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Wedding Planning > Honeymoon Information


Budget Honeymoons

Budget Honeymoons

In which Budget Travel rides to the rescue of financially strapped young newlyweds!

For couples who don't have rich parents, the cost of a honeymoon trip can be daunting. Young and usually at the start of their careers, they can't count on either big incomes or big bank accounts. That $6,000 or $7,000 trip (for two persons) that will be manageable in later years is simply out of reach at this early stage in their lives.

In this special section, we're going to suggest honeymoons that cost a maximum, for two persons, of $1,000 to $3,500 in all but one instance, including the cost of transportation to the honeymoon site, meals, and all else. And we're to find the majority of those opportunities in the lower area of our price range. We deem it a real privilege to assist young couples at the very start of their married life, and we've worked hard to select eleven outstanding trips in the price categories appearing on the following pages.

Under $1,000 Per Couple

The Poconos

The top bargain has been a honeymoon haven for generations. If the trademarks of Pennsylvania's Poconos--the heart-shaped beds, the seven-foot whirlpools shaped like Champagne glasses--don't strike you as a little over the top (they might even kinda sound fun), you can strike some remarkable deals. At the Summit Resort in Tannersville (800/233-8250), the year-round tab for six nights starts at $750 per couple; with that, you get three buffet meals daily, entertainment each night, free activities (including horseback riding, golf, and skiing, obviously dependant upon the season), and a panoply of goodies ranging from a bottle of bubbly to his-and-hers T-shirts. Most honeymooners arrive by car; the nearest major airport, Newark International, is an hour- and-a-half's drive.

Under $1,500 Per Couple


Who doesn't have at least one friend or relative who's honeymooned on the islands of America's lushest state? Hawaii's tourism slump is still yielding enticing deals from the mainland, especially from West Coast tour operators such as Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays (800/242-9244) and Sunquest Holidays (800/357-2400). A Sunquest air-land package in effect from mid-March through June 9 gives you seven nights in the 44-story Marc Hawaiian Monarch hotel on Waikiki--with pool, restaurant, and other amenities, plus an easy stroll to the famous beach--for an astonishing $778 per couple from Los Angeles (tack on another $300 to $400 if you're flying from the Northeast). Assuming a modest dining budget of $350 for the week, paradise can found for about $1,130 to $1,500.


Mouseville's catching on as a spot to tie the knot--Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings division may be pricey, but more than 2,000 couples annually plump for a WDW theme ceremony. More cost-conscious couples content themselves with a post-nuptial Orlando jaunt; at either of Sierra Suites' local outposts (for reservations, call 800/830-4964), where the honeymoon package gets you a studio suite with a king bed, Champagne and flowers, and (most significantly) a mid-size rental car. At $109 per couple nightly, the six-night cost comes to $654 for the two of you. Throw in, say, $300 for a week's worth of meals as well as $107.95 each for two seven-day Flextickets to visit Universal Studios Florida (until summer, when the opening of Islands of Adventure will bump up prices), and you're now at $1,170. With airfare (May round-trips from New York or Chicago run at about $180, from Los Angeles $240 if you book through Travel Bargains, 800/247-3273), the whole affair becomes doable for between $1,330 and $1,410 total.

Las Vegas

Here's the perfect spot for a low-budget, high-entertainment honeymoon. Why? Apart from the current hotel glut that has properties all over the place slashing prices like marketers possessed, Vegas has always been cheap on precisely the nights when honeymooners want to stay there (Sunday through Thursday), and far more pricey on the weekends (Friday and Saturday nights), when newlyweds haven't yet set off for the honeymoon. The less popular, ultra-low-priced Sunday-to-Thursday stays will always be a perfect fit, given that most couples marry on Saturday. For instance: with Bally's Las Vegas (800/634-3434) "Super Celebration Package," valid for a perfectly timed Sunday through Thursday night, in a 2,800-room hotel, a couple can get, in addition to their room for five nights, a choice of nightly shows, two meals daily, a spa discount, and more, for a total of $395 for two. Figure in an average round-trip air fare to Las Vegas of $300 to $400 per person, as well as a five-day meal budget (for the third daily repast) of $125 per couple, and the grand total per pair comes to between $1,120 and $1,320 (that figure can change drastically if you foolishly spend time in the casino).

