Dream honeymoon on a budget

ON AVERAGE, Australian couples budget $5000 on their honeymoon, which does not include spending money.

That's a hefty bill to rack up before you have barely started your life as husband and wife.

So, how can you keep the cost down without scrimping on style?

Here is Escape Travel's list of top 5 tips for booking a dream honeymoon, without blowing your budget.

1. Travel off-peak and look for deals

School holidays and weekends are best avoided when it comes to air travel. These are typically the busiest times to fly. If you are flexible with your travel dates, fly during the week and use frequent flyer points to upgrade if you have any. It also pays to sign up for newsletters from your local travel agent and keep an eye out for deals to take advantage of.

2. Ask guests for honeymoon funds

The growing trend for newlyweds is to set up a honeymoon registry for their wedding. Couples simply create the registry at their nearest Escape Travel store and wedding guests transfer their desired gift electronically. It is a fantastic way to pool money together to put towards the overall cost of a honeymoon, instead of accumulating plates, cups and cutlery, which are often not required.

3. Think outside the box

Five-star camping honeymoons are gaining popularity, especially in Africa where you can sleep under the stars in a luxury tent. More couples are joining group tours, too, for the ease of an organised itinerary and the social aspect of travelling with like-minded people. Also look into parts of Asia and the South Pacific that are lesser known and not likely to be populated by tourists, such Palau or Boracay in the Philippines, Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia and the beaches of Sri Lanka.

4. Get advice

Travel agents have a wealth of travel knowledge. Speak to them about where to go, when to go and tips on places to stay. They have access to all the cheap travel deals, news on exclusive resorts and more. Packages are great value, with inclusions such as breakfast, airport transfers, taxes and activities. Be sure you take out travel insurance and read the fine print so you know exactly what you are covered for.

5. Watch the dollar

Monitor exchange rates before you leave and change a few hundred dollars every time the Aussie dollar hits a high. It is a good time to travel now because the Aussie dollar is doing well against the US, UK and most other countries. You'll get the best bang for your buck from countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and Bali.

Phone 1300 799 783 or see www.escapetravel.com.au.

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