The rice? Thrown. The garter? Tossed. The photos? Snapped.
You tuck away for a quick minute to check your bank account and all signs point to Honeymoon Unlikely!
Don’t freak. Romance doesn’t have to cost a lot. And we’ve got 10 ideas for romantic and cheap honeymoon ideas that don’t break the bank. But first, before you even venture down the honeymoon path, there’s some things you can do to soften the blow and find the perfect affordable honeymoon destination.
Try to look for ways to reduce cost on your big day so you have more money to splurge on your trip.
Ask family and friends for potential discounts or tips on inexpensive travel options. And lastly, make sure you add honeymoon cash to your registry. Websites like Zola and Honeyfund make it easy to crowd-fund the honeymoon of your dreams.
It may come as a surprise but the average American couple spent about $19,000 on the wedding and reception in 2020. That’s down from $28,000 in 2019. Blame the pandemic that forced smaller weddings to maintain safety regulation and social distancing requirements.
Cheap honeymoon destinations are in the eye of the beholder, sort of like the bride and groom, right? The important thing is to know your budget before you start planning. Maybe you’ll spend a couple nights in a luxury hotel and another couple camping on white sand beaches.
10 Budget Friendly Honeymoon Destinations
The following 10 ideas for budget friendly honeymoon destinations won’t leave your bank account on the brink of a breakdown. Whether you want to take off for a farflung romantic destination with fewer tourists or hit the open road for a slice of Americana, we’ve got honeymoon ideas for you.
1. Exotic but Make it Affordable
Don’t let a smaller budget deter you from a more tropical honeymoon. You can travel to exotic locations and not go broke.
Case in point: Southeast Asia and specifically Thailand. The majority of the cost for Thailand will be flights. But you can choose less expensive lodging, food and excursion choices to keep your total cost lower. Flying into Bangkok from most major American airports costs between $1,000 to $1,800.
From there focusing on less-touristy areas like Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai can cost you less than $50 a day. A few days going cheap, will allow you to indulge a bit at an all-inclusive resort like the highly popular Nature Beach Resort.
Nestled along Thailand’s Lonely Beach, this resort features 60 individual bungalows for travelers, a restaurant, bar, swimming pool, and spa. Rates for middle of the week, double rooms with sea view is less than $60 a night.
2. Direct Flights are the Best of the Cheap Honeymoon Ideas
Keeping your honeymoon cost low all comes down to where you’re based. Research affordable direct flights from your destination. For example, a direct flight from Miami to St. Croix, Virgin Islands is on average less than $250. Check out the Carambola Beach Resort, a quaint 144-room all inclusive 4-star beach resort that features poolside bar, a bar/lounge, and an outdoor pool and a short walk to Davis Beach and Annaly Bay Hike and Tidal Pools, Cane Bay and Cane Bay Beach.
If you’re flying from Los Angeles, look for affordable flights to the resorts of Mexico’s west coast or even to the Bahamas, one of the world’s most affordable honeymoon destinations. Non-stops start at about $350, which is a bargain for flying across the country and a bit farther.
With so many islands to explore, including Exuma, Paradise Island, and Eleuthera, a cheap flight to the Bahamas opens many doors to tropical indulgence, and that includes horseback riding on the beach.
3. Time to Take a Staycation-moon
After a busy and hectic wedding, it’s not out of the ordinary to not want to do a thing except relax. There are no rules to honeymooning. Instead of jumping on a flight, why not opt to stay in a luxury hotel in your area or hop around to some of your favorite spas. The price may be more than you would normally pay, but if you’re not spending it on travel, why not?
Resort-pass is a great option to explore pricier hotels for a day-cation. HotelTonight is also great for last minute hotel booking.
4. Use Your Points
One of the most economical ways to travel is by using credit card points. But it takes planning and begins way before the big-day.
One way is to choose and apply for the credit card that will yield the most points and be strategic with how you will spend. Then you’ll want to figure out how many points it will take to go where you want to travel.
Is there a way to earn double points by purchasing groceries during a certain month or clothing another? Or maybe party favors or spa services are the way to earn the most points. Be sure to purchase during those times to rack up the most points possible.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Visa Card is a great option to earn points towards the honeymoon of your dreams. Referring a friend can easily earn you 10,000 points towards travel. And of course all points count towards travel on Southwest.
5. Tropical Vibes of Beautiful Beaches
Mexico’s Cancun is not only ranked as one of the best honeymoon destinations in the world, it’s also an affordable romantic getaway. Known for its 14-miles of white sand beaches, Cancun is filled with affordable all-inclusive resorts.
