Take a honeymoon of a lifetime without a lifetime of debt
Thursday, 23 January 2020
In commercials, movies, and our dreams, a happy couple kicks off matrimonial union with a carefree escape to an exotic destination, sparing no expense on the ultimate vacation of their lives.
But in reality, a luxurious honeymoon could lead to long-term financial trouble for a new couple. Investing time in planning a memorable honeymoon that matches your budget makes sense and could save you a lot of money and heartache in the long run.
Set a budget
Creating a honeymoon budget you can afford is a smart first step. According to Honeymoons.com, the average honeymoon is seven days and six nights, and costs an average of $5,000.
Just because that is the average cost doesn't mean it's accessible for everyone. A couple planning a honeymoon can get an idea of how much their dream vacation would cost by using a worksheet like this one to price out expenses and then adjust as needed. That exercise might also help adjust expectations for you and your future spouse. Work together to decide what expenses are essential, and what isn't within your means. If there are splurges you want but can't afford, create a honeymoon registry and maybe your friends and family can help out.
Compare potential destinations
Your destination may impact the cost more than anything. Traveling within the United States is a popular option for new couples. California, Colorado, Hawaii, and Florida are consistently among the top honeymoon destinations. And while you can spend a fortune in any of those locales, there are plenty of affordable honeymoon destinations for savvy planners.
For instance, instead of going to a five-star hotel on Miami Beach, consider a boutique hotel in the Florida Keys. If you want to go to Hawaii, watch for deals on airfare and look for more affordable lodging options in Kauai, Oahu, or Maui.
But if you're planning on traveling outside of the country, the exchange rate of the local currency will be a crucial factor. For example, you will find yourself paying extra to use your dollars on a trip to Europe or the South Pacific. Instead, consider destinations in Central and South America, and in Southeast Asia where your money will go farther. When considering a trip abroad, it's smart to check for travel advisories issued by the State Department before booking a trip. Don't take safety risks just to save a few dollars.
Avoid splurging on excess luxury
While it's nice to travel in business or first class, it isn't necessary for your honeymoon. In fact, many international business-class cabins feature private seats that will separate you from your new spouse, which isn't even what you want for a romantic trip.
Other luxury expenses that you can live without include limousine transfers, special honeymoon suites, and upgraded car rentals. Focus on the luxuries that matter to you — a couples massage in your your room, a nice dinner at a top-rated restaurant, or hot air balloon. Pick one splurge to help make your honeymoon memorable.
Paying for your trip
Using credit cards to pay for your trip is a good option because of the travel protections offered by many cards. For example, many credit cards offer insurance that covers trip delays, trip cancellation, and delayed or lost luggage.
Furthermore, most credit cards offer rental car insurance that can allow you to decline the costly policies offered by the rental car agencies. Of course, you want to be smart with your credit card and only charge what you can comfortably afford.
Another option is a personal loan, but it would be smart to consider whether that fits with your current financial situation. Things to consider: Do you have any outstanding loans or credit cards with unpaid balances? How will a loan impact your debt-to-income ratio?
If you and your future spouse are about to buy or rent your first home, then you may want to consider whether taking on additional debt for your honeymoon is worth it long term.
By setting a budget, choosing the right destination, and avoiding getting carried away on unnecessary purchases, you can enjoy your romantic escape without worrying about a mountain of debt.
The content provided is for informational purposes only. Neither BBVA USA, nor any of its affiliates, is providing legal, tax, or investment advice. You should consult your legal, tax, or financial advisor about your personal situation. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BBVA USA or any of its affiliates.
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