The average couple in the United States spends $3,400 on their honeymoon, according to Conde Nast Bridal InfoBank. This post-wedding getaway is supposed to be a time for the bride and groom to relax and enjoy each other’s company alone after all the hustle and bustle and stress of the wedding. However, if you pay more for your honeymoon than you can afford, it can cause some financial stress of its own after you get home — and no one wants to start off their brand-new marriage under financial duress!
So if you’re looking for some affordable honeymoon trips to begin your marriage on the right financial foot, check out the amazing destinations we’ve gathered for you below. Each is romantic in its own way and, best of all, you can enjoy most of them while spending only half as much as the average American newlyweds, depending on where you live and how far you have to travel.
Before we share these top locations though, here are some tips to help you get started with planning your honeymoon from a financial perspective:
Tips for Selecting an Affordable Honeymoon Destination
Set a budget: This is the most important step when planning your honeymoon. It’s amazing to dream about an amazing Mediterranean cruise through Italy and Greece, but if you want to keep your spending under $2,500, that type of honeymoon would definitely break your budget.
Itemize your budget: A budget shouldn’t just be a number. You should really sit down and itemize it. For example, calculate how much you want to spend on flights, the hotel, food, activities and excursions, and even souvenirs. All of this will give you a clearer idea of what kind of destination you can afford.
Even better, choose a place that is all-inclusive. That’s what I did for my honeymoon: Since I write about budgeting for a living, I didn’t want to be stressed with small purchasing decisions — like if I wanted an extra glass of wine at dinner. (Spoiler alert: I always got the extra glass!)
Go non-traditional: It sounds great to lay on a Caribbean beach with a little umbrella drink in your hand, but there are many places to see right here in the U.S. that might offer more adventure, culture, or sightseeing that’s off the beaten path. You can go hiking, camping, see the national parks, or couch-surf your way across the country. I know that doesn’t sound romantic — but for the right couple, it would be downright memorable and fun. This is your time as a newly married couple, and no one else’s — so don’t be afraid to spend it the way you want to.
It’s for relaxing: One thing to remember about honeymoons is that they are for relaxing! I find that many people try to cram as much as possible into their honeymoons, setting up tours and wine tastings and excursions all day long. This type of trip is absolutely awesome when you’re a couple or a family and you want to see the world — but trust me, after months of planning a wedding, it really is best to relax. Find a place where you and your new spouse can sleep in without feeling guilty that you’re missing out. You can always go on another vacation in the future, so use this one as a chance to enjoy the quiet after the wedding.
Affordable Honeymoon Destinations
Option No. 1: Charleston, S.C.
Price: From $220/night
This Southern Belle of a city is known for its romantic charm — Travel and Leisure readers ranked it the Best City for a Romantic Escape in 2015.
And the Vendue Hotel here is a great spot for a honeymoon. The small boutique hotel is within walking distance to much of what charming Charleston has to offer, and the concierge can help you book dinner reservations and offer you advice on what to see and do. Renowned for its incredible customer service, the staff puts a little extra Southern hospitality into all their interactions with guests, and it shows.
At $220/night, it’s far less than many of the top hotels in Charleston, leaving room in your budget to stay for a few nights, eat out, and travel for less than $1,700 total, depending on where you’re traveling from.
Option No. 2: Quebec City, Canada
Price: From $133/night CAD
If your dreams of Paris or Prague have proven too pricey, Canada’s Quebec City might sate your international itch — after all, the locals speak French and you need a passport to get there. With stunning old-world architecture, fantastic restaurants, and a compact city center perfect for strolling, Quebec is a beautiful and romantic walled city to explore.
What’s more, you’ll get more for your dollar here — literally. With the U.S. currency as strong as it’s been in years, prices here are at a steep discount versus a year or two ago.
There are plenty of affordable hotels, B&Bs, and Airbnb options in Quebec, but if you want to splurge, try staying at the Chateau Frontenac – the city’s most iconic building and a fixture of the skyline.
Option No. 3: Treehouse ‘Glamping’ in the Santa Cruz Mountains
Price: From $138/night
“Glamping” — glamorous camping — is an emerging trend. Basically, it’s luxury camping — not nearly as rugged as pitching a tent in the great outdoors and sleeping on the ground. And while we love regular old camping around here, your once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon might be just the time to “glam” it up a bit.
Many areas offer glamping, from the Adirondacks to the Rockies, but I couldn’t help but fall in love with this treehouse that you can rent in the Santa Cruz Mountains outside Monterey Bay, Calif. It has everything you need for a cozy and romantic getaway — and I mean really away, like up in the trees. And at $138/night, you can afford to stay for a few days!
Option No. 4: New Orleans
Price: From $103/night
New Orleans hotels can be quite pricey, especially in or near the French Quarter. However, the city has plenty of cheap and unique Airbnb vacation rental options, and you can find some surprisingly affordable New Orleans guest houses.
