Where to start!?
As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m currently preparing for our 3 month honeymoon in the US of A. You might be wondering why we aren’t going down the traditional honeymoon route. The truth is, we had already planned to try our hand at living in the USA this summer before we decided to get married. After we got engaged, it made sense to make this trip our honeymoon instead of shelling out twice in one year!
We were already set on staying in New York to begin with – having met and lived in central London for 5 years, we miss the busy hustle and bustle of a city! However, to add a bit of a traditional honeymoon feel to our summer, I managed to convince Mr Honeymooner that Hawaii was the perfect place to settle for the second half of our stay. Why not the Caribbean? Because I am a newlywed, broody, woman and the threat of Zika has stalled my travels to most exotic and beautiful locations no matter how much they appeal to me!
Sticking to a budget
Now, even though it’s become our honeymoon, Mr Honeymooner refuses to increase the travel budget. Which means no fancy hotels, few fancy dinners and almost no junk food (he says). We’ll see how cleanly we actually eat when we get to New York and see stuff like this:
New York and Waikiki also happen to be two of the most expensive cities in the USA so I do need to keep our flight and accommodation costs as low as possible to ensure maximum fun potential while we’re there!
Our search started well in advance, meaning there were lots of options available for our long-haul flights. I also managed to use my hard-earned Virgin Atlantic frequent flyer miles to get our return tickets for just £278 in taxes each and my Delta skymiles to buy our internal flights from New York to Honolulu for just $5.60 each! Bargain! No business class honeymoon splurge but hey, all that matters is that we’re together right?
If you don’t have the skymiles to use on cheap flights (tbh it’s taken me 27 years of holidays to save up for this!), I highly recommend using both Skyscanner and Momondo to search for the cheapest flights possible. Skyscanner even has a feature where you can search for the cheapest flights across a whole month, which is perfect if you can be flexible! Also, most of the cheapest options end up being part of the Skyteam alliance (Delta included) so, if you haven’t done it already, it might be worth signing up for their frequent flyer program if you travel a lot!
You can also save a lot of money if you book a flight with stopovers. Sometimes this does mean ‘flying backwards before you fly forwards’. For example, when booking flights to Peru last year, the cheapest flights by far were offered by Air France/KLM and involved a stopover in Paris one way and Amsterdam on the return. This meant we flew over the UK twice without landing and increased our journey time by a few hours, but also saved us a couple of hundred pounds. Not so great for the environment though so if you’re very eco-concious then you might prefer to spend the extra £££.
Bonus saving!: We’ve booked an overnight flight from Honolulu to San Francisco for our return journey home. That means one less night’s accommodation to pay!
As far as accommodation goes, Airbnb has ended up being our best friend. Even if swanky hotels were an option, after 2 weeks of eating out for every meal, we would be craving our own kitchen to prepare food in! Renting an apartment works out cheaper than hotels and also saves us money on food, yay!
If you’re willing to share an apartment with other people, you can find much cheaper places to stay than ours. Our decision to spend more was based on the fact that our stay was so long that we would want our own space. I also didn’t want to have to pitch in to clean up after people I don’t know during my honeymoon!
We also decided to spend a little extra on a 1 bedroom apartment instead of a studio. A studio apartment has just one room as a bedroom/kitchen/living area and could be fine for you if you’re travelling alone or just for a short amount of time. Personally, we need the extra room of a 1 bedroom apartment for some alone time once in a while otherwise I’m not sure we could guarantee our relationship status by the end of the trip! 😛
A lot of the places we liked the look of were well out of our monthly rent budget, but many hosts were willing to offer a discount after we contacted them directly. Just goes to show – you don’t ask, you don’t get! Now let’s just hope they turn out to be legit…
Total Spending so far: £6580.04