I’d like to spend less than that, especially since the wedding is only one state over from where I live. So I asked some experts to help me maximize my trip.
If you’re a guest at a destination wedding but need to pinch pennies to afford the trip, here are seven tips for saving money and getting the most out of a loved one’s big day:
1. Get a roommate
“Most resort pricing is based on double occupancy,” said Courtnie Nichols, the founder of TravelBash, a boutique website specializing in destination weddings and honeymoon planning.
Many destination weddings take place at resorts, where most of the festivities surrounding the big day can be easily managed, she said. “Bunk up with someone and share a room,” Nichols advised. “Single rates are often much higher.”
You don’t have to stick with a resort, though. Janessa White, the owner of Simply Eloped, a company that specializes in elopement planning and small destination weddings, suggested Airbnb as an alternative to staying at the wedding hotel.
“Rent a big Airbnb with a handful of other guests,” White said. “Split the cost and save over booking a hotel room.”
White pointed out that you might be able to get a whole house for the same nightly rate as a hotel.
For example, I’m planning to attend a wedding in Salida, Colorado. When I called to book a room through the wedding’s hotel block, I was quoted a rate of $185 per night, before taxes and fees. For two nights, that’s a total of more than $370. Compare that with a four-person Airbnb stay that totals $406, all fees included.
Now, divide that $406 by four people and your lodging cost is $101.50. Even if you split the cost of a double-occupancy hotel room, you’d still pay $185 for the two-night stay. Because lodging can be expensive, saving money on travel by sharing quarters can be a smart money move when attending a destination wedding.
2. Cook your meals
One of the best ways to save money when you travel, whether it’s for a destination wedding or a vacation, is to cook your own meals, according to Mikala Wilson, an event planner and the founder of wedding specialist company A Golden Affair.
“Find a place with a kitchen,” said Wilson. “Buy food from the local grocery store and prepare it yourself. You’ll save tons.”
This method works especially well when combined with staying at an Airbnb spot with other guests. Not only can you split the cost of lodging, but also the cost of your groceries, as well as share cooking duties.
It sure beats spending $15 to $25 per meal at restaurants when you aren’t eating at wedding events.
3. Redeem travel rewards
I have a lot of airline miles because I use my credit card for everything and earn rewards points. As a result, I’ll be able to attend my friends’ destination wedding without worrying about the cost of airfare.
“You can also use a companion pass for another guest,” said Nichols, pointing out that many airline-branded credit card programs offer companion passes. “Split the cost of the regular ticket, so you both pay less in the long run.”
You also can redeem travel rewards points for hotels. Find a hotel in your loyalty rewards program near the wedding venue to stay during the event.
“Be careful to choose a place close to the wedding,” said White. “You don’t want to be stuck with pricey transportation costs to and from the venue if you inadvertently book a room on the other side of a large city.”
4. Participate in group activities
Many couples plan various activities for wedding guests, Wilson said. This makes it possible to turn wedding attendance into a minivacation — and could even save you money.
“A lot [of] companies in big vacation towns give groups of 10 or more discounts,” Wilson said. “Check the couple’s website for a chance to RSVP as part of the group for these activities at a lower cost.”
My destination wedding experience will feature discounts on a river float, brunch, stargazing at a hot spring, and a spa treatment.
5. Turn it into a vacation
When you go the wedding, you already are in a new place, so make the destination this year’s low-cost vacation, suggested Nichols.
“Getting there is one of the biggest expenses, and you’re already there,” Nichols said. “Take advantage of that. Stay an extra day or two either before or after the wedding.”
You can save even more if you convince other wedding guests to stick around and share the vacation with you. However, even if no one is willing to party with you outside of the wedding, you still will save money overall, Nichols pointed out.
“Kill two birds with one stone, and enjoy the fact that you’ve saved money on part of your vacation by doing it as part of the wedding,” said Nichols.
6. Use mobile apps to coordinate with other guests
“Many couples planning destination weddings use WhatsApp or GroupMe for guests,” said Wilson. “You can use these communications tools to find roommates, plan activities you can cost-share, and coordinate Lyft rides or car rentals.”
Whether it’s a wedding-dedicated Facebook or Slack group or some other method, sign up to participate. It’s a perfect way to share cost-saving tips and find people looking to chip in so that everyone has a chance to reduce costs.
7. Create a payment plan for yourself
Finally, you should plan ahead with a payment plan for yourself, Nichols recommended.
“You’ll probably have at least a few months’ notice ahead of a destination wedding,” Nichols said. “The bigger and more expensive the wedding, the more time you have to plan. Sometimes you get more than a year.”
Set aside money each month so that you’re prepared when the time arrives. It will save you the trouble of trying to come up with the entire amount at once.
Nichols suggested planning to use a rewards credit card to pay for the trip so you can collect points. However, once the trip is over, use the money you saved to pay off the credit card balance and avoid interest costs.
Don’t let a destination wedding break the bank
In the end, my costs probably will be in only the $300-to-$400 range, thanks to airline miles, cost-sharing tips, and group discounts. I’ve been able to prepare for this trip by setting aside an extra $25 a week for the last three months.
You can do the same. Look for creative ways to save money, and you’ll be able to show your love for the happy couple by joining them on their big day — without breaking the bank.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
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2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
APR stands for “Annual Percentage Rate.” Rates listed include a 0.25% EFT discount, for automatic payments made from a checking or savings account. Interest rates as of 11/8/2018. Rates subject to change.
Variable rate options consist of a range from 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term, 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term, 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term, 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.98% to 3.80% for the 5-year term loan, 2.35% to 3.85% for the 7-year term loan, 2.40% to 3.90% for the 10-year term loan, 2.65% to 4.15% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.90% to 4.40% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term would be from $180.89 to $193.75. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term would be from $139.65 to $146.76. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term would be from $104.56 to $111.98. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term would be from $78.77 to $86.78. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term would be from $67.05 to $75.68.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.28% effective October 10, 2018.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.46% – 6.97%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.57% – 8.44%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.05% – 6.47%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 7.24%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.79% – 8.39%6||Undergrad & Graduate|