Planning for that amazing honeymoon, but struggling to budget for the trip you’re dreaming of? We totally hear you. We know you want it to be the best possible trip, but you also don’t want to fork over thousands of dollars. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to lower the cost of your honeymoon. It may just mean getting creative, and planning in advance. Here are 5 easy ways to save:
1. Start Planning Your Honeymoon When You Start Planning Your Wedding
Though plans for your wedding do come first, we recommend starting to think about your honeymoon as far out as possible. You’ll be able to budget more efficiently for the trip, accrue points you need in order to make travel arrangements, and if booking on rewards points, you’ll have more options and flexibility. As soon as you’ve figured out the when and where, get started on arranging your travel plans.
2. Apply for an Airline Credit Card
We’re ALL about taking advantage of the travel benefits loyalty programs award you. We put together a handy list of our favorite credit cards that will help you get to your honeymoon destination faster. Here’s our 5-step guide to signing up for an airline credit card and booking award travel:
1. Choose a destination
2. See what airline has the best options, making sure to select the correct dates so you know if you’ll be able to book a rewards ticket
3. Sign-up for that airline’s credit card (or alternatively, the Chase Sapphire Reserve or American Express Platinum Card) and look out for bonus sign-up incentives to gain more points
4. You’ll need to spend a specified amount in the first 3 months of account opening ($1,000+). A great way to meet this is to put vendor deposits on your card. You’ll also want to add your significant other as an authorized user if the credit card is offering additional points for doing so.
5. You will gain the points in your account 6-8 weeks after you qualify for the promotion, at which point, you can go ahead and book your travel online or by phone with the airline. If transferring points from Chase Sapphire Reserve or American Express Platinum Cards allow 24-48 hours for the transfer, although it could go through right away.
Note: if the flight is operated by a partner airline, you’ll have an easier time getting access to reward travel with a representative over the phone as they’ll be able to check available seats with the partner. For example, if you have American Airlines AAdvantage Miles and you want to fly to Tahiti, American Airlines will contact Air Tahiti Nui to book these seats for you.
3. Set Up a Honeymoon Registry
In addition to conventional registries, we recommend setting up a registry on Honeyfund or Zola, both of which allow you to register for honeymoon-specific travel gifts. These include contributions to airfare, hotel, dining and experiences. Gifts are sent as a “credit,” which are direct-deposited into your bank account. Guests can feel happy knowing you’ll be able to enjoy the experiences on your honeymoon without worrying too much about the costs.
4. Look for Hotel Specials
If you’re set on a specific hotel, do competitive research. While broker sites like Expedia and Priceline may offer better prices, they might not be offering all of the bells and whistles that come with a package if booked directly through the hotel. Create a handy excel spreadsheet of each package, and choose the one with the best value.
Hotel Broker Websites:
Alternatively, if you’re not set on a specific hotel, we love using Priceline’s Express Deals tool. Unlike the Name Your Price tool, Express Deals actually show you the resorts amenities, so if you do a little (trust me, not hard) investigative research, you can likely narrow down your options to the exact hotel. For example, when recently searching for a 5-star hotel in French Polynesia, we saw Priceline is offering an Express Deal for a 5-star hotel in Taha’a. The only 5-star hotel in Taha’a is the Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa (where my husband and I stayed for part of our honeymoon). The price to book on Priceline through regular rates is $563 per night, but the Express Deal is $487 per night, a fair amount of savings. (Note: we do admit this works better for locations with less hotel options, as it’s easier to narrow down which hotel you’ll get).
Booking a travel package inclusive of airfare, hotels, and transfers will ultimately cut your cost down. If you’re looking to gain some peace of mind during the planning process, we recommend looking for a travel agency that can put together your itinerary. They may throw in extras (like free breakfast), and they’ll be able to get the best negotiated rates at airlines and hotels. Plus, if you need to change your travel plans at all while you’re away, you can contact the travel agent who will be able to make these changes for you (we’re looking at you, data-roaming charges).
5. Be Flexible
When booking any type of travel, we always recommend being flexible with your travel dates. Whether that means leaving 1 day before or after your preferred dates, or staying an extra night at a resort, it’s easy to cut your costs by a few hundred dollars just by being flexible. It’s known that Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays offer the best airfares. As for hotels, if you’re looking to island-hop or stay in more than one location, definitely do your research on packages and special offers. One resort may be offering a special package of 20% off if you stay 5 nights or more. The other may be offering a 5th night free after 4 paid nights. This means, you’ll save money by staying 5 nights at each resort, which would easily be your best option.