Welcome to part 2 of my blogpost featuring tips on how to have your dream honeymoon on a tight budget. In my first post, I went into detail on certain ways you can avoid paying top prices for your honeymoon. This focused on avoiding peak seasons for certain locations and ways of getting cheaper flights for instance. In this blogpost, I am going to talk about how to find the best luxurious places to stay without paying extortionate prices. Let's face it, weddings and everything involved cost enough as it is without adding to your costs! If you are still in the planning stages of your wedding, take a look at my affordable wedding photography prices - it might just save you money!
Luxury Travel Discount Sites
They are everywhere right now and they really are worth a look. Which are the best ones? It depends what you are looking for. They are all good for certain trips. My personal favourite is Voyage Prive as it has multiple options for the package you can choose, the destinations and hotels tend to be less commercial and more individual than other discount travel sites and I have had personal experience in booking with them and it was possibly one of my best ever trips away. It is free to join and although there is a booking fee for each trip you book, I would put my trust in them as a company to provide top quality service. Not ALL their deals are cheap, for instance a tour round Asia is always going to cost you a lot this way as it's made through 3rd party providers. The great thing about this company are the options, so if you want to book the hotel only through them and see if you can find a cheaper flight or a fight with a different airline you can. You can also choose more options of how many days you'd like to be away for.
Being a photographer, I am sold immediately by photographs used on websites, their quality and the overall structure and usability of the website. Voyage Prive ticks all the boxes on this score and I would highly recommend them. Again, it's about research, join up and monitor their prices and see what you can find, they have new deals up everyday. My only negative point is that they don't have a huge number of deals available.
Another popular discount site is the obvious Secret Escapes. The best deals I have found on here have tended to be the simple hotel only deals, as they do offer significant discounts on really amazing hotels all around the world, which are great if you want to piece together your own honeymoon adventure. The holiday packages they offer tend to be higher priced overall than Voyage Prive and have more restrictions on how many days you're away for, but again worth a look. They do have a lot more deals available than other sites and launch new product deals every Monday which do brighten up the start of a dreary week!
Travelzoo is perhaps worth looking at for the other end of the scale. They offer discount holiday packages and deals but tend to be more resort type holidays rather than luxury holidays - not bad for a cheap holiday but I wouldn't recommend this site for your honeymoon unless you're really strapped for cash.
My favourite overall website for holiday and honeymoon dreaming is Splendia. This is a hotel only website with stunning photography and super luxurious boutique hotels around the world. They do offer discount prices, but only on certain hotels. They cover a lot of price ranges though so you can spend as little or as much as you want on 4 and 5 star hotels. Also a lovely website to peruse on a depressing Monday at work.
Avoid honeymoon planning websites
Personally I would avoid most honeymoon specific booking sites. These will offer most of the same, hotels and flights but you will most likely pay a premium as they know you are booking your honeymoon. The best way to get a good deal on your honeymoon is to book it separately yourself. This will take more time than getting someone else to do all of this planning for you, but it's nothing too complicated that you can't do it yourself!
Don't mention 'honeymoon' until you get there
Some hotels will offer good honeymoon deals on their special rooms and suites but most will add a premium rate to your bill and you would get the same quality room and treatment as any guest would. I recommend booking a premium room (or even a standard room) and when you check in, mention then that it's your honeymoon and you are more likely to get free upgrades, extras and a super luxurious room for nothing!
Contact Hotels Direct
Sometimes when booking luxurious hotels, I look at a comparison site to see which website is offering the cheapest price - there are loads of these - Booking.com, Agoda, Travel Supermarket and Hotels.com. But then I double check the hotel website direct, and sometimes you will find offers on their own sites.
Book later for hotels
I would also recommend booking your flight first - this is the thing most likely to fluctuate and go up in price the closer you get to your date of travel. I would then spend the next few weeks checking out hotels and monitor the prices and then book the hotel up to 4 weeks before your honeymoon. This way you will be able to figure out the best time to book with the cheapest price.
This doesn't need to take you hours and hours either, once you have found your most favourite 3 or 4 hotels, you can track these very easily and quickly.
Know what you want
For some people, the ultimate luxurious destination is a paradise island in the South Pacific and anything else would be a disappointment, but not everyone feels the same way. You might want to sample a culture you've never experienced, discover a remote and wild destination or fulfill your desires with a jampacked adventure trip. Everyone is different and the first and most important thing to decide is what you both want from your honeymoon. One amazing company that can help you with this is Kuoni. They offer a huge range of destinations and taylor made trips of all kinds. they may not necessarily be in budget, but they can at least help you decide for yourselves what you would most like to do. You can also order their brochures direct to your door and if you're not comfortable with booking on the internet or remotely you can book an appointment with one of their advisors in store.
Register for a honeymoon registry
Most people these days already live with their fiance and have obtained most things that would have traditionally been bought as wedding presents. So when it comes to registering for gifts for your wedding, this is a very accepted thing to do now. It will most definitely give you a helping hand towards your honeymoon and allow you to be able to book something truly luxurious and out of this world!
Although you are unlikely to receive this until your actual wedding day, it gives you a few more options. You can either book your amazing trip and use your honeymoon registry cash as spending money, or you can wait to book your honeymoon until after your wedding. I think a lot of people find the whole process of planning a wedding super stressful and either cannot face planning a honeymoon at the same time, or simply cannot afford it. This is a great option to allow you to save more, plan more and also have something to look forward to once your wedding day is over.
If you follow all these tips, you should have been able to decide on your dream destination, find your dream hotels and book the entire honeymoon for a more affordable price - Happy Honeymooning!