Honeymoon

"Inexpensive" Beachy Honeymoons?

Unfortunately, with my fiancé's monumental law school debt and the fact that I'm still pursuing my doctorate, it doesn't seem like a super-expensive/lavish honeymoon is within the realm of possibilities. We were originally thinking Sandals La Toq in St. Lucia, but with airfare, we'd have to limit our stay to only 4 nights. 

So the question: Anyone know of a nice beachy (all inclusive pref but not necessary) resort in the Caribbean where we could do luxury on a budget? Ideally, we'd be looking at about a week for $3000, including air fare. Or is this not possible?
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Re: "Inexpensive" Beachy Honeymoons?

  • Where are you coming from?  And what time of year are you going?  If you're in the northeast, often times airfares to the Bahamas or Puerto Rico are less expensive than St. Lucia.  The Sandals in the Bahamas is supposed to be really nice.

     

    Also, time of year has a large impact on the room prices at Sandals.  A friend just got married in St. Lucia at Sandals La Toc, and she wanted to do it in March but found that the rooms were over $100/night cheaper in early December, so she did it then to save herself and the guests money.  Generally, the summer and very early fall and then the few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas and the first few weeks of the year are less expensive at those resorts.

     

    That having been said, $3k might be hard if you want to do a full week at a swankier AI - but you should be able to find somehting that fits the bill.  There are some in mexico that are relatively inexpensive (i've never been but some of the regulars on this board usually have great input on this).

  • Lots of places in Cancun can do a week for under $3000 for 2 people.

    jenna8984
  • @delujm0 -  That's part of the problem: December 31st. New Year's Eve. And Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina. It's during THE biggest peak season in Caribbean.. :/ 

    The Bahamas actually seems to be more expensive than St. Lucia, at least for that period of time. 

    We'll keep looking though. Just didn't know if anyone had any knowledge on the matter
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  • @abaron3 maybe Jamaica?? or Dominican Republic??
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • @tbnoble - I was just looking into Jamaica. Anyone familiar with the Sandals Carlyle? It's a little quainter, but has that "Stay at One, Play at Three" deal that sounds appealing. 
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  • If you were willing to put off the honeymoon for an extra week or so, it would probably get a bit cheaper.  But if you/FI are still in school, i can see why that wouldn't be an option.  As a general rule, any time that school is out (christmas, spring break) it's going to be the high season there.  Except for the summer of course (because once the beaches are viable here people don't tend to want to pay to travel to the Caribbean).

     

    I'm actually in Charlotte, and our flights to St. Lucia were pricey, so it's amazing to me that they're less expensive than the Bahamas for you!  Our flights were over $600 each and we had to connect in Atlanta (which wasn't too annoying but it made for VERY long travel days.  usually we can fly direct everywhere out of CLT, so we could just be spoiled at this point).

  • @delujm0 - it was more the price per night at the resorts were much higher in the Bahamas, not the flight out. That's the catch, and over the course of the week, it really adds up. 

    We are definitely looking at alternate airports. Charlotte is only about 2 hours away the initial drive makes the potential savings worthwhile.
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  • i hear you, before Southwest came to Charlotte we would occassionally fly out of Raleigh and it sounded like a great idea at the time, but then when you're exhausted from a long flight back and you get to your car only to have to drive another 2.5 hours before you're actually home it's the WORST.  for the right amount of savings, we do it though.  we have friends in Raleigh who let us crash with them on either end of the trip if we want to. :-)
  • @delujm0 - Good point! The driving before the trip didn't seem too bad. Afterwards might not be as great though. 
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  • jenna8984jenna8984 clam bakes & patriots member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer

    Not trying to be rude but really- go to a freakin travel agent. Trying to piece together stuff on your own with hours and hours of research when an experienced agent can tell you within 30 minutes "you would love this place and it's in your budget". They really know what they're doing and they don't charge you anything, they get a commission from the airline and hotel.

