How to Budget for a Honeymoon

Bradly McCue, Relationship Manager, First Republic Bank
December 21, 2018

Planning for a wedding can be stressful, which is why most couples look forward to relaxing once they’re on their honeymoon. However, without a well-thought-out budget, planning a honeymoon can be stressful too. No matter your budget, the following tips can help you create a realistic plan for funding your honeymoon with minimal hassle so you can enjoy your well-earned vacation. Here’s how to budget for a honeymoon:

1. Combine honeymoon planning with wedding planning.

The idea of adding one more line item into your wedding plans might seem overwhelming, but if you and your partner will be financing the wedding, it’s best to consider honeymoon expenses upfront as part of the process. By considering the honeymoon as a wedding expense, it may even impact the decisions you make for your wedding and help ensure you don’t go over your intended budget. For instance, cutting corners with flowers, desserts or music could leave room for an upgraded honeymoon suite or private scuba lessons. On the flip side, making the honeymoon an afterthought could mean forgoing honeymoon experiences that are important to you.

2. Discuss expectations.

Even if you’ve traveled with your fiancé(e) before, you may not necessarily know what kind of honeymoon they want to have. Are you looking for a low-key beach getaway or an adrenaline-fueled expedition? Domestic or international? Five-star hotel or charming bed and breakfast? It’s important to clarify exactly what each of you wants to achieve with the trip and how that might impact your budget. Aligning on a shared vision will help you set a realistic budget and make timely plans.

3. Agree on where you’ll splurge and save.

It’s entirely possible to stick to a budget and still live large on any vacation — it just might take a little compromise. The good news is the same budgeting skills you flexed planning your wedding are easily transferable to honeymoon budgeting. Applying that same logic to a honeymoon might mean staying in an Airbnb but eating at fancy restaurants every night, or splurging on activities but taking public transportation instead of renting a car. Talk to your partner about what things they think are worth springing for and which they don’t mind cutting costs for or eliminating completely.

4. Check in periodically.

It might not sound romantic, but taking a couple minutes at the end of the day or week to check in on how you’re doing with your travel budget is one of the easiest ways to stay on top of spending. This is especially important if you and your partner are dividing and conquering the planning duties. For instance, if you’ve booked some of the activities while your partner has been working in tandem on arranging travel, it’s good to compare notes and make sure you’re aligned on plans and finances. If this sounds like a boring honeymoon activity, consider it good practice for your future as a better-budgeting couple!

5. Give yourself a cash allowance.

The same rules of spending apply on vacation that do when you’re back at home. If you’re concerned that paying for everything with a credit card might cause you to overspend, consider making most of your purchases with cash. Take out the amount of cash that aligns with your budget and avoid spending beyond that. This is the easiest way to start each day with a set amount of money, and when you run out you know it’s time to switch to free activities. Pro tip: Use common sense when taking out cash. For larger purchases, like a hotel room, use your debit or credit card and keep the amount of money you carry at any given time to a minimum. 

6. Build in a buffer.

No one wants to spend their honeymoon feeling guilty about overspending, so create a little wiggle room in your budget on the backend so you aren’t tiptoeing around on your trip and worrying over every little thing you buy. A budget is an estimation, after all — albeit hopefully an educated one — and you shouldn’t be too concerned if you go a little over. Still, if you’ve built in a slight buffer during your budgeting phase, then you won’t feel the need to haggle over or potentially walk away from something that you really want.

7. Do your research.

When creating your budget and planning your honeymoon, try to do as much research as you can. Chatting with people who have gone on similar trips or reading reviews online can help you get a better understanding of the expenses involved and keep surprise expenses to a minimum. This is especially important for big-ticket items, so make sure you research your hotels, flights, and general destinations. For instance, do you know how much the deposit will be on your hotel and how long before it will appear on your credit card statement? Or, if you’re planning to buy souvenirs on your honeymoon, will it be more expensive to ship them home or leave room in your suitcase and check your bag? Research allows you to plan in advance and build these expenses into your honeymoon budget.

Following these honeymoon budgeting tips can help you have an amazing time without breaking the bank. The more planning you do in advance, the more carefree your vacation will be — plus you won’t be wracked with buyer’s remorse when you get back.

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