Honeymoons are framed as the most romantic juncture in one's life—even the word itself refers to the sweetness of a new marriage. But with costs often creeping upwards of $5,000, taking your dream vacation can seem unrealistic—if not impossible. On this week’s episode of "The Labor of Love," host and RealSimple.com editor Lori Leibovich talks to writer Porter Fox, who wrote about his romantic honeymoon in a New York Times article titled "A Honeymoon Through Italy," and Jacquie Gifford, senior editor of travel and beauty for Travel and Leisure, about the history of honeymoons, what they should accomplish, and the best way to plan one. Here, Fox and Gifford's best tips for taking a romantic—yet budget-friendly—trip.
1. Travel during "shoulder season." Avoid going to popular destinations (such as the Caribbean) in December, January and February, when hotel rates and airfares are at their peak. Instead, go in April or May—before the rainy season—when the rates have likely dropped.
2. Strategize with your points and miles. Take advantage of any rewards you might have, and trade them in for a five-star hotel or business-class airfare. “If you’re sitting on a ton of credit card points or United miles, they’re not gaining any value,” Gifford says. “This is the time to cash them in.”
3. Consider a mini-moon. If you don’t have the funds to venture far from home, consider taking a long weekend. Because you have less time, be sure to maximize every minute, Gifford says. “When you do these mini-moons, the key is to disconnect totally."
4. ...Or even a later-moon. If you've just spent a chunk of change on the wedding itself, you may not have the flexibility of taking a long trip right away—and it can be difficult to get enough vacation time. Save up and take a bigger trip in a year or two.
5. Talk openly about your priorities as a couple. Be honest with each other when deciding what type of trip you want to take. After the stress of planning a wedding, a relaxing beach trip may sound appealing—but this could also be the time to tackle something more adventurous. If you can’t agree with your spouse, try combining both ideas.
6. Use a travel agent: A travel agent can help ensure that everything will go smoothly—and take some of the pressure off during an already busy time.
For more advice, listen to the full episode below. Don't forget to subscribe and review on iTunes!