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  • Honeymoon Advice

    My fiance' and I will be getting married this May 2017 just before she begins her residency, and we are planning for a Honeymoon in Belize. All of the packages we are considering incorporate time at both beach and jungle resorts so that we can experience everything from snorkeling, beach lounging, and sailing to river kayaking, cave exploring and Mayan Ruin hiking. As expected, there are several price points we can choose, with increasing costs for increasing experiences/ammenities, ranging from $3k to $8k. Due to the travel requirements of my job, our flights will be covered with Airline miles so the "All-Inclusive Honeymoon Package" is the only real cost. I'm a chemical engineer with a Med-High income, zero debt, 3yrs maxed out IRA, 1yr maxed out 401k. She will be a 1st year Med-Peds resident July 2017 with ~$250k loan debt and no savings. We are wrestling with the idea of spending more money (~$4k more) on our honeymoon versus using that extra money for savings (retirement or house down-payment) or paying down her student loans.

    For you married folks out there, is a Honeymoon one of those "once-in-a-lifetime experiences" that's worth splurging on? Or will we regret not having that extra money when we go to furnish our first shared apartment, replace her 1999 vehicle, or get hit with that first loan payment? After your own Honeymoon, did you look back wishing you had done/spent more or wishing you hadn't been so frivolous?

    Any and all experiences and advice greatly appreciated from a young couple! Thanks!

     

  • #2
    I think the honeymoon is more important than the wedding. Weddings are totally stressful, overpriced for a 30-minute (boring) ceremony, and an event the groom and all his buddies would probably be happy to skip. You need a really good honeymoon to recover.
    Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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    • #3
      We splurged somewhat on our honeymoon (just prior to residency) - 2 weeks in Hawaii, was an amazing trip!

      Now 9 years later and 3 years into attendinghood, we are still buried under a mountain of debt (but quickly approaching a net worth of zero! YAY almost "broke"!!!).

      We are in this mess because of a whole host of bad decisions over and over again.  Splurging on the honeymoon was technically one of those decision, but in the grand scheme it was a small one that we do not regret.

      Its nice to have the earning power to make a few bad financial decisions and still be all but assured of "winning" if you have a plan and an understanding of personal finance.  Judging by where you are right now, I personally would recommend splurging a little.  Just make sure not to have 2 honeymoons a year

      I'm sure you will get multiple different opinions as well - in my opinion, you are at least thinking it through and aware of what your choices will impact down the road!

      Good luck and congrats!

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      • #4
        Just curious, how long of a trip are those packages for?  My opinion is that all inclusive resort anything is a total rip off.  You could plan a trip of a lifetime yourself for a fraction of that cost.  Just go get yourself a couple of travel books on Belize and read up (the lonely planet series is a good one that comes to mind).  Once you book your flight all you need to do is pick a hotel or two, rent a car, and pick some activities each day.  The travel books will give suggestions on safe, fun, cost effective things to do (with reviews) and will give you reviews on restaurants too.  Its worth the extra effort in my opinion and will save you the extra cash you desire to start a savings account when you get home.  I am certain that all of the activities you listed you could book yourself for way cheaper.  And with the money you save planning it yourself, you could afford to splurge on a nicer hotel room or more restaurants or some nice souvenirs.  My wife and I have done lots of traveling since we got married and we've always planned our trips ourselves.

        But, to answer your question about once in a lifetime experiences.  Yes a honeymoon is worth it.  Any trip/experience together is worth it.  You won't regret spending time together exploring the world.  However, I think spending $8k or more on an all inclusive package will be somewhat regrettable, unless the thought of planning it yourself is too much to handle.  We've taken some pretty exotic 2 week long vacations and I don't think we've ever come even remotely close to spending 8k, even on the trips where we got really nice hotel rooms and ate out for virtually every meal.  Maybe I should start a blog? haha

        From personal experience I can tell you that traveling somewhere new and getting lost and making minor mistakes along the way is part of what makes it memorable.  I could go on for hours about all the crazy stuff my wife and I got ourselves into with our travels. Those are some of my fondest memories

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        • #5
          Splurge.

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          • #6
            For a different POV, might want to read the Thrillist travel blog post I thought I was too good to stay at all-inclusive resorts. Then I tried one.
            Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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            • #7
              In 2007, we spent about $7,000 on an 11-day Alaskan land / cruise combo for our honeymoon. It was awesome. We did this at a peak time (August) with a higher-end cruise line. It's true that you only honeymoon once.

              I like an adventure setup like you've outlined. We've done something similar in Costa Rica and the Galapagos islands / Ecuador. $8,000 seems steep for Belize. Check out Friendly Planet. We used them for the Galapagos trip, and their prices are fair. I don't think they have Belize, but you can get an idea of price points for similar experiences.

              Congrats on the upcoming wedding!

              -PoF

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              • #8
                Enjoy the honeymoon. You only do it it once and it's the one thing that only you and your significant other have with just the two of you.

