Tag Archives: Budget

Honeymoon Around the World. Megamoon!

Mega-moon: Honeymoon Around the World

Most couples go on their honeymoon for a week or two. If they’re really lucky, maybe three weeks at most.  Imagine taking an entire year off to travel around the world, together. Take a honeymoon around the world trip. It’s a mega-moon!

In this post I’ll share four stories of couples taking mega-moons. First I’ll tell you about the couple I met that were backpacking Asia as part of their megamoon. Then I’ll share three more couples that are doing it too.

Chris & Sandra

I first heard of this concept from a German couple we met when our trips intersected. We were there for a thresher shark dive in Malapascua, in the Philippines.

After getting married, newlyweds Sandra and Chris left their home in Germany and began a honeymoon backpacking adventure around the world together. Amazing experience!

Chris and Sandra took their honeymoon around the world. It's a mega-moon!
ATW Honeymoon! Chris and Sandra after our thresher shark dive in the Philippines

How expensive is a Megamoon?

It really doesn’t have to cost a lot to travel. That’s especially true in regions like southeast Asia.  The big savings comes from lodging.

Chris and Sandra were spending less than $15/night when we met them in Malapascua, in the Philippines. Consider how much you pay in rent – and imagine how far that money would go towards travel.

Many couples dream of taking a couple of romantic honeymoons to relax together in luxury resorts in beautiful places like Aruba, Bora Bora, or Hawaii. Those are all beautiful indeed. With that said, your Megamoon budget goes much much farther with trips in more modest accommodations through southeast Asia.

This doesn’t have to mean hostels – private 2-3 star lodging can save you quite a bit! Turn your honeymoon into a lifetime experience, packed with adventure experiences. It may also provide more memorable adventures as well!

3 couples that have done Honeymoon Around the World trips

I’ll be writing more about around the world trips and travel budgeting in upcoming posts, but in the meantime, here are two couples that are writing about their experiences during their honeymoon around the world Megamoon trips:

Oh So Ready –
  • Valerie and Chris – “We’ve been talking about doing a trip like this since we met 10 years ago and we’re finally doing it! We quit our jobs in NYC and moved all of our belongings to our hometown, Atlanta. We embarked on what will surely be the trip of a lifetime.”
Honey Trek
  • Mike & Anne – these are two American newlyweds who thought a ten-day honeymoon wasn’t nearly enough to celebrate a new life together. With a little bit of savings, no kids, and good health, we figured there was no better time to travel than now. We quit our jobs, rented our apartment, and set out on a 675-day honeymoon around the world. Using Anne’s background as a magazine editor and Mike’s as a digital media strategist and photographer, we started HoneyTrek.com to share our journey of love, life, and adventure.
    • HuffPost and DailyMail had good articles on them, which even break down the budgeting.
13 Months
  • Susan and Grace – “Instead of taking a honeymoon, we decided to fulfill a lifelong dream and travel the world for a year (13 months, actually). We started slowly saving soon after we met, and with the proper planning, it all turned out to be more affordable than we originally anticipated!”
Do you know anybody that’s ever taken a Megamoon trip? I love the idea of a Honeymoon Around The World trip!
Would you exchange a standard beach honeymoon for months or even a year together traveling?
Let me know in the comments below.

How does Jordan fit into a Southeast Asia trip?

How does Jordan fit into a SE Asia trip?  Wonder no longer!

Visiting the Middle East in a SE Asia trip

This is the story of how Jordan and Bahrain, two countries in the Middle East, made it into my southeast Asia itinerary. I might have the strangest itinerary and route of anyone I’ve met in my travels.

Taking advantage of error flights

While I was enjoying Bali and Java, Indonesia, my friend was working on a business trip in Tel Aviv, Israel. She suggested we meet up. They’re not even remotely close, but just for fun I did a quick search. I was to surprised to find an incredible deal!

For $181 USD rountrip, I could fly from KL (Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia) to AMM (Amman, the capital of Jordan). It included a layover in Bahrain via Gulf Air.  That’s about the same price as the short trip to the next country in the area that I was about to book before seeing this.

It must have been an error in the system, or perhaps a generous promotion. But either way, after checking that Gulf Air was a reputable airline, I pounced!

I checked if I could could route through Israel or Egypt. However, c hanging dates or revising the plan so I would have made it cost prohibitive. At this rate I could certainly swing it.  An hour later it was almost twice the price. Later that night the price had nearly quadrupled.