Under $2,000 Per Couple

The Big Red Boat

As cruising becomes ever more wildly popular, this good ol' perennial--a.k.a. the 1,800-passenger Oceanic--from Premier (800/373-2654) remains one of the best values afloat. And though families with kids are its biggest market, honeymooners come a close second; both groups have separate areas and activities to keep them out of each other's ways. You can get hitched over a weekend, then head down to Port Canaveral, Florida for a Monday-to-Friday sail to Nassau and Port Lucaya in the Bahamas for as little as $817 per couple, including port charges and airport transfers. Throwing in air fare, for that four-night honeymoon you're looking at about $1,487 from Boston in April, for example, and $1,747 from San Francisco. (That's not counting a "Romantic Couples Package" that for $249 more will lay on a gift basket, flowers, candy, bottle of champagne, breakfast in bed, and other goodies.)


If you're diving into married life, why not start out by honeymooning in a spot whose stock-in-trade is the kind of limpid, coral-intensive waters that have made it a must for scuba and snorkeling addicts? Cozumel has all this, plus a mellow, choose-your-own-pace feel and loads of quiet, all framed by Mexico's ridiculously low prices. At Sol Cabanas Del Caribe--a cozy little beachside property a couple of miles from San Miguel, the major settlement--the seven-night Fiesta Package gives you a private room, transfers, hotel taxes, adn access to the inn's private beach. With consolidator airfares from Solar Tours (800/388-7652), you can pull together the entire package for $1,024 for two from Houston, $1,340 for two from New York. With meals (inexpensive in Mexico) included, your total will amount to about $1,400 from Houston, $1,700 from New York.

Under $2,500 Per Couple


Champagne is more or less essential to any wedding, but it makes for a pretty festive post-ceremony excursion as well. Tear the paper off "Freewheeling Paris & Champagne," a seven-night package bookable from French low-cost travel specialist New Frontiers (800/366-6387;, and inside you'll find four nights' hotel in Paris (that perennial honeymooners' haunt), three nights in the Champagne region (all with daily breakfast included), an eight-day car rental, a visit to the famous Moet & Chandon Champagne caves, and more. From New York, the package (which includes round-trip air, natch) works out to $1,836 for two from New York, $1,938 from Chicago, $2,178 from Los Angeles. Add the cost of meals (about $400 per week for the two of you; see our article in this issue on "Little Wonder Restaurants of Paris"); and your total expenses (for the basics, and for the two of you) will amount to under $2,500 from most cities.

Under $3,000 Per Couple


The premier honeymoon glamour spot of the 1950s and 1960s still holds its own, and can offer its spectacular bay and beaches plus world-class comforts--all while still allowing a fascinating glimpse of old Mexico amid all the modernity. And thanks to the devalued peso (recently just under 10 to the dollar), you can enjoy it more affordably than ever. For an unforgettable but affordable splurge, spend your luna de miel at the legendary Las Brisas resort (800/937-8461, 011-52-74/696-900; fax 011-52-74/842-269) in the summertime for a fraction of its usually steep rates. Now managed by Westin hotels, this symphony in pink and white spills down a hillside, and its 300 casitas (bungalows) have marble floors; mahogany woodwork; terraces with breathtaking bay views; private or semiprivate pools; daily breakfast; and plenty of amenities. With round-the-clock room service you never have to leave the swimming-pool-equipped casita at all--not even for the tennis courts or beach club. After April 10 and through mid-December, it's all yours for $1,800 per couple with the "Get the Most of Mexico" package. Throw in a typical round-trip air fare, a budget of $300 for additional meals (off-premises), and the whole shebang will set you back some $2,725 from Los Angeles, some $2,900 for two from New York.


