(Closed) Money saving tips for European Honeymoon?

posted 8 years ago in Honeymoons
Post # 17
Member
3885 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Delta miles are not worth opening a credit card for— too hard to use them and delta wants so many of them for any flight that most people call them Sky Pesos. If you want a solid travel credit card, go Amex or Chase Ink, both of which get points  can be transferred to about 6-8 different airlines, and also to hotel programs.

I’d also recommend against hostels on a honeymoon, as many hostels do not offer the newlyweds much privacy.

 

Post # 18
Member
206 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

Last year my parents and I booked a 1 week Travelzoo deal for Spain and Portugal in October that was quite reasonable-however, we also live in departure cities for many of these deals (NYC, Boston). Unfortunately I was not able to go due to b-school interviewing (gah!) but it was like $1500ish per person for round-trip flights and accomodation in 3 star hotels and all internal flights. Maybe keep checking up on Travelzoo, buy the 1 week deal and then push out your return flight one week and go to another country if possible? I also constantly see deals with Virgin that are 10 to 12 days long, and deals for fantastic looking cruises. 

 

These are the types of deals I am talking about: http://www.travelzoo.com/vacations/europe/

 

 

 

My parents had a fantastic time-they said the hotel was reasonable in Spain, very very nice in Portugal. They got breakfast included, skipped lunch and ate dinner.  

 

By the way, not sure about Delta but here’s the situation with United. I had just under 70K miles with them last year because I had to use them constantly for my old job, and we booked them for our wedding in India because we needed a non-stop (15K rountrip). Then I opened a credit card and got like 35K more award miles + I put our wedding bills on the card. Long story short, I am well  agove 120K miles with them right now. The average trip to an international destination costs about 55K each way in miles, usually more. So I am looking at exhausting all my points for 1 ticket. Which, fine, we’ll use them up somehow but I rarely think awards miles are worth it. 

Post # 20
Member
3695 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

A lot of cities have passes for transportation for a set number of days that you can take busses, trains, etc.  Milan was the best – you could get anywhere on a bus, train, or Metro for one price for 3 days.  Milan wasn’t my favorite city, but it was easy to get around.  Amsterdam had something similar and it came with the CityPass.  Keep an eye out for stuff like that, too.  A lot of cities have deals where you pay for a pass and can get into a lot of different places like museums and other attractions.  It was a super good deal in Amsterdam. 

If you’re going to Italy especially, plan ahead and book tickets for popular places!  If you want to see “The Last Supper” you have to buy tickets months in advance sometimes.  The other museums have HUGE lines for people without advance tickets.  We almost didn’t make it in to one after standing in line for 3 hours.  Plan ahead, at least a day – you get a ticket for a time window and can go just walk in within a few minutes. 

We ended up saving money by renting a car and driving everywhere, even with parking and fuel (holy shit it’s expensive!).  The car was $500 for 3 weeks, and the train pass would have been double that for each of us.  We still would have had to pay to get around town once we got there and the car got us to some places, we did public transport others.

Grocery stores is a good tip, as well as breakfast included.  European continental breakfast is delicious.  And baguettes for less than a Euro, can’t beat that for a tasty sandwich.  We were there to eat so we went out most of the time, but we did pack a lunch to the races we went to and bought snacks for roaming around.  Saved a ton of money just on bottled water and gatorade (it was hot!). 

Post # 21
Member
191 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I agree with those who have mentioned using Airbnb! We stayed in multiple apartments all around Italy using Airbnb and it was great, saved so much money by doing this.  Plus if the home you are staying in has a kitchen you aren’t forced to eat out for each meal. It is slightly less convenient in terms of check in/out in comparison to a hotel but often times you save so much it doesn’t matter. 

Post # 22
Member
1278 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

I also recommend airbnb –  we saved SO Much by booking through them and had fantastic apartments too. We had a jar of peanut butter that travelled with us and we just got fresh bread to keep us going for breakfast and snacking. 

Buy your bottled water in supermarkets. And if you go to Rome, fill up your water in the city’s fountains – best water ever and its free!

The prix fixe (fixed price dinners) may be a bit touristy but do your research and you can find a really good value 3 course meal for some special occasions. 

Stay somewhere with a washing machine and dryer – saves you  time and money from going ot the laundromat. 

Check into the city’s hop on hop off bus options – some (not all) are really good value for getting you into most of the major attractions for free. Well worth the initial spend. Some also include free public transport travel. 

