Yes, budgeting is definitely one of the least exciting pieces of wedding planning, but it's also a necessity, particularly for those looking forward to an extravagant honeymoon abroad. From managing a daily budget to planning for the unexpected, financing a honeymoon can be intimidating (and emotionally taxing) for newly engaged couples. If you’re looking for a stress-free guide to budgeting for a honeymoon abroad, read on.
Start with research.
If you and your partner decide that Bora Bora is your dream destination, then you should know that a week-long vacation on the island averages about $11,000, primarily due to limited flights.
The cost of airfare, food, accommodation, and even tips play an important role in deciding on a budget. Those planning a honeymoon on a budget often opt for countries and regions with cheaper costs of living, such as those in Central America and Southeast Asia. However, it’s important to research the average flight costs from where you’re based to make sure the flights alone won’t break your bank.
Once you lock in a potential destination (or a few), there are additional considerations to think about. Here are a few other logistics to consider before booking anything:
- Do you need a visa to travel there?
- Will you need to take a train or hire a cab to visit all the places you’d like to visit?
- What are the exchange rates?
These are all factors that should be incorporated into your final budget.
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Decide on your non-negotiables.
Even if your main priority is laying on the beach for most of the week, there are likely experiences or activities you’d like to do with your partner while on your honeymoon. Things like spa treatments, cooking classes, and daily cocktails don’t always come cheap.
It’s important to sit down as a couple and create a combined list of the activities that you want to prioritize on your trip. It’s also a good way to bond with your partner and make sure you’re on the same page. You can always cross things off, but try to budget for the top two or three on each of your lists. These activities could include cooking classes, zip-lining, scuba diving, hiking, or even spa experiences.
Set your official budget.
Some say the average honeymoon is about $8,000 while others suggest it averages a little more than $4,000. These numbers can be great references when planning, but aren’t a hard-and-fast rule for how much you should (or will) spend.
Most of the budget can be calculated and set based on the initial research you do. Then, it’s often best to discuss those numbers with a travel agent who can tell you what’s realistic. Not only will they be able to give you pricing estimates, but they’ll know things like which trains are out-of-commission certain months of the year–something you may not be able to look up.
When setting a budget, don’t forget the little things, too. Make a checklist of costs and go over it a few times with your partner. Consider things like souvenirs, gifts, and tips for helpful staff. Once you decide on a number that seems realistic, add an additional 20%. Just like with wedding planning, it’s crucial to prepare for the unexpected (which is a given when traveling).
Prioritize your planning.
According to the experts at Perfect Honeymoons, procrastination is one of the primary killers of a dream honeymoon. Stress and even the idea of what a honeymoon might cost can deter a couple from booking, but the trip details should really be finalized 4-8 months in advance.
Flights and accommodations are the two most important things that need to be booked ASAP (and are also generally the priciest part of the trip). Consider renting a house or condo instead of staying at a hotel to save a lot of money upfront. Make sure you take full advantage of loyalty cards and frequent flier miles as well.
Whatever you do, don’t push back planning because it feels overwhelming. Use your resources and get to work. The earlier you start, the more time you have to figure out all of your options.
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Find ways to fund the trip.
Only about 1 in 4 couples go on their dream honeymoon. Chances are, financial limitations often come into play, dissuading newlyweds from traveling somewhere exotic or forcing them to shorten their trip as a whole. Though the financial planning aspect of the trip may be the least exciting, it’s arguably the most important. Here are some ways to get ahead of the spending and save:
Gradually set money aside.
Consider opening a joint savings account with your partner once you decide on a budget (ideally about a year in advance, or shortly after you get engaged). Then each of you can decide on an amount to contribute each month that can realistically get you to your goal.
Create a honeymoon fund.
If you’re not attached to the idea of funding the trip on your own, open up the pot to your friends and family via a honeymoon fund. Simply add a Zola cash fund to your wedding registry and customize it however you want. Call it an overall honeymoon fund or break cash funds into smaller expenses for honeymoon specifics (think flights, dinners, excursions, spa treatments, etc.)
Tip: The more specific your cash funds are, the more likely you are to receive contributions. It’s easier for people to give money to a “Chef-Hosted Sushi Dinner for 2” than a big general “Honeymoon Fund.”
Make small changes.
If you feel that your budget is already fairly tight and don’t want to cut into your long-term savings, consider cutting back on things like eating out and meal prep instead. Something as simple as brewing coffee at home instead of at a local café can save you as much as $100 per month. Some couples even choose to declutter by selling old clothes and furniture on digital shopping platforms.
As with so many things, small changes add up. You’d be surprised how much you can save in a year to use towards your honeymoon.