In some ways the quintessential Caribbean island, Jamaica is warm and lush, and full of resorts rushing to cater to the honeymoon (and wedding) market. Foremost is the super-all-inclusive (big meals, drinks, sports, entertainment, always included at no extra cost) SuperClubs (800/467-8737), whose seven high-quality properties here attract lots of just-marrieds, and quite a few about-to-be marrieds, too (see box); it doesn't hurt that in summer and fall they also toss in a voucher lopping $375 off the bride's air fare for a seven- night stay. Seven nights at one of their least expensive resorts, couples-and- singles-oriented Breezes Montego Bay, start at $1,003 per person (based on double occupancy) beginning in April; tack on an airfare of $530 each from New York and $645 from Los Angeles--though lower-cost specials may well become available--and in summer and fall couples can expect to shell out some $2,700 and $2,925, respectively for everything (room, meals, drinks, air transportation, everything, all for a full week).

Under $3,500 Per Couple

Windjammer Barefoot Cruises

More free-spirited, intimate, and often funky than the hyper-glitzy megaboats lumbering through today's seas, they're a fleet of five mostly wood-hull sailboats (like big yachts) housing an average of 90 persons per boat, where you can fulfill your fantasies of raising tall, billowing sails on the high seas--and they're also a romantic favorite with newlyweds. Regular six-day six-night Caribbean itineraries start at $720 per person on the Polynesia (including port charges, meals, wine, and some cocktails), but the best deal for a cabin with that indispensable double bed is $1,150 per person (going down to $1,025 in July) on the 122-passenger Legacy, which leaves from San Juan and weighs anchor at Puerto Rico's offshore island of Culebra, as well as four of the Virgin Islands. And all the Windjammers offer a free "Honeymoon--Barefoot Style!" package with a bottle of champagne, gift basket, cabin upgrade (based on availability), and the option to take a later anniversary cruise at half price. With airfare to San Juan, for the Legacy this spring, budget a total of roughly $3,200 from Newark, NJ and $3,800 from the West Coast. There's more info at 800/327-2601 or

Under $4,000 Per Couple


What more romantic way to kick off la vita connubiale than a cozy stint amid gorgeous rolling countryside dotted with stellar vineyards and ancient hill towns like Montalcino and Montepulciano, where eating is a cherished art and the skies are a masterpiece of color and light? For those who can spare two weeks, an "Untour" from a company called Idyll (888/868-6877; is a special gem of a deal: $3,750 per couple from New York after April 8, covering round-trip airfare from New York to Florence, a fully equipped apartment--some in old abbeys and working vineyards or farms--all transfers, and a rental car. Dining in your apartment, with an occasional well-chosen meal out, you can keep weekly eating costs to $300, for a grand total of about $4,000 per couple. It's all very independent, yet local staffers are on hand to help if needed. Auguri!

Weddings Away

Combining the honeymoon with tying the knot not only lends panache to your nups but can save you headaches and cash, as well. So cancel the caterer and pick your paradise--of our honeymoon suggestions, consider the following:

--Jamaica's SuperClubs will set up a wedding at no extra charge, including the ceremony, paperwork, flowers, music, a brief reception with cake and champagne, and a room upgrade (live music and photography are extra).

--Las Vegas weddings: Dozens of Las Vegas chapels can arrange instant ceremonies for the 300-or-so daily visiting couples desirous of making it legal. Packages generally start at around $200, but the cheapest we've seen is still the $30 drive-through wedding at A Little White Chapel (800/545-8111). For 15 bucks more, plus a donation to the minister, you can actually go inside for a candlelit ceremony. Prices don't include the license, available for $35 from the local courthouse (702/445-4415), which is helpfully open until midnight Monday through Friday and around the clock on weekends and holidays.

--In Oahu, the Rev. Toni Baran (808/235-6966; can set up a ceremony at Waikiki's Diamond Head or Magic Island-plus trimmings like leis, photographer, and Hawaiian singers-for $395 plus a $50 marriage license fee. A basic hitching with Blue Hawaii Weddings (808/883-2583;, meanwhile, can run you as little as $330. Or track down other possibilities at


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