- The average US couple spends $4,500 on their honeymoon.
- But the cost of a honeymoon can vary widely based on the style of vacation you choose, your accommodations, and several other factors.
- We asked travel agents how much couples should aim to spend on their honeymoons and how their budget should break down.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The date has been set, the venue is booked, and all the little details of the big day have been arranged.
Now, all that’s left for an engaged couple to do is exchange their vows and live happily ever after, right?
Not necessarily. If they want to go on a honeymoon, their prep work isn’t quite finished. In fact, the cost and planning of a honeymoon can sometimes rival that of a wedding, with US couples spending an average of $4,500 on their honeymoon, according to WeddingWire.
Of course, that’s only an average, and the cost of any trip depends on a multitude of factors, such as distance from home, duration, destination type, accommodation type, food and drink, and the activities you choose — which can make it difficult to predict the overall cost and then budget accordingly.
So how much can you realistically expect to spend on a honeymoon? We talked to several experts from the travel industry for their input.
First, get a rough estimate of the total cost based on the type of trip
The total cost of a honeymoon depends on a multitude of factors, but the biggest one is likely what type of trip you decide to go on.
For example, if you choose Paris for your honeymoon, plan on spending anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000-plus, according to Christina Papavlasopoulos and Nektaria Panagiotari, cofounders of Shefari, a travel company for women.
On the lower end of that range, say, for $3,000 or $4,000, you could enjoy a seven-day honeymoon at a three- or four-star hotel in a nice area of Paris, complete with a free or small-group walking tour, reasonable dinner choices (some more casual, maybe a splurge or two), and minimal shopping in local boutiques, Papavlasopoulos and Panagiotari said.
"If you factor in food and drink costs, shopping, and tours or activities, it would be safe to budget around $500 to $700 a day to enjoy yourselves," they said in an email.
Getty ImagesOn the other hand, if you want to spend your week in the lap of luxury — including a private car tour with VIP access to Versailles and the palace gardens, a five-star or luxury boutique hotel with great views, perhaps a Michelin-star dining experience, top wine, and shopping on the Champs-Élysées — expect to spend $10,000 or more, they said.
If you prefer something exotic, an African safari might be the ticket. Options range from DIY tours, rustic lodging, and camping in public parks to high-end private reserves with guided tours and onsite luxury suites with plunge pools and five-star amenities, according to Papavlasopoulos and Panagiotari.
Similar ranges exist for other types of honeymoon vacations, from African safaris to Caribbean cruises.
"Cruise pricing varies by the length of trip, room type, cruise line, and destination," Jen Avey of Destination Weddings Travel Group told Business Insider.
Depending on the type of cruise experience you want, she said, you may opt to pay for drinks, off-board excursions, upgraded dining options, spa and salon services, and retail purchases.
"All these factors will impact your price, but the good news is that the range is broad so you should be able to find something to fit your budget," she said.
Next, break down the total honeymoon cost into four categories
The total cost of a honeymoon comprises four main expense categories, Papavlasopoulos and Panagiotari said: accommodations, transportation, activities, and food and drink.
Accommodations are the biggest piece of the pie, they said, usually taking up 45% to 60% of the total honeymoon budget.
Next, expect to spend 20% to 25% on transportation.
"Booking around six to eight months in advance is advised, and shoulder or medium season is best for flight pricing and availability," they said. "In Europe, your optimal travel times will likely come in May and September or October. For US travelers, Mexico or the Caribbean is significantly less than Europe, while Asia or Oceania is even more."
The cost of activities depends on, well, your activity level. If you’re just relaxing on the beach or enjoying an all-inclusive property, you’ll likely spend less than 5% of your budget on activities, the pair said. For more active couples, expect to spend 10% to 15%.
Finally, when it comes to food and drink, budget-conscious honeymooners could likely devote 7% to 10% of the budget to this category.
"Foodies and wine lovers should definitely budget higher," they said.
Of course, extra costs always crop up, so leave a bit of wiggle room for things like public transportation, museum or beach club entrances, shopping for souvenirs, currency exchange, and so on.
Remember, honeymoon travel is different than everyday vacation travel in several ways
Jin Chu Ferrer/Getty ImagesOf course, a honeymoon is different from ordinary vacation travel for several reasons.
First, honeymoons tend to be longer than usual vacations, Laura Freeman, a travel agent who specializes in honeymoons, told Business Insider. That’s because employers are usually more lax in granting time off for honeymoons, and many couples who plan to have children in the future want to make the most of traveling child-free while they can, she said.
Couples also tend to go all-out on their honeymoons, traveling to bucket-list destinations and spending more on "romantic themed excursions and romantic accommodations," than they normally would, Freeman said.
"For example, where they might take a shared boat trip in Santorini while on vacation, they upgrade to a private boat on their honeymoon for a more romantic experience, or they book a hotel with a private hot tub on the balcony," she said.
"Honeymooners want to visit the spa and do more fine dining than they do on a regular vacation."
It’s important to factor in all those expenses beforehand so you don’t encounter any surprises on your dream honeymoon.
- Here’s how much of your wedding budget you should set aside for your honeymoon
- 7 questions to ask your real estate agent before it’s too late
- How to protect your money when marrying someone who’s in legal or financial trouble