How to plan a honeymoon on a budget

You don’t have to travel to the other side of the world for your honeymoon. You can pick a place that’s closer, easier to get to, and much more affordable.

I’m on my honeymoon right now! Well, I’m actually in the air or in an airport somewhere. We left DC late last night and are en route to Thailand for a three-week honeymoon adventure! You can keep track of what we’re up to by following my Instagram. We’re making the most of this long honeymoon, but I also wanted to make sure that we found budget options where we could.

Based on my own experience, here’s how you can plan a great honeymoon, even if you’re on a strict budget.

Start planning early

We decided where we wanted to go on our honeymoon at least a year ago. This gave us a lot of time to plan and save for our trip. It’s unlikely that you could just up and go to Thailand for three weeks if you haven’t been planning and saving for a while. (Unless, of course, you keep a full travel savings fund at all times.) So make your decision and start planning early. You’ll have more time to save, and you’ll have more time to find affordable deals for travel and lodging.

Save, save, save

I know you’re probably saving everything you have right now in order to pay for your wedding. However, it’s important to remember that you’ll want to save up for your honeymoon too! Put a monthly amount aside, or save any extra money that you get (bonuses, tax refunds, or other windfalls). You may also want to create a honeymoon fund for your wedding registry. There are lots of options out there through Zola, HoneyFund, and other platforms.

Take advantage of rewards programs

I don’t usually recommend points churning to my clients, because rewards credit cards have high interest rates that overrule any rewards you get. However, if you trust yourself to pay off your credit cards in full every month, rewards programs can be incredibly helpful. If you are loyal to certain airlines or hotel chains, getting their credit cards might be a good idea. The

Keep track of deals

Once we knew where we wanted to go, it was time to start tracking good deals. The most expensive part of our honeymoon was the flight to Thailand and back, so I wanted to make sure we were getting the best deal. I used platforms like Airfarewatchdog, The Flight Deal, and Google Flights to save my desired route and get email alerts whenever there was a good price. This is how I was able to see when an affordable Turkish Airlines flight was available and book it before it changed.

Go somewhere close

Yes, we’re en route to Thailand, but you don’t have to travel to the other side of the world for your honeymoon. My parents went to Disney World for their honeymoon. Of course, this was in the 1980s when Disney World was a lot cheaper, but even now it would likely be a lot cheaper than Thailand. So if you’re not all that interested in traveling to a faraway land, you can pick a place that’s closer, easier to get to, and much more affordable.

Delay

More and more of my friends are delaying their honeymoon for six months or a year. That’s a great way to recoup some of the money you spent on your wedding and give you time to save up for your honeymoon. That way, you can make sure you’re having the honeymoon you really want without sacrificing your financial wellness. If you really want to get away, but can’t afford the big trip just yet, you could take a mini-moon and go somewhere more affordable for a few days after the wedding. As of late, I’ve seen my friends visit Miami, Asheville, and Shenandoah National Park.

This article was originally published on MaggieGermano.com.