Why Are Honeymoons so Expensive? (And How to Work Around the Cost)

A pair of champagne glasses on a balcony overlooking Paris.

Travel isn’t always an affordable indulgence, and with honeymoons, this is even more so the case. On average, a couple spends anywhere from $3,000-5,000 on a post-nuptial holiday and that number keeps on rising. This factor, unfortunately, has made many newlyweds delay their honeymoon or tone it down to a mini-moon. While there is nothing wrong with either option, there is no reason why you should deny yourself some time off with your significant other.

A honeymoon is all about celebrating your new married status and unwinding after all the stress of planning and hosting a wedding. It’s also a time to bond with your new husband or wife. Therefore, a honeymoon is an important part of the wedding celebration that shouldn’t be neglected. With wedding costs growing as well, it can be difficult to splurge on the dream honeymoon. However, even on a budget, it is possible to plan the perfect getaway.

Why Are Honeymoons So Expensive?

There are many reasons why honeymoons tend to be more expensive than a typical vacation. Half of them are psychological; the rest comes down to logistics. Not everyone wants an over-the-top honeymoon, but if you do, being mindful of your reasoning can help you plan a less-costly one.

The Costs Add Up

A typical honeymoon lasts between one and two weeks, which is significantly longer than your average vacation. Plus, many couples use this chance to travel overseas, which means that plane tickets alone will eat a huge chunk of the budget. Honeymoons also usually involve potentially costly activities, ones that you wouldn’t normally book on a regular weekend trip. All of this together will add up to a large bill at the end.

There’s Pressure to Be Perfect

A couple on their honeymoon walking on a beach.

Not only are honeymoons expected, but these days they’re also expected to be surreal. Thanks to social media, people are pressured to look, live, and travel like a Hollywood star. With weddings, that pressure can be even stronger. The strive towards perfection also comes from the inside. After all, your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime moment, so the honeymoon can’t be sub-par. In addition, if you’ve already spent a hefty amount on the wedding itself, the last thing you’ll want to do is skimp on the last little bit.

The Love of Luxury

Because many people believe that the honeymoon should be a trip of a lifetime, it’s easy to say yes to every upgrade and add-on. This is when you’ll be more tempted than ever to book a first-class ticket or reserve the finest room at a five-star hotel.

How to Save on Your Honeymoon

While it is absolutely acceptable to have a frugal post-nuptial vacation, it’s also possible to have the honeymoon of your dreams without breaking the bank. Here are some tips that will help you make the most of your budget.

Plan Ahead

A man and woman looking at a laptop and planning their honeymoon.

As with the wedding itself, planning is everything. Take the time to research and compare all your options. On average, you should start creating your travel itinerary six months ahead for the best deals. Flights and hotels often cost less if booked ahead. Having more time to plan also gives you an opportunity to brainstorm and explore other ideas.

Once you’ve decided on the honeymoon type or destination, select a few alternatives and add up the cost. For base reference, check the average cost of plane tickets, accommodations, and transportation. This is what will account for most of your spending. For example, although a bed and breakfast in the French countryside may be half-price, you might find that you’ll need to take an extra train and/or rent a car, which will make a stay in central Paris cheaper.

Skip the Extras

Honeymoon packages and upgrades can be a good deal, but often they’re not worth it. If there is a travel package that looks appealing, weigh out the cost of the extras and see if you’re actually saving money with it. It might make more financial sense to book a spa day off-site instead of an in-room massage. However, one extra expense you should never skimp on is travel insurance, especially if you’re spending a lot on the trip. If something goes wrong, you will not regret it.

Forgo the Traditional Registry

To boost your budget, instead of a gift registry consider having a honeymoon registry. They’re quite popular these days. Although some may find the idea of cash gifts awkward, asking guests to contribute to a honeymoon fund isn’t exactly the same. As opposed to vague donations, people will know what the money will go towards and that it will be spent well. Not to mention, this way, you don’t have to deal with returns or unnecessary household items.

Think Outside the Box

Other ways of making travel cheaper include going in the off-season and avoiding peak holiday times. For example, the beach season in Spain is just as amazing in September (and less crowded) as in the summer months. Instead of a hotel, look into vacation rentals such as an Airbnb. Not only might you find a much posher place, but there are often discounts for long-term stays over a week.

Also, travel agents may seem like a thing of the past, but they can actually be quite helpful. They’re worth looking into as many can hook you up with well-priced packages. Haggling can also help. Try calling the hotels, airlines, and others directly and ask if they’d be willing to provide a discount or throw in something extra. You’ll be surprised how often this can work in your favor.

Your Honeymoon Is What you Make of It

No one can tell you how to spend your money. The most important thing is that you feel your honeymoon is worth every penny. However, it is never a good idea to go into debt and start off your newlywed life on a negative note.

If a honeymoon is important to you, consider cutting other wedding expenses to make it happen. And remember, always do what makes you happy. Don’t be pressured by external influences or the need to seem extravagant. There’s nothing wrong with going on a simple camping trip or opting for a shorter stay. There will be many more trips to come!

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