I have never been on an exotic vacation. When I was young my parents and I traveled up and down the east coast doing fun stuff, but I had never really been out of the US, until I went to college. Through school, I was able to get a job working at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. It was one of the best experiences of my life, but it was work, not a vacation. In addition, my hubby-to-be hasn’t really ever been on vacation at all! So I think that our honeymoon would be a great time (maybe the only time) for us to explore and experience.
Well it turns out to explore and experience you need lots of money. When people say they travel all the time, I’d like to know where they are getting their funds. I didn’t think we had a small honeymoon budget until we told the travel agent what we wanted to do. You should have seen the look she gave us. You’d think I’d sprouted another head! The conversation went something like this:
“Hello, what can I do for you today?”
“We’d like to plan our honeymoon.”
“Where would you like to go?”
“We were thinking a cruise in the Mediterranean.”
“Ok what’s your budget.”
(Insert “You must be joking” look here)
“Ok…why don’t you let us know where we can go on our budget.”
It really started to seem like we could only go to the burger joint down the street with our budget. But the good people at AAA (of which I am a member…a very handy thing when you lock yourself out of your car all the time), did find us a really nice vacation, still over budget, but quite exotic and nice. We are planning to take a cruise to the Caribbean on one of the biggest boats in existence, The Allure Of The Seas. Of course she made it sound very exciting, and it is, BUT we are over budget by $1000 with it. I am still determined to have a honeymoon, and I think we will put down a deposit…but WOW. To me, the spendthrift, travel is becoming less and less exciting and more of a big, fat, money pit.
This is a learn-as-I-go process, so from my experiences, those of you planning, will hopefully learn too. So here is my sage advice: You can’t get very far for less than $2000, so budget at least that if you are looking for a bit “honeymoon experience.” If your travel agent finds flights and hotels below budget for you, great! But you will still need the money, there are so many hidden fees, and little costs one doesn’t expect. Cruises, for example, are not always “all inclusive.” Different things will cost more money and it will be good to have the extra cash on hand.
Tip #2 is to book your honeymoon a few months AFTER your wedding, Especially if your wedding is during summer months! If you book a cruise during October, November, December, provided you are cruising someplace warm, the rates will be MUCH cheaper. AND any money your guests give to you for the wedding can be counted up and added to your honeymoon cost. Most places ask for all your money 90 days before you go, and by waiting you are able to add that much more money to the pot.
Overall, I left feeling sort of grim about the whole thing…which is NOT how you are supposed to feel. But sadly, we are going to have to work DOUBLE time for all this. I know it will all be worth it and so I want to end on a happy note, pictures of all the destinations we’ll be hitting on our cruise…provided we can pay for it. ;)