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How to Plan an Affordable Honeymoon

You can still have the trip of your dreams while sticking to a budget.

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Honeymoons don't have to be expensive.

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My husband and I enjoy traveling, and when we were planning our honeymoon, we knew we wanted to go on our biggest adventure yet and visit Australia and New Zealand. While we were excited to head down under, we didn't want to go broke on our three-week vacation.

Here are eight tips we used that could also help you save money on your dream honeymoon:

1. Use a credit card that will earn you travel points or miles.

Nearly two years before we went on our honeymoon, my husband and I opened a joint credit card that would allow us to earn points that we could redeem for both airline miles, free nights at hotels and car rentals. We used this card to pay for all of our wedding expenditures, so in a way our wedding helped pay for our honeymoon!

2. Sign up for reward programs.

This should go without saying, but if you are traveling or staying at a hotel, make sure you register for any reward programs that are available to you. At the time we were planning our honeymoon, I was traveling quite a bit for work, so I was able to save up enough airline miles to get one of our flights for free and also quite a few of our hotel rooms. Even if you are an infrequent traveler, those reward points and miles can add up over time!

3. Plan your travel well in advance.

We spent nearly two years planning our honeymoon, so we were able to track the best time of year to book our flights and hotels. We booked as soon as rates became available for our intended travel dates, which is especially important if you are using airline miles to travel because free seats can be claimed quite quickly.

4. Travel during the off-season.

My husband and I didn't go on our honeymoon immediately after our wedding. Instead, we waited a month and went right in the middle of their winter, which meant that while it was 85 degrees in Chicago we were enjoying temperatures in the 60s in Australia. We also enjoyed cheaper hotel rooms and cheaper flights between cities. At times, it felt like we were the only tourists over there.

5. Check out discount travel sites.

While I didn't use any discount travel sites when we booked our honeymoon, I have more recently become a fan of using discount travel sites to save on hotel rooms. One of my favorite travel websites is Jetsetter, which does a great job of reviewing hotels, but also lists many favorites and offers flash sales on hotel rooms around the world. I have also found great deals via Groupon. Just make sure you do your homework on the hotel before purchasing the deal because it might be non-refundable.

6. Plan out your meals ahead of time.

Wherever you're headed, look into ways that you might be able to save money on your meals. Perhaps this means staying at bed and breakfasts and being sure to start each day with the provided breakfast. You could also check out sites like Groupon for any dining deals in the area. If you're staying at a hotel, pack some light non-perishable snacks like granola bars that you can eat in a pinch. If you are staying somewhere with cooking facilities, head out to the local grocery store and pick up the provisions necessary to make a couple of meals.

7. Book activities online.

If you are planning out any activities you will do on your honeymoon, check online to see if discounts may be available. For instance, when we were in New Zealand, we went on a whale watching tour and received a discount for booking online ahead of our arrival. The other perk to seeing if there are discounts available and booking early is that you will reserve your place and won't get there and realize the tour you wanted to do is sold out!

8. Have a honeymoon registry.

Honeymoon registries are becoming very popular. Lifestyles are changing, and nowadays newly-married couples may not need as many household items as they once did. If that's the case for you, creating a honeymoon registry will allow people to help pay for specific activities you want to do on your honeymoon. My husband and I created a registry with Honeyfund, and our friends and family members were able to fund specific parts of our trip. For instance, they could pay for shares of hotel rooms, celebratory champaign or adventures that we went on like the whale watching tour.

Using the tips above, my husband and I were able to enjoy three weeks in Australia and New Zealand for just a fraction of what we originally thought we would spend. I hope these tips will help you enjoy the honeymoon of your dreams for less, too.