Emily Exon Photography – Featured Guest Blog on HoneyFund!
I was approached by HoneyFund (a website set up to help couples fund their wedding, honeymoon and other big life moments) to do a guest blog serious about “How to Save Money While on Your Honeymoon.” I was super excited to be apart of it! Here is the full post!
My name is Emily Exon and I am the Owner and Primary Photographer at Emily Exon Photography based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I am super excited to have been invited to write a guest blog post for Honeyfund and I am also excited about the topic I have chosen! So lets jump right into it!
How to Save Money While on Your Honeymoon.
Now you are probably thinking, what does a wedding photographer know about planning a honeymoon? Well, my husband and I got married 9 years ago and we planned a small wedding in hopes to save money to travel/backpack for 3 weeks in Italy for our honeymoon. This trip was going to be a big one and we were fresh out of University so money was tight. However, once we came back from Italy we have since travel to12 different countries, 4 continents and hundreds of cities. And we do so all while being money conscious and setting realistic goals.
So to start planning your dream honeymoon and save money, ask yourself a few questions.
- Where do we want to go on our Honeymoon? – This is a pretty interesting and a fun questions to start with, I suggest making a list of the places you would like to visit, treat this like a bucket list. I wouldn’t toss this list out in the garbage when you have picked your destination, just incase you too catch the travel bug! Once you have a couple places you are interested in visiting, start looking at setting a budget for what you want to spend getting there and what you want to spend while you are there. Be realistic! Check what the exchange rate is for your currency against the currency of your host country and determine which place on your list most accurately fits within your budget.
- What time of year are you going to travel? – This might help you make up your mind on where you will go. If it is cold where you live, maybe you will be looking to go somewhere hot. This will help narrow down your honeymoon bucket list. But be sure to cross-reference your destination with the following question to ensure you get the tan you are looking for.
- What season will it be in the country you are traveling too? – This is important for two reasons. One, for example in Africa during May it is the start of their winter and it does get pretty chilly in the morning and evenings. However, by going to Africa during their winter, you save money on low time accommodations, whereas if you go to Africa in December the middle of their summer, you will pay more for accommodations because that is their Tourist High Time.
- Do you want to cut your guest list so that we can help save for the Honeymoon? – With Honeyfund, people can actually help donate money to your honeymoon. So this idea might sound counter intuitive but it is an option to help save money, by only inviting those you know well and family you see often. Perhaps with some of the money saved you can apply it to traveling or sightseeing locations and/or souvenirs. (I like to buy a Christmas ornament or something I can make into an ornament from every place [even cities] we have traveled to, to place on my tree. I love this because it is nice to look back and chat about our travels and dream up new travel ideas.)
- What are the flight options? – Part of the experience of any trip is the journey. So maybe you have a couple layovers rather than a pricey direct flight. I recommend finding the cheapest option that you are willing to pay that has the least layovers, and try to get one of the layovers to be 6-9 hours. This will sound silly, but it is nice after a 12-30 hour flight to get off the little airplane and go for a stroll and sightsee. We spent 6 hours on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour of England where we got to see the sights, jump off to hit up a local pub for a pint and some fish and chips. And then it was onwards for another 14 hour flight to South Africa. This was great because I got to see another country on my bucket list and I got to take a break from the busy airport. TIP: most of the time your baggage can be checked through to your final destination, so scooting in and out of security isn’t a hassle.
- What type of accommodations are we comfortable with? – This is a great way to save some cash. Depending on where you are traveling, and what their everyday public safety is like, renting an AirBnB or staying at a Hostel, Bed and Breakfast or small boutique hotel can save you huge amounts of money! We stayed a small flat in Cape Town for $75.00 a night. We could cook breakfast and pack a lunch, do our laundry and spend a little more on sightseeing and dinners at night. The apartment was safe, clean and had great reviews! TIP: Always read the reviews. Don’t read them as if they are written in stone, but read them to get a general idea of the location, condition and safety of the accommodations you are paying for. Trip Advisor is great for both finding deals and extensive reviews!
- What does travel within the city or country we are visiting look like? – Again this is another option for saving some money. Taxi’s in some countries are a great idea while in others they are a rip off. Do a little research on how you will get from Point-A to Point-B (safely) and you can find yourselves with a few extra bills left over! Look for Uber options, bus and train packages, early booking discounts on city transit etc. Sometimes renting a car and driving yourself is cost effective when you want to go a long distance within a country. TIP: make sure you have your passport and an international drivers license! You can purchase one at AAA. They are not expensive and last up to a year.
- What do we want to do when we are there? – Sure you want to see all the sights, but tourist attractions are expensive! I recommend picking a couple “must see” spots and then schedule a few days for downtime, like resting at the pool or beach, spending the day hoping from the different local eateries and wonder into different areas of the city (safely) to get a more diverse experience into the countries culture. You will never be disappointed hitting up a local market in Thailand, designing a picnic in a park outside of a cathedral in Rome, or be upset when you wander into a forest for little hike in the Black Forrest of Germany, or stumble upon a castle nestled in a valley in Luxembourg or drive up behind wild running ostrich in the Southern Cape of Africa!
- Where to eat while you are on your honeymoon? – It is always nice to have fancy dinners when you are on your honeymoon. Its like the wedding celebration never ends. But I recommend for those less romantic meals like breakfast and lunch to try shopping at the local grocery store or food market! Packing a picnic or snack for your day of tripping around a city is a huge save on money! It is also a great way to eat local, see what food is available in your host country and get an idea of what the cultural and agriculture is like.
I hope these little tips were helpful and have gotten the old creative juices flowing. I am excited for your honeymoon, it will either provide you with a wealth of relaxation, education or wonder!