One French Quarter guest house that would be perfect for a honeymoon is the Inn on St. Peter. If you’re into five-star luxury, this isn’t the accommodation for you. However, if you want to be just far enough from the hustle and bustle of Bourbon Street to sleep, but close enough to walk to everything each day (and maybe stumble home at night), this is a great choice for you.
New Orleans has untold amazing restaurants, jazz clubs, and tourist attractions, but there are also many bargains to be had when it comes to fun and food. Best of all, there’s always free entertainment to be had in the French Quarter: Music follows you wherever you go. A few days in the Crescent City, and your marriage will definitely be off to the right start.
Option No. 5: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Price: From $175/night
Most people get married in the summer, but plenty more tie the knot in the off-season. If you exchange vows in winter or spring, you might be longing for a relaxing beach vacation, complete with Caribbean sunshine, lapping waves, and tasty rum drinks.
The good news is, you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a Caribbean getaway. Travel sites such as TravelZoo, Priceline, and Expedia routinely often offer discounted deals on vacation packages to plenty of popular destinations.
Right now, TravelZoo is advertising a rate of $175/night at the luxurious Candado Vanderbilt hotel in San Juan – the No. 1-rated hotel in Puerto Rico by TripAdvisor users. With flights to Puerto Rico both frequent and fairly affordable from most U.S. airports, this is one Caribbean dream honeymoon within reach, even on a budget. Just watch out for hurricane season in late summer and fall.
Option No. 6: Colonial Williamsburg
Price: From $225/night
Many people visit Virginia’s historic Colonial Williamsburg each year, but they probably don’t realize that you can actually stay in one of the historic homes inside of Colonial Williamsburg. This would give you an unparalleled location to access many different sights and restaurants by foot, saving you money on a car rental.
Either way, for anyone who finds beauty and romance in history, a stay in Williamsburg is perfect for a quiet weekend stay where you can cozy up with your new husband or wife in a historic home, stroll down the cobblestone streets hand in hand, and enjoy some award-winning food. It’s truly an experience unlike anything else.
Option No. 7: Cape May, N.J.
Price: From $109/night
Cape May, N.J., is a wonderful place to visit any time of year. In fact, visiting in non-summer months is the perfect way to cut down on your honeymoon costs. Cape May is known for its beachside location, its many historic homes, and its quiet charm.
The Carroll Villa Hotel has had many positive reviews over the past few months. It’s a lovely bed and breakfast with an in-house restaurant and it’s within walking distance to the beach. This is a great way to visit the northeast part of the country without spending the money it would take to visit New York City. New Jersey is often overlooked but, as a recent transplant here myself, I can assure you there is much more beauty here than you can imagine!
Option No. 8: Road Trip
The whole point of a honeymoon is to spend some time away from it all with your new spouse — and nothing quite says “I love you” like riding shotgun with the one you love on a care-free joyride. If you can’t decide on a honeymoon destination, why not go on a road trip?
You can plan out your route ahead of time or just go where the road takes you. Block out a set number of days and hit the road. You should have a budget in mind for gas and lodging, but in general a road trip might be a great way to spend quality time together, explore the country, and save money in the process.
Other Ways to Save on Your Honeymoon
- Register for it: There’s a website called Honeyfund that operates as a registry for honeymoons. Essentially, you can create your dream honeymoon complete with dinners out and airfare, and your wedding guests can pay for different parts of your honeymoon for you. This is especially great for couples who already live together, who might already have traditional wedding gifts like a blender or silverware. Create your dream honeymoon here and have your family and friends chip in to make it happen.
- Take a weekend trip: People seem to think honeymoons have to be large, extensive affairs that span two weeks. However, a quick night or two in a beautiful hotel near you is also really special. If you can’t afford a big trip, know that it’s completely fine to do something quick and close by. No one says you have to regale your children with tales of your exotic beach vacation. As long as you’re with your spouse and enjoying time together away from everything and everyone else, then it should be a wonderful honeymoon.
- Postpone it: After a wedding, many people can’t immediately take more vacation days in addition to the ones they already used for their wedding, so they postpone their honeymoon. This is a great way to settle into married life and save for a future honeymoon. In fact, it can be a fun goal you work on together with your spouse. Try not to postpone it more than a year after your wedding, though, as life tends to intervene and you want to make sure it does actually happen!
A Final Note
Like many aspects of planning their lives together, people tend to really go overboard when it comes to paying for a honeymoon. However, the whole point of a honeymoon is to give a newly married couple some time together to enjoy the very beginning of their married life.
In order to do this, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Sure, anyone would love a lavish trip around the world, but what’s really important is that you spend the time with the person you love most. If that’s your main goal (and it should be), then you definitely can travel to some amazing places, have a memorable time, and not break the bank in the process.
Where did you travel on your honeymoon? Was it memorable and affordable?