April 16, 2017 – Travel is one of the joys that most people look forward to in retirement. Unfortunately for many retirees, who find themselves struggling to pay their daily expenses, being able to afford a robust travel schedule is a serious problem.
Here are some practical tips to help even the most budget conscious baby boomer enjoy a lot of great travel experiences in retirement.
1. Travel at the last minute. Your favorite airline, cruise line, or travel site probably has email alerts on bargains. Sometimes it’s almost cheaper to travel than it is to stay home!
2. Put a “Watch” on your bucket list trips. Go to Google or sites like Travelocity and type in the flight or tour you are interested in. There is usually a way to track and get alerts about pricing changes – book when you think you have your best deal.
3. Find a place to stay with Airbnb or sites like HomeAway.com. Today there is no need to pay big hotel prices when thousands and thousands of people are willing to rent you a room for a fraction of the price. Check user ratings and stay with reputable outfits though, as there are scammers out there willing to steal your money.
4. Try a home exchange. Some of the more established players in the home exchange market include HomeLink, HomeExchange, and Intervac. There are all types of home exchanges with advantages and pitfalls. This article from USA Today has some great tips on how to do it right.
5. Volunteer or get a job as guide or helper. A few years back we interviewed Barbara Traynor for this article, “How to Live for Free as a Second Career Volunteer“. Although budget-challenged, Barbara has had amazing travel experiences while doing rewarding volunteer work at the same time. She has some great ideas on how you can do the same.
6. Buy a used RV. Our series on Retiring in an RV by Betty Fitterman was one of our most read ever! There are so many places you can go while bringing your home along with you.
7. Travel in the off season. Being retired has advantages, and one of them is flexibility. While working stiffs have to work around holidays and vacation schedules, you have the time to travel when rates are lowest.
8. Look for free entertainment options. Look for concerts at churches, download walking or biking tours, attend library talks, hit museums or other places on free or senior days. If you look around you can find all kinds of entertainment options that are either free or very low cost.
9. Do your research. Blogs, travel columns, and guide books have all kinds of ideas for where and when to go. The more time you spend researching the better your trip will be, and the more you can save.
Comments? We would love to hear your best ideas for making travel work on a small budget. Better yet, what are some of the best trips you have taken in your retirement? Please share in the Comments section below!
For further reading:
The Ultimate Downsize – Pack Your Suitcase and Hit the Road
Boomers’ Biggest Regrets: Not Traveling Enough
More Great Boomer Retirement Trips from Jan
5 Golden Rules for Solving Baby Boomer Travel Problems We Didn’t Have Back in the Day
Best Road Trips for Baby Boomers
Adventurous Retirements (a series of articles)