Honeymoon Discussions

Ideas for a $3k HM in May?

FI had just started planning our awesome European HM last week when he found out that the HVAC in his condo needs to be completely replaced. That took a big chunk out of the HM budget (womp womp) so now we need to come up with other options. I would love to hear some suggestions from you ladies!

Our budget is about $3k for everything. We're going in early May 2015, departing from Atlanta, and we'd like to be there for a week. We aren't particularly interested in island or beach resort destinations except maybe Hawaii, but I don't think we can afford that. Any ideas for what might be available in this price range?
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Re: Ideas for a $3k HM in May?

  • For $3k, you're probably going to need to stay in the country unless you want to try an AI in Mexico or the Caribbean, which it doesn't sound like you want to do.  But international airfare for two anywhere else will eat up most of the budget.

     

    What are your interests?  Do you like to hike?  If so, maybe Lake Tahoe or Jackson Hole, both of which are beautiful in the summer.  Or maybe wine country in northern California if that interests you?  It's an off-chance, but you may be able to get to Costa Rica or Belize that time of year, at a mid-range AI - that's more like Hawaii than the Caribbean because of the rain forests, etc.  Luckily, there are a lot of direct flight options out of ATL on Delta, so that will help. Hawaii will be impossible for a full week for two people on $3k - flights will eat up between $1500-2000 and then hotels and food are pricey once you're there.  But you do have more than a year to save up - if you can find a way to save a little bit more than normal you may be able to swing it.

    jenna8984
  • I'm totally okay with something domestic. I'm pretty sure I can save up more but I'm afraid another unexpected major expense is going to come up. So we're hoping to plan something that could fit comfortably within the $3k budget we've set aside, and then if we have more by that time we can splurge on activities and dining.

    I love cities, and I do like the beach, just not enough to spend the whole HM there. I love nature, especially the mountains, although I'm not a very outdoorsy person. Wine country did come up when we first talked about it, and sounds great, I just haven't gotten around to pricing it yet. Also, that's good to know about Costa Rica and Belize. Thanks!


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  • You could stick to 3k and go to Istanbul.  I went in May a few years ago and got two round trip tickets for $1390.  If you're willing to be adventurous, it would be easy to use Istanbul as a jumping off point for somewhere else in Turkey, or Romania (flights to Bucharest are usually really cheap too).  Think outside the box in terms of hotels-we almost always stay in Guesthouses where breakfast is included and there is a kitchen.  The nicest guest house we stayed in was in Brasov Romania (link), with a beautiful private room, huge tub, and shared kitchen.  I think it ended up being about 39 euroes per night, which is significantly cheaper than staying in a hotel (and just as nice).  Same thing for Istanbul-we stayed in a Guesthouse with a private bathroom and shared kitchen (link), though a friend just got back from Istanbul and they used Air BnB.
  • Puerto Rico would be a good option.  Great beaches for when you want to relax, awesome history in Old San Juan when you want a cool city, great mountain rain forest for hiking/adventure.  Plus, it's a US territory so no passports or currency exchange needed, and probably a cheap/short flight from Atlanta.  Depending on your budget when you actually book, you'll have a lot of wiggle room for upgrades/add-ons too, so that's a plus.  
  • Depending how long you stay Costa Rica might be an option too.

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  • if you are willing to have the backpacker mentality, you can go to europe on 3K.  here is an itinerary i did in college:

    $800 each for a RT flight from NYC to London, Paris to NYC was return
    $100/night for a private room at St. Christophers Hostels (includes breakfast and they are in both london & paris), you would need 6 nights
    $65/each for eurostar ride from london to paris

    That puts you at $2,330.

    You are left with $95/day for food and sightseeing.  If you stick with cafes and look into things like the london pass, louvre is free on friday nights, tkts booth in the west end, etc. you can make this work. go in november/december to get lowest rates and experience less crowds.
  • How about a cruise?  I'm going on a 7-day Caribbean cruise for my HM and the price for a cabin with a balcony (before any excursions or other extras) is under $2,000.  There seems to be a lot of different activities on board and types of excursions, depending on where you go and the cruiseline.

  • if you are willing to have the backpacker mentality, you can go to europe on 3K.  here is an itinerary i did in college:

    $800 each for a RT flight from NYC to London, Paris to NYC was return
    $100/night for a private room at St. Christophers Hostels (includes breakfast and they are in both london & paris), you would need 6 nights
    $65/each for eurostar ride from london to paris

    That puts you at $2,330.

    You are left with $95/day for food and sightseeing.  If you stick with cafes and look into things like the london pass, louvre is free on friday nights, tkts booth in the west end, etc. you can make this work. go in november/december to get lowest rates and experience less crowds.


    How long ago were you in college?  I went to London and Paris with my mom last year in November, and flew your exact itinerary: NYC to London and then Paris to NYC.  The cheapest tickets available were over $1100 each.  When we went to Italy a few years before our flights were only $600.  Flights have gone up a LOT in the past few years.  Eurostar between the two cities was about $125 each, and we booked that more than 3 months in advance.

     

    Also, she wants to go in May - if OP can find flights to/from Europe for $800 in May, I'd like her to let me know, because i want to get in on that.  It is POSSIBLE to do Europe for a week in May for under $3k probably - but it won't be easy.  I think OP's plan is to save that trip for a time when she has more to spend.

