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With all the excitement of planning your wedding, it’s easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of spending in order to make everything turn out just right. By the time you turn your attention toward honeymoon planning, it may well be necessary to keep an eye on your budget. You might be wondering if having to watch costs will mean sacrificing that once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon magic — but you don’t have to. We’ve put together four tips that we know work for planning a honeymoon you’ll always remember, with a pricetag that you’ll quickly be able to forget.
The best way to save money, of course, is to have someone else pay the bills. Honeymoon registries such as Traveler’s Joy allow your family and friends to gift you with a dream honeymoon: One that will truly be the trip of a lifetime, something far beyond what you’d personally be able to afford.
When you set up your registry, you list a range of items from small to large, just as you would do on a regular gift registry. The items you add, however, are travel-related: hotel room, sunset cruise, romantic dinner at a certain restaurant, and so on. Large items such as airfare can be divided up into smaller portions. Guests choose an item and pay by credit card, and you receive the money in your bank account after 72 hours. You are not locked into using the gift money for the registry item, and since people often purchase wedding presents ahead of time, you’ll have the funds available to you to pay upfront for the hotel and air fare. After all, would you rather have a stellar honeymoon or a new set of silver in your drawer?
Planning the date of your wedding usually means weaving together many people’s needs and availability, but if possible you should also keep travel seasons in mind. Airfare and hotel rates fluctuate significantly with time of year, and often the destination is just as beautiful — and less crowded — than it would be at the height of the season. Many people are actually taking delayed honeymoons months after their wedding so that the timing is better.
Smarter Travel, for example, points out that Hawaii is sunny and beautiful all year round, with temperatures in late winter between 68 and 80 degrees. Visiting Hawaii during the period between January and March will be much less expensive for you, and the beaches and rainforest hiking paths won’t be wall-to-wall people. Kauai in particular has some very reasonably priced inns and bed-and-breakfast lodgings.
In most cases, lodging is going to be your biggest price tag, since most honeymoons last more than a couple days, and most destination hotels are pretty expensive. However, if you time it right and keep your eyes out for deals, you can considerably cut the cost of your stay. Sites like CheapTickets allow you to set up alerts that will flag you when the price of hotel you want to stay in drops below a certain price. They also have a guarantee that will refund you the difference if you find the room at a cheaper rate on another site. Also, sites like Hotels.com and Hotel Club are always having deals on destination sites, so keep a look out for the best deals.
If you really want to get creative, try Airbnb. It’s often cheaper than a hotel room and gives you more of a homey feeling to your trip. An additional cost-saving (and cozy) feature of Airbnb is that the place you’re renting is actually a completely furnished home. You will have use of a fully functioning kitchen as well as other amenities, and if you want to nest in together and cook cozy meals, all the necessary tools will be waiting for you.
Cruising has undergone a transformation in recent years, and it’s no longer the sole domain of wealthy, elderly deckchair-sitters. Carnival Cruises offers a wide selection of very affordable options: For example, a 5-day cruise of the Bahamas, with all meals included, starts at $229 per person.
In addition to all the interesting attractions at the ports of call, the onboard activities are geared to appeal to passengers of all ages. These include a comedy club, spa, casino, sports bar, live stage shows, karaoke, yoga and more. Safely separated from your regular lives, you and your new mate can enjoy private time together as well as freedom from the stress of having to decide about the cost of every individual activity.
With just a little planning, you can start your thrifty married life with a world-class honeymoon on a dime.