Shifting economic tides may threaten your salary, retirement savings, and grocery bill, but they might not be coming for your honeymoon just yet. The current average honeymoon cost of $5,000 can be intimidating to many, but fortunately, there is a lot you can do to undercut that bill significantly.
Your honeymoon will not be the only treasured vacation of your marriage, but it will be the first. So, naturally, you want it to feel magical and memorable. The great news is that there is plenty you can do to plan a beautiful trip that doesn’t leave your savings in shambles.
Make Strategic Choices Upfront
The first and most significant way to reduce your honeymoon cost lies in your early decisions about the trip. Where will you go? When will you go there, and for how long? What do you plan to do while you’re there?
Coming in below the $5,000 average honeymoon cost for US couples takes some strategy.
If you are planning a more extended honeymoon, consider taking it during a time that will be cheaper to travel. Brian Thorp, founder of the financial advisor platform Wealthtender, offers the following advice:
“Rather than scheduling your honeymoon immediately following your wedding, check airline and hotel websites to determine when costs are lowest to your dream destination. In addition to saving money, you can enjoy preparing your itinerary without the distraction of concurrently planning your wedding.”
Location will likely have as much impact as timing. Where you choose will affect the costs of your flights, lodging, food, local transport, and more.
Five days at a lake house a few hours away will be much cheaper than a two-week, multi-country tour of another continent. Of course, these are equally valid options, but the decisions you make at this stage will have a much more significant impact on your cost than anything you can do once the plan is in motion.
Prioritize and Compromise
One budget tip for honeymoons that extends to wedding planning, in general, is to decide on a few priorities. Of all the things you could spend extra money on, which are the most important to you and your partner?
For instance, if food isn’t a top priority for either of you, consider bringing some snacks and even meals from home. That will make more room in your budget for things like activities or nicer lodgings. Alternatively, if a red-eye flight and some free outdoor adventures give you additional cash for multiple Michelin-star meals, that might be a path worth exploring.
Another option is to prioritize a luxurious honeymoon over traditional wedding registry gifts. Personal finance blogger Kristin Stones of Cents + Purpose explains why this could be a great option:
“If you’re planning a honeymoon on a tight budget, skip the typical wedding registry and request your guests contribute to your Honeymoon Fund as a wedding gift. Many wedding planning sites offer the option of collecting monetary gifts on your behalf. This is an excellent opportunity to save money on your travel, especially if you aren’t in need of traditional wedding gifts.”
Your honeymoon is a unique reflection of your new marriage. As such, there’s nothing wrong with planning and organizing it in a way that’s unique to your partnership!
Leverage Credit Card Rewards
Once you’ve done all the foundational steps to build a perfect and low-cost honeymoon, you still have several ways to reduce your overall costs further. Foremost among these are credit cards that offer cash rewards and discounts to savvy travelers.
Money-saving expert Melanie Allen of Partners in Fire explains how credit card rewards can significantly reduce your honeymoon costs:
“Weddings cost a ton of money, so consider paying for some of the expenses with a credit card to reap the rewards for your honeymoon travel. To get the most out of your benefits, use a card that specifically offers travel rewards and make sure you have money to pay the card off each month.”
Choosing the right card can easily mean a difference of hundreds or even thousands of dollars toward your trip. According to the travel and finance site The Frugal Expat, the Capital One Venture Rewards Card is one of the top-rated travel credit cards in 2022. It includes an introductory offer of 75,000 miles worth approximately $1,388 and the ability to earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases.
For example, $10,000 in purchases on the card will earn you 20,000 miles, approximately $185 you can put towards your trip. Even spending $5,000 using this card will give you roughly $92 in rewards to redeem for your travel expenses.
This year’s other highly-rated travel credit cards include the Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express Gold Card, and select cards offered by travel brands, including JetBlue, United, and Hilton Honors.
Kicking off Your New Partnership in Style and Savings
A honeymoon is many things. It is a much-needed vacation for two people who have likely spent a year or more planning one of the most significant events of their life, their wedding. It is also a celebration of their newly forged union, potentially the first beautiful memory of this new stage of their lives.
One thing a honeymoon should not be is a stressful event that swallows up a new family’s savings and leaves them grasping for cash. Fortunately, with a little strategy and a few tools, yours doesn’t have to be. Instead, with the proper attention to your budget, your honeymoon can be a beautiful and peaceful celebration to kick off your new marriage.
Sam is the founder of the personal finance and self-improvement blog Smarter and Harder. His mission is to start exciting new conversations that empower people to improve their work, lives, and money, and hopefully have a fantastic time doing it. In all things, he strives to lead with positivity, understanding, and more than a bit of enthusiasm.