You’ve picked a date, booked your venue, and are making your way through your wedding planning to do list. But what about your honeymoon? Are you planning on taking a trip with your new partner? And have you started booking flights and hotels?
If you think a honeymoon is simply a trip after the wedding, think again. According to TripSavvy, couples spend an average of three times as much on their honeymoon as the average vacation. I would guess this is because a honeymoon is often longer than a normal trip, and because many of us take a “treat yo self!” approach to planning it. For many, it’s a bigger and more special vacation – a once in a lifetime experience.
This can make us feel stuck. We want it to be a special vacation and not skimp on anything important. But at the same time, we don’t want to break the bank, or start off our marriage in a financial hole.
With that in mind, here are some honeymoon hacks that will help you stretch your dollar. These tips will give you more bang for your buck, without feeling like you’re missing out.
#1. Stay at AirBNBs instead of traditional hotels.
Bonus: you can save on food by doing your own cooking if the AirBNB has a kitchen! If you’re staying in the same place for more than a few days, you may want to have this option anyhow so that you’re not eating out for every single meal.
When my fiancé and I went to Boston last year, we stayed at a fabulous AirBNB in Back Bay. It was a beautiful condo in an incredible location, and cost considerably less than the hotels in the area.
Plus, if you sign up through my link, you’ll get $40USD (or $45CAD) in travel credit off your first stay of $75USD (or $95CAD) or more. (If you’ve already booked with AirBNB, sign up with a secondary email address or have your partner book it!)
#2. Use Trivago to compare hotels.
How does comparing hotels save you money? It lets you look at multiple factors like hotel location, whether things like breakfast and wifi are included, and more. That way, you have all the facts in making a decision and can compare apples to apples. Booking solely on price can lead you to pay more overall if, for example, your hotel is far away from key attractions causing you to spend more money on transit.
My favourite site for comparing hotels is Trivago, and I used it for every single hotel we booked for our honeymoon.
Here are the steps I took:
1. Enter the city, region, or island we’re visiting and the check-in and check-out dates. Also select Double Room.
2. On the left hand side, adjust the key filters:
- Maximum price per night
- Guest rating (normally I only looked at 8.5 or above)
- Hotel class (number of stars)
- Amenities (for example, a pool, free wifi, breakfast included)
Here’s a screenshot of how it may look:
Next, I scrolled up and clicked on Map to see where the hotels that met my criteria were distributed geographically.
From there, I zoom in on the town or specific area we’d like to stay in. The map automatically updates to show which results are in that area. I can then hover over the options to get a high level sense of what they are.
Once I’ve narrowed it down to a few, I can look into those specific hotels in more detail, compare them, and decide which one to book. Trivago has already done the work to compare prices, so I’m confident that the price they show is the lowest.
#3. Take advantage of loyalty programs and gift cards.
Loyalty programs can be your best friend when it comes to travel! Here are a few ways to make the most of them.
Hotel Loyalty Programs
Have you accumulated points with a hotel chain with properties in the cities you’re visiting? Redeem them for a free night’s stay or hotel credit.
When it makes sense, book at websites or chains that have loyalty programs. Hotels.com, for example, has a loyalty program that I joined since I found myself booking most of our hotels through their site. We almost have enough for a free night which we can use on a future trip!
Airline Loyalty Programs
If you’re booking any flights for your honeymoon, see if you can fly on points!
Other Loyalty Programs
Need to stock up on travel toiletries? Redeem points from drugstore loyalty programs!
A honeymoon is a great place to use any relevant gift cards. For example, if you need new sundresses for your trip, a clothing gift card you have hanging around can be put to use.
#4. Save on food and drink by using the airport lounge.
Until a few years ago, I had never been in an airport lounge and thought they were only for business class passengers. Then I learned that my credit card annual fee included a membership to Priority Pass and 4 lounge passes!
If you’re not familiar with Priority Pass, they give you access to a network of over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide. These lounges almost always feature a food buffet, drinks, and free wifi so they’re a fantastic place to kill time before a flight. Before any trip, I look to see what lounges they work with in the airports we’re visiting, and where they’re located in the airport. Then my fiancé and I can both use the lounge at no extra cost by simply using some of our passes. This saves money on food, drink, and wifi, and also provides a more comfortable and quiet space while we wait for our flight.
Check to see if your credit card includes a Priority Pass membership or something similar. If not, it may still be worth paying to use a lounge depending on the lounge fee and other options.
Note that you may need to apply for your membership card with Priority Pass to use their services. While my credit card gives me the membership for free, I still needed to contact Priority Pass to claim my membership and receive the card.
#5. Use bundling offers if you’re planning a lot of sightseeing.
If you’re planning on visiting many museums, galleries, or attractions, consider purchasing a CityPASS. They bundle multiple tickets together for a lower price. We bought the CityPASS for Boston last year and saved a lot of money on our sightseeing. CityPASS offers discounts in 12 different cities/regions, so it’s worth looking into whether they offer a deal for your destination.
#6. Map out some details in advance.
While it’s important to have some degree of flexibility, a complete lack of planning can cost you. Think: overpriced tourist trap restaurants and inflated ferry prices. To map out some details ahead of time, check travel guides for recommendations. They can guide you with respect to what makes sense to book in advance versus wait. And they can also suggest restaurants and travel agencies for once you’re there.
There you have it: 6 ways to save money on your honeymoon without forgoing anything important. Leave me a comment below letting me know where you’re headed on your honeymoon and any tips you have on saving money!