We won’t mince words: Weddings are expensive. By the time you’ve booked your venue, vendors, and everything else, chances are you’re looking to save money—especially where your honeymoon is concerned. To help you do exactly that, we spoke with travel professionals to get their best booking practices. Here’s how to plan your honeymoon without spending a fortune.

Start planning (and booking) early.

You likely know by now that booking far in advance can give you major savings when traveling. When it comes to your honeymoon, the same logic applies. “Couples should start planning the process 6-8 months in advance,” says Rey Alton, travel advisor and honeymoon expert with Travel Leaders in Houston, Texas. “ This helps them to get the best savings and their preferred room type.”

Booking in advance means different things to different couples, of course. Your timeline ultimately depends on your destination and the time of year you want to travel, explains David Fishman of Travel Leaders in Cadillac, Michigan. If you want to go to a trendy locale during a popular time of year, consider booking even earlier or talking to an expert about the ideal time to book for crowded times. He agrees, though, begin the process 6-8 months ahead of time.

INLINE GodsWeddingPhotographer 1080x720 Amara&Hon Photo Credit // Gods Wedding Photographer

Know your budget and priorities.

Calculators and notepads (or notes apps) at the ready. Just like your wedding, smart honeymoon planning requires setting a budget. If saving money is top-of-mind for you and your partner, figuring out how much you can or would like to spend is paramount. Now you have a realistic look at what you can afford to do from the beginning.

Once you land on a number, list out your top honeymoon priorities with your partner. Decide on your must-dos and also decide what things you’re willing to pass up. For example, if luxury accommodations are at the top of your list, consider traveling closer to home, shifting the money you’d spend on pricey flights to your hotel. Likewise, if you’re all about international experiences, focus fewer funds towards your hotel and more on excursions. Your budget helps you prioritize (and deprioritize).

Set up a honeymoon registry.

If you know that your honeymoon is a big priority for you and your partner (maybe you don’t get to travel together as much as you’d prefer), make it a big priority on your wedding registry. Skip (some of) the traditional wedding registry items and opt for cash funds instead.

Be sure to be specific about what you want the money to go toward, whether that’s honeymoon-related activities or your trip in general. If guests know that they’re contributing to your actual trip, they’ll feel more comfortable gifting money. Don’t worry: You can create multiple cash funds and label each one accordingly.

Avoid peak season.

Tulum or Paris in the spring sound dreamy—and everyone agrees. Peak seasons for the best honeymoon destinations, which lead to peak price hikes. In fact, in the travel industry, there are three seasons:

  • Peak season (mid-June through August)
  • Shoulder season (April through mid-June and September through October),
  • Off-season (November through March).

To avoid the steepest prices, travel agents recommend booking your honeymoon during shoulder or off-season. “By traveling off-season you can find affordable options in popular, touristy spots,” Alton says. “You can save up to 50% in some places if you choose to travel when the season is slow.”

If you’re dead-set on a peak season trip, avoid extra costs by opting for less popular locations. “When you work with a travel professional, we can direct you to great romantic alternatives off the beaten path,” says Fishman.

INLINE Unsplash 1080x720 Photo Credit // Unsplash

Travel smart.

Do your due diligence about airports in your locations, too. An airport that’s convenient to your destination but maybe a bit farther away may cost less to fly in and out of. However, it could cost you the same once you add in taxi or car service costs. Research all airports near your destination and compare prices.

If you’re loyal to a certain airline, now is the time to cash in on frequent flier miles or credit card travel rewards when possible. Pro tip: Open a credit card with travel rewards at the start of your wedding planning. Most cards offer special deals like extra points for spending a certain amount within the first month. Wedding costs add up regardless, but by putting them on your credit card you can rack up points that’ll go towards your honeymoon.

Talk to experts.

Ultimately, working with a professional is one of the smartest things you can do when planning your honeymoon. We highly recommend doing your own independent research, travel agents and advisors are experts at this stuff. You are certainly not the first couple hoping to save money on your honeymoon.

Their advice can be invaluable. “Couples should seek a well-seasoned travel advisor who can tell them what months and places to travel to in order to receive the deep discounts,” Alton says. “A good travel advisor, however, will also recommend destinations that are best suited for the personality and lifestyle of the couple.”

With a set budget, a good amount of research, and possibly a pro’s help, booking your honeymoon doesn’t have to break the bank.