Happy Valentine’s Day. I think it’s fitting that I am writing about honeymoons today on the holiday of love.
Traditionally honeymoons and planning and paying for them falls on the guy’s shoulders. But in this modern day, just like with weddings, anything goes. Brides are much more involved in planning the honeymoon, just like guys are much more involved in planning the wedding.
When my husband and I started planning our honeymoon, we truly wanted to get the biggest bang for our buck. Along the way we discovered some wonderful saving tips.
Away or Go Local
One of the best cost saving decisions is to decide to go on your honeymoon by going local. Most people think of something exotic and I am not knocking that. We did it. But one of the best savings is to look to your local area. My good friend had just bought a house prior to her marriage and she and her husband put a lot of their own funds into their wedding. So for them, it make sense financially to go slightly out of their area by about 2 hours to Palm Springs and have an inexpensive honeymoon. After all, the purpose of the honeymoon in my mind is to be together uninterrupted by life.
Another friend headed to the River after her wedding. For them, it was also a decision of do you put money into a new house or the honeymoon. For their long term goals, house made more sense… especially in Southern California’s insane cost of housing. My brother who lives back east went to the Biltmore Estates and Ashville for his honeymoon. Going local does not have to be boring in anyway. It can include a wide variety of fun options local to your area. I live in Southern California and going local can include the beach, tide pools, mountains by lakes, theme parks like Disneyland and Sea World, wineries and so much more. Had we decided to go local, we would not have been at a loss of any thing to go do and see.
Rack Up Mileage
If you do decide to go out of your area, look to see if there is a credit card you own that will allow you to earn miles. If so, use the card for wedding purchases instead of paying cash out right so you earn miles. Same for everyday purchases. The miles you earn can decrease your airfare and/or hotel costs. HUGE CAUTION: if you do not have the cash to pay for something right then and there to make the purchase for your wedding or everyday expenses, don’t use the card. Be smart in your purchases and opt to use the card instead of cash but only if you had the cash to pay for it otherwise. Honeymoons and weddings should not be an avenue to start your marriage in debt. The biggest problem new couples, well couples in general, is money troubles and it does do a lot of damage to a relationship.
Okay so I will admit that when you see the initial price, there can be a little sticker shock. But, that’s it. Other than your transportation to get there, once you step on the boat, there are no other costs you must incur. Meals (as much as you can eat), entertainment, lodging and transportation are all provided. Plus, you get the wonderful advantage of seeing multiple destinations. Our cruise took use to Canaveral, Florida and NASA, Haiti, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. There are extras that you can purchase but there is no necessity.
Plus, if you are a gambling type who likes to live on the edge, you can get even better deals by calling the week before and seeing what rooms they have left. Cruises would rather sail full so they give deep discounts the closer to sailing. There was one guy on our ship that cruised every other week for deep discounts and because it was all inclusive, for him, it cost less than it did for his regular living expenses. Now mind you he lives close to port. But, he took advantage of awesome deals.
Additionally cruises give discounts or perks to repeat cruise travelers. If you have cruised before, then you may find this a less expensive option for your honeymoon.
When we first got engaged, our close friend offered to loan us his cabin (our really a massive vacation home) up in Wyoming for our honeymoon to help save money. Ultimately we didn’t take him up on the offer but it would have saved huge costs had we wanted to go skiing for our honeymoon. My good friend borrowed her aunt’s condo when she went to Palm Springs for her honeymoon. It was a huge savings to them and since it was in a resort, they got to enjoy all the luxuries and fun of a vacation at only a fraction of the costs had they booked a room on their own. So who do you know that might gift you with a week at their vacation home?
Now you might be tempted to think that a travel agent will cost you more to book your vacation but I found that to not be the case. Here’s why. Travel agents are able to shop around to all their connections to get you the best deal. Plus they can monitor airlines, rentals, and trip packages to get the best deals where as you may not have the time to do so. Our agent was awesome. I loved Lynn Ross at Hanser Travel. She worked hard for us, saved us time and got it done…my husband is known for procrastinating. This was a huge plus and saved money since we didn’t miss out on any early booking deals. The cruise was pretty much a set cost but she was able to get discounts on our airfare and transportation to and from airports. I know I will be booking an package vacations like that with her in the future.
Big Box Store
So I have never had a vacation through Costco but I have looked at their brochures. Not only are the trips discounted but they also feature nice bonuses like $200 spending credit on cruises, free room upgrade for hotels, etc. The down side is that the dates are usually pretty set. We were looking into this option but because we ultimately wanted to leave right after our wedding, it didn’t work for us. But if you are not set on a specific time to go on your honeymoon, this may be a great money saving option for you. I know many couples are postponing honeymoons by weeks and even months to fit their budget and their schedules.
And these tips don’t have to apply to just honeymoons. They are great fund saving tips for any vacation. I know I have used many of these before my honeymoon and after. And others, like Costco, I will be trying in the future.
Have a Happy Valentine’s Day and see you next post.