Published in: Credit Cards | Dec. 3, 2019

5 Ways You Might Overspend on a Destination Wedding

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Beware these expenses when traveling for a wedding. 

Attending a wedding is hardly an inexpensive endeavor. Between gifts, new attire, and other incidental costs, if you don't save for it, a single wedding could wreak havoc on your finances. But while local weddings are costly to attend in their own right, destination weddings can bust your budget even more. Here are a few ways you might get in over your head when agreeing to go to one.

Chairs set up on the beach for a wedding ceremony.

Image source: Getty Images

1. Overpriced airfare

If you have friends or family members getting married someplace far away during a peak travel period, like Christmas week, summertime, or any weekend that coincides with a national holiday, then you can pretty much bank on spending a small fortune on airfare. One potential solution? Save your credit card miles, and then cash them in to cover that flight. And if that's not possible, redeem cash-back rewards and use that money to pay for your airfare. 

Of course,  if your work schedule is flexible you can also try playing around with travel dates. For example, if you're invited to a Sunday wedding on a holiday weekend, fly back Tuesday instead of Monday -- doing so should lower your costs. That's only an option for some people, though. 

2. Baggage fees

When you're traveling for a wedding, it's tough to cram regular clothing and formal attire into a single carry-on bag. As such, you're likely to incur baggage fees that add to your costs. To avoid them, use a travel rewards credit card to book your flights, as many offer free checked baggage as an included perk. Another option? If you're traveling in a group, combine your formal attire into one larger bag and split the cost.

3. Expensive lodging

Depending on the destination at hand, attending a wedding elsewhere could mean having to pay hundreds of dollars a night for a single hotel room. If that doesn't appeal to you, get creative. Explore your options for renting a private home through sites like HomeAway or Airbnb, and if that doesn't work, be willing to get super-close to your travel mates by sharing a hotel room. 

4. Travel once you get there

Once you arrive at your destination, you'll need a means of getting around town, such as to your hotel, the wedding hall, and any other essential spots along the way. If you're able to split the cost of a rental car with other attendees, you'll save some money in the process. Otherwise, get to know the local public transportation system. If you're traveling in a group, you may be perfectly safe relying on it, even late at night. And if no such system exists, see if you can arrange affordable transportation through your hotel or resort, if you're staying at one. 

5. Meals

Though you'll no doubt be treated to at least a couple of meals by the bride and groom when you travel to their wedding, you'll likely need to cover some meals on your own. Hitting the supermarket instead of restaurants could save you a nice chunk of money, especially if you're staying in a major city or at a resort where the cost of prepared food is likely to be inflated. And if you're renting a private home instead of staying at a hotel, cooking becomes all the more feasible, since you'll have access to a kitchen.

When you're heading to a destination wedding, it's all too easy to wind up spending more than you're comfortable with. Planning smartly and making certain concessions will help you keep your costs to a minimum. You should also ensure that you've saved for that wedding well in advance. That way, you're not stuck coming up with hundreds of dollars or more all at once.

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