PLANNING YOUR HONEYMOON ON A BUDGET // TUCSON WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
They say a wedding without a honeymoon is like a birthday without a cake. But for a lot of couples, the sticker shock that comes with wedding planning often means that they feel like they have to go cake-less. The idea of the honeymoon comes with a huge pressure to plan a lavish, relaxing & expensive vacation in some romantic destination in the world but in reality, the honeymoon is just a chance for the couple to spend some much needed alone time together after the build-up to the wedding day and just enjoy all the newlywed magic somewhere special together. Going on a honeymoon doesn’t have to break the bank or force you to compromise on parts of your wedding, and I have tons or tips and tricks that I am going to share with you for planning an amazing vacation on a less-than-amazing budget. Now, because this is a wedding tip series, I am centering this around the idea of honeymoons but the majority of these point are just great travel tips that you can use to book any trip! Alright then, let’s get started with eight tips to help you save money on your honeymoon!
1. Open a travel rewards credit card
My first, and arguably most important tip, is to open a credit card with a great travel rewards system as soon as you get engaged if you don’t already have one. As you begin to plan your wedding, you are about to make A LOT of big purchases. You are probably about to be dropping thousands of dollars on things like a venue, photographer, videographer, caterer, a dress and more. So, if you are pretty fiscally responsible and know you’ll be able to take on a credit card for these big purchases, it is a GREAT way to rack up a ton of points quickly. Rather than paying for a deposit on your venue with your savings account or a check from your parents, put it on the credit card and then immediately go pay it off with your savings or the check, and you’ll now get points or miles for every dollar that you spent without any of the debt associated with credit cards
There are a ton of credit card options out there, so I encourage you to do your own research to find out which ones is best for you. There are two main types of cards to consider, and those are the general travel cards that accumulate points that can go towards any travel expense and then there are specific travel cards for an airline or hotel chain that allow you accumulate points for that particular company alone. Generally speaking, the latter accumulated points and saves money faster than the former, but it is only a better option if you are going to stay at least semi-loyal to that company when traveling.
When you are researching cards, there are a few things you’ll want to look out for...
1. How many points/miles you’ll earn per dollar and how those points/miles can be used.
2. Are there any rules about using point like expiration dates, blackout dates or a probationary period. If you can’t use the points in the timeline that you need them, they’re useless for your honeymoon.
3. Are there any annual fees? If so, are they worth the rewards?
4. Are there any startup offers? For example, some cards will give you a huge miles bonus if you spend 3000 or 5000 dollars in the first few months.
5. Are there any other perks like room or seat upgrades, free luggage, lounge passes or anything else.
If you are looking for more information regarding credit cards, The Points Guy is a great resource to check out! Personally, I have the Bank of America Travel Rewards card which is a general travel card which has decent benefits and is fairly straightforward. I also have the United MileagePlus card because I am a United stan and I got this card in March, took advantage of their bonuses, put a lot of new home purchases on it and I have over 100,000 miles saved up and ready for my next trip. It adds up so fast and its really such a great way to get most of, if not all of, your flights covered for the honeymoon.
2. Put travel on your registry
Another great way to make a honeymoon happen for you without spending as much money is by having a honeymoon fund on your wedding registry! If you and your partner already live together or if you don’t really care for a ton of material gifts for your wedding, you can absolutely put a honeymoon fund on your wedding registry to gather gifts that you can spend on your trip. There are quite a few options for creating a honeymoon fund, but my favorite of them is Zola, which allows you to make a general honeymoon fund, specific travel registry items like an Airbnb gift card or you can combine a honeymoon fund with normal registry items from a number of stores. Highly, highly recommend using Zola! Honeymoon funds are super common nowadays and you shouldn’t feel bad for having one, but if you are looking to appease your older, more traditional guests who may not love the idea of a honeymoon fund, I’d recommend putting some material items on the list too so that they can take advantage of those things.
