Honeymoon Planning Series – #1 Budget

Congratulations on your engagement!
This starts such an exciting, albeit tiring/exhilarating time of your life! Soak up every second…before you know it you’ve been married eight years (not that I would know anything about that…I’m still 21, right?)
So I know you’ve been bombarded with 100 wedding check-lists and I’m adding to those but for the really fun part…your honeymoon!

When I surveyed my Facebook friends about what felt like the hardest part about planning a honeymoon the general consensus seems to be that no where on the world wide web is there a list of islands + average budget + amenities + best season to be found! Another frustration seemed to be finding the right fit. Fit encompasses budget, lifestyle, atmosphere, activities, destination, room type, all inclusive or not.  My goal in this series to provide some of that…forgive the length – I’ve got a lot to say 🙂


I smiled to myself a few times thinking about the couples that I hadn’t planned their honeymoon were truly perfect examples on why to use a  travel professional. It’s our joy (and our job) to help you narrow that down and make a good decison for the two of you.

Step 1) Money. This is commonly the biggest hurdle to get over. I can imagine a lot of other consultants not necessarily agreeing with my order here but based on my experience I feel this goes first.
Maybe you really have no idea how much you can spend or how much is appropriate to budget for.  I’m going to give a broad idea of some honeymoon destination starting price points. Do not hold me or any other travel professional to this; there are multiple factors involved in exact pricing!

Multiple factors include (in no particular order):
– time of year: the general rule of thumb is if school is in session prices are lower, with the exceptions of special events including annual occurances in nature (i.e. cherry blossoms in D.C./migration in Africa) and January – March in the warm destinations
– air city you’re flying to/from: major airports offer more service to and from other airports, smaller airports = higher prices most of the time. Decide if you can fly from a nearby larger airport versus your local, smaller one if that would help your situation  finanically along with possibly giving you better flight schedules.
– all inclusive versus not all inclusive (for the Caribbean and Mexico mostly): this refers to resorts and hotels that offer packages that the price encompasses your meals, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages and non-motorized watersports. The opposite being those that do not have those inclusions or offer a “modified” plan that may include one or two or some combo of the above mentioned.
– stateroom on a cruise: The least expensive way to cruise is in a cabin with no windows (we call those inside or interior cabins), from there you move to ocean views (small or large picture window depending on the ship), balcony/verandah cabins (just like it sounds…a door leads to your own balcony so you can enjoy breakfast, cocktails before dinner or just reading and relaxing)
– destination
– length of trip
– type of accomodations (anything below 3 star most travel professionals won’t touch…prefer not being blamed for accomodations that we already know/probably tried to convince you aren’t up to par) *another hint: what we consider “3 stars” or moderate in the U.S. is not necessarily the same in other parts of the world. Most Americans thoroughly dislike a European moderate hotel.  I remind my clients that there isn’t always an option to build new; so rooms are smaller overall.
– type of touring (private vs. group)
– the exchange rate

…and I’m sure I’m still missing a few things on this list!

 My point in the above is that your trip, your honeymoon is individual – it’s yours. Not your friends on Facebook (stop crowdsourcing your honeymoon!), not your parents, not your cousins, you get my point…this is where a travel professional can really come in handy!

But since I love my dear friends so much, I wanted you to have a place to find some general numbers. There will always be “more economical” vacation packages available somewhere but cheap means nothing to me if you hate it.  Also, see  this post.

Starting (doesn’t mean it will automatically be at that price- could be lower see above for factors) budget you should plan on spending for the following destinations:.
Ideal meaning I know an itinerary I could put together for that price range and  it would blow your mind! Mexico: $3000  – ideal $4500+Caribbean: $3500 – ideal  $6000+

Hawaii: $6500  ideal $8000+
 Caribbean Cruise: $3000 – ideal $5000+
 Customized trip in Europe: $7000 – ideal $10,000+
European Cruise: $5000 – ideal $7500+
Tahiti: $7500 – ideal $9000+
Australia/New Zealand: $8000 – ideal $10,000+
South America: $6500 – ideal $8500+
Africa + the Seychelles: $12,000 – ideal $15,000+
Maldives: $10,000+This is factoring in round trip economy airfare from DC and price for two people. For the more ‘exotic’ locales know that they are longer in length – please don’t hop to Africa for a Safari for 7 days, that doesn’t do it justice!I would write a book if I went into exact detail on what the above encompasses for each destination.


I look forward to helping you plan that trip of a lifetime!

Disclaimer: These numbers aren’t intended to scare or put anyone off. Some couples tell me a budget upfront & what they are thinking about…I can easily tell you if it will work or not or what we can do instead.


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