Your honeymoon should provide some much-needed rest after months of wedding planning — but in reality, planning an expensive honeymoon after an already-pricey celebration can feel a little daunting. According to WeddingWire’s 2020 Wedding Report, which is based on data from more than 25,000 USA couples who were married in 2019, couples spend roughly USD 28,000 on their ceremony and reception and an additional USD 5,000 at their honeymoon destinations, on average. So, it’s understandable if you’re feeling a little hesitant about booking that multi-country European tour you’ve been dreaming of. But, you can still book an amazing and budget honeymoon (and an international one, at that) if you’re smart about the destination and when you go.
Booking a honeymoon on Oahu, rather than Maui or Kauai, can deliver that Hawaiian honeymoon experience for less. And, if you love Spain, but don’t want to pay Spain prices, the neighbouring country of Portugal is a little less discovered and a little more affordable. In addition, travelling during a destination’s off-season means lower-priced lodging (and fewer people), while tracking flights on Hopper will ensure you buy tickets when prices are at their lowest.
Fret not, frugal lovebirds, there are plenty of luxurious honeymoon destinations, even for couples on a budget.
Here are some budget honeymoon destinations that are as amazing as they are affordable
Honeymooners love Belize, a gorgeous slice of Central America that serves up a beach paradise with a side of tropical forest. Belize City, the nation’s largest urban area, is perfect for active couples. You can go kayaking or snorkelling and visit the nearby Mayan sites Xunantunich and Cahal Pech or the jaguar preserve.
Belize is also home to many all-inclusive resorts, which will save money on food and drinks. Xanadu Island Resort, located on Ambergris Caye and overlooking the largest barrier reef in the Caribbean Sea, offers an array of complimentary activities, such as kayaking, bird watching, paddle boarding, and bicycle rentals. And, if you want to stretch your dollar into a really luxurious stay, you can even rent your own private island off the coast for less than USD 800.
Key Largo, Florida
If you’re looking for a warm and budget honeymoon destination, head to Key Largo. This long, skinny piece of land in the upper Florida Keys has plenty of beach and water sports — from snorkelling to paddleboarding — but you’ll also want to make the short 45-minute drive to Everglades National Park, where you can try your hand at spotting the park’s resident manatees and crocodiles.
Book your honeymoon adventure at the Baker’s Cay Resort Key Largo, Curio Collection by Hilton, which stretches along the scenic Florida Bay, or check out the highly rated Playa Largo Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection, which has a spa, outdoor pool, and a private beach area.
Flights from NYC are just over two hours, and upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by the island’s famous pink-sand beaches and endless turquoise waters.
Stay at The Reefs Resort & Club, which has three restaurants and bars, two tennis courts, and complimentary kayaks and snorkel gear. Up the ante with the resort’s romance package, which includes an ocean view room for four nights, a welcome Rum Swizzle, three gourmet dinners (one on the beach), a 60-minute couples’ massage, and champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries upon arrival.
On the other side of the island, you’ll find Rosewood Bermuda, a property with seven restaurants and lounges and an unbeatable location on the coastline of Castle Harbour. With plenty of free or affordable activities to do in Bermuda, like walking the Royal Naval Dockyard or visiting the Unfinished Church, couples don’t have to feel guilty splurging a little bit on their accommodations.
Jamaica is the land of good vibes, mountains, rainforest, and beautiful beaches — but budget-conscious honeymooners will also appreciate the typically affordable flights to the island and the low cost of living. Save money by exploring the island on your own and hanging on the beach (which, let’s be honest, never gets old), so you can splurge on a property like the GoldenEye resort, which is where author Ian Fleming wrote all 14 James Bond novels. Today, the property is a honeymooning couples’ dream, with a lagoon, secluded beaches, and stand-alone villas, cottages, and beach huts.
The island is also home to plenty of all-inclusive resorts, where you can pay upfront, then enjoy your honeymoon without stressing about that second round of drinks or late-night room service order. For the ultimate all-inclusive experience, check out the Azul Beach Resort Negril or one of the island’s seven adults-only Sandals.
Napa and Sonoma, California
There is no lack of luxury in California’s Napa and Sonoma Valleys, but you can experience it on your own terms. Kick the celebration off with a flight of sparkling wine at Domaine Carneros winery, a French chateau-inspired spot with beautiful formal gardens perfect for photo opportunities.
Stay at the Carneros Resort & Spa, where you can book a luxury suite or hide from the world in a spacious cottage. With delicious food options onsite and an extensive spa, you will never have to leave the compound. Another attraction not to miss? The Napa Valley Wine Train, where you can take in all the sights with lunch and wine included. Compare different tour options before you go for the best price.
Head into the village centre of Sonoma for a quaint shopping experience at local boutiques, and check out a Spanish-style mission. Save a few bucks by bringing your own wine, cheese, and blanket for a romantic moment in the park on the square, or have a fresh, French meal on the rustic outdoor patio at The Girl And The Fig.
