There’s so much to look forward to during the wedding season. You get to celebrate with dear friends, enjoy a happy ceremony that’s all about love. You may have to travel a bit, but maybe you’ll get to stay at a nice hotel that you’ve never been to before. Of course, if you’re at a certain age, all your friends are getting married, and it seems like they all want to get married within a few weeks of each other. So the wedding season can be a bit expensive and stressful. This is where some travel hacks can come in handy and help you experience frugal yet fulfilling trips. When it comes to wedding season, no other term should be sweeter to the ears of wedding guests than the sound of saving money.
(No, I don’t know what “saving money” sounds like. I imagine it’s a lot like an old cash register sound.)
If you’d like to figure out how to save money during wedding season, here are a few travel hacks for those of you expecting a pile of wedding invitations this year.
1. SAVE YOUR CREDIT CARD POINTS
Destination weddings are becoming popular once again, which means the wedding party and guests are invited to travel to a nice place to enjoy for a few days. Typically, this involves a hotel and a stay of a few days or so, and often in another country or U.S. territory. (Looking at you, Puerto Rico.)
Of course, you’re going to use your credit card for a lot of these purchases, but don’t forget the advantage of earning points with your credit card. For example, Chase Bank issues travel cards that allow users to earn up to 100,000 points on the card. Of course, there are some spending requirements, like spending $3,000 and then paying it off, but if you can swing that, it’s a quick way to earn enough miles for four domestic plane tickets. Then, just use the credit card and pay it off regularly to accumulate more points.
2. SEND THE WEDDING GIFT EARLY
If you want to save money and make your actual travel easier, don’t take a wedding gift with you. You have to pack it, which cuts into your own packing room, or you can put it in a big suitcase and check the bag, and worry about it breaking. Between making sure you have all the clothes you need, any items you need to bring, and the things that family members or friends need to have — it can all be a bit much.
Then, once you know what gift you’re going to give them (hopefully one you can buy online), ask your friends if you can have the gift sent on ahead. Have it delivered to your hotel (be sure to call them and tell them it’s coming; schedule it to arrive a day early) and then buy some wrapping paper at the destination. Or pack enough wrapping paper, carefully folded, in your suitcase and wrap it once you arrive.
Better yet, if it’s a destination wedding, send it to the bride’s or groom’s home. No one wants to travel back home with a trailer load of gifts, including the same three air fryers.
3. LOOK FOR THE BEST HOTEL DISCOUNT
The wedding party has probably reserved rooms for themselves and some of the guests as well. Hotels call this room blocking, and they usually offer a discounted price with these reservations. However, unless you’re part of the wedding party itself, you may have more luck reserving a cheaper room on your own.
This could be a special hotel discount you already have — like AAA, military, educator, or even AARP — or it could be another hotel that’s nearby that works better for you. Check for lower rates at hotels close to the destination.
4. PLAN FOR A PERSONAL VACATION, TOO
This may sound a little selfish, but hear me out. What better time to go on vacation than at a destination wedding. Of course, there may be many reasons you’re there: Reuniting with the bride and/or groom, you’re a member of the family or wedding party, or someone is paying your way there.
But, and this is the selfish part, the wedding party is not there for you. It’s all about the bride and groom and their special day. Once that’s over, what are you supposed to do? Turn around and go back home?
Of course not! You’re already out there, whether it’s Sundance, Utah, DisneyWorld, or even somewhere in the Caribbean. When are you going to get out there again? Probably never. So this trip, in addition to watching two people pledge their eternal love, is an opportunity for you to enjoy yourself. Call it a toe-dip trip, in case you want to come back again.
After the wedding is over and you’ve fulfilled your obligations, take a few days at the destination and spend some time there. As you plan for the trip, see if there are any interesting places to visit nearby. A beach? Theme parks? And don’t forget for some personal time to rest by the pool.
5. AS YOU GET READY FOR THE WEDDING, CRANK THE AC UP
This may not get you to or from the wedding easily, but it will save you from a mountain of stress on the day of the wedding. When you’re rushing around because you overslept and you need to take a shower and you can’t find your shoes did I forget to pack them oh crap I forgot my shoes where is my toothbrush and why is it so hot in here?!
We all seem to have moments like that when we have to get ready for a special event, especially when we have to dress up. You can avoid the overheating and stress sweats if you crank the AC up just a few degrees, so your room is fairly chilly. (Or turn down the heat if this is a winter wedding.) If you’re just a little chilly, your body won’t stress, and you can deal with the hectic rushing around trying to find everything and get ready to leave on time.
Also, your shoes are under your bed.
What are your wedding season travel hacks? How do you get to family and friends’ weddings and still keep your cool? Share your wedding season travel hacks with us on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream. You can also find us on our Instagram page at @TravelproIntl.