Traveling is the big dream for most people in their golden years. Sun-soaked beaches and wonders of the world await you! But to make these adventures a reality, it’s important to find ways to cover the costs and create a plan to make it work. Here's a few ways to save on travel when you're retired:
Make Travel Plans Early
Making travel plans in advance will get you more prepared for them, motivate you to travel and help you save money. You probably won’t be able to travel throughout your whole retirement. As you get older you’ll slow down. We all do. Early preparation work will ensure earlier travel dates before you hit your advanced years.
Cushion Your Budget
It’s a good idea to budget high and plan for extra costs. Do some research and figure out how much you might spend of lodging, food, airfare, admissions to sites, souvenirs and other expenses such as travel funds for health care. When you make your budget give yourself a cushion of at least 20 percent and make sure to factor in inflation. If you don’t spend the extra money, you can always upgrade your trip or save it for the next one.
Take Advantage of Rewards
Many credit cards offer ways to earn cash back or travel rewards that you can use for your next vacation. Many travel industry businesses like hotels, airlines, rental car places and restaurants have a rewards program too. Sign up and every time you travel, you'll earn discounts and even free travel. If you're a member of AARP, AAA or you are a veteran make sure you mention that when you book to get discounts as well.
Consider Home Swapping
Looking for a place to stay without spending money? Consider a house swap. Join a website like Home Exchange or Intervac International Home Exchange to search for places to stay and make an offer to swap with someone else who wants to stay at your place. Get a signed exchange document that lays out house rules before you make any commitments.
Think About Getting Travel Insurance
As an older traveler you could experience health issues that may prevent a trip or derail it, especially on long vacations. Travel insurance can help you recover some of the costs if you have medical reason.
Travel When Other People Don’t
It’s usually cheaper to fly between Monday through Wednesday, instead of Thursday through Saturday, because less people fly on those days. As a retiree you can also travel at any time, so take advantage of less expensive, late morning or afternoon flights when pricing and travel times are lower. Consider booking a hotel when tourism is low and there aren’t holidays around the corner and you’ll likely get lower rates.