30 Oct Traveling Affordably in Retirement
Your dreams of traveling in retirement are what kept you motivated through decades of working. Now that retirement is here, you’re ready to see the world! But, if you want to see the most for your money, you need to keep your budget in mind when making travel plans.
Traveling on a budget doesn’t mean you need to skimp on vacation plans. When you save in these three savvy ways, you can enjoy the full experience of your destination and honor your budget.
Choose a budget-friendly travel destination
Some destinations are more budget-friendly than others. If you want to spend less while seeing a lot, look outside of the most well-known destinations. Traveling just slightly off the beaten path gets you away from inflated tourist pricing and into beautiful regions full of affordable things to do. Take Monferrato for example – when you explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site in northwest Italy – you can balance splurging on wine, food, and art with exploring Monferrato’s bountiful hillsides for free.
Monferrato is one of the destinations where you can balance beauty and budget. When choosing an affordable travel destination, consider the cost of getting there, as well as sightseeing and dining costs. In general, locales with lots of outdoor, natural attractions are great choices for travelers seeking low-cost activities.
Save money when booking travel
Your greatest opportunity to save money is when booking travel and accomodations. As a senior, you’re eligible for a wide variety of travel discounts, so take advantage of them.
Start by researching which companies are known to offer travel discounts to seniors. Retired Brains has a big list to get you started. Keep in mind that some companies don’t have discounts available online and you’ll need to call to book at the discounted rate.
Don’t forget to buy travel insurance! If you’ve ever cancelled a trip because you got sick, you know how expensive not buying travel insurance can be. However, that doesn’t mean you need every type of coverage. For most travelers, trip cancellation insurance is enough. You may also need a short-term medical or Medigap policy for trips overseas; Medicare doesn’t cover U.S. citizens who need health care abroad.
Reduce expenses at home while you’re away
Most frugal travelers focus on saving money on the road, but your house affects your vacation budget, too. If you leave lights on or don’t adjust the thermostat before leaving town, you could be hit with a higher-than-expected bill when you return. And that’s not factoring how expensive it could be if your house is burglarized because you didn’t take the proper precautions.
Avoid an expensive oversight by taking these steps before leaving home:
- Turn the thermostat down to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. If traveling during winter, insulate exposed plumbing.
- Unplug vampire appliances. CleanTechnica names some of the most common energy-sucking appliances.
- Clean out the fridge so you don’t come home to the smell of spoiled food. Avoid buying perishable foods before you leave.
- Prepay bills so you’re not worried about them on vacation, or get hit with late fees when you return. Then, stop your mail delivery.
In addition to these measures, ask a friend or neighbor to stop in while you’re away. There’s no substitute for human presence when it comes to deterring would-be burglars and catching catastrophes at home.
With luck, you have many years of retirement ahead of you. So why would you blow your whole travel budget on one or two trips? By following this advice, you can stretch your travel budget to see and experience as much as possible during your senior years.
Written by Sharon Wagner | Photo by Matthew Bennett, Ayakumar Ananthan and Kevin Grieve on Unsplash