3. Be open-minded about destinations Now, if you have a very specific place in mind that you’d like to go for your honeymoon, I completely get it and sacrificing that destination might not be in the cards for you. However, an important thing to note is that when places get incredibly popular and become dreamy tourist destinations for people all over, it can quickly become one of the more expensive places to travel. And there are so many underrated locations that are just as special and incredible as the popular spots, but without the crazy price tag. For example, if you really want a romantic, tropical beach vacation and have been considering somewhere like Fiji or the Maldives, look into the Philippines or Vietnam! Or if you’ve been dreaming of Greece, take a look into Croatia! If a romantic trip to France is what you’re after, look at smaller cities like Lille or Marseille. Being open-minded to new locations you might have never heard of is a great way to save some money and your trip will be much less crowded with tourists, not to mention, you are supporting a smaller tourist economy!
4. Don’t rush off right after the wedding day
In addition to being flexible about the place you want to travel, being flexible about when you travel can save you a lot of money! If you have the luxury of being able to take time of work at any time of the year, consider traveling during the off-season for your destination, rather than immediately after your wedding day. While there are definitely perks to jetting off right after the wedding and getting to relax and celebrate after everything, it definitely isn’t usually the cheapest option. Waiting a bit after the wedding also gives you the opportunity to collect all of your wedding gifts and put them towards the honeymoon as well, so it is less coming directly out of your savings!
5. Wait for crazy flight deals
Plane tickets are oftentimes the most expensive part of travel and the part that turns most people off from taking a lavish honeymoon but there are so so many ways to save on your plane tickets by catching a deal. Airlines regularly fluctuate their airline tickets based on competitor prices, how quickly they’re selling and what the market looks like so you can check prices multiple times a day and get a different price every time you check. So, being incredibly strategic about when and how you check can get you amazing deals!
I recommend signing up for Pomelo travel, which is a subscription service that sends flight deals to your email as soon as they appear, which is usually 4-5 times every day .If you are serious about catching a deal, I recommend signing up for the premium service for $39 per year but you will get lots of deals with the free option as well. Last year, David and I used Pomelo and booked tickets for a last minute trip to Europe and round trip out of Tucson, we paid just about $400 each! it was a crazy good deal.
Another great resource to use is Kiwi.com! If you are looking for the best deal at the moment, put in the information in Kiwi and it will combine different airlines & tickets to find you the best deal. You can also just put your dates and it will give you prices for locations all over the world or you can just put your destination and it will give you the cheapest dates! Lots of great savings there too!
6. Don’t be afraid of last-minute bookings
A lot of people believe that the only way to save money on travel is by booking super early but the truth is, early bird booking isn’t always the way to go. Unless you are going to a very popular destination during peak season and you are worried about tickets selling out, you can probably save money by waiting until your trip is a bit closer. Keep an eye on flight prices over the course of a few weeks and see how they fluctuate and do some research on expected prices for that area. Booking tickets down to even the month before your trip can sometimes result in big savings as prices drop to fill the remaining seats. This can be a little bit risky so I recommend only doing this if your dates are at least a little bit flexible, but it can be a great option to save some money! Just make sure to do your research first!
7. Consider a more local adventure
Not every lavish vacation has to be at a beautiful, exotic location somewhere across the world. All across the US, there are so many incredible sights to see that shouldn’t be overlooked. From the incredible national parks in the west like Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon or Zion, to the beautiful cities like San Francisco or New York, there are so many options for whatever your taste may be. The US is so diverse, so don’t be afraid to explore it! Not to mention, if you decide to road trip it, you can not only save a lot of money on transport, but you’ll be able to see so many different places in a short amount of time!
8. Play the honeymoon card
And lastly, when you are on that amazing trip, don’t be afraid to play the honeymoon card. You don’t have to wear matching newlyweds shirts but you can definitely mention it casually when you check into your flight or hotel, chat with the flight attendant, get food at a restaurant, or while you’re out exploring! People love to celebrate new brides and grooms, so let yourself get pampered a bit! You might end up with a free seat or room upgrades, champagne, desserts and who knows what else!
Alright! There you have it! Eight tips for saving money on your honeymoon! Money shouldn’t be a deterrent from allowing yourself to travel! If you are planning a honeymoon or a trip, be sure to save this video and you know someone else who is, tag them in the comments! If you like travel related tips like this one, please let me know and I’d be happy to make more tip videos about it that aren’t just about honeymoons! Okay, thank you so much for tuning in! I will see you next time!