  • i paid $800 in 2011, but I know you can find deals for that much now.

    my fiance and i literally flew that exact route last September and it was $901 each. my sister flew rt to paris last week (aka high season) for less than $800.  if you are flexible it is definitely possible.

    also, check eurostar, the book ahead price is $68 dollars currently, and that's for peak season! 

    @delujm0 better prices are there if you take the time look for them.  it can be tedious but it's so worth it.
  • Ugh, just chiming in on the expensive Europe flights... when I went to Spain in 2010, I paid $650. In 2011, I paid $785. We are going Italy this summer for our HM (a week on land and then a week cruise) and the flight prices are horrific. I have been stalking them constantly but the cheapest right now is over $1200 with a layover in Moscow! I just can't do the flying PAST our destination thing. I will continue to stalk!
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    edited April 2014
    Since you are in the southeast, a cruise out of Florida would be ideal for your budget.  I recommend one that includes St. Maarten (Dutch and French) or Martinique (French).  Puerto Rico is also quite exotic.  Most sail out of Ft. Lauderdale or Miami.
    Cruises are most inclusive.  Extras are sodas and alcohol (You can usually bring a bottle or two of wine on board with you.) tips for the crew (about $22 per day for the two of you) and excursions, which are the big cost.  You can have the experience of a foreign country without the expensive flight.
    May is usually a bargain month.  Talk to a travel agent, or PM me, and I will share mine.
    I have been on 17 cruises, and we love them!
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • Ugh, just chiming in on the expensive Europe flights... when I went to Spain in 2010, I paid $650. In 2011, I paid $785. We are going Italy this summer for our HM (a week on land and then a week cruise) and the flight prices are horrific. I have been stalking them constantly but the cheapest right now is over $1200 with a layover in Moscow! I just can't do the flying PAST our destination thing. I will continue to stalk!
    Agree.  We paid $1100 per person to Germany this past November for just the flight.  3 or 4 years ago, we went to Spain and the airfare AND hotel were $1200 total per person.
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    edited April 2014
     It is too early to price May 2015 cruises.  Here are some examples of 2014 itineraries and prices.  (You have to sign in to this website, but they won't bother you.)

    http://vacationstogo.com/fastdeal.cfm?deal=35126

    http://vacationstogo.com/fastdeal.cfm?deal=13224

    http://vacationstogo.com/fastdeal.cfm?deal=35144

    http://vacationstogo.com/fastdeal.cfm?deal=37475


    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • I went to Hawaii for a week in 2006 and the flight and hotel for just me was $1100. I stayed in Waikiki at a hotel that was a few minute walk from the beach. Had a great time but I have no clue what the prices are recently. On our honeymoon we rented a cabin within 30 minutes of where we live for a total cost of $400 for 2 nights.

     *Formerly ctexasgurl26 and mrsridings061513*

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    Baby William born June 11, 2014 Weighing 6 lbs 5 oz and 17.5 inches long

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  • Hawaii is VERY EXPENSIVE!!!!!
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  • We flew to HI last February and got tickets for $400 roundtrip, nonstop from NYC.  It doesn't hurt to look!
  • You can definitely go to Norway and Sweden for that price. We did two weeks in Sweden, Norway and Iceland for about $5000 altogether back in February. Norwegian has great deals, and since Atlanta is a Delta hub, you'd be able to fly directly to JFK and leave for Oslo from there. Our tickets to Oslo were $250 a person.

  • Also consider Iceland-there are great packages via Iceland Air, with direct flights from a lot of Eastern cities.

    It IS possible to get cheap flights to Europe, but usually if you book early and travel before kids are out of school (i.e. before Memorial Day).  Like I mentioned, I got RT to Istanbul from Dulles for $690PP in mid-May.  Then, I had a June wedding in Bulgaria last year, and paid $1200PP RT because it was June and higher travel season.
  • You can definitely go to Norway and Sweden for that price. We did two weeks in Sweden, Norway and Iceland for about $5000 altogether back in February. Norwegian has great deals, and since Atlanta is a Delta hub, you'd be able to fly directly to JFK and leave for Oslo from there. Our tickets to Oslo were $250 a person.
    There is a huge difference between prices in February and prices in May.  Norway and Sweden are the most expensive countries in Europe during tourist season.  Even the Danish complain about their high prices!
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • kaos16 said:
    We flew to HI last February and got tickets for $400 roundtrip, nonstop from NYC.  It doesn't hurt to look!
    Wow!  I remember about 3 years ago there was a special for Newark to Hawaii non-stop for $275 roundtrip.  DH and I were trying to figure out when we could make it work but the sale was short lived and we missed it.  Oh how I wish we were quicker!
  • I went on a cruise to the Bahamas a few years ago for ~ $2,000 (including airfare) for two people and it was an amazing time. We didn't spend a lot of money on extra excursions, just explored on our own at each port and mostly ate on the boat. I used affordabletours.com to book for Norwegian cruise line.They have great deals and lots of destinations to choose from: Alaska, Caribbean, Mexico, Mediterranean, etc.
  • H and I are going to Costa Rica the first week of May for 7 nights and are spending less than $3k for flights, transfers, and accommodations. 

    We're spending 3 nights by the Arenal Volcano where we're going to hike, zip-line, and go white-water rafting. Then we'll spend 4 nights by the beach (Pacific Ocean side) so we can relax. We'll probably do a snorkel trip while we're there too. 

    This was a good option for us as we want a little relaxation but we can't lay on a beach for a full week without being bored to death.



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