep an eye on promotions and deals. Bookmark discount deal sites (including Groupon, Living Social, and Amazon Local) and price comparison sites (including Yapta, Airfarewatchdog, and Matrix from ITA Software. Subscribe to email lists and follow the social media accounts of potential hotels.
MAXIMIZE CREDIT CARD POINTS
Credit card signs-ups are often rewarded with bonus points and frequent flyer miles. Spend a few months putting wedding expenses on a new rewards card and chances are you'll earn enough points or miles to redeem for airfare or free nights in a hotel.
WORK WITH A TRAVEL AGENT
Most travel agents have the experience to know how to save money on everything from airfare to hotels in the location you want. Handing the reins to someone else can also alleviate the stress of planning.
MAKE IT A LONG WEEKEND
Don't buy into the idea that a honeymoon has to be somewhere exotic and last a week or two. Look for a location within a couple hours' travel time and stay three to four days. That way, you can easily return for anniversary getaways in the years to come, and put the money saved toward a future trip.
Couples who don't commit to a specific destination can take advantage of last-minute deals. Many airlines offer discounted fares and vacation packages, and home-sharing services such as HomeAway often have bargain rates resulting from last-minute cancellations.
GO IN THE LOW SEASON
Set the wedding date in a slower travel month -- or consider honeymooning later, rather than immediately after the wedding, and select a location that won't be as popular then. Going in the off-season lowers the cost of a hotel and sometimes activities, as well.
REGISTER FOR A HONEYMOON
Set up a honeymoon registry online to let family and friends help fund a dream trip, instead of spending on gifts that might not be needed or wanted.
BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE
Without trip cancellation insurance, travelers are out of luck -- and probably a good deal of money -- if they have to change their plans. Couples traveling abroad may also need travel health insurance.
BRAG ABOUT BEING NEWLYWEDS
Get upgraded to first-class seats, score a better hotel room , and reap many more perks just by telling people you're on your honeymoon. At the very least, the occasion calls for some complimentary champagne!
SEEK OUT ALL-INCLUSIVE PACKAGES
All-inclusive properties by their nature are designed to maximize the tourist buck. They might include activities such as water sports or spa amenities in addition to a room and food. Couples who have a destination wedding at an all-inclusive resort stand to get a honeymoon for free or at a drastically reduced rate. Generally the more rooms guests book, the more credit the couple earns.
RENT A HOME ON AIRBNB
It might not be a spa getaway at a fancy resort, but renting through Airbnb can save a ton of money. Although prices vary widely, the website's properties are usually a discount compared with hotels in desired locations. For adventurous couples who want to spend most of their time out exploring a new city or country, this is an affordable option.
COOK YOUR OWN MEALS
Most honeymooning couples will want to go out for some extravagant dinners. For other meals, though, think about taking a stroll through the local farmers market (or picking up favorite foods at the grocery store) and cooking together. Think of it as an opportunity for romance and a guarantee of food you know you'll like at a fraction of the cost.
BRAVE PUBLIC TRANSIT
It's easy to grab a taxi or Uber, but fares add up quickly. Instead, take a train, bus, metro to mingle with the locals and get a glimpse of the area's culture.
INVEST IN AN AIR PASS
For travel in Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia, South America, or the South Pacific, look into air pass tickets that make it easy to hop among cities or countries within a set time frame for far less money than it would cost to buy the flights separately.
Baggage fees can add significantly to the price of air travel. Look up luggage size and weight limits before arriving at the airport. Some airlines now charge even for carry-on items.
ARRANGE YOUR OWN EXCURSIONS
A guided museum tour may seem enticing, but organized activities can be expensive. Transportation, entrance and booking fees, and meals add up. To save money, research and plan independent outings.