Retirement is the best time to start traveling and exploring the world to make up for the time you spent working and meeting deadlines.
Most retirees have a fixed budget while traveling so it’s good to save enough to avoid over- spending or taking out unnecessary poor credit loans, which end up becoming a burden later in retirement.
It is advisable to start traveling soon after retiring, when you’re still in good health, with a lot of energy and morale. It also prevents you from spending your traveling savings on other unplanned events.
Ways to Optimize Retirement Travel:
• Slow travel
Slow travel is convenient for retirees because you spend more time traveling and less of your savings. You also tend to spend more time at planned destinations, which means you get friendlier rates. Most hotels in tourist destinations will give you better rates if you are staying longer.
• Recreational vehicles
Driving yourself around different destinations is another great option to save you money. You get the chance to visit national parks and see other beautiful places your destination has to offer at your leisure, while still making significant savings.
Drive-yourself options come in different packages with different levels of comfort. You have the advantage of choosing which level of comfort you prefer.
You also save on meals by cooking in your own kitchen instead of going to a restaurant. Save the money you would have otherwise spent on room and board by parking and sleeping in the recreational vehicle.
An RV has the added convenience of carrying any amount of luggage you need at no additional costs. Bring your own entertainment so you don’t get bored and save.
If you don’t travel by RV, consider bringing your own tents and camping gear as an alternative for sleeping in the car.
• Extended city visits
Nowadays, it is easy to book long stays or vacations at any destination of your choice. Most retirees tend to book cottages rather than hotels, where you get significant discounts, especially in the outskirts of a big city.
Do your research before making any commitments to find out what amenities are offered by the place you choose.
• Train travel
Train travel is another comfortable option that will cost you less than flying. You get to explore the route’s fascinating sights at no extra cost.
When opting for train travel, consider factors such as hygiene and sleeping arrangements if you have special needs. It is advisable to carry your own snacks to avoid spending on expensive options sold onboard.
• Round-the-world flights
This is another way you can explore the world. Having a full itinerary planned out is much cheaper compared to planning on your way. It allows better budgeting because you can predict when each portion of the trip starts and ends. Round-the-world excursions allow you to optimize retirement travel costs by minimizing the costs of day-to-day travel.
• Retirement cruises
These are great choices when you want to save on everyday living expenses while traveling. Once you’ve chosen the destinations you’d like to visit and the cruise package, the rest is taken care of, including meals and round-the-clock age-appropriate activities.
On the cruise, you visit more than one destination with stops at different ports, making significant savings on overall travel costs. An added advantage is the opportunity to meet and interact with people of the same age from all over the world. If you are a retiree looking for adventures on the sea, then think about a retirement cruise.
• Travel rewards
These are points and miles you earn from credit cards, bonuses, regular spending, frequent flying, and vacationing. Most retirees earn these rewards while still in the workforce accumulating points to use for their retirement travel.
Financial advisors recommend paying off your credit cards and other debts to benefit from the rewards and avoid high penalties from accrued interest and late payment fees.
• Skip the rental car
Consider booking accommodations near where it’s easier to use public transport like the locals do. In larger cities, you can book hotels a walking or cycling distance from places of interest.
While using public transportation, you may be afraid of getting lost, but technology has made it easier for travelers of all ages. Use Google maps or check online for directions. Most tourist destinations listed online will have directions and a contact you can use to ask in case you lose your way.
Bonus Tips to optimize retirement travel on a budget
For most people, traveling means cutting back on luxuries and extra expenses to afford a vacation. You might have to forego that new car to go on a trip to Hawaii. It also means you have to forego expensive clothing, among other things, even reducing the number of times you go out to eat.
If you are a retiree with modest means, but still want to experience the joys of travel in your golden years, here’s a list of ways to optimize retirement travel on a budget.
If you have specific destinations in mind, planning early might help you get better deals. Early bookings come with significant discounts and perks. It also helps if you start saving before retirement so you have a good amount to spend on travel.
Shop for discounts
Shop for discounts and cheap travel options. Some airlines have special packages for retirees traveling on a budget. You have to be careful with these, as some come with extra costs.
Look for value-added accommodation
When shopping for your board, search for cheap motels and hotels that offer free breakfast or free transportation to and from the airport.
Save on food
For some retirees, trying exotic cuisine is a big part of traveling, but eating out can dent your travel budget. Look for grocery stores and purchase supplies to pack your own snacks and picnic baskets whenever possible; it’s healthier too.
Another way to cut on food costs is by splitting meals and ordering appetizers. You can also shop for your own drinks to keep the costs even lower.
House sitting/house swapping
With retirement, comes a certain expectation of comfort, since your couch surfing is well behind you. Consider house-swapping. There are lots of sites that facilitate safe and simple swapping for seniors.
Take flattering pictures and list your property to show it and choose from the available options to swap. The fee charged on these sites is low compared to paying for hotel rooms.
House-sitting is also a great option for those who don’t own property. If you have pet allergies, look for homes without pets, as taking care of them is often part of the package. Similar to house swapping sites, house-sitting sites charge a membership fee. You might also have to prove your dependability and ability to care for a home.
Use Bargains and Benefits
While most retirees may not feel or look like seniors, sometimes it is good to use this to your advantage. You can get senior discounts in most tourist destinations, so do not be afraid to ask if it saves you some money. A small discount here and there adds up to significant savings.
Financial advisors warn against unnecessary withdrawals in order to save on money and avoid impulse spending.
It’s even better to stash your vacation money in a different account and access this only when you need it. A clever trick is to make use of consistent paychecks withdrawals at regular intervals while traveling in retirement, which helps you avoid overspending.
Traveling can be difficult, but with these tips, you can optimize your retirement travel. Happy retirement traveling!