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I Spent My Honeymoon in an RV (And It Was Worth Every Penny)

An ivy-covered, rustic home
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My husband despises traveling, mainly because he's a royal tightwad. I, on the other hand, was the kid who worked three different jobs in high school just to be able to travel to Europe after graduating. So when we broached the subject of a honeymoon after getting engaged, there was more than a bit of a clash. He wanted to get a cheap, local hotel room for a few days; I wanted to seize the rare opportunity to show him just how well we could travel on a budget.

Enter the world of vacation home rentals, such as Airbnb and Vrbo. Long hailed the cheaper and better alternative to hotels, they've taken the travel industry by storm. A quick Google search for “unique vacation rentals” will render you ridden with wanderlust in a much more accessible way than you've ever experienced it before—that is, without morally offending your wallet. From cottages to castles, yurts to penthouses, tiny homes to treehouses, boats to buses, your “budget” vacations can feel like anything but.

With services like Airbnb and Vrbo, I knew we could find cheaper (and nicer) accommodations than your average hotel anywhere in the world; the only factor left to decide on was a destination. We ended up agreeing on Hawaii, one of the most expensive locations we could have selected within the United States. Only one question remained: Would vacation home rental services live up to their reputation as the cheaper alternative to hotels?
We sifted through all kinds of dreamy listings, finally settling on an option that couldn't have been more perfect for us: a rental car and vacation home in one in the form of a decked-out RV, all for under $100 a night. In comparison, the more affordable (read: sketchy) hotels we'd been looking into were around $150 a night at best—plus, we'd still have to pay through the nose for a rental car. It was a no-brainer.

The RV was an authentic traveler’s dream. Rather than staying close to the touristy Honolulu area of Oahu, we spent most of our time road-tripping up and down the north stretch of the island, allowing us to experience more of a local flavor.

An Adobe building at night
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Traveling in the RV gave us so much more freedom in how we spent our time than taking a traditional approach to traveling would have given us. We never had to return to a distant hotel at the end of the day; we had increased flexibility in our daily itinerary, often beach-hopping multiple times a day to catch the best waves or to squeeze in extra snorkeling time; and we could park nearly anywhere we wanted to sleep at night.

When I first had the idea to book a vacation rental for our honeymoon, I never dreamed it would also serve as a form of transportation, let alone equip us with recreational supplies as an additional benefit. The RV came equipped with bikes, camping supplies, and snorkeling gear, enabling us to save even more money while enjoying our favorite island-authentic activities.

Additionally, because we had cheap accommodations, we were able to splurge a little more on things that really mattered to us, like cage diving with Galapagos sharks (and exploring the lip-smacking offerings of food trucks and local dining establishments.

In the end, the total expense for our entire weeklong stay (including airfare) was under $2,000, and it was worth every single penny.

No matter where you’re headed, you can find exotic accommodations well within your budget. And, serendipitously, I think you’ll find that the cheaper alternative is most often the better one.

Hannah Rogers

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