Many U.S. airlines offer many cheap airfares to Cancun from gateway cities, including Miami, Newark, Las Vegas and New York. Checkout online travel sites like Expedia and Orbitz to find low fares.
Who says you have to leave the United States to enjoy a beach getaway? Florida has plenty of palm trees and beautiful beaches to quench your thirst for a romantic honeymoon, and that includes the Florida Keys.
Opt for a lesser known location like Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. Tucked away along Florida’s east coast, about 30 miles north of Miami Beach, this small Florida town is known for its small-town quaintness and natural beauty. This is the perfect location for a couple looking for old-Florida style, great fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving excursions and small romantic inns and hotels.
Check out the historic Mexican-style Hacienda Blue Seas Courtyard hotel. Every room in the unique boutique hotel features a full kitchen, and there are no resort fees or parking fees at the hotel. That screams affordable honeymoon destination. Watch the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean and then head to one of the area’s many golf courses. Or ask the concierge to point you to a scuba diving excursion for beginners.
6. The Road Trip is the Affordable Honeymoon Destination
Ditch the TSA check in for the open road.
Choose a destination based on your tolerance for road trips and how long you are willing to drive for the perfect honeymoon destination. For some that means 4 to 5 hours in the car, for others it could be as long as 8 to 10 hours.
To save money, utilize apps like Gas Buddy to find the most affordable gas stations along your journey. Make your trip more memorable by picking locations along the way to stop and enjoy.
Consider joining a gas rewards program to save up money for your honeymoon driving trip. We’ve rounded up the six best gas rewards programs.
7. Give Back the Love
Did you know you can volunteer during your vacation and potentially offset some of your expenses. A volunteer vacation/honeymoon is not only a smart way to potentially save some cash, it’s also a great way to kick off your married love story giving back to those in need.
More than 100,000 travelers volunteer each year with the International Volunteer HQ organization. Choose from more than 50 destinations that offer from 1 week to 24 weeks of travel. Volunteer projects range from construction and renovation of community buildings in Buenos Aires, Argentina to coast and waterway conservation in New Zealand. Travelers pay for their trips, but the prices are greatly reduced and most include airfare, travel to and from the airport, meals and lodging.
While in your destination split your days between volunteering and getting in some couples romance. And depending on the location, you may be able to get into some outdoor adventure.
8. Romantic Mountain Getaway
Trade in the beach and bikinis for altitude and hiking boots for the best cheap honeymoon destinations ideas.
Asheville, North Carolina, is a great destination to enjoy the mountains and hiking trails, funky and fine dining, art and nightlife. Just a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville is easy and affordable to get to from many major cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Chicago, and Dallas.
Once there you can take advantage of free activities for a few days like hiking the Shenandoah National Park to the Smoky Mountains. Take in some culture by walking the gardens of the Biltmore Estate and stroll downtown Asheville downtown to indulge in the great dining and craft brew scene to cap off your romantic trip.
9. Montreal Mon Ami
Want a Parisian experience without the price of flying to Europe?
Montréal is a great option. Located in Canada’s Québec province, Montreal is the province’s largest city. Couples can explore the old world charm of the cobblestone villages, gothic buildings and urban alleyways filled with artists and live performers.
The Hotel Place d’Armes Old Montreal is a great location for couples. The 4-star historic hotel was originally built in the 19th century and features six studios, five penthouses and a spa.
10. Explore Coastal U.S. for Affordable Honeymoon Destinations
Are you a couple that enjoys wine, hiking in the woods or exploring western history? The West Coast —from Southern California through Oregon and onto the border in Washington State — is a great option for honeymoon destinations.
Cities like Seattle and Portland offer inexpensive experiences that pack a lot of memories. Take a scenic tour by air of Seattle or toast to your union in Oregon’s Stoller Family Estates winery. Small coastal towns also offer ideas for a romantic getaway, including towns along the Pacific Coast Highway.
On the east coast you can enjoy the beach, historic towns and country byways. Pack a romantic picnic and don’t forget the fine wine. You don’t have to spend a lot on wine either. Check out these six fabulous wine suggestions at under $14 a bottle.
Watch the sunset on the Outer Banks in North Carolina or soak in haunted history in Savannah, Georgia. That might not exactly scream romantic destination but it just might when you have to hug each other tight to keep away the spirits.
Contributor Nicole Hutcheon is a veteran journalist whose work has appeared in Ebony Magazine, 83 Degrees Media, Tampa Bay Times, Richmond (Virginia) Times-Dispatch, and Florida Designers Review.