The hard part is over. You spent weeks or even months planning and organizing your wedding, but it finally passed and everything went well. But the hardest period is yet to come, as a marriage is not that easy, especially if you are planning to have children as well. But in between these two tough times, there is the most wonderful period in the life of a married couple – the honeymoon.

If you got a lot of money from your wedding guests and parents, you might be tempted to get the most expensive and exotic honeymoon and throw thousands of dollars out the window. Not that there is anything wrong with an exotic vacation, but you might want to do other useful things for your future with that money. So it won’t hurt to be a bit cautious when it comes to the honeymoon experience.

Here are our 9 tips for honeymooning on a budget:

1. Set Your Priorities

Before starting to compare various offers, think of what’s most important to you. Is it important to travel fast and comfortable at first class? Or maybe you can be fine with a low-cost flight and spend more on accommodations? Do you really need the most luxurious room or you can do fine in a basic room but spend more money on food, drinks and entertainment? When in vacation you barely stay in the hotel room, so you can save some money there and spend them on other stuff. Do you want to visit as many museums and landmarks as possible? Or do you just want to chill by the beach? It’s important to set your priorities and then to search for the right offer.

2. Use A Travel Agent

Not only this will save you a lot of time spent on research and comparing prices, but a travel agent might also have access to special packages and discounts. They know the latest and best offers, and know what works for certain types of people. So just tell them your preferences, and they will find the most suited offer for your personality and for your budget.

3. Travel Off-season

This one is a no-brainer. When the season is on and the demand is high, the prices are at their peak. So if you travel off-season (or at least right before or right after the peak season), you can save up a lot of money. Not only this, but the place will be less crowded. This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to get a tan, because many islands in the Caribbean have great weather all year round. But in other places the weather might be bad in the off-season, so make sure to do some research first.

4. Eat With The Locals

Many islands and honeymoon destinations have areas and restaurants dedicated to tourists, and here the prices are really high. But if you do your research, you can eat where the locals usually eat and find much cheaper meals. For example, in Bali a normal “tourist lunch” at a restaurant can cost $10 or more, while a lunch prepared by a local can cost $2. Not only you will save money, but you will also get to chat with the locals and get a better feeling of that place (instead of being surrounded by other tourists).

5. Go Somewhere Close

It’s obvious that the longer the flight, the more expensive it will be. This is why many couples choose to go to a location that is just 2-3 hours away. For example, people on the West Coast travel south to Mexico, while people on the East Coast prefer the Caribbean. Another idea is to not take a plane at all, and choose a less exotic location that is within driving distance. This way you can turn your honeymoon into an awesome road-trip and do some sightseeing along the way. If you don’t want to drive that much, also consider taking a bus or a train. USA has plenty of amazing honeymoon resorts and places you can go to.

6. Book Early

This means that you need to have the money at that moment instead of using the wedding gifts, but you can end up saving a lot. Flights are much cheaper if you book them months in advance, hotel rooms are less inexpensive and so are the cruises. For example, if you book a cruise 10 to 14 months in advance, you can spend half the price!

7. Book Last Minute

This contradicts the previous point, but if you weren’t able to book your cruise 12 months in advance, you still have a chance. If a ship is under booked, they may offer last-minute deals. You won’t have so many cabins to choose from, but you can still save some money comparing to a regular cruise.

8. Fly To Less Popular Airports

The bigger and the fancier the airport is, the higher the ticket price will be. Most of the times you can fly much cheaper if you go to a less popular airport. But make sure to research the price of a train or bus to your actual destination. Sometimes you will end up cheaper, while other times not. So be careful.

9. Consider an All-Inclusive Hotel or Cruise

The best thing in the case of staying at an all-inclusive is that there are no surprises. You know the total cost upfront, and then you have unlimited access to meals, drinks, spa, fun activities and so on. So theoretically you won’t need to spend a dollar extra than what you already paid. Sure, you might get a souvenir or leave a tip now and then, but you will definitely not go way over budget. Make sure to pay close attention to the available packages and the benefits they include. Gym and yoga is not your thing? Then why spend extra money on a package that includes them if you’re not even going to use them. No need to waste money on activities you won’t attend.