The vows have been said, rings exchanged, and you’ve officially tied the knot. It’s time to relax and enjoy some stress-free time with your spouse—and traditionally, that means heading to your honeymoon. But weddings can be a huge blow to your budget, and if you’re still reeling over the massive cost of a venue, catering, and everything else, you’re probably in money-saving mode. Here are a few tips for enjoying a honeymoon that’s frugal but still fun.
1. SET UP A HONEYMOON REGISTRY.
Instead of a standard household goods registry, here’s an idea: Skip the silverware and register your honeymoon instead. There’s no shortage of websites that allow friends and family to fund your trip. Guests can help cover the cost of hotels, flights, or even specific activities to take the burden off you and your spouse.
2. GO ALL-INCLUSIVE.
Some cruises and travel sites offer honeymoon packages, and if you want the most bang for your buck, make sure they’re all-inclusive. This way you don’t have to worry about penny-pinching on food, drinks, or services when you’re trying to relax.
3. TRAVEL IN THE OFF SEASON.
The easiest way to save the most money on travel? Visit a destination in the off-season. Flights and hotels are cheaper, as demand is lower. However, keep in mind that some destinations might be cheaper in the off-season for a reason—typically, weather is less than favorable. If you want the best of both worlds, travel during the shoulder season, the time between peak and off-peak seasons. Prices are still a bit cheaper, but the weather is better.
4. TRACK PRICES.
The earlier you start planning your honeymoon, the better. This allows you time to track flights and buy when prices are low. Use an online tracking tool or sign up for email alerts for price changes on select destinations.
5. TRAVEL WHERE THE DOLLAR IS STRONG.
Another way to save money on your honeymoon is to pick a destination where the U.S. dollar is strong. The dollar is the strongest it’s been in recent years, and that means previously pricey places like Australia and Europe are cheaper than they’ve been in a long time. Currently, the dollar is especially strong in Brazil, South Africa, Norway, and Mexico.
6. USE REWARDS MILES.
If you have to spend thousands on a wedding, you might as well earn points in the process. Many credit cards offer huge sign-up bonuses if you reach a certain level of spending within the first few months. Some words of caution, though: You should always pay your credit card bill in full and on time. Otherwise, you rack up late fees and interest, and that offsets your savings. And be sure to read the fine print to see if these cards come with an annual fee.
When you try to do everything, it’s easy for spending to get out of control. While planning your honeymoon, talk to your spouse about your vacation goals. Do you simply want to relax and head to a nearby spa? Or are you looking for adventure with specific activities in mind, like snorkeling or ziplining? Either way, make sure you’re on the same page about your expectations, then prioritize accordingly.
8. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HAPPY HOUR.
Food adds up while you’re traveling, especially on a celebratory vacation like a honeymoon. By taking advantage of happy hour, you can enjoy the ambience of a fancy restaurant without forking over a ton of money. Many restaurants have perfectly tasty happy hour menus so you can fill up and have a cocktail at a discount. Or, hit up pricier hot spots for lunch, which tends to be less expensive than dinner.
9. MENTION YOU'RE NEWLYWEDS.
If you’re not afraid of the attention, you might be able to squeeze in some amenities if you mention it’s your honeymoon. You don’t have to scream it from the rooftops, but you can casually mention your newlywed status to your hotel receptionist, apartment rental host, flight attendant, and so on. It doesn’t guarantee a free room upgrade, but it doesn’t hurt, either.