Confession: I'm a weirdo, I loooove travel planning. I love all the research and the details. I make itineraries for fun.
My first international trip was in college, to Uganda - and I took a full semester class focusing on the issues in the country before departing. You can imagine that being culture-blind in a destination like that would not make for a great trip. Ever since then, I've been obsessed with travel research and learning everything possible about a place before I get there.
Figure Out The Budget
Just like with wedding planning, it's easy to get carried away with travel planning (and Pinteresting...) and accidentally create a dream vacation waaaaay out of your real budget.
First things first: How much, maximum, are you willing to spend?
Second, what kind of trip do you want to take? If you don't care about this part and just want to travel, that's ok - but if you know you want an active trip with lots of excursions, you know you'll need to choose a location that's cheaper to fly to so you can afford the activities. But if you want a relaxing trip with few or no planned activities, then you may be able to choose an more expensive location.
Third, do you want to be responsible for the details or do you want to be hands-off? If you want to be hands-off, then you should look at cruises, all-inclusive resorts, and tour groups. If you're a nerd like me who loves the details, you can often make the most of your money by making all the decisions yourself.
Average Honeymoon Budget (Don't Despair!)
If you're unsure that a honeymoon fits in your budget, you're not alone - only half of newlyweds take a honeymoon (and of the ones who do, a third get financial help from their parents).
The average newlyweds spend $4,250 booking their 6-8 day honeymoon (including pre-booked excursions), and spend an additional $1,500 on food, alcohol, activities and shopping once they arrive. That's about three times as much as the average non-honeymoon vacation. (One in six couples spends more than $10,000 on their honeymoon.)
Typical Travel Costs for Mid-Range Honeymooners:
Mid-range travel is the typical, average travel style - not choosing only the cheapest budget options, but not indulging in too many luxuries, either.
These averages mean Kansas City newlyweds planning a mid-range 7-day honeymoon to a domestic location should budget $5,000.
Affordable Honeymoon Strategy #1:
Choosing your travel dates is the first step to finding a great deal. June tends to have the most expensive travel, and March has the least expensive. (A lot like wedding vendors!) Flying on a Tuesday is cheaper than flying on a Sunday. If you have some flexibility in your travel dates, play around with the tools to find the best pricing.
My first step is going to Google Flights Explore, entering your home airport (Kansas City is MCI), and your anticipated travel dates. You can also suggest a region, but I like to keep that blank so I can see all the options. (I used this strategy for my own honeymoon! I ended up booking flights to South Carolina, which I never would have thought of on my own.)
Then the interactive map shows you the minimum airfare to every destination in the world, from your airport and on your dates. (Personally, I would uncheck "Spirit" from the list because they end up costing the same as full service airlines if you want to take luggage with you, and I had a bad customer service experience with them during a family emergency. But some people don't mind all that.)
Google Flights does not include Southwest Airlines, but it does include several other budget airlines.
Google Flight's Explore shows all airports globally.
Select a destination to see flights and accommodations.
Try Google Flight's Discover for suggestions.
Try Budget Airlines for Deals
Not finding what you want on Google Flights, or just want to check out budget pricing?
Budget airlines that depart from Kansas City:
Check Out Deals Sites and Airline Sites
Deals sites and the airline's own site sometimes have different prices.
Affordable Honeymoon Strategy #2:
Groupon Getaways are travel packages under sticker price. Some of them are just for hotels, but you can find others that include travel, food, tours, excursions, and all sorts of other perks.
Be aware - almost none of the packages include airfare from Kansas City, so you would need to fly to the departure city or call the vendor for a flight upgrade.
I haven't personally used Groupon Getaways, but I plan to! My coworkers have used them to go to Iceland, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Costa Rica, Ireland, and all sorts of amazing locations.
Affordable Honeymoon Strategy #3:
A lot of people overlook cruises as a way to honeymoon on a budget! A cruise ship will take you to great destinations and make sure you're entertained around the clock.
Book through a deals site like Priceline Cruises to find rooms as low as $39/night per guest. Sales will sometimes include free perks on board, from alcohol packages to housekeeping gratuities - and sometimes even cruise cash to spend onboard on massages or other services.
Remember to look up flight costs to the departure port before you book.
Affordable Honeymoon Strategy #4:
Flights and lodging are the biggest costs on a honeymoon, but food comes in next! With the average honeymooners spending $130 per day on food and alcohol, this can quickly spiral into an equal cost with your other expenses.
Consider DIYing your food while on your honeymoon, and limiting the times you can treat yourself to restaurant dining. By packing a breakfast or lunch for your day out, you can easily save money and eat healthy on your honeymoon.
If you can book lodging somewhere with access to kitchen equipment or a grill (such as a condo resort), you may find you like staying in for dinner, too.
Excursions are the next large expense - and a single hour-long activity can cost $200 or more for you and your honey.
Many of the excursions are designed for visitors on a tourist budget. You can make your budget stretch further if you can find the activities designed for locals or self-guide your tours.
Good luck in booking your dream honeymoon on an affordable budget! Click here to SHARE this article on Facebook so other couples can benefit, too!