                I couldn't disagree more with the person that said don't do all-inclusives. If you do a little work you can find good places reasonably priced. It's your honeymoon, why worry about finding places to eat, rental cars or hotel check ins when you can eat and drink to your hearts content and just worry about whether you want to sip your drink by the beach or the pool that day instead? My wife and I usually plan our vacations ourselves, which is nice, but it takes time and can be a hassle. The honeymoon we stayed at two different all inclusive resorts, one cheaper, one lavish. We loved them both for different reasons. If we had to do it all over we'd do the same thing, except we'd spend another couple nights at the lavish place and wouldn't think twice about it. Was amazing.

                Congratulations. Have fun.

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                • #9
                  Thanks everyone for the thoughts and comments.

                  Normally we would love planning out every detail of our vacation, but as most of you know things get pretty crazy after match-day. We will be looking for new housing, I will be searching for a new job in a new city, and we will still be frantically planning a wedding. So for this instance we decided that an All-Inclusive was the best choice for simplicity's sake.

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                  • #10
                    Definitely spend the money.  Joining the doctors' wives club is definitely an occasion worth celebrating!   :lol:

                    You're not talking about a ton of money here, even though I know it feels awful for you engineers to splash the cash.   

                    All of those things you list coming up sound like a lot of money, but combined you should be a solid six figure income, it'll be no problem for you.  And if it's really tight, just go slow on the furnishings and make her wait to get that 1st paycheck to replace her car.

                    My wife was still in her last year of medschool when we went on our honeymoon.  We bought a house, got married, honeymoon, even bought furniture and appliances for the house all in about a 40-60 day timespan.  Only time in my life I carried a balance on my credit card and paid a couple months' interest.   

                    No way you'll regret it.  You might regret cheaping out though.  But don't worry about regrets, just have a good time.

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                    • #11
                      Yes. You'll treasure the memory of a wonderful honeymoon for the rest of your lives. This is no ordinary occasion.
                      My Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFF...MwBiAAKd5N8qPg

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                      • #12
                        I prefer all-inclusive all the way. Price-check things. Then again, I drink a LOT on vacation (and resort drinks are weak anyway) and like good food, and I don't want that to be limited. My non-all-inclusive vacations have ended up costing a lot more than I wanted them to...

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                        • #13
                          I am not a big fan of the all-inclusive, maybe I do not drink enough, but I am a big fan of travel.

                          I get I cheapskated our honeymoon in Hawaii, using Hyatt points my wife acquired from her corporate job. The good news is that we covered 8 nights in Hawaii, four in Maui and four in Kuaii. We went to Kuaii first, and the Hyatt there is still one of the nicest hotels I ever stayed in, even 20+ years and many trips later. (If it is any indication, John Travolta was also a guest there at the time in 1996.) It was so beautiful that we were literally disappointed when we got to Maui.

                          When we were married, my wife was six years or so into her legal career, and I was debt free and finishing fellowship. If I were to do it again, I might do some more decadent and more spendy, but we made up for it in our 10th anniversary trip to that crappy Hyatt in Maui with the kids, and a 20th anniversary trip to Tuscany, Rome, and Naples. We are already planning our 25th anniversary trip to Paris to have dinner (not lunch this time  :x ) at Le Grand Vefour!

                          In short, you will get more enjoyment splurging on great vacations than you will buying fancy cars, furniture, and other crap. Since you can't take it with you, have a great honeymoon, and don't think twice about the cost.

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                          • #14
                            I agree with splurging on the honeymoon. We travel a lot. 4-5 overseas trips a year and I never regret spending that money. Having said that, I also am not a fan of all inclusive trips and I enjoy planning my own and also not paying near as much to do it but if the all inclusive trip is your thing, I would do it and enjoy it.

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                            • #15




                              I am not a big fan of the all-inclusive, maybe I do not drink enough, but I am a big fan of travel.

                              I get I cheapskated our honeymoon in Hawaii, using Hyatt points my wife acquired from her corporate job. The good news is that we covered 8 nights in Hawaii, four in Maui and four in Kuaii. We went to Kuaii first, and the Hyatt there is still one of the nicest hotels I ever stayed in, even 20+ years and many trips later. (If it is any indication, John Travolta was also a guest there at the time in 1996.) It was so beautiful that we were literally disappointed when we got to Maui.

                              When we were married, my wife was six years or so into her legal career, and I was debt free and finishing fellowship. If I were to do it again, I might do some more decadent and more spendy, but we made up for it in our 10th anniversary trip to that crappy Hyatt in Maui with the kids, and a 20th anniversary trip to Tuscany, Rome, and Naples. We are already planning our 25th anniversary trip to Paris to have dinner (not lunch this time   ) at Le Grand Vefour!

                              In short, you will get more enjoyment splurging on great vacations than you will buying fancy cars, furniture, and other crap. Since you can’t take it with you, have a great honeymoon, and don’t think twice about the cost.
                              Click to expand...


                              That doesn't sound all that cheapskate to me. So what if the rooms were paid for in points rather than cash? Still great rooms!

                              We stayed at the Hyatt in Maui (Ka'anapali) 2 months ago; going to Paris 2 months from now. I don't think we'll be taking the kids to Le Grand Vefour, though.

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