A major goal for many retirees is to travel more. Unfortunately, such a plan can be costly. You’ve worked hard, saved money, paid off your debt, and done everything you can to prepare for an enjoyable retirement.
Now you’re getting close to retirement, you’ve started daydreaming of traveling more, but before you start your traveling adventures, there are some things you should do to ensure your travel budget stretches far enough.
Travel during off-peak times
When you’ve reached the age of retirement, you’re no longer tied to traveling at weekends and choosing the expensive Friday through Sunday flights. You don’t have to stress about getting back to the office, so why not take advantage of lower prices during off-peak times? Flights that leave Monday through Wednesday, especially during the late morning or afternoon, tend to be much cheaper.
Shoulder seasons are also cheap times to travel. These are times in which the weather is still good, but the peak tourist rush is over.
You can also make considerable savings if you’re willing to be flexible. Travel operators often slash prices at the last minute to fill empty seats and rooms. If you’re willing to travel at the last minute or at a moment’s notice, there are no end of deals.
Get the discounts you’re entitled to
There are lots of opportunities to save money when you’re retired. If you’re a member of a veteran’s group, AARP, or AAA, make sure you mention it when you book. You might be entitled to claim some substantial discounts on flights, rental cars, or hotels.
If you choose to take your car with you, consider car shipping with an auto transport company because there may be snowbird or military discounts you can take advantage of.
For anyone over the age of 65, United Airlines offers discounted “senior fares”. Starwood Hotels, which includes Sheraton, Westin Hotels and Resorts, Four Points, and W Hotels, offer up to 50% off for anyone aged 62 and over. Such discounts are just the tip of the iceberg.
Discount airlines such as WOW, Ryanair, and Southwest offer no-frills travel options in the US and abroad.
Think about getting travel and health insurance
As you get older, the chance of having to delay travel plans because of health issues becomes greater. If the vacation you’re planning is an expensive one, it might pay to purchase travel insurance, just in case you have to postpone or even cancel your trip.
If you purchase travel insurance, it means you won’t be out the full amount should a medical issue come up. It’s also worth checking that your health insurance covers you while you’re outside the United States. Some Medicare supplemental insurance plans don’t offer such coverage, which means you might need to purchase additional travel health insurance.
Make sure you’ve got a cushion
It’s all too easy to underestimate the total cost of their travel. When you’re working out your travel budget, make sure you set some extra money aside. A good ballpark figure is 20% to cover unforeseen costs. It’s better to have too much than not enough. If you end up not spending it, treat yourself to a luxurious meal on your last night or keep it to one side for your next trip.
World travel doesn’t come cheap. If you’re planning to spend one or more months going on international or domestic trips, travel budget planning is critical. Think of every step involved. Remember to include flights, accommodations, car rentals or local transportation, eating out, groceries, entertainment, and insurance. If you plan on staying in chic hotels, your nest egg needs to be hefty.
Suppose you are willing to lower the bar and stay in modest accommodations such as rented apartments or budget hotels and use public transportation instead of rental cars. In that case, it is possible to travel inexpensively.
Consider a home swap
One final way to save money when you’re traveling is to swap houses with a local, rather than staying in an expensive hotel or paying for a rental. Having someone who knows the area and can recommend things to do, see, and eat, can be a great resource. It also means you won’t have to dip into your vacation savings for the cost of a hotel.
Companies such as Home Exchange or Intevac International Home Exchange have properties all over the world. However, one word of advice is to get a signed exchange document that clearly lays out the ground rules before staying in someone else’s home.
If you’ve always dreamt of traveling the world or possibly even retiring abroad, you need to take an honest look at your financial situation and your travel goals. A good approach is to find an amount of money you’re comfortable spending and then fit your travel plans into that budget.