How to Plan and Budget for Your Honeymoon

The following is a guest post from Pauline Paquin, a French girl who blogs over at Reach Financial Independence. Pauline writes about how she has been traveling the world for the past 10 years, while trying to build wealth and achieve financial independence, and how you can follow your dreams and reach your goals too. You can follow Pauline on Twitter @RFIndependence.

Honeymoons are for many the trip of a lifetime. Some newlyweds leave the country or fly for the first time, most go to destinations they have never visited and a little preparation is essential in order to make the most of this amazing trip.

Things to consider before choosing your honeymoon

  • You will be tired

It is a lot of stress to organize a wedding and have your whole extended family and friends around for a few days. You may want to take a break right after for a few days, and then go on your real honeymoon a couple of months later.

  • This is YOUR honeymoon

It is about you and your spouse. What do YOU like? There is nothing wrong with wanting to lay all day on the beach, sipping cocktails, but if you choose a resort far from everything, this is all you will be able to do. You may get bored. Do you like diving, wine tasting, hiking? Prefer to lounge by the chimney with a hot chocolate instead of fighting mosquitoes under the sun? Your honeymoon is all yours to design, you do not have to do what everyone did.

  • Price

Opting for an all inclusive resort is a sure way to control your spending. You will only have to add a few tips and the occasional excursion or experience. If you are on a budget, planning your honeymoon yourself can save a lot of money but takes quite some time and organization. Thinking that by taking an all inclusive package abroad you will save on exchange rates is not true, that cost is factored in the price of the package.

  • Time

This is one of the rare times when your boss will be ok for you to take more time off than usual. I have met a few couples that had a backpacking honeymoon and left for up to a year to travel the world together! Without getting into such extremes, take advantage of your boss’s good grace, and make your honeymoon last. Staying an extra week if you have already paid for the flight will cost about 30% more. You can also choose to have days off before and after the honeymoon to pack and unpack without stress.

A Few Options

  • All Inclusive Package

A sunny resort, beautiful beach and cheap cocktails are a first choice for honeymooners.
PROS: Not much to think about, everything is prepared for you. With so many online comparison sites and users reviews, you know what you get.
CONS: Convenience comes at a (high) price. There isn’t much more to do in a resort than rest and get some sun.
DESTINATIONS: Since you only want to rest, look into the cheapest packages, like the Caribbean, Mexico or Hawaii.
BUDGET: From as low as $800 for a basic resort off season to $2,500 per person for an exclusive resort with luxuries like diving.

  • Cruise

I used to think cruises were lame and for old people. After traveling around on a motorcycle in Norway, under the rain and cold, I realized it was pretty neat to have your sea transportation take you around while you discover a new spot daily.
PROS: Again, no planning involved. Every day you wake up in a new place, and are free to get off the boat and explore, or stay in and enjoy the all you can eat buffets and on board entertainment.
CONS: Many of the costs aren’t included in the ticket price. There is a daily fee that will be charged at the end of your stay, plus a good chunk of tipping, and all the extra facilities from spa access to wireless internet come at a premium.
DESTINATIONS: The Caribbean and Alaska are pretty popular, you could also look into cheap flights to Europe and have a Mediterranean cruise.
BUDGET: Cruises start at $500, up to $3,000 depending on destination and length, add about $1,000 for the tips and extras.

  • City Hopping

Visiting a few cities can provide interesting cultural options, a change of scenery every few days, and the occasion to explore a whole region at once.
PROS: If you are easily bored, this one is for you. Exciting activities every day and the possibility to shape your stay the way you like it. You can book your flights and hotels, then decide on the agenda of the day when you get there. It is a much cheaper option than the all inclusive.
CONS: If your time is limited, it is tiring to pack and move every other day.
DESTINATIONS: Italy France and Greece in particular are honeymoon favorites. You can city hop in Eastern Europe too, Croatia, Slovenia and Montenegro are great places to mix culture and spectacular beaches. Staying in the US, you can consider the West Coast, with Vegas, San Francisco, national parks, San Juan Islands, Seattle… and even add a three days cruise at the end to relax.
BUDGET: Count roughly three times your hotel price per day. 1/3 for food and 1/3 for transports and visits. Plus flights.

What to Bring with You

If you are going to be changing hotels during the honeymoon, you will want to travel light. Everything you may have forgotten at home can generally be bought over there too. If you are going to a sunny destination, chances are you will not use half of the clothes you brought.

Try to avoid the hotel shop, unless there is no other choice, convenience is expensive.

Bring a copy of your passport if you are traveling abroad, and keep all important numbers (credit card company, local embassy…) and a scan of your passport on your email.

I like to have a small phrasebook to try and interact with people, even if your trip is short, getting to know locals can be a highlight.

How did you plan for your honeymoon?

10 Responses to How to Plan and Budget for Your Honeymoon

  1. A honeymoon is one of those things in life that you need to splurge a little. It creates a memory that will last a lifetime. This is how I treat all vacations.

    • Pauline says:

      @Sean @ OneSmartDollar, You are right, as long as you don’t put yourself into too much financial trouble, a honeymoon should be a wonderful memory.

  2. krantcents says:

    My honeymoon was 44 years ago! It was an all inclusive package with 2 meals a day in the Bahamas. It was great!

  3. Wow, mine was 10 years ago, but we did the all inclusive thing in Jamaica. It was fun, but I probably would opt for more of an unplanned trip if I were to do it over again. Although, rum runners on the beach is never a bad way to go.

  4. We got married at the same time as we were building our house and so we didn’t have all that much money to throw around for the honeymoon.
    We ended up doing a small road trip to a remote beach where we stayed for 2 weeks in almost complete isolation. It was pretty fun.

    • Pauline says:

      @Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank, It sounds magical, and a great way to show that you don’t need to spend millions to have a beautiful experience.

  5. funancials says:

    Great timing with this (actually I wish I would’ve read it sooner). I’m getting married in April and we’re headed to Greece & Turkey shortly after.

    I was extremely excited until I saw the credit card bill. It’s never fun to pay that one off in full :(

    • Pauline says:

      @funancials, it most certainly is not! Setting a wedding fund with regular savings a year or two before can help. I hope you have a blast in Greece and Turkey!