So in case you hadn't heard, we’re honeymooning in …
I’m freaking out! We’re so excited.
All of the craggy landscape. All of the whisky. All of the gingers.
WE CAN’T WAIT.
Scotland, for whatever reason, has always just topped our bucket list of places to go. And we’re going! I can’t believe it.
We had a small wedding for many reasons (which I’ll probably go into another time), and one was because we are actually using a large portion of our wedding fund to pay our way for this trip.
RELATED READ: 5 Ways You Can Save Money On Wedding Season
Now, a little backstory on how we’re getting to this magical place:
I probably paid twice the amount than what was totally necessary for the flights to our honeymoon.
*The personal finance community collectively clutches their pearls.*
The significantly cheaper flights were cheaper for a reason: The total travel time was almost twice as long.
Still, no travel hacking? In fact, quite the opposite of travel hacking. Did I get hacked?
Why I Didn’t Travel Hack:
Because I’m naturally a saver and looking for the best value in whatever I need to buy, this one was a little hard for me to stomach. But you know what? I had to constantly remind myself that we had more than enough money specifically saved for and dedicated to this honeymoon. I have been dreaming of it. I want to do it right.
We’re staying in a good combination of super simple B&Bs and swanky hotels, and I’m thrilled with where we landed.
Wait, back up. What's travel hacking again?
There are soooooo many amazing resources on travel hacking. The Luxe Strategist wrote a fairly comprehensive summary of travel hacking, and coincidentally, wrote another post on how to save if you don't want to travel hack as I was drafting this post. Both are worth checking out if you're interested in learning more.
Largely, the concept revolves around signing up for credit cards with big points incentives and kind of beating the credit card company at its own game. A lot of times, the offer is something like, sign up for our credit card and get 20,000 points if you spend $3,000 in the first month, plus get a signing bonus of 30,000 points. Then, the points = free airplane tickets. See, the credit card companies don’t expect you to make the actual payments on time; that's how they make their money.
But many responsible people (and a lot of awesome bloggers) have figured out how to make the most of these offers while never letting themselves dip into debt or go too far. What’s not to love?
Sweet. Wait, why wouldn't you travel hack then?
Well, for me, the amount of time and planning it requires.
We did some preliminary digging on travel hacking when we knew we’d have a lot of plane travel in the coming year, and we still decided against it.
To travel hack responsibly, you need to keep very close tabs on what you're doing so that you don't overspend, go into debt, forget to move the points to the airline, etc. It’s time consuming, and I was pressed for time. We had a relatively short engagement compared to today’s standards — 3 months. So there was MUCH planning and primping to be done in that time frame. I also work full-time, had started a blog and still needed to, you know, eat.
I simply didn’t have the mental capacity.
This is all not to mention the fact that we were about to combine finances (a headache, as it turns out, because the name change process alone is OBNOXIOUS) and aren't completely concrete on our timing for maybe buying a house. It's not in our current 2-year plan, but there are just a lot of unknowns, and it's not generally recommended to mess with opening so many credit cards if you're looking to buy a house soon.
RELATED READ: How To Make the Most of Your Mental Bandwidth
We already have a good thing going. I got married the same reason you probably did: for his Costco membership. He also has a Costco credit card that has pretty good rewards for our purposes. You get 4% cash back on gas (ideal, as his commute to work is far), 3% on travel, 3% at restaurants, 2% on Costco purchases and 1% everywhere else. Since we did buy a lot of air travel with the card, and are spending more in general (our grocery budget is higher now that we live together. I require more kale than he ever did.), we’ll get a hefty sum of cash back at the end of the year.
So yes, I probably could’ve saved money on flights through travel hacking. It's definitely something I want to learn more about in the future, when life is less spastic. But this was an intentional, well thought-out purchase, though it did sting a little bit.
Don’t get me wrong. We agonized over whether or not to take the cheaper/longer flight. Well, I agonized over it. My husband very helpfully offered nuggets like, “Whatever you think” and “Come watch this video of a boat getting pulled into a whirlpool.”
He’s cute though. (And smart. I didn't even know what an HSA was before I met him.)
I made pros and cons lists. I phoned a friend. I opened 98 tabs simultaneously to compare prices. But after weighing our options, it was clear that the thing most valuable to us in this particular scenario was not money. It was time. We both have jobs, and we only have so many days that we can take off for our honeymoon. And to be quite honest, I just really don’t want to spend one more second than necessary in an airport chair that offers the same level of comfort as a Stephen King novel.
Still not convinced?
3 More Reasons Why We Paid Twice As Much for our Scotland Honeymoon
1.) We aren’t college kids anymore.
While it is perfectly acceptable for a 20-year-old to travel straight for 26 hours, put on some lip gloss and then roll into the pub, it’s just not fun for us. When you’re 20, you probably should do that, because you probably don’t have the extra cash to toy with.
We’re not that resilient.
And as I am harshly reminded the morning after daring to drink anything more than two glasses of wine, we’re just getting a little older.
And it’s fine.
Let me rephrase: We definitely could, but it wouldn’t be fun. And this is my honeymoon. I want it to be fun. I want luxury linens. I want a down comforter. I want a private bathroom that I don’t have to share with the sweet, but eccentric older couple from Sweden staying down the hall at the B&B. I don’t want to have an awkward run-in with a partially toweled Erik Nilsson, during which we both have to do the panicked smile (his much toothier), hands-up, I’m-so-sorry, no-excuse-ME song and dance.
That kind of interaction is only charming when everyone is 20, there’s waaaaay less body hair involved and you are giggling about the encounter from the safety of your living room, where you are actually reading it in your romance novel and not in real life.
I don’t want to share my honeymoon with the metaphorical Nilssons. That doesn’t make me unbelievably high maintenance. Neither does wanting to arrive to my honeymoon with some scrap of energy left.
2.) We’d be losing potential income.
I can’t find the screenshots (technical wiz!!!!!), so I can’t tell you exactly how much of a time difference there was, but it was like at least 6 more hours of total travel time. There was one additional stopover and one super long layover.
My PTO is valuable and all, but I’m salaried and have plenty of it if I wanted to spend my vacation days sitting in an airport. My husband, though, is in healthcare and is paid on production. Spending twice as long travelling would cost us at least a half-day to a day’s worth of income.
Put simply, our time is quite literally worth more than the potential savings.
3.) We want to make the most of our time there.
This will come as no surprise to those of you that know me, but I get sliiiiiiiightly weepy when I’m tired. I can face 5 a.m. wake-ups with a chipper attitude most weekdays, sure. I can power through difficult days, yeah. But you want me to be emotionally stable after 16 hours of traveling, working or, heck, just general adulting? Good try, pal.
When I’m deeply tired, my worst emotions bubble out.
Slowly, at first, and then with the force of Old Faithful.
Like falling in love!
That’s the saying, right?
I’m generally a happy, well-adjusted human (my theme song growing up was literally “Happy Girl” by Martina McBride), so not really sure where these emotions even come from. Any time after, like, 11 p.m., my internal clock triggers a warning to my tear ducts that it’s showtime, baby.
I can’t help it. I get weepy.
My defenses are down.
I need a nap.
So, with that context in mind, do YOU think I should show up to Scotland after traveling for nearly a day, and without any proper sleep?
(And we won’t really sleep. Trust me. We both have super long legs that are not conducive to airplanes.)
Would you want to show up on your honeymoon exhausted, weepy, irritable and sweaty from the inevitable airplane temperature game?
I’d like to return from my honeymoon with my marriage fully intact, thank you very much. And that requires the flight plan of least resistance.