Kara Segedin, travel expert at Cheapflights.co.uk, talks about how you can honeymoon in some of the beautiful places on the planet without spending the earth
Your honeymoon is a chance to do something slightly different. Although given the effort and emotional stress that can go into wedding planning, it’s completely understandable that a lot of couples want to splash out on a super luxury beach getaway where they are waited on hand and foot – particularly if they’ve spent months in negotiation with in-laws and event people, planning and focusing on tiny details.
If cash is tight or you want to save money for other things, how about looking at different accommodation options. Serviced apartments are great if you’d like a city centre location at a fraction of the cost – and can be a great way to explore a city whether you opt for Paris, Rome, Dubrovnik, Venice, or Prague. Save the cash here and you could cover more romantic destinations or a few fancy restaurants.
Carefully consider where you go and when – and whether you can afford to leave it late to book what you want. Most of all, make sure you do your research and compare – then sit back and enjoy your time together; you’ll never get another chance like it.
If you’re looking to budget and still want to go somewhere great, it pays to find out about shoulder season; this can be a great way of saving cash, particularly on some of the more popular long haul destinations like Barbados, St Lucia, the Maldives, Mauritius and Sri Lanka.
Shoulder season is between low and high seasons; it can be great for people with an eye on their wallet but who still want to bag a great holiday – and usually with decent weather! Shoulder season can be a good option because: it’s cheaper, there is more space (on the beach or slopes), queues are generally shorter and it can be more temperate (no blazing sun – but pick your destination and it’s still sunny). If it’s the Med you can still get sun in mid to late September and early October if you pick wisely.
Post Easter, from mid-April onwards, prices in the Caribbean start to fall so you can begin to take advantage – you might get some rain but this tends to pass quickly and you’ll still get temperatures in the 70s and 80s (20s to early 30s Celsius). Mid November to mid-December might also be worth considering ahead of the crowds.
If you’re considering Shoulder Season, do check out dates and weather carefully – but there can be some great savings to be had. Who’d have thought two little words could save you so much?
Shoulder season bargains may be a better way of saving. While there are some last minute holiday bargains to be had, the last thing that most couples want to be doing is run around before the wedding, adding to nerves and rushing what is supposed to be a great experience.
That said, some couples are happy to leave things late, and, if you’re on a budget, opting for a last-minute break can be a useful tactic if you’re prepared to be flexible on destinations and you’re less concerned about when you go – for example if you decide to put the honeymoon off until significantly after the wedding.
Typically the best last minute savings are around 6 weeks before you’re due to travel. The big discounts here are on packages rather than flights – and there are great deals to be had if you’re prepared to be flexible and less specific about which hotel you opt for.
You’re less likely to get deals to the likes of Mauritius (less capacity; more competition) but there’s usually plenty of late capacity in the Caribbean and Bahamas. Late packages to Barbados and St Lucia are ripe for last minute deals if you pick your time. There are cheap – or even free – upgrades available on rooms and board on those resorts with inventory to move so it’s definitely worth checking your options.
Can newlyweds get free extras by mentioning they’re on their honeymoon? (free bubbly/spa treatments etc.)
Getting free extras and upgrades depends on where you go – but hotels tend to be quite generous with upgrades and free items if you’re prepared to splash the cash in the first place. Negotiating freebies is less likely in specialist honeymoon destinations, routes and resorts – there’s greater demand and competition from other couples; on the flipside they’re also more used to looking after guests and lavishing them with attention.
If you’re looking for free extras a lot of this is worth doing well in advance – not least so you’re not blagging in front of your partner. If you’re dealing with a travel operator over the phone bear in mind agents can often put comments and requests on the booking so it’s certainly worth being nice and seeing if you can get this mentioned.
It’s not unheard of for brides taking their wedding dress as hand luggage (just to make sure it doesn’t get crushed) to get the odd upgrade. It’s certainly worth weaving your wedding into conversation at the check-in desk – and being super nice!!
What can you get? If there is capacity or you’re going at a quieter time, say shoulder season, there is certainly scope for room and board upgrades. If this isn’t an option hotels are often good with the smaller touches when it comes to honeymooners; free bubbly, spa treatments, chocolates, flowers and fruit baskets are all on offer to the right couples!
Looking at destinations? Thailand is great for free nights and things like spa treatments – although this isn’t just a honeymoon thing, and the Caribbean can be good for room or board upgrades if you’re prepared to leave it late and take a chance.
Will newlyweds be charged more by mentioning they’re on a honeymoon? (Do hotels bump up charges for ‘honeymoon’ rooms that are actually standard rooms)
There are sometimes mark ups on Honeymoon-friendly destinations and resorts – which makes comparing prices and doing your research essential.The biggest mark ups are in high season where there is higher demand and less capacity.
If you’re worried about this, it might be worth making your initial booking online to get the best deal – and then mentioning your honeymoon at a later date when you contact the hotel direct. A direct call to the hotel or follow up is also a good opportunity to have a discreet conversation about upgrades and remind them of your upcoming wedding; perhaps asking them about romantic restaurant recommendations? Book in advance for those special restaurants – and, again, there is certainly scope for extras like free bubbly and special personalised deserts; just make sure you notify in good time.
Again the bottom line is do your research, compare prices online – and don’t be afraid to negotiate a little on those special extras.