Once the happy couple has said “I Do” and the cake has been cut, the wedding is over and the honeymoon begins!
Couples will spend an average of $4,466 on a honeymoon, which is three times more than the average vacation cost, according to Trip Savvy. But as more couples contribute to the cost of their wedding or have financial goals to reach instead, paying for a lavish trip may be out of reach. If you’re paying for your wedding, here’s how to save $10,000.
If you’re on a budget, that doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing experience, says Lila Battis from Travel & Leisure.
“The main thing with planning a budget honeymoon is figuring out what you want to spend and sticking to that,” she says. “As long as you plan smartly, you can still have an amazing, luxurious getaway without the sacrifice.”
Here are her tips to plan a honeymoon on a budget.
Being clear on your expectations early on with your partner is the first step to finding a destination that fits within your budget.
“A lot of the times people aren’t really sure: do we want to relax, do we want to explore a city, or do we want a crazy adventure,” Battis says. “Once you figure out exactly what you want to get out of a vacation, that’s going to help you narrow the destination.”
Battis recommends booking flights two months before you plan to leave on your trip—any earlier and you won’t find the best deals. She also recommends using tools like Hopper or Airfarewatchdog, which will send you alerts when the flights have hit their lowest point so you can book when it’s most affordable. If you’re heading abroad, here are 5 money-saving tips for traveling abroad.
Anticipate extra fees
While you may have a plan for the base costs of your trip, like flights and hotels, it’s important to think about the smaller one-off expenses that add up. When it comes to flights, you might have to pay extra for checking luggage, in-flight meals, Wi-Fi access, or seat upgrades. Try these 8 money-saving travel hacks on Southwest, Spirit, and JetBlue to cut costs.
When it comes to your hotel, you might have to pay a resort fee. But Battis recommends calling your hotel in advance, especially if you’ve found a lower rate somewhere else.
“Oftentimes if you actually call and say, ‘I saw this rate on a website and I’m wondering if you can match it,’” she says. “They can often match those rates or throw in a few extras.”
Battis recommends staying at an all-inclusive resort, which will have many of the activities you might have had to pay for included in the price.
“If those are things you already want to include in your itinerary, that’s going to be a much more affordable way to do it than trying to put all that together piecemeal,” she says.
Battis says often mentioning you’re on your honeymoon might score you upgrades or extras, but don’t be too optimistic.
“Saying that you’re on your honeymoon can be a magic word, but go in not expecting anything so that you’re going to be pleasantly surprised,” she says.
Take advantage of local spots
An alternative to an all-inclusive resort is going local. Checking out local businesses and restaurants will be a much more affordable way to experience the local culture of your destination, Battis says.
“You definitely want to ask locals—ask your cab driver, ask the front desk staff and find out where the locals hang out,” she says. “You’re going to get a great meal and it’s going to be a lot more affordable than the hotel restaurant.”
If you do want to spurge, plan ahead so you don’t have regrets later, Battis says.
“Figure out what your big blowout activity is going to be: a diving trip, or an amazing dinner; and plan for that early on,” Battis says. “You’ll have that money set aside and those memories will last a lot longer than other things where you might have blown your budget.”
This story was originally published on December 6.