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If you’re struggling with how to plan a romantic weekend getaway on a budget, you’re not alone!

My husband and I love to travel, between the two of us we’ve visited over 30 U.S. states and 10 countries.

So we know it can be hard to plan a couples’ getaway when you have a specific travel style that may not align with your travel budget.

But it doesn’t have to!

We enjoy being comfortable and refuse to inconvenience ourselves to save a few dollars. We’re willing to pay a little more for convenience.

However, that doesn’t mean we want to pay full price for travel. The truth is, there are many simple strategies out there that can help you plan a romantic getaway without breaking the bank.

Tips like booking during off-peak times or using credit card rewards points are just some of the many ways to save money on travel.

A budget-friendly and romantic weekend getaway shouldn’t mean sacrificing the things you love or the travel style you want.

So in this guide, I’ll show you how to book that couples’ trip the way you want to without hurting your wallet!

Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links, meaning that at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Choose Off-Peak Times

Whether planning a romantic weekend getaway or any trip, one of the most effective ways to make it more affordable is to travel during off-peak times.

When I say travel “off-peak” I’m talking about planning your travel dates during times that are typically not as popular or during “season”.

By traveling outside of peak season you’ll not only avoid the crowds, but you’ll also see that the cost of flights and accommodations will be much more affordable.

When the crowds are lower, flights and hotel prices are too. It’s simple supply and demand!

The same goes for the “shoulder” season as well. Shoulder season is the time immediately before or after the peak season. It’s not quite the slow season, but it’s also not peak.

It’s the happy in-between where you can find great travel prices.

My husband and I enjoy traveling during off-peak or shoulder seasons because it usually means that fewer crowds.

This also means more intimate settings and individualized attention, perfect for a romantic getaway.

Like when we celebrated our wedding anniversary at Rawah Ranch in Colorado.

The ranch is only operational about 3 months during the year and we booked 3 nights during their last week of operation.

Only 2 other couples were at the ranch, so we had the entire place to ourselves. It was amazing!

Two people riding horses on a scenic forest trail surrounded by tall trees with yellow and green foliage.
Horseback Riding at Rawah Ranch was one of the activities included in this all-inclusive ranch

Be Flexible

Flexibility is easily the most effective way to save money on travel.

If you can be flexible with travel dates, destinations, and activities you’ll be way ahead of the game when it comes to making your couples’ trip more affordable.

Why?

Because pricing is dynamic and if we want to get the “best price” we need to be dynamic as well.

If you can be flexible with your destination not only do you give yourself more options, but you have more opportunities to make your trip more affordable.

For example, if you’re looking for a beach getaway, consider the lesser-known coastal towns instead of major tourist towns.

These alternative destinations have the same scenic beauty, charm, and activities but at lower prices.

Being open to different places can also lead to discovering unique spots that might become your new favorite romantic getaway!

Our favorite way to find unique destinations is by using the Google Explore feature. That’s how we found our flights to visit the Shenandoah Valley!

A smiling couple taking a selfie on a mountain trail with a panoramic view of lush green forests and a vast valley under a bright blue sky with scattered clouds.
Shenandoah National Park

Learn how to find the best price on flights

Finding flights is one of the most stressful and expensive parts of planning a romantic getaway or any trip.

You’re probably wondering where to start and whether you should book directly with the airline or through an OTA like Expedia or Priceline.

Well, the first thing is to remember to be flexible with your dates and your destination. If you can’t do that, then try to plan as far in advance as possible.

Moving your travel dates even slightly can make a big difference in cost.

Flying mid-week instead of on the weekend, or starting your vacation a day before or after major holidays can mean cheaper fares and lower hotel prices.

Next, I always start my flight search on Google Flights and set alerts!

My favorite Google Flights features include the calendar, date grid, and price graph to find the cheapest way to fly.

I set alerts to watch pricing before and even after I’ve booked my flight.

And don’t discount those early morning or late night flights, you can get some great prices if you’re willing to fly later or get up before the sun rises!

A Google Flights price graph showing one-way trip costs over time. The highlighted date is Tuesday, November 5, with a starting price of $70. The graph spans from early November to late December, displaying varying price bars.
The price graph feature in Google Flights

Set Alerts to find Cheap Hotels

One of the best tools for finding cheap prices is to set alerts.

I’ve already talked about setting Google Flight alerts, but many people don’t realize you can set alerts to find cheap hotels too!

Hotel Slash – Hotel Slash is similar to its brother Auto Slash in that it will help you book and track pricing. We love it!

You can use Hotel Slash to find the cheapest hotel room, but I mostly track my current hotel reservation when I pay for the room in cash.

If the price goes down, I’ll rebook it.

Open Hotel Alert – Open Hotel Alert won’t alert you if the price drops, but it’s still a great tool for planning your romantic getaway.

Open Hotel Alert lets you set up alerts for specific hotels and dates. Open Hotel Alert will notify you when a room becomes available so you can snag that spot!

This saves you a lot of time from constantly checking the hotel’s availability.

HotelSlash website instructions for forwarding a hotel reservation email. The image shows a phone screen with a hotel confirmation email and a hand icon pointing to a forward button. Below is a yellow banner with a link to book a new hotel room, and a luggage cart icon with the text

Book a staycation

We love a staycation! You can save a lot of money and take a more laid-back approach to planning if you don’t have to worry about flights.

We live in South Florida, one of the largest vacation capitals of the country and you know what? We have only scratched the surface.

