For many, the honeymoon is the best part of their wedding celebration. After months of stressful planning, the chance to recharge with your spouse is an ideal time to reconnect and spend quality time. However, a new and somewhat controversial concept that the New York Times dubbed as the 'solomoon' has started gaining momentum. This is the practice of newly married couples taking separate vacations, abandoning the traditional honeymoon for reasons like disagreement in locations, conflicting work schedules or different personalities. But what are the financial implications of taking two separate trips?
Taking Separate Trips is Only Marginally More Expensive
Your gut feeling may tell you that taking two separate vacations will end up being more expensive. You don't split the cost of hotel rooms, you'll be paying for separate flights which can vary in cost and you don't share meals. However, our research shows that the average cost of taking two separate trips will actually cost less than 1% (less than S$50) more than taking a traditional honeymoon. In fact, if one person goes to Bali, the other person can go nearly anywhere and the total cost will be less than a traditional honeymoon in Bali (with the exception of Santorini).
Estimated Average Cost of a One Week Trip per Individual
Furthermore, two separate trips can actually end up costing even less in most cases if we were to assume that solo travellers will be less focused on luxury accommodations. Solo travellers may not want to eat at high-end restaurants or stay in 5-star hotels—especially after spending thousands of dollars on their wedding. Instead, they may choose to save money by staying at hostels, visiting old friends or swapping sit-down meals for quick street food.
Traditional Honeymoons Generally Cost Less for Farther Destinations
There are some cases where travelling together has its financial benefits. For instance, travelling outside of the ASEAN region as a pair will cost 10% less than travelling to a combination of those destinations separately. However, there is one exception—Paris. A honeymoon to Paris costs more than any combination of solo trips by at least S$390. This could be explained by the purchase of the honeymoon suite, with Parisian suites in 5-star hotels costing 15% more per person than what a solo traveller would pay for a typical 5-star standard hotel room. However, hotels are typically receptive to honeymooning couples and may offer room upgrades, free meals, massages and other perks. This may make them worth the extra price and can even absorb some of the costs paid by individual travellers.
Estimated Average Cost of a One Week Trip For a Couple
Furthermore, if couples forego the suite entirely and stay in a standard room, they may end up paying less than single travellers. For instance, if couples stay in a standard 5-star hotel room in Paris, their cost decreases by S$1,300. Not only that, but they will avoid a single supplement fee for single occupancy. Lastly, meal costs may be less expensive per person when travelling as a couple, since they may end up sharing plates. Thus, just as with solo travel, there are ways of decreasing the cost of when travelling as a pair.
So If Solo Travel is Cheaper, Why Do a Honeymoon?
If you want to travel alone, you can do it at any time of the year without replacing the standard post-wedding getaway, as solo travel does have its perks. However, research suggests that there are benefits to a traditional honeymoon. First, travelling and sharing experiences has been linked to greater marital satisfaction. Furthermore, surveys have also shown that holidays helped rekindle romantic feelings towards each other—a very important factor to consider since weddings can cause riffs and stress between couples. In fact, the honeymoont originated as an opportunity to bond intimately with your partner. But with the current fast-paced life full of long workdays, bills and stress, it also gives you a chance to indulge and destress with your partner.
How to Keep Your Post-Nuptial Trip Affordable
Regardless of how you choose to travel after your wedding, you will want to make the best out of your trip. For this reason, we recommend purchasing travel insurance to ensure you will not pay for unexpected surprises such as flight delays, cancellations and medical emergencies. To save on hotels, we recommend booking directly with the hotel as our research indicated that a lot of them are offering 10-20% discounts for direct and advanced booking. Alternatively, you can use online services like Agoda, which also offer hotel discounts. You can also see if you can pool your credit card points to help pay for some of the trip's costlier expenses. One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want a 5-figure trip completely on your credit card if you can’t afford to pay it in full at the end of the month. Your best is to save enough to fully cover the costs of your trip. However, in the event you are not able to do so, personal loans typically offer drastically lower interest rates than credit cards and can save you money on interest payments over the course of your repayment.
Once you are married, you will most likely pool your finances in some way, like opening joint bank accounts and splitting bills. By looking at the aggregate spending of two separate trips, we can identify whether the new household comes back with more or less money. For consistency's sake, we used 5-star hotels for solo travellers rather than trying to integrate Airbnbs or hostel pricing. For traditional honeymoons, we used pricing from 5-star suites. We will also assumed that the individuals are not going to the same location, which lends itself to 10 different location and price combinations. To make the costs more digestible, we rounded our figures to the nearest dollar.