For many, a honeymoon is a way to extend the celebration—or perhaps recover from the stress—after wedding festivities come to a close. That's why many couples launch their married life with a grand, bucket list-style trip that goes a few steps beyond an ordinary vacation. Today, couples spend almost three times as much on a honeymoon as they would on the average vacation—about $4,500, according to TripSavvy.com.
But even when you're indulging, you want your money to deliver as much as it can. So the travel experts from Booking.com mapped out the times throughout the year when four- and five-star hotels in some of the most popular destinations become at least a bit more affordable. MONEY then calculated how much a couple would need, on average, to spend a week—including average airfare, accommodation, dining, local transportation, and entertainment costs.
Use the following 12 picks—which range from grand adventures to luxurious beach vacations—to launch your marriage with a fantastic getaway.
Cost to Spend a Week for Two: $3,409
Ring in the New Year and your new life together in the snowy city of Kyoto. Visit local Buddhist shrines in the first days of the new year to reflect; you can also draw a paper fortune-telling strip, and hope you get a good one. Warm up from the freezing weather by taking a dip in one of the natural hot springs, sipping tea at a traditional tea ceremony, or snuggling up together in a lovely hotel room. Booking.com found that staying at this time of year will save you 55% more than visiting during the most popular week of the year, with hotels averaging about $184 a night. Try the Try the Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Kyoto Premier or the more traditional Ryokan Shimizu for an indulgent stay worthy of a honeymoon.
February—Buenos Aires, Argentina
Cost to Spend a Week for Two: $3,666
If you’re looking to see Buenos Aires without the crowds, visit in February when summer is starting to wind down and many residents decamp to beach resorts. You may also be able to upgrade your hotel for less at that time of year as well—hotel prices averaged $69 per night, Booking.com says, about 22% cheaper than the most expensive week of the year. For a more upscale experience, the travel site recommends highly rated Hotel Madero Buenos Aires or the Palacio Duhau - Park Hyatt Buenos Aires. While there, take some time to learn the tango, whose sexy moves are thought to have originated in the region where Argentina borders Uruguay.
Cost to Spend a Week for Two: $2,504
A bustling city of 8 million, Bangkok offers something for everyone. To get the best value, plan your trip here during March, when higher-end hotels average just $77 a night, according to Booking.com. For the best experience, the travel site recommends Lebua at State Tower and the Tower Club At Lebua (home to the world’s highest whiskey bar). Wind down after the big day by visiting Yunomori Onsen & Spa to soak in the hot pools.
Cost to Spend a Week for Two: $3,869
There’s never a bad time to visit Hawaii, but there is a cheaper time. In April, hotel room rates in Honolulu are 39% lower than in peak tourist season, Booking.com notes. Check into The Royal Hawaiian in Waikiki or the Halekulani resort, also home to award-winning restaurant La Mer. Both offer luxury beachfront stays and relatively easy access to nearby Diamond Head State Monument, where you can follow a trail right to the edge of the 300,000 year old volcanic crater.
Cost to Spend a Week for Two: $7,721
Despite an upscale reputation, this Caribbean island isn’t just for the super rich. You can go in May for 75% cheaper than during the peak season, which is typically around Christmas, according to Booking.com. Consider a room at the Tom Beach Hotel or the Fleur De Lune. If you and your new spouse want a little excitement mixed in with your lounging, visit the beach at Grand Cul-de-Sac, where you can try kayaking, windsurfing, kite-surfing, and fly fishing.
Cost to Spend a Week for Two: $4,066
Home to over 400 wineries and innumerable vineyards, Sonoma offers a chance to put some of the country’s best winemakers to the test. Rooms in the iconic valley average $377 a night during the last week of June, 30% cheaper than during its peak (during October's harvest), according to Booking.com. Check out smaller hotels and boutique lodgings like Andrea's Hidden Cottage and the MacArthur Place Inn & Spa. Looking for some adventure before the tastings? Check out Sonoma Canopy Tours, which operates zip-lining trips through the redwoods, starting at $99.
Cost to Spend a Week for Two: $4,263
Named one of the most romantic cities in the world, Seville will enchant visitors with Andalucian charm and vibrant personality. Travelers in July can expect to pay around $80 per night for a higher-end hotel. Booking.com recommends Hotel Bécquer and Hotel Alfonso XIII - A Luxury Collection Hotel. While in Seville, make time to visit the Alcázar ($11 entrance fee), a stunning 14th century palace and fortress with many unique architectural influences.
August—Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Cost to Spend a Week for Two: $7,992
If you’ve got the budget, Hamilton Island is the perfect destination from which to explore the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s most treasured aquatic wonders. Four- and five-star accommodations on this tropical paradise (which limits vehicle traffic to golf carts) for the second week of August will set you back an average of $250 a night. Booking.com recommends Mirage Whitsundays and the Viewpoint for the best hotel experience. In addition to paddling past the underwater sights, you can stop by WILD LIFE Hamilton Island ($25 entrance fee), a wildlife park where you can interact with Aussie animals—including cuddling with a koala.
Cost to Spend a Week for Two: $4,000
One of the most romantic spots in India, Udaipur is set beside Lake Pichola, and surrounded by the wooded ridges of the Aravalli Hills. Adding to the allure are fantastical palaces and temples; visit the imposing City Palace, whose cupolas tower above the lake. A September visit will gain you 45% cheaper hotel rates than at peak times, according to Booking.com, who recommends lodging in the Trident Udaipur hotel or the Taj Lake Palace hotel.
Cost to Spend a Week for Two: $6,115
Skip the tourist crush of summer and visit Santorini during fall to see its whitewashed houses stacked along the Aegean sea.For classic panoramic views, try staying at La Perla Villas, located in the village of Oia on Santorini's northern end. Also worth a visit is Fira, the island’s busy capital, which features bustling bars and restaurants along with narrow streets that wind along the edge of the island's caldera. Booking.com recommends spending the night at Lilium Santorini Villa, if you want to stay in the capital.
Cost to Spend a Week for Two: $3,485
This classic honeymoon destination becomes a relative bargain as you approach the year's end. Booking.com estimates that hotel room rates at 30% cheaper than in peak tourist season; it recommends the Hotel Saint-Louis in Pigalle or My Maison In Paris - Sentier. While the weather may be chilly, you can take shelter in the city's plentiful indoor attractions. The massive Paris Photo art show runs in mid-month; you can also catch classical music concerts at Sainte Chapelle and opera and ballet performances at Palais Garnier and Opera Bastille.
Cost to Spend a Week for Two: $5,089
Visiting the Australian capital early in its summer will net you balmy temperatures and a flurry of holiday activities (including the iconic fireworks over Sydney Harbour on New Year’s). If you delay your trip till after the holidays, the average daily hotel rate falls to around $135, Booking.com finds—40% cheaper than the most expensive week of the year. For a swanky stay, the site recommends InterContinental Sydney and the Swissôtel Sydney. Take advantage of the weather by taking a picnic to one of the city’s many outdoor venues, such as Bradfield Park or Cockatoo Island. You can even order a pre-assembled gourmet feast through the Sydney Picnic Co (with baskets starting around $120).