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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How to Have a Fantastic and Frugal Honeymoon

It's officially "wedding season" people. More people get married in July and August than any other months during the year. I can't even count how many summer weddings I have gone to in the past. If you are getting married this summer - or next - and need some ideas on here to head afterwards to celebrate your I Dos, without spending a ton of money, because when  you think about it, you realized you spent more than you could afford even on your wedding. Odds are, you are on a tight budget after paying to feed everyone and look pretty, so you don't have much leftover - or any - for your honeymoon. Don't forget that instead of registering for toasters and towels that you can register for your honeymoon on a lot of different websites. We did it and it worked out awesomely.

For those of you who are looking for a budget-friendly destination, even if you register, there are plenty of places to start planning for that aren't Hawaii or Fiji, but can be just as beautiful and romantic. Remember, you don't have to spend a lot to enjoy your new trip away as newlyweds. 

Get domestic right away
Instead of spending a ton of money on one of those luxurious hotels that really don't offer more than a traditional hotel except for nicer linens and snootier staff, go for a vacation rental instead. You'll have more space to call your own and a kitchen to cook up some quick meals or snacks. We never seem to want to get up early to go out for breakfast or want to make a big to-do about it anyway, so our first stop on our trips (including our honeymoon) is the grocery store to pick up morning staples like cereal, milk, eggs, bagels and fruit. You can save quite a bit by not going out for even just breakfast. You also have the fridge to bring back leftovers, too. 

If you're lucky, your rental will have a washer and dryer. I know laundry sounds decidedly unglamorous, but being able to pack light can save you money and also enable you to get to your trip that much faster by skipping the baggage carousel and being able to use the check-in kiosks. Bring a few nice pieces that mix and match with one or two fancier items for going out for those splurge-worthy evenings and you're good to go. You'll only remember the fun times you had, not look back and wish you brought more clothes.

Where to go for less
New Orleans has got something for every couple: voodoo, vampires, food, gators and jazz. With the awesome Cajun accents you might even feel like you’re in a foreign country. There is adventure of some kind and fun around every corner. For less than you might think, you can take a city walking tour to learn about vampires, the history of The Big Easy and more. New Orleans is also known for its swamps, and you can take a tour of those as well on an airboat. Gorge yourself on beignets and then visit the rum distillery or head over to Mardi Gras World to check out some of the amazing floats and parts of the famous parade.

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Iceland – For an environmental twist on romance, Reykjavik is an affordable getaway that includes alternative energy. Lots of couples enjoy going to a relaxing spa together. The capital city is full of geothermal vents that create steam and are used to heat swimming pools, homes and even cook meals in restaurants. A major draw is the large hot springs that are perfect for relaxation and easing joint pain. If you spend long days sightseeing, these can really help with achy feet and backs. Reykjavik also boasts beautiful landscapes, an active volcano, a thriving city center with plenty of seafood restaurants and belief in elves – you can see the tiny doors where they are reported to live. In the evenings, take in the breathtaking Northern Lights while you snuggle with your new spouse.

Ecuador – The best way to save money on your honeymoon is to choose a truly affordable destination. If you want to engross yourself in history, meet some of the friendliest people anywhere and eat fabulous (and cheap) food, Quito is for you. Stay in five-star hotels for the price of a two-star anywhere else, take cabs from one end of the city to the other for mere dollars and get your passport stamped at the Middle of the World. Shopping in Quito is amazingly inexpensive, even for fine jewelry and beautifully handmade goods. Just a few hours away will find you at the beach, the rainforest or on top of a volcano.

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Peru – Just like Ecuador, you can save a lot of money here. Aside from the historical aspect of the country, it’s one of the best places to go if you are a lover of hiking and ancient ruins. Machu Picchu draws tourists from around the world to experience the trek to the top and the spectacular view. Learn about the Inca and how the site was kept a secret from the Spanish conquest. Depending on how hard-core you are you can hike the whole way or only part of it.

Dublin – Almost everyone claims to have some Irish heritage and I don’t think you’ll meet anyone who doesn’t desire to visit the Emerald Isle, with its rolling hills, oceans teeming with easily viewable sea life, castles and, probably most important, Guinness. Dublin is where couples go to make friends out of strangers, listen to lively music and educate themselves on the Celtic traditions. The city is very walkable, which means you can save money on a rental car and public transportation, but it is easy to take day trips to other parts of Ireland if you want to sightsee at the Giant’s Causeway or the Cliffs of Moher.

Las VegasLive large for a few days in Sin City and do a bunch of free things and a few expensive things and still go home with some money in your bank account. Las Vegas has a lot to offer those who aren’t eloping or trying to “win it all back”. Here’s just a short list of freebies you can find there: The Mirage volcano is definitely hot, the conservatory and botanical gardens of Bellagio, the Hawaiian Marketplace, Fremont Street Experience and a stroll through the streets of Paris or New York. If you always wanted to hit the beach for your honeymoon, it is truth that Vegas is just one big beach without an ocean. Creative thinking!

Los Angeles – Sure, you could just plan a trip to Disneyland and be done with it, but there is so much more to do in the Los Angeles area. Experience old school glamour with a behind-the-scenes tour of movie studios or a bus tour of Hollywood hotspots and celebrity homes. Take a stroll down the Walk of Fame and see how many names you recognize. Compare your feet against those famous footprints in front of Mann’s Chinese Theater. As much as L.A. is known for its opulence, it can be fairly inexpensive when you take advantage of the many free and cheap things there are to do around the city. Rent a car and spend the day at Venice Beach – where you can meander along the canals – or window shop on Rodeo Drive in hopes of seeing a famous face or two. You’ll leave wishing you had more time to spend just enjoying the feel of the city.

The most important part of your honeymoon is that you're together. Pick a destination that speaks to you and then plan a great trip around it. If everyone went to the same place on their honeymoon, life would be very boring. Start your life together with a unique honeymoon that says something about who you are as a couple.

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