By the editors at Modern Bride magazine
It’s easier than you think to get a big bang for your honeymoon buck. Here are 10 simple tricks to try:
- Send for free info. Tourist offices are happy to provide free hotel, restaurant and activity brochures. Also ask about free events and visitors’ discounts.
- Begin planning early. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to research your options and a better chance of getting exactly what you want. Popular hotels are often reserved as much as a year in advance during peak seasons. You’ll also be able to take advantage of early-booking incentives (especially on cruises).
- Travel off-season. Europe in the spring or fall, the Caribbean in summer...you’ll find more affordable airfare and accommodations, fewer crowds and a higher level of service.
- Enlist the assistance of a good travel agent. Thanks to their expertise, good travel agents almost always save their clients money as well as time. Look for an agent who specializes in leisure travel and who takes the time to find out what you are really looking for.
- Consider packages. The best deals often come wrapped up in packages. Honeymoon packages often feature upgraded rooms and romantic outings. Some include airfare, a rental car and meals. All-inclusive packages make budgeting easy by providing everything for a single price.
- Investigate airfares. You can easily cut your fare by hundreds of dollars with a bit of savvy shopping. Seek out a savvy travel agent, then ask these questions: Is this the absolute lowest fare for this route? Would the fare be lower from another nearby airport? Would shifting departure times or travel dates change the fare? Also, ask your travel agent if reliable charters or consolidator tickets are available to your destination. And don’t forget to cruise the Web for bargain airfare.
- Arrange your car rental in advance. As with airfares, a good travel agent can find you the best deals. You’ll pay the highest rate if you arrive at the airport without a reservation. Be sure to ask about fly/drive and hotel/car-rental packages, and check with your own car insurance agent and credit card companies in advance to see what coverage they provide for rental cars. If you are covered in the countries in which you plan to drive, you can decline the car- rental company’s coverage, saving $15 or more a day. Also: If you’re under 25 or have been involved in an accident in the past two years, you may be refused a car when you reach the counter. Ask about the policy in advance.
- Check out the specifics. Be sure that the package you choose provides the honeymoon you want, and keep in mind that low package prices may be based on less-desirable hotels or rooms. Look for specifics, not words such as “deluxe.” Find out whether the hotel has the location, room service, sports and other features you expect. Also, ask your travel agent to spell out, in writing, what is and is not included. Surcharges, taxes or service charges can add up to a sizable surprise.
- Register for your trip. “Less is more,” the saying goes, but if “more” really is what you need, consider this: Some travel agents offer honeymoon registries that let your guests spring toward the total cost of your trip. The Web site HoneyLuna.com offers a similar service.
- Tell the world you’re honeymooners! Don’t be bashful about your status—you’re likely to enjoy special treatment, such as complimentary champagne in-flight or a gift basket in your room.
What’s a honeymoon without a special treat or two? Just remember to make them count! Some of our favorites:
- A unique adventure —soaring aloft in a helicopter or a hot-air balloon, taking a sunset sail, sight-seeing by horse-drawn carriage.
- A room with a view: Imagine lying in bed, gazing at a sapphire lake or sea; a mountain-framed sunset; the neon night-lights of a big city.
- His-’n’-hers massages, followed by a rendezvous in the whirlpool.
- A candlelight dinner at an intimate, elegant restaurant—“economize” by feeding each other one sinfully good dessert.
- A souvenir —locally made artwork or jewelry—is a lasting reminder of your honeymoon.