Tag Archives: honeymoon

How Much Did We Spend On Our Honeymoon?

Our plan was to spend $3,500 on our honeymoon, which we took the last week of December. Now that things have calmed down a bit, it’s time to look back and see how we did.

Keep in mind that our financial results have nothing to do with how much fun we had. We went swimming with dolphins, zip lining, and we made some great new friends, too!

We originally booked our hotel room for $1,798 and our flights were $1,332, so right there we spent $3,130 and I knew we were going to go over our planned $3,500. We set our expectations too low, so we adjusted up.

3 weeks before we left, we decided to upgrade to a much larger, one bedroom suite. That was another $567, so even before we arrived, we looked at our planned spending in the rear-view mirror. Our new suite included a kitchen, large fridge, dining area, a larger balcony with a hammock, and another room for us to hang out in. In retrospect, this was a great choice. We did not feel cramped and having a kitchen was a blessing as it gave us much more flexibility.

We brought some staples with us as we weren’t sure where we’d be able to go shopping. As it turned out, there was a little market on site where we were able to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, and cheese.

We spent 8 days in Cancun and here is how our spending broke down:

  • Hotel: $2,365
  • Flights: $1,332
  • Activities: $545
  • Cash & ATM (spent on activities, drinks, tips, etc): $181
  • Food: $95
  • Travel: $91
  • Random other costs: $36
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: $35

For a grand total of $4,680.

In 2010, the average honeymooners spent $4,466, so we came pretty close to that. I thought it would be cheaper, but once we upgraded our room, it was clear we weren’t going to hit our original $3,500 goal and it was also clear that we didn’t want to. We didn’t let any opportunities go by.

We had an amazing time and in retrospect, we made a great choice of hotel and activities. Even when things didn’t go well (we sat in a van with a vomiting boy for a few hour), we made the most of it and had a good time (it meant we snorkeled with just one other couple instead of the 15 person group he was with).

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?

How Much Should We Spend On Our Honeymoon?

With all the excitement of our wedding early this past summer, we forgot to plan our honeymoon! OK, we didn’t exactly forget, we expected Lauren to be in school all summer, so we’ve been planning on going during her winter break in January.

We decided to go somewhere where we could sit at the beach and truly relax. That’s not to say we want to sit around all day, but sticking our feet in the sand and having a few drinks sounds pretty nice. We’d definitely be interested in some snorkeling, parasailing, and other water sports, but our first long vacation together will definitely be about us being alone rather than in a loud and crowded resort.

Average Honeymoon Costs

In 2010 (the most recent data I could find), the average honeymoon cost was $4,466, according to The Knot. That sounds like a lot of money, even after having an expensive wedding. Nearly $4,500 as an average? Damn.

So where does this money usually go? 30% of honeymooners stay within the continental United States, while the most popular “international” destinations include Mexico, Hawaii, Jamaica, The Bahamas. If people are staying close, that means they’re really going all out on all-inclusive resorts and upgraded rooms.

We explored all inclusive reports, but since we keep Kosher, having all our meals provided is actually a negative. We’d much prefer to have a kitchen where we can make our own food. And we’re not big drinkers, so it was unlikely to get our money’s worth with an all-you-can-drink plan.

We weren’t really sure how much to spend on our trip, but we know that cost wasn’t going to be prohibitive. Whether we spent $1,000 or $7,000 on our honeymoon, it wasn’t going to have a large long-term impact on our savings or debt progress.

We like to be smart spenders, but we also didn’t want to cut back on a fun trip to save a few dollars. We looked at a few destinations and decided that we wanted to spend our money on having fun and relaxing, not on our airplane flights.

What Are Our Plans?

So we settled at $3,500 as being reasonable and agreed that we would not try to go below it. We’re not looking to waste money, but we also don’t want to worry about getting drinks in the pool or missing out on a fun activity, so we are planning on doing everything we can that’s within our budget. It makes little sense to try and save on our experience if it means we’ll be missing out on having more fun.

Lauren and I are not world travelers, so spending several thousand dollars on travel alone seemed like a waste. Why go somewhere far away to sit on a beach and relax? I’m sure we’ll eventually take trips to Europe to explore all the exciting culture over there, but right now we’re looking for something much quieter.

We decided to save on travel and spend about $1,000 on airfare to a hotel on a small island off of Cancun, Mexico. We decided to spend our money on an upgraded room at a quiet hotel right on the beach which will provide us with the privacy we want and also be just a 30 minute ferry ride from the water sports we’re looking for.

Readers, what suggestions do you have for us? Are you as surprised as I was by the average cost of a honeymoon?