In January we are (finally) embarking on our honeymoon to Belize. As Jimmy says, “this is the first honeymoon of many!” Two weeks of fun in the sun should do us quite nice. Belize has a little of everything – jungle, beaches, and the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere. While I have been there before as a solo budget traveler, this will be Jimmy’s first time in the country and I know he will love it as much as I do.
Given this is our honeymoon we want to make this trip special. Jimmy found a great deal on the flights at $275 RT per person on The Flight Deal. If you’re not familiar with the site, you should check it out. $550 for two round trip flights to Belize in January? – No brainer! Flights from Phoenix to Belize City usually average between $700-$800 per person, so we patted ourselves on the back for saving $1,000 on flights and thought we would apply our cost savings to a little extra splurge. The next step was to decide how to apply the savings.
Jimmy suggested we take the first 4 or 5 days to indulge and really relax since we are often running around and always working on something. Even though we were going to splurge, we are still a frugal couple, so a Groupon Getaway deal seemed a reasonable way to get more for less. We explored jungle lodges and private island getaways. We finally settled on a 5-day resort deal for the Belize Ocean Club in Placencia. Unfortunately, the Groupon didn’t work out, as the resort was booked during the dates we were there. We were refunded and went back to the drawing board to plan a new itinerary. Sorry Belize Ocean Club, maybe next time.
I will admit, I got a bit carried away as I researched where to stay in order to have the romantic and intimate getaway that I felt we had missed out on with the Groupon deal. It quickly became overwhelming as I looked into luxurious places such as Ka’ana Resort in San Ignacio, Chabil Mar in Placencia, and Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort in Hopkins. The resorts were all lovely and the ultimate luxury honeymoon getaway could have been achieved. But the thing is, they just didn’t work for us – and they didn’t work for us for two reasons.
First, we aren’t really luxury resort people. Some couples can really appreciate the fine details of an immaculate room and enjoy being waited on hand and foot by staff. We’re just not that couple. We want a fridge in the room so that we can walk to town, buy beer at the local store, and save money by avoiding the hotel pool bar. Truth.
The second reason is we couldn’t justify the expense. Some of these rooms were running between $350-$500/night; January is high season in Belize, which means the room rates are often higher. Our personal financial situation had changed substantially just a few short months after originally booking the trip, and I would have been ridden with guilt and stress by staying in a place at that cost.
In October we had to decide if we should just cancel the trip all together and delay to another time. But, in the end, we decided to move forward with our trip. We would just have to adjust our expectations. Travel is one thing we are passionate about and we didn’t want to sacrifice a trip and time off together if we didn’t have to (especially our honeymoon!). The flights were already paid for and it would have cost us more to rebook at a later date anyways. While I got caught up trying to plan the perfect honeymoon, I lost what was really important and what we value as a couple.
What we really value in our honeymoon is the opportunity to explore together.
We value experiences.
Thankfully my husband was quick to remind me that in all of our travels to-date the quality of the room or hotel had little impact on our overall experience. We stayed in a great penthouse room at the Scandic Hotel in Hamburg last year, but we hardly spent any time in the room. Despite the constant rain and cool temperatures we valued exploring the city of Hamburg with our friends and eating bratwurst outside at the Christmas markets more than the room. During our trip to Scotland, our stay at Mackenzies Highland Inn was nothing fancy. The room was quite drafty and the common room even smelled a little funny. But it had no impact on our overall stay in Aviemore where we enjoyed one of our favorite hikes to-date.
As it turns out, the affordable flights set the tone and theme for our honeymoon! We were able to book accommodations that had all the amenities we desired (comfortable room, bikes/paddleboards, near town) at a price that fit our budget. We certainly will not be staying anywhere luxurious, but by saving money on accommodations and taking the buses around the country instead of renting a car, we will have more than enough to experience all that we’d like to do. Visit the ATM cave? Snorkel and picnic on a private island? Hike the Jaguar Preserve? We can do all of that and more thanks to our little change in plans. And you know what? We couldn’t be more thrilled.
For $62/night we will stay in a cabana on the beach at Lebeha Drumming Center in Hopkins, Belize
For $69/nt we will spend 4 nights at Barefoot Beach Belize in Caye Caulker. Can’t wait to chill under the palapa!
We’ll be sure to keep you posted on our Belizean honeymoon adventure next month!
Leaders in the wedding and honeymoon industry will tell you to “Splurge!” They’ll warn you, “You get what you pay for.” And of course “You only get one honeymoon – treat yourself!” Who says you only get one Honeymoon? The ultimate honeymoon couple at Honeytrek would beg to differ.
Just remember, everyone values things differently. Talk to your spouse about what you really want out of your honeymoon — local activities, nice meals, luxurious room? Anything goes! Allocating your costs to what will be most fulfilling for both of you will ensure the value of your honeymoon is met.