My philosophy on layovers

The initial flight I found included a 4.5 hour layover in Bahrain. Layovers are often built into my longer flights to save money. In case it’s helpful, here’s my philosophy on layovers:

One hour layovers are fine, and 10 hours are often enough to leave the airport and explore. But 4.5 hours is just inconvenient. So I extended it to 19 hours for the same price. That gives me enough time to experience some of tiny Bahrain before heading to Jordan.

It wouldn’t have been possible to book a deal like that if I was on a schedule. I spontaneously decided to take advantage of tremendous savings with a week-long detour that took me halfway back home before returning to the Middle East.

That’s the beauty of a long trip like this.

Jordan map

I can’t fit both Jordan and Java, Indonesia, on the same map where you can see both.

Java’s on the southeast corner of the map (Java Sea is labeled), whereas Jordan’s located on the northwest corner of the map, in between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming – photos and stories from Jordan!

Saving money in Bali – a “fancy” $29 hotel?

** Update: now that I’ve traveled around Asia. Looking back I can hardly believe I spent $29 on a hotel for a single night. Eventually I’d be finding places of similar caliber for $12 in Vietnam.

Saving money on my first hotel in Bali

My first hotel was adequate and at ~$29 USD. It cost less than any hotel I’ve ever stayed in.  It’s clean, safe, centrally located, had a pool, and came with free breakfast (choice of banana pancakes, eggs, or an Indonesian rice and noodle mix).

From there I headed to Semynak (the town on the island of Bali), where I had a reservation.  Apparently that doesn’t mean much.

Despite my reservation and confirmation, they said they were full (picture Seinfeld saying “anyone can TAKE a reservation. but the key is HOLDING it…”) but suggested I “come back in a few days to see if it opens up.”

In a few days?? Yeah sure, look out for me.

I had checked out of my other hotel already, and had plans to meet up with some new friends in a town called Kuta, where I found my new hotel.

From Semynak to Kuta

Kuta’s a beach town but nobody goes there to just lay in the sun. I don’t think I’ve seen more than a dozen people reading on the beach. People go to Kuta for the surfing and the Bali party scene with other travelers (half of which are Aussies).

The new hotel I went to was just built. It has a pool and free breakfast like the other place, plus a/c, hot showers with water pressure, and wifi in the room, and features brand new rooms that look like this:

bed in bali hotel

bathroom in my cheap hotel
The shower is part of the bathroom (no stall, no curtain, no tub) – drain right beneath it with a slight slope in the floor. I actually liked it.

It’s located on a side alley, which they call “gangs” in Bali, and “Poppies Gang 2” is a bit closer to the beach. As a solo traveler, less than a week from starting my trip, I certainly wasn’t comfortable yet, but this is where all the hotels are, besides luxury ones on the beach (which are nice, but pricey and more importantly private. I wanted social).

The “Obama discount”

I should mention, the price listed at the desk was much higher, around the equivalent of $48 USD, but everything’s negotiable. We agree on the equivalent of $29 USD (I’m of course paying in IDR), and he announced to the team behind the desk that he was giving me what he called an “Obama discount.”

Negotiating cheap taxis

When I mention which hotel I’m staying in, the guy I’m talking with refers to it as a “fancy” hotel.  This is surprising to me.  I provide directions and an address to my cab driver. After a brief pause – “oh, the fancy hotel.”

Is it really that fancy?  It won’t take long to realize that’s how they’re sizing you up, determining how much you can afford to pay. This certainly impacts negotiations for goods.

Soon you realize telling them the exact hotel means it’ll be more expensive. It means they think there’s a good chance you’ll pay way more than other people.

You can often still get the price you want, because there’s a gluttony of supply compared with the demand for nearly everything. However, it’ll just take a little longer to negotiate.

If you’re Indonesian, or apparently look like you could be, the negotiation is much different. One of my new friends is from Singapore, and this seemed to be an advantage here. The negotiation starts at a fraction of where it would if I asked the price. They’re more likely to provide a higher price before you say you’re interested, as compared with someone that looks more local.

Dinner – English with English subtitles –

We had dinner at the Swell Cafe in Bali. My dinner cost about $4 total. Besides great food for cheap prices, people come here for free wifi and movies on their big screen projector.  It’s funny watching Hollywood movies in english but with english subtitles. They’re translated to the broken english the way the local Balinese that are still learning English often speak.