5 Stress-Free Ways to Honeymoon on a Budget
The wedding venue isn't the only locale you should research before exchanging vows. With the average honeymoon costing $5,000, continuing your celebration after your big day could mean added financial stress as you start your new life together. Whether you envision an all-inclusive resort, an experiential trip, or white sandy beaches, the average price of a honeymoon has steadily increased since 2017*. And, current financial conditions might further increase travel, food, and lodging costs as companies try to recoup losses from early 2020.
But, there's no need to skip your post-wedding trip all-together. Staying flexible during the honeymoon planning stage can help keep costs and stress levels down. Here are five stress-free ways to honeymoon on a budget.
1. Clarify Priorities
Agree on the honeymoon experience you'd like to create to set your focus and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Gather your laptop and your partner and get ready to dream. Make a shortlist of your non-negotiables. If you stay flexible with everything that didn't make the list, it's possible to locate an affordable honeymoon destination.
For example, if luxury accommodations are of primary importance, your dream destination may be right in your backyard (or state). But, if a trip to the East Coast or an international sightseeing adventure tops your list, then travel costs will be a priority over accommodation expenses.
2. Create a Budget
It will be nearly impossible to honeymoon on a budget unless you set a spending limit before making your first reservation. After you've had time to explore your honeymoon possibilities, take a realistic look at your finances, and decide how much you can spend, given your other financial goals. However much you choose to save for your honeymoon should be placed in a designated savings account.
Divide your honeymoon budget into expense categories. A typical breakdown includes accommodations, activities, transportation, and food and drink. The breakdown of expenses will depend on your priorities.
For example, if luxury accommodations are paramount, then up to 60% of your budget should be set aside for those expenses. Add a 10% cushion to your savings budget to account for price fluctuations or exchange rates at your destination.
3. Stay Flexible
Just as in marriage, planning a honeymoon you'll both enjoy requires compromise. Let's continue with the earlier example where luxury accommodations are the priority. If you're unable to find a preferred hotel or resort in your state, you might choose to travel out-of-state. But, allow for alternative, and sometimes less convenient, transportation options to save big.
Here are a few alternative tips that might save money:
- Book the first or last airline flight of the day
- Travel by train instead of air
- Select an airport in a nearby town with lower fares and drive the rest of the way to your honeymoon destination
- Delay your honeymoon and travel during the off-season
- Compare honeymoon packages
- Stay fewer nights
A little give and take could leave more cash in your bank account for your top priorities.
4. Create a Honeymoon Registry or Fund
A natural extension of the wedding gift registry is a honeymoon registry. You can set up a gift or cash fund at major retailers or websites that specialize in helping couples pay for their dream honeymoons. For example, when you set up a personal webpage at sites like Honeyfund or The Knot Cash Funds, wedding guests can make cash gifts to help cover your honeymoon expenses. It's a convenient gift option for guests and beneficial to couples who already have plenty of household items.
5. Tap Credit Card Rewards and Benefits
According to Statista, the most used travel credit card reward is free checked bags when flying. If you have a rewards credit card, this might only be the start of how much can be saved with travel rewards. Contact your card issuer to confirm the points you have available and whether you can redeem them for additional travel discounts or cashback.
Even non-rewards based credit cards can help you keep costs down. For example, Visa® cardholders have access to Travel and Emergency Assistance Services, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, and Emergency Card Replacement & Cash Disbursement. Unexpected events can happen while on your honeymoon. Take advantage of these credit card perks to help you worry less and enjoy your vacation more.
It's possible to begin your happily ever after without unnecessary debt. Prioritize, plan, then prepare to create memories that will last a lifetime.