Mexico as a honeymoon destination
Mexico continues to lure honeymooners with its endless beaches, Mayan ruins, high quality of life, and low prices.
Head to Tulum, on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, for a honeymoon that offers both relaxation (hello, Caribbean waters!) and adventure — make sure you spend at least a couple of days exploring the area’s Mayan ruins: the Playa Ruinas in Tulum and Chichén Itzá just two hours northwest. Stay at the boutique Jashita Hotel, a white-sand oasis that begs you to relax on the beachfront lounge chairs with a cocktail in hand. You can book one of their oceanfront honeymoon suites and pass the time at the rooftop bar and adults-only infinity pool.
A generally less-expensive alternative to Thailand’s famous tourist destinations, Vietnam has a little something for every kind of honeymooner. Like to hike? Visit the Valley of Love in Dalat or enjoy scenic views of the Muong Hoa Valley or Fansipan mountain. Looking for a honeymoon filled with food and culture? Book a stay at the luxurious Sofitel Legend Metropole in Hanoi where you’ll find an oasis in the centre of a buzzing city.
Honeymooners searching out beaches, spa, and relaxation will want to head to Con Dao, a group of islands off the coast that offers an affordable honeymoon filled with white-sand beaches and scenic trails. Check out Con Dao’s Six Senses resort, which is also a protected national and marine park with plenty of beachfront.
If Hawaii tops your honeymoon list but doesn’t seem feasible when it comes to cost, consider bustling Honolulu, on the island of Oahu. It’s a city that sits right on the beach, providing access to the stunning (and wonderfully surfable) coast of Waikiki Beach. You can pick up a board from Moku, which is just a block off the beach, for as little as USD 10 (INR 823) or hop on one of the city’s easy-to-use Biki Bikes to cruise the canals and coastline.
As you’d imagine, the city has hotels that fit various budgets. Honeymooners looking for direct beach access will love the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, while those looking for a refined, modern hotel (that’s barely off the beach) should check out the ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach. An upscale stay can be found at the five-star Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach, whose rooms even come with in-room kitchens that could help offset some honeymoon costs.
Costa Rica as a honeymoon destination
Costa Rica is known for its wildlife and rugged, rainforested terrain, but the country also offers a true honeymoon-perfect beach vacation. Book your own house, condo, or studio in the coastal towns of Playa Pelada or Playa Guiones (near Nosara) through Rent Nosara. Or check out the adults-only Hotel Makanda by The Sea, which has suites and villas with beach access and an on-site restaurant.
When you’re ready to explore beyond the beach, take a yoga class in Nosara, book a zip-lining adventure, or visit Manuel Antonio National Park near Hotel Makanda.
Portugal is often overlooked by honeymooners planning their getaway, but it has the warm weather, beaches, and culture that most couples search out. Plus, it’s less expensive than Spain, France, and many other popular European destinations.
For an easy, accessible trip, head to Lisbon, where you can spend your days exploring the city on foot (or by tram) to search out the city’s best pastel de nata, a Portuguese egg custard tart. Stay at The One Palácio da Anunciada and book a romantic dinner at Belcanto, the first restaurant in Lisbon to earn two Michelin Stars. For a more remote, off-the-grid experience that’s an easy drive from Lisbon, book a perfectly picturesque “hobbit pod” at the coastal Slowlife Glamping property.
If you’ve got it in your budget for a second flight, head to the Azores islands off the coast to try your luck at spotting whales and dolphins.
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada
Just across the USA-Canada border and a mere 20 minutes from the hustle and bustle of the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is a small, quaint town called Niagara-on-the-Lake. Nicknamed “The Loveliest Town in Canada,” it truly lives up to the hype.
With a plethora of outdoor cafes and local, independent shops situated in colonial-style buildings, it is the perfect venue for a romantic stroll or a delicious cocktail. The town is also nestled in the heart of Canadian wine country, where you can sip on ice wine and wines made from local produce, like peaches.
Stay at the city’s landmark hotel, Prince of Wales, a Victorian-style hotel that boasts an award-winning restaurant, a world-class spa, and a tea room, where you can (and should) take your tea daily. When you’re ready to leave the historic property, spend the afternoon tasting at Peller Estates and have a romantic dinner for two among the grapes.
Flights to Guatemala tend to be affordable, and once you’re there, the cost of living will ensure your wallet remains happily padded. You can eat, enjoy activities, and stay in luxe hotels for a fraction of what you’d pay in other parts of the world. All that aside, the country of Guatemala is home to volcanoes, ancient Mayan sites, and lush rainforests, which offer plenty to see and do.
For a remote and romantic trip, book a stay at La Casa del Mundo on Lake Atitlan, a hotel built into the cliffs that are only accessible by foot or boat and has stunning volcano views — all for an affordable price. From La Casa del Mundo, you can hike around the lake to neighbouring villages, book a boat tour, or take a day trip to the bustling Chichicastenango Market to pick up a couple of treasures to bring home.
This story first appeared on travelandleisure.com
Main and Feature Image Credit: Matteo Colombo/Getty Images