Post # 23
Member
15 posts
Newbee

the fiance and i are paying for our honeymoon (hotel and flight) with miles. but keep in mind we’re consultants that travel 28 days a month and log about 100k flying miles each a year

 

check out the flyertalk forums you’ll get a lot of tips on credit cards that are offering specials and take advantage of them.  note: the credit card fees are pretty high but generally the point bonus exceeds that if you time it right. i.e. once a year amex platnium offers a 100k point bonus when you spend a certian amount, the rest of the year its either 50k or 75k, which when you do the points-to-real dollars conversion may not be worth it when you factor the annual fee. keep in mind the “other perks” and the monetary value associated w/ those. like my aadvantage card gives me airport club access which would normally be 350 a year that i would otherwise buy so that offsets the 450 annual fee and allows for me and my companions to have free checked luggage (it adds up)

 

to answer your other question on how many points: we’re an american airlines/marriott family so i can say that our honeymoon points are for first class RT flights 120k points each lax to paris and 45k points a night for a category 7 marriott

Post # 25
Member
492 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Some general tips:

-The BEST exchange rate is if you have a Bank of America checking account and withdraw cash at a Barclays ATM in England, a BNP in France, or a Deutsche Bank in Germany.  No exchange fees and even exchange rate.  Look up the Global ATM alliance.  I think PNC bank checking accounts may also be good for avoiding ATM fees. Just be prepared that it might not be a good idea to show up in a foreign country with zero cash (but it depends on how well you know you can manage for a bit without cash…for example if flying into London or Paris and taking the train to downtown, you can buy tickets using a credit card and hunt down an ATM after hotel check-in.  Depending on the country and my access to these ATMs, I may put as much as possible on the credit card (3% fee usually) but it is often easier to pay with cash if you can get to the ATMs (BNP is everywhere in Paris, for example).

-London is generally cheap for base airfare but has very high taxes, and travel from airport to downtown is expensive.

-In Paris, consider buying a museum pass which is valid for one or more consecutive days and lets you skip the line at most sites (Eiffel Tower is not included and you have to wait in line for Notre Dame gargoyles and some security lines).  It can save hours of waiting.  Buy it at a FNAC store or at a museum/monument included in the pass.

Post # 26
Member
62 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

It is always cheaper to get money from a Bank (your own at home, or ATMs abroad) than it is through an airport/train station currency exchange.  I did all of my exchange by debit withdrawls.  My account had no fees for international withdrawls, but even if it did, its a good idea to get a few days worth at a time, so I would still would’ve been paying less per euro/pound between the better bank exchange rate and the fee.  Something to check into with your bank.  I also used my credit card as much as I could because it had an even better exchange rate than the bank did, and that saved me from getting cash more often. 🙂

Having a “money wallet” (that you keep under your shirt, etc. will mark you as a tourist, which is more likely to draw pick-pockets.

Post # 27
Member
2080 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

@DomesticDiva:  For saving, I’d recommend putting back a certain amount each paycheck to go towards the “honeymoon fund”.

As far as Delta frequent flyer miles go, be careful with that. We were able to use our frequent flyer miles for our round trip flights to St. Lucia for our honeymoon. However, Delta only flies so many flights per week into St. Lucia. Our flight in to St. Lucia got canceled. We had already paid for our hotel room though. After a lot of pleading and persistance on my husband’s behalf they put us on American Airlines for our trip to St. Lucia. We got very lucky and were able to upgrade to first class to St. Lucia for 200 per person. Under normal circumstances, you can not upgrade to first class when you fly with Delta miles. We just flew back from Las Vegas. We used Delta miles to pay for my portion of the trip but not my husband’s part. There were only certain flights available for our flight back home. My husband had to change his flight to match my flight. We ended up starting our flight at midnight out of Las Vegas and getting back in to NC at 11am. So, basically the flights you can pay for with miles are limited and not always at convenient times.

Regarding credit cards, we don’t have many. I have no idea how the frequent flyer credit cards work and what the interest rates are like on them. I use credit cards mostly for emergency use only. I find the interest rate usually outweighs most of the benefits or perks the card offers. Some people are really good about using their card and paying it off immediately afterwards to receive perks and avoid much interest.

Sign up for Groupon, they also have an app. They have a lot of deals under getaways on their app. Most of the deals include airfare and hotel accomodations. Some of them include tours and food. Sniqueaway.com is another good travel website that has decent deals on hotel rooms.

Good luck on saving up for your trip and finding good deals. Let us know how it goes.

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