Planning your honeymoon should be an exciting time. But choosing an adventurous, relaxing or foodie destination and planning your first days together as newlyweds is a financial decision as much as it is a romantic one. With the Canadian dollar slumping to its lowest since 2004, planning a honeymoon can feel limiting. So just how far can you stretch your dollar?
According to Cheryl Bailie, owner of Honeymoon Consultants in North Vancouver, all-inclusives are still the most popular choice. This is mostly because of the fixed rate and beachy locales. If you’re honeymooning in the summer months (April to October) seek out the South Pacific Islands because they’re in line weather-wise whereas the Caribbean is wet at that time of year. But even with the draw of the all-inclusive price tag, “most resorts price trips annually based on market predictions,” says Bailie. So there’s a catch. “When the dollar drops surcharges go up,” Bailie tells us, so you have to keep an eye on it.
If you’re planning a sunny destination outside of an all-inclusive resort, it’s not just the US dollar you have to watch out for. The Canadian dollar is just 61 cents on the Fiji dollar and 91 cents on the New Zealand dollar (the Cook Islands use the NZD). Look into the cost of living at a few of your top destinations as well as the average Airbnb or hotel prices to get a feel for how much you’ll be spending day-to-day.
But it’s not all bad news. “Generally we’re seeing good pricing on airfare because travel overall is down with the low Canadian dollar,” says Bailie, adding “I haven’t seen [fuel] taxes on flights change too much.” With European travel down, we’re seeing lower fares but with seat sales, travel goes back up and so do the prices. It’s all about timing.
So what if you knock out airfare altogether? You save a chunk of cash immediately and luckily for us B.C. has plenty of beautiful destinations within driving distance. “Tofino is the top [destination] by far for local honeymoons,” says Bailie, but “there’s also some great properties on the sunshine coast.” If it’s an escape you’re looking for, B.C. has plenty of oceanfront and privacy to offer. You just need to know where to look.
If there’s one trend Bailie’s noticing more than ever in her 20 years as a honeymoon consultant and planner, she tells us, it’s that “couples are holding off on a honeymoon after they get married.” The reason? They want to “hold out for an improved [exchange] rate,” says Bailie. “They have a summer wedding but travel in November or December. Maybe go on a mini-thing to Tofino for four or five nights and plan something bigger down the road. That definitely seems to be the trend.”
Whatever the trend, couples should do what feels right. Want to climb volcanoes in Iceland? Delve into spice markets in Turkey? Make it happen. Just find a budget you're both comfortable with and stick to it. You'll be glad you did.