We have yet to fully explore the beautiful state of Florida, a place where everyone would kill to visit.

But even if you don’t live in a destination like Florida, I’m sure there are amazing places within driving distance for you and your partner to explore.

We recently visited one Florida’s State Parks for glamping and it turned out to be one of the most relaxing and romantic retreats we could have hoped for. So don’t sleep on those staycations!

A glamping site with a white SUV parked next to a canvas tent, a picnic table, and a charcoal grill, with a wooden sign reading "Welcome to Hillsborough River Timberline Glamping."
Glamping with Timberline Tampa
promotional graphic with a picture of a couple taking a selfie with a mountain background promoting readers to join the free facebook group "lazy budget travel tips"

Book an All Inclusive

My husband’s favorite getaway is an all-inclusive one. He loves the fact that everything is paid for and all he has to do is show up.

Who wouldn’t love that?

Our favorite all-inclusive vacation is a romantic couples cruise.

We love it because not only do we get to wake up in a new place every couple of days, but all of our food and entertainment on the ship is taken care of.

This is great for the budget.

Just the psychology of knowing what the bill is gonna look like at the end of a vacation will make you more relaxed and able to enjoy being away together as a couple.

But cruises are not the only option, there are plenty of all inclusive resort options that can give you the same security.

A couple posing for a photo on a cruise in a dimly lit, elegant restaurant with set tables and a blue-lit window background.
Romantic Dinner on an all-inclusive Virgin Voyages cruise

Go for Happy Hour

I don’t know if it’s because we’ve gotten older, but I love an early dinner. Like early bird special style.

We really enjoy going to dinner at 4 or 5 pm and then going for a stroll afterward.

Not only do we beat the crowds, but we can take advantage of Happy Hour prices!

Almost all restaurants will have some sort of Happy Hour, even if it’s not displayed on their website.

Although I’ve had a lot of luck finding Happy Hour info on websites these days.

Sometimes, I’ll call to ask, but we’ll also just show up early and see what is available.

Some Happy Hour menus are not that great, but in our experience, there have been more great ones.

A happy hour menu from Katsuya South Beach, listing cold bites like Truffle Fatty Tuna Crispy Rice and hot bites like Szechuan Ribs

Enjoy Natural Attractions

Sometimes all you need is a place for a romantic hike or stroll in nature to enjoy the scenery.

There are some trips where we are constantly on the go when it’s all about the tours and museums.

However, we’ve come to think that the most romantic trips are ones that give you a chance to enjoy each other’s company and your surroundings.

Visiting National or State Parks can be a very affordable option. We paid $30 for a 7-day pass to Shenandoah National Park.

In Wyoming, we spent days exploring Snowy Range Pass and Vedauwoo Recreation and surrounding areas for free.

There is so much natural beauty in the world that you can experience for low cost or free. You should take advantage!

A woman smiling for a selfie in a rocky, forested area with a man looking at his phone in the background.
Vedauwoo Recreation Area

Look for Free Activities

If nature hikes and exploring are not your thing, I’ve got something for you too!

Almost everywhere we go we’ve found free activities to do within the city or area. I’ll just google “Free things to do in X” or I’ll visit the “Visit X” website and find places to do at no cost.

Examples of free activities we’ve found:

  • Museum Free Days
  • City Walking Tours – Free Tours by Foot is a great resource, but don’t forget to tip!
  • Public Parks and Gardens
  • Historical Sites and Landmarks
  • Outdoor Concerts
  • Art Galleries
  • Festivals
  • Historic Churches and Cathedrals
A close-up view of the Ames monument in Wyoming, a large stone pyramid structure under a clear blue sky.
Ames Monument historical landmark in Wyoming

Book Tours and Activities with Shopping Portals

As much as we love free stuff, there are times when we think it’s worth it to pay to book tours.

My favorite sites to compare and book tours are:

You can stack the savings by using a shopping portal like Rakuten.

I use the Rakuten extension for Chrome and Safari so no matter where I’m booking my tours I don’t miss cash back.

I’ve gotten as much as 10% cash back when booking my tours. Those savings add up!

10% Cash Back Activated at Viator. The image shows logos of Rakuten and Viator side by side, indicating a cashback offer. Below the logos, it states

Use Reward Points

I’ve saved the best for last! One of my favorite ways to travel on a budget is to maximize our everyday spending to earn travel reward points and miles.

We do this with a combination of credit cards, shopping portals, dining programs, and cash-back apps to make sure every single purchase we make counts towards saving money on travel.

We’ve had some amazing experiences and stayed at some awesome resorts using our points.

You can too!

I’ve created a free Budget Travel 101 course to get you started. You can also join my free Lazy Budget Travel Tips Facebook group!

A woman enjoying a glass of wine while seated in a business class seat on an airplane.
I used 85,000 points +$277 for this roundtrip business class flight

Ready for your Romantic Getaway?

The bottom line is that there are many ways to plan a romantic getaway on a budget.

From learning how to find the best price on travel by being flexible to booking tours through shopping portals, to even learning about the wonderful world of travel rewards.

There’s really no excuse to pay full price for travel even for an amazing romantic retreat with your partner.

We’ve fooled ourselves into thinking that great experiences should mean we pay more and that’s just not true!

Follow along and you’ll see that my husband and I take the most fulfilling trips without spending a fortune and you can too!

Want to Travel More for Less?

Become a Budget Traveler! Head over to my start here page and grab my free budget travel cheat sheet  – it’s packed with valuable tips to help you create your own winning budget travel strategy.

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