Photo Credit: The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel
It’s the ultimate vacation: Your honeymoon is the time to indulge in everything you’ve ever imagined—over-the-top spa treatments and multiple-course dinners with champagne. Can you do all this without squandering the down payment on your new home? Yes. Here’s how.
Experts agree the best travel deals can usually be found on the Internet. Most of the popular websites have comparative-price charts to help you find the lowest airfare options. And large search engines like Kayak.com do all the cost analysis for you. Airline company websites often offer the lowest fare guarantees and pretty consistently waive booking charges and other fees when you reserve online. The same is true for hotels—calling the reservation line directly may result in lower rates. For car rentals, excursions and hotels, use meta-search tools, suggests Tom Meyers, editor at EuroCheapo.com, an online budget travel site. Resources like Travelocity’s new ExperienceFinder function and the CheapoSearch on EuroCheapo.com compare rates on several different booking sites in one place.
All-inclusives give you the most bang for your buck. Plus, budgeting gets a whole lot easier when your lodging, meals, activities and alcohol are included in one tariff. If you’re not the all-inclusive type, you can still score big savings under a single price. Orbitz.com, Travelocity.com, Expedia.com and other websites offer package deals that include lodging, air and car rentals. “All-inclusive packages, whether you’re talking about island resorts or
luxury hotel/air packages, can be a great deal,” says Meyers.
Travel to Mexico and the Caribbean in the summer and to Europe in the winter and you’ll save a few pesos, says John E. DiScala, founder of JohnnyJet.com, a travel web portal. That’s because the high season is synonymous with high prices—demand is at its peak, so resorts and airlines often charge as much as double. Opt for the shoulder season (the period between the high and low seasons) or off-season, and you’ll be treated to bargain prices. Check the weather reports ahead of time (weather.com is a great source), so you aren’t surprised if it’s too steamy to sit on the beach.
Take the Road Less Traveled
“Try flying out of secondary airports,” advises DiScala. Not only are the savings significant, but since these airports aren’t hubs, delays are less common. He also encourages travelers to think outside the box. “I was in Tahiti in a beautiful overwater suite that cost $1,400 a night, while a similar room in Malaysia, which is just as nice, cost $250 a night,” he says. Meyers agrees: “Choose a lesser-known destination like Lisbon, Portugal, for example. The city has its own kind of romance: It’s sun soaked, near the beach and filled with friendly locals.” And, says Meyers, you’ll save 20 percent to 50 percent on your hotel and restaurant bills. Bonus: Not only will you save some greenbacks, you’ll also have a more authentic experience in these less tourist-heavy places. Also consider destinations where your dollar will go further.
Spread the Word
You’ve heard the rumors that if you tell people you’re on your honeymoon, you’ll get discounts. Well, it’s sort of true. You aren’t likely to get a seat in business class, but you may receive some extra-special service. At restaurants, you may get a complimentary dessert. Tell the hotel concierge and you may get a welcome bouquet or fruit plate in your room and preferred seating at the hotel eateries. “And remember, a smile goes a long way,” says DiScala.