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By the time you’ve splurged on the wedding venue, invitations, caterer and decorations, the idea of splurging on a romantic getaway might make you more queasy than excited. Luckily, you don’t have to sacrifice your dream honeymoon in order to not sacrifice a small fortune – if you spend shrewdly, you can indulge and save hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Don’t splurge on the fancy hotel and the exotic location as you will fully enjoy one or the other but not both. Imagine your ideal honeymoon . . . does it involve couples massages, lovely golf courses and blue swimming pools with waterfalls and swimming straight up to a bar to order sweet margaritas? If you’re going to be spending much of your time unwinding from the stresses of the wedding in a luxury resort, you are not going to take full advantage of the local cultures of a faraway, exotic nation. If you are looking to cut back on spending, consider staying local; nearby locations like Los Cabos, Mexico and Florida Keys offer blue oceans and lush nature that are some of the finest in the world. Reversely, if you imagine your honeymoon full of historical exploration, natural adventures and local discoveries, then how much time will you really have to enjoy the many pleasures of a luxury hotel if you spend the majority of your time outside the grounds? If the two of you want to take full advantage of your honeymoon to explore new worlds, then perhaps you should skip over the opulent hotel in favor or something lovely and modest if you are looking to save money.
After you select your honeymoon location, investigate whether or not your schedules allow for you to travel during the region’s shoulder season (the window of time in which the weather is still pleasant but the area is less popular among tourists). By adjusting your travel dates even a week, you can trim hundreds of dollars off of your travel and lodging expenses. On a similar note, be aware of any local celebrations or festivities that attract tourists and cause the prices of accommodations to skyrocket.
To help limit your budget, treat yourself to a few fancy, memorable meals and eat affordably for the rest of the honeymoon. Eat like the locals and discover small eateries that are off the beaten path that rely solely on taste instead of atmosphere and decorative embellishments; meander through farmer’s markets and buy fresh ingredients to enjoy on picnics; when timing permits, order from the lunch, appetizer or happy hour menus and split multiple dishes to indulge in a fuller range of flavors; and partake in your hotel’s complimentary breakfast.
Packing lightly will save you money in a number of different ways. First off, you will avoid fees for checking baggage (as well as the extra costs if the luggage gets lost); secondly, you can carry your own bags and circumvent having to tip the bellman; and thirdly, it is much easier to walk or take public transportation with a backpack and a satchel than lugging the weight of a baby-elephant, so you can sidestep costly taxi rides. So when packing, truly ask yourself whether or not you will be able to wear those stilettos more than once and if you really need more than one book to read as you are laying on the beach. One smart tip is to make sure that many of the articles of clothing match with one another, so you can do laundry and combine the different elements for a range of outfits. Additionally, talk with your spouse about “who is packing what,” as there is no need for two tubes of tooth paste, bottles of sunscreen or guide books. Additionally, pack wisely and be thorough, as buying certain items like bathing suits, comfortable walking shoes and umbrellas will probably be more expensive to buy at your honeymoon destination, especially because you probably won’t want to spend half a day browsing for the best prices.
If you are travelling internationally, check with your credit card company about any additional rates that will be added to your purchases. ATM withdraws are not exempt from this type of additive either. If you have multiple credit card companies, scrutinize which will give you the best deal so you can limit unnecessary spending. Similarly, your cell phone’s roaming charges can lead to outrageous fees so consider either purchasing a temporary international plan or, better yet, turn off your cell phone entirely. After all, you’re on your honeymoon – texting friends back home will simply distract from the romance.