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?