Ah, the honeymoon. The great escape from the stress of wedding planning and the start of your adventures as a married couple. This romantic tradition dates back all the way to the fifth century when newlywed couples were gifted a “moon” or months-worth of mead to enjoy together. Mead is an alcoholic drink made from honey, hence the phrase “honeymoon.”
Today’s honeymoons have grown into more lavish affairs where couples jet off to exotic locations, sometimes spending over a week together before returning to the real world. So how much does a honeymoon cost today?
While most weddings will set you back anywhere from $20K-$50K depending on where you live, the post-nuptials vacation known as a honeymoon won’t be as pricey. Still, it can cost a pretty penny if you’re not careful. The Knot recently interviewed over 27,000 couples who got hitched in 2019 and found that the average cost of a honeymoon is not as expensive as you might think.
How much does a honeymoon cost?
On average, The Knot found that the average honeymoon in 2019 costs $5,000 in addition to the average cost of the wedding, which is $33,900. One in 10 couples had no problem spending over $10,000 on their vacation.
Unsurprisingly, couples spend about three times more on their honeymoon than they do any other vacation, and the entire trip usually adds up to 14% of the wedding budget. While $5,000 is the average, there are a lot of things that can influence the price. The destination, the time of year, what you eat and drink, and what you spend your time doing can impact the overall cost.
Despite the price tag, honeymoons are still an honored tradition that many newlyweds look forward to. In fact, 71% of couples planned a honeymoon in 2019, and 62% of them left within two days of their wedding ceremony.
And they were in no rush to return. About 42% of those honeymoons lasted a full week. Still, shorter honeymoons — which are aptly nicknamed “mini-moons” — are a popular, cost-effective alternative for 30 percent of couples.
No matter the length, the price of honeymoons has been steadily on the rise for the past few years. Since 2017, the cost has increased from $4,000 to $4,500 to $5,000 in 2019.
Why are honeymoons so expensive?
While there are tons of factors that can increase the cost of this (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime getaway, the major one is the destination.
Modern-day couples want to travel and experience new things and places together. In 2019, over 60% of couples ventured outside of the United States and visited different countries. The farther and more unique the destination, the higher the cost thanks to plane tickets, car rentals, and accommodations. Still, no matter where in the world they honeymooned, beaches still reign supreme, with about 52% of couples picking a tropical location.
Business Insider recently ranked the most expensive honeymoon destinations. They are:
- Greek Cyclades
- Bora Bora
- Kauai, Hawaii
- British Virgin Islands
If you and your beloved don’t need to be whisked off into a faraway, expensive land, you could save some serious cash by choosing a more budget-friendly destination. Below are some of the cheapest places — A.K.A. under $2,000 — to honeymoon:
- Williamsburg, Virginia
- Cozumel, Mexico
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic,
- Niagara Falls, New York
- Palm Beach, Florida
- Baja California, Mexico
- Dallas, Texas
- Riviera Maya, Mexico
How do couples pay for honeymoons?
Don’t fret. The couples who are going on these lavish trips to beautiful, faraway lands are not always footing the bill themselves. Honeymoon registry funds are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to traditional wedding presents that some couples find unnecessary.
Wedding registries were originally set up to help the new couple start out their lives — which made a lot of sense as many went from living at their parents’ home to moving in together. As adults are getting married at older ages, many have already purchased commonly bought items like kitchenware and home decor.
While 83% of couples set up at least one wedding registry, at least 27% set up a honeymoon fund. Honeymoon funds can fund the whole trip, or it can give the option for guests to fund different aspects like the hotel or a fun excursion. You could also ask for airline, hotel, or Airbnb gift cards in lieu of traditional gifts.
Not all couples are on board. Despite the rise of honeymoon funds, about 60% of couples still end up paying for their own trips. Some split the cost by going on a “buddymoon,” which is when close friends or even family join the couple on the trip. Recent research found that 12% of couples chose to take this route. That same poll also found that unlike the wedding, the groom was the most likely to make big honeymoon decisions such as the destinations.
How to budget for your honeymoon
When it comes to budgeting for your honeymoon, the sooner you figure out the cost, the better. Business Insider recommends you do at least six to eight months in advance. Once you do, you can break your trip budget down into four categories:
- Food and drink
Unsurprisingly, the hotel, resort, or Airbnb you choose to stay in will factor in most of your costs. Budget anywhere from 45% to 60% of the total price. Next up is transportation, which includes airfare and ride shares, which will take 20% to 25% of your budget. Food will take up 7% to 10%, and activities should take up no more than 5%.
Of course, you can switch up those percentages to better match your ideal trip. Foodies can add a little more to that category if they don’t plan on doing many other activities, and adventure seekers might want to skip the fancy resort. And if you plan on bringing home some goodies from your travels, you’ll want to leave some room for shopping and souvenirs.
No matter where you choose to go or how much you decide to spend, your honeymoon should be a beautiful time that reflects who you are as a couple. Sometimes that requires a little more cash, but it’s always worth it when you’re with the one you love.