Let the deal be the inspiration
The trick is to be flexible with your travel plans to get the most mileage for your dollar. You can get a similar experience in so many different ways. Let’s say you’re looking for a beach getaway; instead of Hawaii, you could trade off for a similar, discounted experience in the Caribbean. Paris can get expensive fast, so you could trade off for Buenos Aires or Quebec. Instead of the Hamptons, take an affordable trip to San Diego. While you may have a specific destination in mind, this is a good time to look at other options because travel providers in non-traditional honeymoon destinations are discounting aggressively to attract new customers. Plus, a little spontaneity can do wonders to rekindle that romantic flame.
Book sooner rather than later
If you had asked me two years ago what the best time was to book a big encore honeymoon, I would have said anytime. These days, however, we all know that the economy is on the rebound, and so are travel prices. Now my advice is to book sooner than later because amazing deals are more limited and can go fast. But this might be good news for those romantics out there. By planning and booking your trip early, you’ll have plenty of time to anticipate your romantic getaway.
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Ask for honeymoon extras
Hotels and packagers continue to throw in tons of complimentary extras such as massages, room upgrades, and private plunge pools that make some packages very honeymoon-worthy. Be sure to look for and compare extras when making your booking decision—you should expect these freebies as they don’t cost hoteliers too much. But if they aren’t specifically included in your preferred booking, be sure tell the property or packager up front that you’re on your honeymoon. Travel providers love to keep their customers happy and love rewarding special occasions with a little something extra.
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Look at all-inclusive resorts
All-inclusive and packaged trips can make for the perfect dream honeymoon, even if it’s your second one. They provide a fixed cost for most of your travel needs, as well as a wealth of options once you arrive, and that can take much of the planning burden off your hands. These trips also include tons of add-ons in order to entice leisure travellers, such as food and drinks, and activities like tours, rounds of golf, salsa lessons, kayaking, and shows. Plus, packagers often get exclusive, cheaper pricing on airfare and hotels when they’re bundled together, so saving hundreds of dollars on these trips is very possible.
Get luxury for less
What better way to turn up the romance than by pampering yourselves with luxury? Trading up for luxury should continue to be easy for travellers because high-end hotels in destinations like Las Vegas continue to experience high vacancy rates. There are currently great discounts on 5-star luxury properties for under $200, so don’t limit yourself when exploring hotel options! Look at all dates and hotel star ratings; you may be pleasantly surprised that a luxury property is in your budget.
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Understand seasonal travel trends
Masses of people attend Carnival in Brazil in February. Travellers flock to Pamplona, Spain, for the Running of the Bulls in July. College kids flood Cancun for Spring Break. These events drive prices up. On the flip side, Paris and other European cities are quiet in August because locals are on summer holiday, so it’s cheap and you’ll have easier access to activities than at busier times of the year.
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Exchange rates make a difference
The deal might look amazing at first, but think about how much you’ll be spending on food, entertainment, and shopping while you’re travelling. Now imagine if your dollar only went half as far as it could have somewhere else. Take currency differences into consideration, and you’ll really stretch your travel dollars…as much as two or threefold! Don’t want to deal with them at all?
Let online resources do the work for you
Travel providers continue to look for channels to maximize their reach to consumers. Currently, they’re using outlets like geo-targeted deal newsletters and sites like Travel-Ticker.com, often providing exclusive offers and flash-sale opportunities. Social media and mobile apps also offer a fast and easy way to save. From promotional discounts and contests/giveaways to the latest in travel destinations, it’s becoming easier to have other people bring the information right to you. By simply following and “friending” travel experts and providers, keeping an eye on popular hashtags (e.g. #TravelTuesday), conducting Twitter searches, and downloading the most current mobile travel apps, honeymooners can let the deals do all the work.
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Originally published as 8 Secrets for Taking a Romantic Second Honeymoon on the Cheap on ReadersDigest.com.