    But generally from experience, airfare to any "ST" is more expensive (St. Thomas, St. Maartin, St. Lucia, St. John). Those resorts are also on average more expensive than resorts in Mexico, DR, Jamaica. You need to look at other less known resorts such ar Riu and Iberostar, as Sandals is likely not in that budget. I went to a wedding at Gran Caribe Real in Cancun last year with FI, 6 nights with air and all inclusive was $2,000 so it can definitely be done you just have to look in the right place. Which is what a travel agent can easily do for you.

                                                                     

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    ktjanesmom
  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    FWIW, I would not go to the Bahamas that time of year. Since it's a little further north, it will be a little chilly compared to other islands further south. 

    i also agree with @jenna8984 on speaking with an agent. That time of year places sell out FAST and often have minimum stay requirements, so the agent can help you sort through all of that. 

     







  • FiancBFiancB MinnesOOOta member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    jenna8984 said:

    They really know what they're doing and they don't charge you anything, they get a commission from the airline and hotel.


    ***********STUCK IN BOX SERIOUSLY TK WTF*****************************

    I didn't even know this. I assumed they charged quite a bit. I will run to an agent now. I'm in a similar predicament- we will be flying out of MSP in late June/early July. FI wants Hawaii but I'm sure we can find something with a similar experience for less money but it is so hard to figure it out.

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  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    FiancB said:
    jenna8984 said:

    They really know what they're doing and they don't charge you anything, they get a commission from the airline and hotel.


    ***********STUCK IN BOX SERIOUSLY TK WTF*****************************

    I didn't even know this. I assumed they charged quite a bit. I will run to an agent now. I'm in a similar predicament- we will be flying out of MSP in late June/early July. FI wants Hawaii but I'm sure we can find something with a similar experience for less money but it is so hard to figure it out.

    There are some agents that do charge a fee, though most of them roll that amount into the amount due on the package. Some just outright charge a planning fee in addition to the cost of the package, but those agents are usually very focused on a specific area and niche.

     







    FiancB
  • jenna8984jenna8984 clam bakes & patriots member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer

    @fiancb My mom is an agent for AAA and before that she worked at a family owned agency for 20 years. She doesn't charge any fees.

    Hawaii to me personally is not worth it because it looks the same as all the Caribbean islands yet costs 3 times more. Hotels in Jamaica are $150 a night and INCLUDE everything. Hotels on the beach in Hawaii are $200 a night and don't include anything. Go for it if your heart is set on Hawaii but if you're looking for a better deal that's not it lol

                                                                     

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    FiancB
  • jenna8984 said:

    @fiancb My mom is an agent for AAA and before that she worked at a family owned agency for 20 years. She doesn't charge any fees.

    Hawaii to me personally is not worth it because it looks the same as all the Caribbean islands yet costs 3 times more. Hotels in Jamaica are $150 a night and INCLUDE everything. Hotels on the beach in Hawaii are $200 a night and don't include anything. Go for it if your heart is set on Hawaii but if you're looking for a better deal that's not it lol

    I think this really depends on what you want to do.  If you're just going to lay on the beach all day, then yes,I'd just do the Caribbean because it would be easier and less expensive (assuming you're not coming from the west coast at least).  But when we went to Hawaii we hardly did any of that.  We were out and about hiking and sailing and zip lining and sight seeing almost every day.  If you want to do a fair amount of hiking, Hawaii is nice because there are a LOT of good options there, whereas most of the islands in the Caribbean are smaller and don't have as many opportunities like that. 

     

    We did just get back from St. Lucia, and FI really thought the landscape resembled Kauai, which was his favorite Hawaiian island.  And there is some decent hiking there as well (which we didn't get to do because we were only there for 4 days for a wedding).  So that might be a good compromise.

    FiancB
  • jenna8984jenna8984 clam bakes & patriots member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    @delujm0 True good points!

