Between paying for the wedding and setting up a new household, many couples find there’s not much money left in their budget for the honeymoon. But who says you have to spend a fortune to enjoy a romantic honeymoon at your dream destination? Here are eight ideas for a more affordable, yet still romantic, honeymoon. You can decrease the cost of your honeymoon, or perhaps even cover the cost entirely, by listing it on a honeymoon gift registry. A honeymoon registry works just like a wedding registry, but instead of buying you china, your wedding guests buy you a trip to China (or the honeymoon destination of your choice). Yes, your guests could just contribute cash toward your honeymoon, but giving a particular portion of the honeymoon (dinner at a fancy restaurant, or a carriage ride through the historic district of a far-off city, for example) is somehow more meaningful. You’ll find a number of honeymoon registries online; travelcounsellors.co.uk and myhoneymoon.co.uk.are two of the most established. If you prefer to mingle with the locals rather than other tourists, look into a home exchange for your honeymoon. In a nutshell, you go and stay in someone else’s house while they stay in yours. Sound risky? Maybe – but tens of thousands of people have exchanged homes since the 1950s. For an annual membership fee, home exchange clubs will help you find someone willing to swap homes with you, as well as offering tips to make the exchange go smoothly. According to Homebase-hols.com, a home exchange can cut your travel costs by as much as half. More importantly, though, you’ll get to live like locals, and perhaps make life-long friends. Hospitality Clubs can hook you up with people who are willing to host you in their private homes. The largest such club has more than 23,000 members in 148 countries. Membership is usually free, although you’re asked to provide hospitality to others (on a voluntary basis) in return sometime in the future. In addition to saving you money, it’s a great way to meet locals who can give you an insider’s perspective on your honeymoon destination. Other places you can look for free or reduced-cost accommodations include hostels (they’re not just for the young and single anymore) and monasteries and convents, some of which open their doors to guests for little or no charge. “Nothing in life is free” – unless you win a free honeymoon in a promotional sweepstake or contest. Quite a few travel agencies and other companies run contests giving away honeymoons as a way of promoting their services. The odds of winning a free honeymoon may be remote, but the cost of entering is usually just the time you spend searching the web for a “honeymoon contest” and filling out online entry forms. Remember – someone has to win! Firelight and shooting stars every night. . . breathtaking natural beauty. . . snuggling with your partner in a cocoon of zipped-together sleeping bags. . . Yes, camping can be romantic, as long you’re well prepared and have the right equipment (warm sleeping bags, a comfortable mattress pad, and a waterproof tent are a must). Plus, it’s pretty cheap – £10 to £20 per night at most locations. It’s even cheaper if you cook your own food. You can mix a few nights of camping with a few nights in hotels to make your honeymoon more affordable. You could combine your camping trip with some unique experiences such as bungee jumping, kayaking and canoeing, a Landrover safari, or what about the thrills of whitewater rafting? Whatever you decide to choose, this would definitely equate to a “different” type of honeymoon! It may be obvious to seasoned travellers, but those with less experience may not be aware of how affordable it can be to honeymoon in the “off season” – basically, any time other than when most people travel to your destination. Certain destinations’ accommodation and airfare prices may be slashed by 30 percent or more during the off-season compared to the peak travel season. However some countries do have a monsoon or hurricane season, so do some research about your destination before booking. When booking flights online, don’t overlook the discount airlines (EasyJet,Ryan Air, BMI etc). Try to be flexible about your arrival and departure dates; it’s often much cheaper to travel at “unsociable” hours, and it’s nearly always more expensive to fly on a Saturday. If you’re not picky about where you honeymoon, you can probably cash in on promotional deals offering deep discounts on airfare and lodging – if you know about them. To stay abreast of the latest offers, sign up with as many free budget travel newsletters as you can. The Good Web Guide offer information on a whole range of adventure and activity holidays, plus spa and luxury holidays.
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