The Most Amazing (but Budget-Friendly) Honeymoon Destinations
After the ring, prewedding events, and the big day itself, you might feel like there's not much left over in your budget for a romantic honeymoon. Don't worry — the trick is finding the right destinations and knowing the right times to go. To help you plan your much-deserved trip after your wedding, we turned to travel experts who gave the scoop on the best honeymoon destinations that won't break the bank for couples on a budget.
"History and architecture buffs will fall in love with the city of Antigua with its cobblestoned streets, Spanish Baroque influences, and colonial churches," says Travelocity's Courtney Scott. The city itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Local Sights in Antigua
"Enjoy roaming the open-air markets for artisan products and local delicacies, and hop on a shuttle to head to Guatemala City or Monterrico Beach," says Scott.
"If you want to do European beaches, consider Croatia," says Danielle Contray of Budget Travel. "The island of Hvar sits in the Adriatic and has miles of beaches plus medieval architecture and great nightlife." Not to mention, she says, that you'll be able to find hotels under $100.
Shuttle Boat in Hvar
The best time to visit the island of Hvar is apparently at the end of Summer, when the European vacationers leave, according to the Travelocity travel expert.
"Shuttle boats leave from the main harbor every day and whisk you off to a different Paklinski island each day," says Scott. "Or rent a private boat and spend a day on the Adriatic Sea, where you'll discover private coves, gorgeous rock formations, and beautiful beach clubs like Carpe Diem."
Lavender Fields in Hvar
Slow down and smell the flowers, because Hvar is also known for its lavender. "I recommend renting a car one day and driving inland to explore the lavender fields and villages," says Scott.
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Certain Southeast Asian countries are affordable travel destinations because the low cost of living makes lodgings and food affordable. One place to check out is Cambodia.
"Make sure to visit the Unesco World Heritage site of Angkor Wat at sunrise," says Travelocity's Scott. The three-day admission fee is $62 (as of 2016).
She recommends the four-star Prince D'angkor Hotel & Spa, which has prices as low as $100 or less per night. It's also ideally placed for the tourists who want to visit Angkor Wat and the markets and restaurants of Siem Reap. The hotel is highly rated on sites such as TripAdvisor.
"Everyone knows about Angkor Wat — and you should go," says Lonely Planet's Robert Reid. "But Battambang is a nice add-on, with art-deco French colonial buildings, including an art-deco mansion turned into a boutique hotel, for under $100."
Floating Village, Cambodia
"Take a river cruise on the Mekong to see the floating village of Chong Khneas," says Scott.
Floating Rooms, Cambodia
"Jungle lodges like the 4 Rivers Lodge at Koh Kong, near the Thai border, [have opened in recent years]. Floating rooms come with kayaks and run about $259 per couple. You're out there and mostly alone," says Reid.
Scott estimates that on average, customers can save at least $1,000 by opting for a cruise instead of a land vacation. "Meals and entertainment are typically included, and many deals on Travelocity.com include cash-back incentives to spend on extra goodies like spa treatments."
Scott recommends the seven-night Eastern Caribbean Cruise on Holland America's ship, the MS Nieuw Amsterdam (from $799 per person for an ocean-view room). Ports of call include Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and more.
All-Inclusives in Caribbean and Mexico
All-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico are great deals.
"Peak wedding season is generally late Spring/Summer, which aligns with shoulder season (heading into hurricane season) in the Caribbean," says Travelzoo's Jaime Freedman. "Get some insurance to feel warm and fuzzy about coverage, and go enjoy eating and drinking until your heart's content without worrying about the money you're spending — because it's all been taken care of at one price. There are a ton of adults-only all-inclusives, so you can enjoy some peace and quiet on the moon."
Travelzoo says the best destinations to find a deal are Riviera Maya, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic.
"This is one of the larger Caribbean countries, and where you fly into can make a difference. It's typically cheaper to fly into Santo Domingo than Punta Cana [a quick search found fares around $300 from New York, $450 from Chicago]," says Budget Travel's Contray. "There are many budget-friendly beachfront resorts in Santo Domingo, and it's not hard to find an all-inclusive for less than $200 a night."
Playa Del Carmen, Riviera Maya Mexico
"There are deals to be had in Cancun, but head out of the hotel zone to Tulum or Playa Del Carmen," says Contray.
Rio Secreto in Playa Del Carmen
Take a side trip to Playa Del Carmen's underground river, Rio Secreto, which is filled with stalactites and stalagmites.
Tulum, Riviera Maya, Mexico
"The scene is quieter in Tulum, though it gets more popular every year," says Contray.
Tulum Hut, Mexico
"You can still get a basic cabana on the beach for around $50 a night if you aren't looking for lots of frills," according to Budget Travel's Contray.
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
A general tip for honeymooners from Lonely Planet's Reid: "Try to avoid honeymooning in June or Summer. If that's when you get married, plan your honeymoon for the shoulder season of September, October, or November. Many, many destinations are cheaper. Even September works."
"Beach rentals in Martha's Vineyard can still be enjoyed, and prices drop by 50 percent after Labor Day. So I'll say September, Martha's Vineyard — get around on bike trails, dig for clams, open wide beaches you can still swim in, and cheaper prices after kids go back to school. It's a two-week window or so before it gets too cold."
Jonesing for a trip to Europe? Perhaps a cruise would suit your budget needs.
"You can find some great deals on the Mediterranean in the Summer, when prices in Europe soar. This is generally because flights there will be pricey (time to cash in your miles!)," says Travelzoo's Freedman. "But once you're on the ship, you've paid one price for lodging, transportation to major coastal cities, and all food and entertainment. I'm finding handfuls of options under $115 per person per night."
For those craving a trip with European flair, consider Montreal.
"No, it's not the same as jetting off to Paris, but this charming city has lots of great restaurants and stunning architecture, plus you won't be paying for everything in euros," says Budget Travel's Contray. "Hotels, especially downtown, are around $125 a night, and the subway system makes it easy to get to the inexpensive restaurants and shops in the Plateau."
Victorian Houses in Montreal
Take a look at the beautiful architecture in Montreal, including these Victorian houses.
Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal
Another sight to see in Montreal is the Notre-Dame Basilica, a great example of a piece of Gothic Revival architecture. It's filled with lots of wooden carvings, statues, and beautiful stained windows.
Habitat 67 in Montreal
Habitat 67 is a housing complex in Montreal and one of the most famous structures in the city.
Palm Springs, CA
"This retro California desert town has seen a six percent drop in the average airfare price — flights were less than $250 from major West Coast cities," says Contray. "There are lots of great hotels as low as $80 a night."
There is also a thriving vacation rental market, and you can get a one-bedroom condo with a full kitchen for less than $100, the Budget Travel expert says.
Hike in Palm Springs, CA
Hike the Indian Canyons in Palm Springs, CA, and take in the sights of the desert vegetation and wildlife.
Palm Springs, CA
Enjoy putting on the greens of Palm Springs, CA.
St. Martin, Caribbean
According to Reid, direct flights to St. Martin — the half Dutch, half Caribbean island — from the East Coast go for $350 or less. "Go slightly off-season when it's cheaper on the island. Beaches and parking is free at most places." Reid recommends staying to eat on the French side, boating to one of the many beach bars that are open all day, and taking a daytrip to Anguilla, which is just a 25-minute ferry ride away. "On St. Martin, you can also find suite-style bungalows with jacuzzis at Les Balcons d'Oyster Pond," he says.
"Prices drop by a third after April 15 — starting at 100 euro in high season," says Reid. It's away from the beach, but with gorgeous views of a mountain-backed bay filled with boats you can take out."