With the average wedding running a total price of $25,000-$30,000, many couples find that after the dress, flowers, rings, photographer, and cake, they don’t have much of a budget left for a honeymoon. With a bit of planning and flexibility, however, you can win a fantastic free honeymoon and enjoy a post-nuptial getaway without adding to the bills.
Contests Offering Free Honeymoons
There are many contests that offer brides and grooms the opportunity to compete for a romantic getaway or enter in a sweepstakes for a free honeymoon. Look for contests from a wide variety of sources, including:
- Radio or television stations
- Destination or all-inclusive resorts
- Cruise lines and tour companies
- Wedding vendors, including wedding websites
- Bridal fairs or expos
- Tourism companies
- National or regional tourism offices
In addition to watching for specialized honeymoon giveaways, check any contest offering a free vacation – after all, a honeymoon is just a vacation after your wedding, and any free getaway can be turned into a memorable, romantic excursion.
Tips to Win
Of course, any honeymoon contest you enter is sure to have hundreds of other hopeful couples competing for the grand prize. So what can you do to increase your chances of a free dream getaway?
- Don’t be picky. Your dream honeymoon may be a week in a private villa in Jamaica, but you might have better chances to win a weekend ski getaway or a luxury city trip. Any free honeymoon is sure to be memorable, and you can always plan your dream vacation to celebrate an anniversary instead.
- Read all contest rules and eligibility requirements. Some contests are not open to couples who are planning a second wedding or live in a certain area, or there may be age requirements or other stipulations to claim the grand prize. If you don’t qualify for the contest, there’s no way you can win.
- Follow all contest steps carefully to avoid disqualification. To win, you may need to sign up for a newsletter, submit a photo, use a specific vendor or service, or complete a series of tasks. Also be sure you aren’t violating any entry rules, such as one entry per couple.
- Involve other people as much as possible. Some contests may give you extra entries for referrals, or there may be a voting round where family members, friends, and bridal party members could help you advance closer to the prize. Spread the word to increase your chances of winning!
- Use any extra entries that are available, as many times as you can. Many contests will allow couples to enter once per day, or will grant extra entries for sharing the contest details in a blog, on Facebook, or on Twitter. You never know what entry might be the one that wins, so don’t miss any extra chances to increase your odds.
- Enter as many contests as possible. The more contests you enter, the more chances you have to win! Don’t give up on searching for new contests, and don’t worry if the date of the getaway doesn’t match up with your big day – a free honeymoon will be worth waiting for.
Other Ways to Get a “Free” Honeymoon
There are ways you can get a free vacation, even if it isn’t always billed as a honeymoon. These getaways aren’t contests or sweepstakes, but they are just as fun and just as free.
- Buying a Car or House: If you and your soon-to-be-spouse are considering buying a new car or investing in a home, check promotional offers that include offering a free weekend getaway with a qualified purchase. Bed and breakfast weekends and free cruises are often offered with these types of large purchases, allowing you to make that purchase and enjoy a free honeymoon at the same time.
- Timeshare Lectures: Many luxury timeshare properties in popular destinations such as Florida, southern California or Las Vegas offer free stays if you attend their promotional presentations. While you will have to give up a few hours of time to listen to the sales pitch, the rest of the getaway is free. Before signing up, however, check out online reviews to be sure your honeymoon won’t be pestered with high pressure sales tactics and poor service if you don’t sign up.
- Destination Weddings: Many tropical resorts offer free honeymoon stays for couples who plan a destination wedding on their property, though there may be qualifications such as needing a certain number of guests to attend the event. In a reverse twist, some properties offer a free wedding package if couples book their honeymoon at the resort.
- Upgrades: Redeem credit card points, accrued mileage, and other rewards or loyalty programs for a free honeymoon or luxury upgrades to turn an inexpensive getaway into a more stunning vacation. If you don’t have the rewards to redeem, consider asking parents, grandparents, or other relatives and friends to offer their accumulated rewards as gifts to help sponsor your honeymoon.
- Honeymoon Registries: Any honeymoon can be free if you register for your vacation in lieu of a more traditional gift registry. Honeymoon registries such as Honeyfund, HoneymoonWishes, and Traveler’s Joy allow couples to register for their dream getaway and guests can contribute different amounts to help pay for the honeymoon. Check for restrictions on different registries, including service fees, before setting it up and consider limiting any other gift registries to ensure that guests are more likely to contribute to the honeymoon. This can be the ideal option if you are planning a second wedding or already have plenty of household items and don’t have many ideas for traditional gifts.
The idea of winning a free honeymoon can be so tempting that you might overlook somewhat suspicious contests because the prizes they offer are so grandiose. Any contest that looks too easy to win or offers too spectacular a prize, however, may well be a scam. While many free honeymoon contests are completely legitimate, look for these warning signs that a giveaway may not be all it promises:
- Exorbitant entry fees or other costs to participate
- Lack of details about what the prize package includes
- No listing of official rules or guidelines
- No contact information or sponsor details
- Poorly designed website or other technical problems
While entering a scam contest may not be harmful, giving personal information to illegitimate contests could lead to greater issues, including malware or spyware on your computer, or even harsher penalties such as identity theft. When in doubt, avoid giveaways that may seem suspicious – there are plenty of great contests to enter instead.
Know What Isn’t Free
A free honeymoon may seem too good to be true, and it could be. Before entering contests or expecting your honeymoon costs to be completely covered, learn what extra costs and fees may not be included in the prize. Passport and visa fees, airfare to a departure point, spa appointments or extra luxuries during the getaway, and other details may not be included in a prize package, and those costs can add up to make even a free honeymoon more expensive than your budget will allow. Taxes may also need to be paid on the total value of the prize, so be prepared for that expense if you do win.
A free honeymoon can be a great way to celebrate your new status as husband and wife, and with hundreds of contests, giveaways, and sweepstakes available, it’s not as hard as you think to win this once-in-a-lifetime vacation. Take the chance, and you could be rewarded with a free, amazing getaway that will be a truly unforgettable way to enjoy being newlyweds.