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5 Affordable and Romantic Honeymoon Destinations

Joanna Rentz

A honeymoon is a time to unapologetically relax, indulge, and bask in post-wedding bliss. After all, having to plan, prep, host, and pay for a wedding celebration can be pretty taxing. That’s why the honeymoon should be peaceful, stress-free, and not break the bank.

Today, newlywed romantic getaways come in all different shapes and sizes, as well as a variety of price ranges. While the average couple spends around $4,500 for a honeymoon, many dreamy escapes can happen for much less. So if you are looking for a fabulous vacation, without starting your marriage off in the red, check out these five budget-friendly honeymoon destinations.

Tulum, Mexico

Image Courtesy of Unsplash // Moon

Located 90 minutes south of Cancun, this white-sand beach destination has been a hot spot for the past few years. Fresh local food, charming oceanfront hotels, beautiful turquoise waters, and a seriously laid-back vibe make Tulum a favorite for newlyweds who just want to relax. Most hotels offer free yoga classes, complimentary breakfast, and packaged deals.

Coco Tulum Hotel is located right on the sand and has beachfront cabanas, ocean views, and spacious rooms for less than $80 a night. If you opt for a hotel located off of the beach, and don’t want to pay to rent a beach chair for the day, La Eufemia is a popular taco joint on the beach that allows patrons to stay all day. Just order one drink per hour to keep your seat (and be sure to order the fish tacos). Don’t miss out on Tulum’s incredible history by visiting the 1,000-year-old Mayan Ruins, located on a cliff facing the Caribbean Sea. Later, head to dinner at Mezzanine, a Thai restaurant and bar with one of the best views Tulum has to offer.

Portugal

Image Courtesy of Unsplash // Vita Marija Murenaite

Considerably more affordable than other Western European countries, Portugal is quickly becoming a honeymoon destination for couples who want to experience old-world charm at a reasonable cost. You can fly into Lisbon, a vibrant, welcoming city with enchanting cobblestone streets, colorful tilework, glamorous hotels, and exquisite cuisine. From Lisbon, travel for the day to Cascais, a quaint beach town splashed in color, or the hip locale of Comporta for a truly idyllic beach day. When you are ready to take your European adventure outside of the Lisbon area, plan a few days to road trip in a rental car, or enjoy the country by train. Head north to Porto, near Portugal’s beautiful wine country in Duoro Valley, or south along the coast to the Alentejo region, where you can pull off the main road at any time to find an empty beach or a lagoon to swim in.

Croatia

Image Courtesy of Unsplash // Spencer Davis

Croatia is an often overlooked, but deeply stunning, country with miles upon miles of history. This small eastern European country has it all: mild weather, breathtaking natural beauty, rich history, and a budding food scene. Dubrovnik, the old city, is a sight to behold with its limestone streets, ancient city walls, and golden beaches lining the Adriatic Sea. The average hotel in Dubrovnik costs $130 per night.

Further north, Plitvice Lakes National Park, truly a natural marvel, lures visitors from all over the world. Sixteen teal lakes pour into each other via a series of breathtaking waterfalls of all sizes. Walk the 11-mile wooden footbridge and pathway to enjoy this awesome wonder, or take advantage of the free boats and buses that run every 30 minutes in peak season. On the way back down to Dubrovnik, stop in Split, a coastal city built on 17-centuries-old ancient ruins, where the beaches are plentiful and the average hotel costs only $104 per night.

Saint Lucia

Image Courtesy of Claudio Trigueros

If tropical islands are what you are looking for, seriously consider the Eastern Caribbean island of Saint Lucia. Set on a backdrop of picturesque coastlines and towering volcanoes, Saint Lucia offers adventure and romance. Zipline through the lush rainforest, sail on a catamaran, or snorkel at the base of the Pitons for all day action. For relaxing and romance, soak in the volcanic mud baths, kick your feet up at one of the many gorgeous beaches, and treat yourselves to the authentic, Creole-inspired island food.

Hotels start around $125 and all-inclusive packages are readily available. While Crystal’s Saint Lucia, a boutique treehouse-hotel nestled high in the rainforest, treats you like family, large resorts like Sugar Beach pamper your indulgent side. They don’t call it the Blessed Island for nothing.

Sonoma, California

Image Courtesy of Unsplash // Trent Ewin

Though Sonoma may be a pricey place to live, honeymooning there is surprisingly not. For those looking for a rustic, yet polished, Italian-style getaway, Sonoma Valley hits all of your wine country needs without leaving the states. There are an array of bed and breakfasts, hotels, and Airbnbs to choose from, depending on what you are looking for. Rooms at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn start at $150, and MacArthur Place Inn & Spa has incredible deals if you dig for them.

No trip to Sonoma is complete without wine tasting, and Sonoma County has an endless amount or wineries, tasting rooms, and wine shops to choose from. If you have the time, take a day out of your schedule to travel an hour south to San Francisco or 45 minutes west to Bodega Bay. In between snapping photos of the exquisite Northern California coast, head to The Birds Cafe for fresh, casual, and delicious local seafood.

More Tips on Planning an Affordable Honeymoon:

The Initial Plan: Start the entire process by having a candid conversation with your partner. Discover what each of you is looking for in a honeymoon. Perhaps your partner wants an adventure-filled, high-energy vacation, while you have your mind set on massages and coconut cocktails. Get on the same page and find a destination that suits both of your desires. During this initial planning, begin discussing your budget and honeymoon priorities.

Secondary Planning: Once you have decided on a location and have discussed honeymoon priorities, start investigating airfare, dates, and accommodations. This is when some couples decide to use travel agents, which is not a bad idea! Travel agents are privy to honeymoon packages, perks, and discounted rates that are often missed by the average couple. They also manage all of the logistical details, and if a problem arises (like a missed flight) they will handle it for you.

More Planning?! If you decide to book the honeymoon yourselves, don’t forget to do your homework. Call the hotel and ask about honeymoon packages, best rates, and all-inclusive deals. They will be able to tell you what days of the week are least expensive, the travel distance to points of interest, if they have shuttle service to the airport, and any other questions you may have. Or if you want to bypass the bustle of a hotel, opt for a more budget-friendly Airbnb.

A Friendly Reminder: Don’t forget to account for hidden costs, exchange rates, airfare fees, taxis, hospitality tips, deposits, and other sneaky travel costs. They add up quick!

Research: Once airfare and accommodations are booked, it’s time to start making a list of the places you want to visit, restaurants you want to eat at, and activities you want to do. I recommend going further than the trusty Google search, which often lead you to expensive tourist traps. Ask for recommendations from friends who have been there, read reviews, and once you get to your destination, ask the locals!

Get Off the Beaten Path: Once you arrive at your destination, ask the host or concierge about local favorites that run under the radar. Some of the best (and inexpensive) restaurants, beaches, and shopping experiences are recommendations from locals.

Shout It From the Rooftops: It’s your honeymoon! Let everyone know about it. Don’t be shy. Tell your host, driver, server, zipline instructor, tour guide, masseuse, or winemaker that you are on your honeymoon. Oftentimes, they will give you a celebratory discount, free bottle of champagne, and other perks just for being on your honeymoon.

Just go with it: No matter how much you plan, prep, and research, there is always a chance that something will go array whilst traveling. But don’t sweat it! Just go with it. Honeymoons are meant to give you and your partner meaningful time together. Focus on each other and just let everything else melt away.

Honeymoons are whatever you and your partner want them to be. There really are no rules, and definitely no set price tag. So, where will you go?