“We Can’t Afford a Honeymoon” Alternatives

A couple figuring out a honeymoon budget

A honeymoon is the cherry on top of an amazing wedding day—and it’s often what couples look forward to after a long period of stressful wedding planning. Many couples are so ready for the honeymoon that they even choose to leave straight from the reception to begin their relaxation right away.

Unfortunately, not all of us have the luxury of being able to take a honeymoon immediately following our wedding. Whether you can’t take any additional time off at work, you have young children at home, or you just don’t have anything left in your wedding budget, sometimes a proper honeymoon (complete with mai tais and a private spa session for two) just has to wait.

Waiting for a honeymoon can be a big bummer, but it doesn’t mean that you have to go back to reality right away. There are plenty of romantic (and cheap) honeymoon options to choose from that don’t involve expensive plane tickets or traveling too far from home.

Here are six honeymoon alternatives to consider that will fit most any budget—because you definitely deserve some alone time before you head back to work!

A dog leaning out of a car window

Go on a Quick Road Trip

Don’t have the time or the money to fly somewhere on your honeymoon? Schedule a good old-fashioned road trip instead! Is there a place you’ve always wanted to check out that’s within four or five hours of home? Or is there a spot that the two of you love to visit on long weekends?

Wherever you decide to go, this is your opportunity to get some much-needed time to relax and spend your first few days as a married couple alone. To make your honeymoon road trip feel a little more special, make a killer Spotify playlist, get the premium snacks, and don’t forget to take plenty of pictures!

Schedule an In-Home Massage

One of the things couples like to do while honeymooning is to visit a spa for a romantic couples massage. But just because you’re not going anywhere on a honeymoon doesn’t mean that you have to skip the couples massage!

Reach out to your friends and family for suggestions on who to book for your in-home massage, and schedule the appointment a day or two after the wedding. Of course it would be great to get a massage while you’re soaking up the sun in Bali, but an in-home massage can be just as romantic—and maybe even a bit more intimate.

Stay at a Nearby Bed and Breakfast

Part of the fun of a honeymoon is staying at quaint little places that pull out all the stops for a honeymooning couple—but you don’t actually have to leave town to get that same romantic honeymoon experience. Look into booking a bed and breakfast in town (or nearby) that offers packages for newlyweds like breakfast in bed, rose petals on the bed, or an in-room Jacuzzi tub.

Spending a couple of days away from home in a couple of warm, fuzzy robes will be just the ticket to easing your way back into reality after the wedding.

A tourist couple holding a map

Play “Tourist” in Your Town

You may think you know your city, but have you ever looked at it through the eyes of a visitor? Depending on the size of your city, there may be a lot of things that you haven’t had time to explore. Take this opportunity to visit that museum that you’ve always meant to go to, or see a movie at the drive-in theater downtown that always looked fun. If you live in a small or rural area, venture out to the nearest big city and see what kind of adventures you can get yourself into. You’d be surprised at what you can discover on a day trip!

Go Camping

If you and your new spouse love the great outdoors and already have all the gear, a quick camping trip is a great alternative to a traditional honeymoon. What better way to celebrate a new marriage than to be completely immersed in nature—and each other—before you have to go back to work?

When you plan your camping trip, pack a few little extras to make it more romantic like a bottle of champagne on ice or a pre-prepared meal that’s a little fancier than your typical hot dogs and s’mores. Also, don’t forget to pack your selfie stick or find a tree nearby to steady your phone for a timed picture—you’ll definitely want to take a few pictures of your first moments as a married couple.

Cook a Really Fancy Dinner Together

If you don’t have time to get away for a quick road trip and you’re not an outdoor enthusiast, one of the most romantic things you can do together after the wedding is to cook and share a fancy dinner together at home. Whether you’ve lived together for years or this is the first time you’ve stayed the night together, cooking a nice meal together is a fun way to celebrate your new marriage in your home.

So grab your nicest bottle of wine and look up Ina Garten’s fanciest recipe—and don’t be afraid to go to the good grocery store for ingredients.

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