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How To Honeymoon On A Budget
Sometimes, you just don't have the cash to put forth for that huge honeymoon that you feel like you must take after your wedding day. Especially when you are paying for your wedding yourself, you may not have a lot left over. I have a friend who had to go super-inexpensive for her honeymoon because she and her hubby had paid for their big day without any help from family or friends. Because they got the flowers, DJ, venue, and gowns that they really wanted, they decided to go low-key for their special first trip as husband and wife. Contrary to what you may think, it isn't a hard thing to do. There are plenty of ways to save on your honeymoon and still have a wonderful time.
Discuss Your Priorities
Long before your wedding takes place, while you're still in the early stages of planning, discuss with your fiancé what your priorities are for your wedding and honeymoon. If neither of you care about a huge traditional wedding but both of you love to travel, have a smaller, more intimate celebration and spend more on your honeymoon. If your wedding day is more important, set your budget for the honeymoon smaller and plan a scaled-back trip.
Take Advantage of Points and Miles
There are some credit cards out there that give points for paying on time, while others give you frequent-flier miles if you fly often. If you find yourself with a wealth of points or miles, save them for the big trip. If you can cut out paying for the flight or hotel stay, you've already gotten ahead of the game. Start saving points or miles from the time you get engaged and you may find yourself with free flights or free hotel stays by the time the wedding day rolls around.
Register for Your Honeymoon
If you already have established your kitchen or you simply don't need the gravy boat or butter dish that matches your fine china, register for your honeymoon instead. You can register through your local bank branch or simply let your guests know by word of mouth that you'd appreciate money towards your honeymoon in place of a gift. A honeymoon tree with empty envelopes attached is also a cute idea for the reception.
There are plenty of all-inclusive choices out there for a fabulous honeymoon. There are resorts that allow guests the ability to do almost any fun activity without ever leaving the property. This way, you are only paying for your stay and travel. Cruises are a great idea as well. Once you get on board, you can do, eat, or play almost anything without paying extra. There are even excursions if you want to get off the boat while it is docked at the different ports of call. But if you are like myself and my husband when we vacationed last summer, we never even left the ship; it was too relaxing just sleeping late, lying by the pool, having a romantic dinner, and then dancing all night in the nightclub lounge. This way, we only paid for the cost of the cruise and the inexpensive airfare to get to the ship.
Don't Go Far
Depending on where you live, you may have a great honeymoon destination within driving distance of you. Spending less on travel allows you to spend more on your hotel. If you can save on airfare, you've already saved a ton. I think if I lived out west, I would not be against taking a road trip to a great mountain resort for a honeymoon. If you live close to a coast, try a great beach resort. Look into the nearest large city near your home and check out their resort hotels. You may be surprised. Savannah, GA, and Charleston, SC, are great destinations if you live in the southeast, for example.
Consider Your Time Frame
You don't even need to go on your honeymoon right away, and you don't need to go for a long time. There are couples who choose to wait to go on their big trip or choose a long weekend instead. First, look into travel deals. There are times during the week when you can fly for less. The middle of the week is a great time to fly, since prices are lower than on the weekend. There are also hotel deals that are cheaper on certain days of the month. Look into visiting a destination or resort during the off-season. If you are going to an island or beach, try during the fall or spring instead of summer. The summertime is when most families go on vacation because the kids are out of school. This is usually the time when prices spike, but waiting until fall will give you a better chance at a better price.
Mention the Honeymoon
When booking your stay or when checking in, it is a good idea to mention that you are honeymooning. You can get all kinds of great freebies from the staff if they hear that you are celebrating. You may get a complimentary bottle of champagne, a couple of free drinks at the bar, a free meal, or even a room upgrade simply by telling them why you're there.
Look at Packages
Vacation packages can usually save you some money. Try looking at different travel agencies in your area to see what kinds of deals they can give you. They can usually bundle your airfare and hotel fees and give you a bit of a discount. Also, check into packages at the resort or hotel to see if you can get any deals with them. But always read the fine print; you don't want any surprises.
Save on Transportation
If you've gotten a deal going to a big city and staying at a great hotel, you can still continue to save by using mass transportation. You don't have to rent a car or use a taxi: Simply do what the locals do and take the bus, train, or subway. You will be experiencing the city like a true native. This also will leave you more money for sight-seeing.
Save on Meals
If you are lucky enough to stay in a suite or room with a kitchen, try shopping at the local grocery store and making some meals in the room instead of spending money on meals, tips, and drinks. Fix healthier meals that you know will give you more energy to go on hikes, go sight-seeing, or enjoy some "alone time."
Eat Outside of the Hotel
You don't always have to eat in the hotel restaurant. If you want to get some real local cuisine, ask the locals where they like to eat. Get some suggestions for several local spots so that you can experience what it's like to live there. The food may be more authentic as well.
Since we live in the age of technology, there are so many websites that can offer you discounts on travel. Check out places like Priceline.com or Hotels.com to see what kinds of deals they have to offer.