How I honeymooned in Hawaii for only $1500

How I honeymooned in Hawaii for only $1500

Celebrating a new marriage surrounded by friends and family is fun, eventful, but usually expensive in American culture. Everyone says that your wedding day is supposed to be the “best day of your life.” Personally, I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off dealing with being sent the wrong cake, PC problems for the DJ, and clueless florists. It was wild and hectic and I couldn’t wait to board a plane and arrive on a beach in the middle of the ocean. But, like most modern day Americans, I had a strict budget for the whole fiasco. I didn’t want to miss out on an amazing honeymoon by spending way too much for a wedding. I figured out how to get everything I wanted for both my wedding day AND honeymoon. Instead of a win-lose situation, I choose to have a win-win situation.

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When to Drive and When to Fly

I am not a fan of long-distance driving. Yes, road trips are fun, but there’s a limit for me.  Sitting for hours on end, listening to the same music over and over, going stir crazy, and suffering from malnutrition due to eating only gas station food is not my ideal Saturday.

I have a theory that I will explain later. But first, let’s break this down into two categories: cost and comfort.  A lot of people opt to drive to save money.  Some fly for comfort.  Who wouldn’t want to sleep for 1.5 hours instead of drive for 8 hours?

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Why I Will Never Stay at Another Vacation Resort

It was my girlfriend’s birthday, and I wanted to go above and beyond with the gift.  She is Hispanic and loves to travel.  We already had a plan to travel to Mexico the following year, so I decided to go somewhere else.  She had recently expressed desire to visit the Caribbean, so I found a great deal on Groupon.  Or at least I thought it was.  It was an all-inclusive trip for 2 to the Viva Wyndham Resort in the Bahamas.  The cost was $699 per person including air fare, 5 nights in the resort hotel, all you can eat, all you can drink, and many events and activities.  Sounded amazing, so I bit.

Since I had never been, I did not know the biggest differences between staying at a resort and flying solo.  But since I was so inexperienced, I took the lazy man’s route.  But it was more ignorance than laziness. I wanted to do something safe.  And I do not mean safe in terms of crime, but safe in terms of not showing my girlfriend a bad time on her birthday.  I didn’t want to spend my time scratching my head and struggling to find fun activities.  I am a simple accountant for a moving company in the Atlanta area, trying to impress the love of my life.
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My Birthday Travels on a Budget

It was nearing my 21st birthday. I had the choice of celebrating in my apartment-which wasn’t a bad view, with beautiful skies overlooking the bay, bustling townspeople from atop a penthouse, quiet, with a spiral staircase that swiveled right  into the living room…so many choices. I thought I’d rather get out of town and see what the Rest of Rio de Janeiro had to offer-Only one problem, it was the beginning of winter there and while it was no comparison to winters back home in Chicago, it was definitely a rainy one. My roommate and I went to work immediately researching every pousada in town. Finally we came up with a plan to take a bus out of town (2 hours), then another bus (3 ½ hours) to an island only accessible by boat and there I had the greatest 21st birthday that a girl could ask for. Continue reading

Tips for Cheap Travel

 

Establish your budget, and timeline

I researched pousadas that took US currency or credit cards, and were English speaking about a week in advance.

 

See if where you are going is walkable

The island was accessible via the ocean but also had a mainland that we could explore. All free activities, like sight seeing, and exploring the island. Continue reading