The idea of paying for a two-week-long vacation after shelling out big for your wedding might seem hard to swing. For most couples, it is. When it comes time for the honeymoon, financial stress is the last thing you want on your mind. Thankfully, there are ways to cut the money anxiety without sacrificing luxury. You just have to know where to look—and that's where we come in. From handy sites that do the legwork for you, to the old-fashioned art of negotiation, and secret airfare deals, there are plenty of ways to save. Returning from that honeymoon—suntanned, in-love, and well-rested—without a stack of bills on the table might be the biggest luxury of them all.
Opt for an all-inclusive package.
If you still associate all-inclusive hotel packages with your college spring break days, think again. These cost-effective deals can be seriously high-end and, of course, come with major savings. Look for resorts or cruise lines that come with comprehensive, one-time fees, that cover food and drink. While these packages usually exclude upgraded amenities, like spa services or cabana use, it's worth the ask. You never know: Some deals come with those types of bonuses built in or can be modified to fit your wants for a modest fee.
Outsource the research.
True, diligent researchers ferret out deals, but who has all that time to examine fine print and investigate resort websites? An Internet aggregator, that's who. Sites like VacationsToGo.com, ResortCompete.com, and Travelzoo.com touch base with travel sources daily, pinpointing the lowest prices for a host of popular resorts and cruise lines.
Get on the phone.
Call and request a percentage off the per-day rate, an additional day at a lower rate (or free!), or a service you covet—a massage, diving lessons, a cooking class—gratis or heavily discounted. This can be tricky, though, so here are a few free pointers. First, this is more likely to work with a high-end company than with a budget hotel, which will have already trimmed the fat. Second, ask them to match a competitor's deal. And third—see a sale that's expired? Inquire whether you can have the discount anyway.
Outsmart the airlines.
Isn't it irritating to see the plane ticket you purchased last week selling for $200 less? It doesn't have to be. Many airlines will refund the difference with a voucher (keep in mind, though, that some airlines slap a big fee on ticket reissues, potentially canceling out the savings). One savvy website, Yapta.com, tracks flight prices. Give them a confirmation number, and they'll alert you if the price drops and you become eligible for a refund. They'll even call the airline to book it for a small fee, if you so specify.
Bring spirits and snacks.
Some tour companies don't include alcohol in the package price, but a few do let guests bring their own—often a cheaper option than buying it while you're on holiday. Likewise, the less-expensive resorts and cruise lines sometimes charge a hefty fee for snacks and other small, but vaguely necessary, items. Consider bringing your own, if it's easy to do so and makes sense. Travelers who always get the munchies, for instance, will save a tidy sum by packing their own bites, which is certainly more satisfying than getting hit with a bill for $7 cookies and $9 packages of mixed nuts.
Use a travel agent.
Ask the local AAA office or friends and coworkers to recommend a travel agent who specializes in the type of trip you're looking for—and then make a call or visit their office. With their contacts at resorts and cruise lines, and access to insider information, professionals can frequently secure excellent deals. Not to mention they can help with your vacation budget.