How to honeymoon on a budget: From picking the perfect destination to scoring upgrades

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If you're short on cash but desperate for luxury, here are some things to consider...

Couple on holiday
Take a look at this top advice from Kara Segedin, travel expert at CheapFlights.co.uk.

1. Where should I start?

If cash is tight or you want to save money for other things, look at different accommodation options. Serviced apartments are great if you'd like a city centre location at a fraction of the cost – and can be a great way to explore a city whether you opt for Paris, Rome, Dubrovnik, Venice, or Prague. Save the cash here and you could cover more romantic day trips or a few fancy restaurants.

Carefully consider where you go and when – and whether you can afford to leave it late to book what you want. Most of all, make sure you do your research and compare – then sit back and enjoy your time together; you'll never get another chance like it.

2. When's the best time to go?

'Shoulder Season' is between low and high seasons; it can be great for people with an eye on their wallet who still want to bag a great holiday - especially in some of the more popular long haul destinations like Barbados, St Lucia, the Maldives, Mauritius and Sri Lanka.

Shoulder season can be a good option because it's cheaper, there's more space (on the beach or slopes), queues are generally shorter and the weather is less extreme (temperate rather than blazing).

Post Easter, from mid-April onwards, prices in the Caribbean start to fall so you can begin to take advantage – you might get some rain but this tends to pass quickly and you'll still get temperatures in the 70s and 80s (20 -30 Celsius). Mid November to mid-December might also be worth considering ahead of the crowds.

If you're considering 'Shoulder Season', do check out dates and weather carefully – but there can be some great savings to be had. Who'd have thought two little words could save you so much?

3. Can honeymooners benefit from booking last minute?

While there are some last minute holiday bargains to be had, the last thing that most couples want to be doing is running around before the wedding, adding to nerves and rushing what is supposed to be a great experience.

If you're prepared to be flexible on destinations and you're less concerned about when you go, opting for a last-minute break can be a useful tactic - especially if you plan to put the honeymoon off until significantly after the wedding.

Typically the best last minute savings are around 6 weeks before you're due to travel. The big discounts here are on packages rather than flights. You're less likely to get deals to the likes of Mauritius (less capacity; more competition) but there's usually plenty of late capacity in the Caribbean and Bahamas. Late packages to Barbados and St Lucia are ripe for last minute deals if you pick your time. There are cheap – or even free – upgrades available on rooms and board in some resorts so it's definitely worth checking your options.

4. Can newlyweds get free extras by mentioning they're on their honeymoon? (free bubbly/spa treatments etc.)

Getting free extras and upgrades depends on where you go – but hotels tend to be quite generous with freebies if you're prepared to splash the cash in the first place. Negotiating freebies is less likely in specialist honeymoon destinations and resorts – there's greater demand and competition from other couples; on the flipside they're also more used to looking after guests and lavishing them with attention.

If you're looking for free extras a lot of this is worth doing well in advance – not least so you're not blagging in front of your partner. If you're dealing with a travel operator over the phone bear in mind agents can often put comments and requests on the booking so it's certainly worth being nice and seeing if you can get this mentioned.

It's not unheard of for brides taking their wedding dress as hand luggage (just to make sure it doesn't get crushed) to get the odd upgrade. It's certainly worth weaving your wedding into conversation at the check-in desk – and being super nice.

What can you get?

If there is capacity or you're going at a quieter time there is certainly scope for room and board upgrades. Hotels are often good with the smaller touches when it comes to honeymooners; free bubbly, spa treatments, chocolates, flowers and fruit baskets are all on offer to the right couples!

5. Might I be charged extra by 'newlywed scammers' looking to make extra cash?

There are sometimes mark ups on Honeymoon-friendly destinations and resorts – which makes comparing prices and doing your research essential. The biggest mark ups are in high season where there is higher demand and less capacity.

If you're worried about this, it might be worth making your initial booking online to get the best deal – and then mentioning your honeymoon at a later date when you contact the hotel direct. A direct call to the hotel or follow up is also a good opportunity to have a discreet conversation about upgrades and remind them of your upcoming wedding; perhaps asking them about romantic restaurant recommendations?

Again the bottom line is do your research, compare prices online – and don't be afraid to negotiate a little on those special extras.

What's your advice to couples who want the perfect honeymoon?

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