                                                                     

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    abaron3
  • Jamaica is great for the price. Also Mexico. I stayed here last summer and it was amazing!

    http://www.jewelresorts.com/resorts/dunnsriver/
    cfh071000
  • Have you guys thought of Puerto Rico???
    CMGragain
  • I actually didn't realize that it was better to go with a travel agent over doing it yourself. I had always thought that the convenience of a travel agent came at an exorbitant cost. We're definitely looking into going with a travel agent and focusing on Jamaica, Puerto Rico and potentially St. Lucia (my ideal choice for the cost). 

    Hawaii is just a bit far for us, considering that we're on the east coast and with the amount of time we have to travel, we'd be spending two whole days JUST flying. 

    Thanks for the input though, guys! The suggestions were invaluable. 
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  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited March 2014
    When anybody says beach and budget, I think cruise.  Carnival Cruises is the largest and most budget friendly line.  They have itineraries for every price range.  Pick one that spends a day on their private island beach.  Cruises are most inclusive.  You pay extra for drinks, tips, and excursions.  Onboard entertainment is free.  You get to see several different islands.  If you want, you can go to the beach on each one and not pay for excursions.  I don't know when you are going, but there are some unbelievable deals right now.  I'm restraining myself for booking Houston to Belize next month!
    I just got these in my mailbox from my travel agent at Vacations to Go.

    A 7-night Caribbean cruise departing from Miami on March 30, starting at $349 (FastDeal 14518). Save 86%!

    A 7-night Mexico/Central America cruise departing from Miami on March 28, starting at $329 (FastDeal 10702). Save 76%!

    A 7-night Caribbean cruise departing from Miami on March 29, starting at $409 (FastDeal 26234). Save 77%!

    A 4-night Bahamas cruise departing from Miami on April 28, starting at $229 (FastDeal 22503). Save 77%!

    An 8-night Bahamas cruise departing from New York on April 2, starting at $369 (FastDeal 18204). Save 80%!

    An 8-night Alaska cruise departing from Vancouver on April 28, starting at $529 (FastDeal 14697) Save 76%!

    A 7-night Bermuda cruise departing from Bayonne on May 4, starting at $499 (FastDeal 10478). Save 67%!

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    A 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise departing from Rome on April 22, starting at $549 (FastDeal 17967). Save 75%!

    A 13-night trans-Atlantic cruise departing from Miami on April 29, starting at $499 (FastDeal 16228). Save 67%!

    A 7-night Mexico/Central America cruise departing from Houston on April 12, starting at $355 (FastDeal 18757). Save 59%!
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I've been looking on cheap Caribbean and found some fantastic deals.
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  • CMGragain - While I know a cruise is a great option for some... we are about as anti-cruise as they come. Having spent my childhood on an island plagued by millions of tourists a year (Key West, FL) and having a very anti-cruise ship family, I'm pretty sure my father would disown me if my FI and I went down that route. 

    Unfortunately, choosing a destination, booking flights and paying for a room elsewhere tends to be on the pricier side.. While we, personally, may not be the best candidates for that, I'm sure it'd be a great option for others! Especially if you're trying to not skimp on time!
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  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Mexico 
    Aruba 
    Jamaica 
    Bahamas 
    Puerto Rico 
    DR 

    I also suggest going to a travel agent too. 

  • I'm in a similar situation with the school loan debt and needing a cheaper honeymoon option. We still want to get away someplace nice, and all-inclusive! We're looking into Jamaica right now, specifically Couples Resorts. There are 4 to choose from I believe and the reviews I've read are great. The prices are very reasonable compared to other all-inclusives I've looked into and airfare was reasonable, at least from Indianapolis. 
  • Just went to the Dominican in March. Was 500 each for a direct flight then 250 a night at an all inclusive luxury resort in punta Cana. 2000 total for 4 nights. Your budget is very doable. FYI - I stayed at the bahia principe ambar and booked through expedia.
  • Also our resort was adults only :-)
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