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Most of us dream about lavish hotel suites, champagne and strawberries, and spa treatments galore on our honeymoon. However, those can come with a pretty hefty price tag. Much like weddings, you can have fancy, but be prepared for the exponential cost. Unlike weddings, however, there are amazing ways to actually achieve luxury for less on your honeymoon. Read on to find out how!
Taking a long-haul flight? Wouldn’t it be amazing to sit in business or first class, eating gourmet food, drinking free champagne, and sleeping in a lay-flat bed? What a way to kick the honeymoon off right! But with business and first class flights costing thousands of dollars, it isn’t typically in a usual honeymoon budget. But, wait!
I talk a lot about collecting airline miles and how easy it really is. It is even easier when wedding planning as meeting minimum spending requirements on cards are a cinch when you’re paying deposits and the wedding off. Simply through paying for things you will be already, you’ll make points that can be translated into airline miles. And with cards offering up to 50,000 to 100,000 miles as a sign-up bonus, within a couple of cards you’ll be flying for under $100 anywhere in the world in luxury.
For example, it only takes around 120,000 miles to fly round trip to Europe in business class or 150,000 miles for first. Hawaii is only 80,000 for business and 130,000 miles for first. By watching when credit card sign ups spike, like when the United Mileage Plus Card rose to a 70,000 mile bonus, and through shopping on airline shopping portals, airline dining partners, etc., you’ll hit those miles much quicker than you’d expect.
What’s another awesome thing about using points to fly business or first class? You automatically get lounge access with your ticket. So you can enjoy free champagne even before your flight takes off! Nothing says luxury for less than that!
Worried about opening credit cards? Be sure to read up on how it affects credit here.
Collect hotel points to get free hotel stays!
Not only can you get your wedding night free if you have you wedding at a hotel, but even being a member of a hotel rewards program like Starwood Preferred Guest, Hilton Honors, World of Hyatt, and Marriott Rewards, you can collect points on any other hotel stays you have during the year. Add that to their co-branded credit cards or credit card partners such as Chase Sapphire Preferred, and you can collect enough points quickly and stay at any of their hotels around the world… for free!
That means you can even use your points to stay for free in Paris, Jamaica, Maldives… wherever your heart takes you! These hotels are truly worldwide, making luxury for less a definite option.
Travel to a cheaper destination.
Another great way to save money on your honeymoon is simply to travel to a cheaper destination. The cost of living is lower and you can typically get amazing deals on hotels and food. Dreaming of traveling to Mexico? Tulum or the Oaxaca coasts have gorgeous beaches and jungles that you would expect, but are much more affordable than Cancun or Cabo San Lucas. You’ll be paying $75 or less a night for a four star hotel versus $125-225 a night.
Or traveling to Eastern Europe versus Western Europe will save money as many of these countries don’t bring in as much tourism and they are not all on the euro. As such, you’ll have a favorable exchange rate visiting cool Eastern European cities such as Budapest or Warsaw.
Consider Southeast Asian resorts over Caribbean resorts as you can stay beachside at a five star resort for only $150 a night for a place like Jamahkiri Spa & Resort in Koh Tao or the four star resort Bundhaya Villas on Koh Lipe. For even bigger savings, check out Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam to stay in a four star resort for under $60 a night. Talk about luxury for less!
Pro tip: Eat local for bigger savings!
Pick one spot to splurge and save on the rest.
Luxury on a budget can be difficult if you want to live it up the whole time and aren’t using points or miles to do it. However, you can choose to splurge in one spot, staying at a four or five star resort for a few nights, getting pampered and eating gourmet. Then, the remainder of the trip, eat local and stay in a three star hotel to save. I suggest staying cheaper in a city and more luxurious on the beach or the mountains.
If you’re only going to one spot, stay a few nights in a fancy resort and the rest in the smaller hotel. You’ll be shocked at how much you can save! For example, for our honeymoon, we’re staying in hotels that are under $100 a night (sometime under $50). But we heard amazing things about the Panviman Resort in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and decided to splurge $215 a night for two nights to stay in the gorgeous and romantic jacuzzi villa. A whole mountain villa to ourselves for $215 a night already seems like a steal, but considering the other hotel we’re staying at in Chiang Mai is only $57 a night, we thought we could splurge just a little. Splurging for a few nights also makes it feel really special during the trip and another thing to look forward to!
Travel during off or shoulder seasons.
Hawaii in February is expensive. Thailand in December is ridiculous. And let’s not even talk about Paris in August. Peak season travel is popular for a reason: best weather conditions, certain festivals or events occur, most beautiful then, etc. Unfortunately, the tourism industry in those places is well aware of their busiest times of year and adjusts prices accordingly. Which means you can be paying up to twice the cost or more for the same trip if you book during peak season! Luxury for less during peak season can be almost impossible.
However, if you don’t mind the chance of slightly inclement weather (rainy season in Thailand or hot weather in Hawaii), you can save so much more money. Those four and five star resorts want to fill their rooms and will offer so many discounts to do it. Jump at those chances! I usually suggest shoulder season as occasionally low season can mean extreme heat/cold or monsoons (definitely check the weather before booking), but shoulder season is typically right before it gets packed and as the weather is improving.
I love Paris in May/June and Cape Town in September. The prices start sinking which means resorts are ripe for taking!
It truly is possible to get luxury without the high price tag during your honeymoon. With proper research, and maybe collecting miles and points, you’ll be well on your way to being pampered after your special day!
Which of these ideas do you like for getting a little more luxury for less on your honeymoon? Have you tried any of these ideas in the past? Let me know in the comments!