If you're engaged (or recently tied the knot), there's a pretty good chance your big day involved dropping an exorbitant amount of cash. Who the hell has enough money leftover after throwing a wedding to actually go on a trip? While it may seem like you're destined to camp out in your own backyard and call it a day, there are actually some gorgeous — and relatively cheap — honeymoon destinations that you can probably eke out enough cash to visit.
These top honeymoon destinations are perfect for the couple on a budget. They offer many affordable yet luxe hotels with great dining options and attractions that won't deplete your savings — so you don't have to skip that much-deserved post-wedding week off.
1. Oahu, Hawaii
Hawaii, despite being in the U.S., is one of the most expensive places to travel. However, unlike Maui or Kauai, Oahu offer the same gorgeous views for far less money. If you two are adventure seekers, Oahu is your place.
This tropical paradise offers amazing attractions that cost nothing or next to nothing to see, like Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head crater and the Banzai Pipeline surf break. If you're more into the city lifestyle with a tropical edge, you'll want to hit up Honolulu, the Hawaiian capital, located on the southern tip of Oahu. Honolulu has a hefty hotel stock, which means the odds of you finding one for a reasonable price are much higher. If you're a foodie, you'll love Honolulu's affordable farmers' market on Saturday and the cozy restaurants in the Kapahulu neighborhood. If you're staying in Honolulu, you can snag a room at the swanky four-star Hawaii Prince hotel for a reasonable price, and check out the three-star Wakiki Gateway hotel, which is even less.
Up next: Charleston, South Carolina
Originally published July 2012. Updated March 2017.
2. Charleston, South Carolina
If you're in the mood for a beach, historical tours and amazing food, but don't want to leave the country (or fly the eight plus hours to Hawaii), check out Charleston, South Carolina. This beautiful and historic city is made for romance and offers amazing attractions and cheap food.
In addition to plenty of nearby free beaches, like Folly, Isle of Palms and Kiawah Island, Charleston also has other free sights, right in the city. The Charleston City Market, one of the oldest in the country, is open daily and offers hundreds of handmade items from local vendors. You also can visit Battery Park, which offers breathtaking views of the ocean as well as many beautiful trees and historic homes.
For an authentic taste of Charleston, hit up the Charleston Cafe, located right outside the city in Mt. Pleasant. Here you can find Southern favorites, like fried green tomatoes and grits, all day for an affordable price. Stay at the Hampton Inn in the historic district (on Meeting Street) to be within walking distance of all the sites, food and shopping.
Up next: Montenegro
Don't let the misconception that European honeymoons are extravagant or overly expensive stop you from exploring Europe. When traveling in abroad, avoid the high tourist spots, like Venice, Rome and Paris as these places are typically more expensive to stay, eat and play in. Instead, why not visit the Montenegro?
In the quaint city of Ulcinj you'll find Long Beach, a beautiful serene stretch of beach that is said to have medicinal qualities. You can also take a day trip to Lake Skadar National Park, which is a stunning park nestled among mountains and fresh water. On your way back to town, stop along the fields of olive vines and visit Cetinje, which is home to two magnificent monasteries. Instead of cabs or expensive shuttles, rent a motorbike (some start at just €20 a day — around $25 to 30 US) and travel around the countryside.
Hit up a local market, pack a picnic and dine for free among some of the most beautiful views in the world in the Tara River Canyon. For a seriously cheap room, stay in the hostels at Contessa, which are upgraded suites and apartments with private bathrooms and balconies.
Up next: Yucatan Peninsula
4. Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
If you're looking for white sand beaches, all-inclusive resorts as well as ancient ruins and sights, head to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. This peninsula encompasses a huge area that features top tourist destinations like Cancun, Cozumel and Riviera Maya, so the chances of you finding an affordable place to stay are greater.
Each popular destination has its own vibe. Cancun is a popular spring break destination so it has tons of bars (check out Senõr Frogs), great eateries and luxurious all-inclusive resorts, like the Marriott CasasMagna Hotel, which you can get for just $119 a night. For those looking for more water adventure, like diving, snorkeling and scuba, check out Cozumel, which fronts the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere and the second largest in the world. Stay at the all-inclusive Allegro Cozumel for less than $150 a night. If you want the best of both worlds, stay in Riviera Maya, which has gorgeous wildlife tours, scuba and ancient artifacts (visit the Mayan World and ruins in Tulum) as well as shopping (check out La Quinta Ave. for stores and dining) and nightlife.
The Occidental Grand Xcaret has really affordable all-inclusive packages that include airfare.
Up next: Montreal
5. Montreal, Quebec
If you've always dreamed of a Parisian honeymoon but can't afford it, check out Montreal — which many say is the next best thing to Paris. This city is the largest city in the province of Quebec, and since French is the city's official language, you'll feel like you're light-years away from home.
Montreal also boasts an incredible public transportation system, so you can get anywhere in the city without the need of a car or expensive cab. Although it might cost a bit more, you might want to stay in Vieux Montreal, or Old Montreal, because you'll be within walking distance of some of the biggest attractions, like Notre-Dame Basilica, the St. Lawrence riverfront and the Marche Bonsecours market (which was recently renovated and features tons of boutiques, restaurants and bars). You can also stay at the Intercontinental, right in the Vieux Montreal, for less than $150 US a night (depending on the time of year you visit).
What makes Montreal such a great honeymoon spot for frugal couples is the fact that most of the best attractions are free! The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, for example, costs nothing to get in. Plus, if you travel from the end of June to the beginning of July, you can catch the world famous Jazz Festival, which has many free concerts as well as those you can buy tickets for.