For many people, retirement is the first time in their lives that they have both the time and the money to travel. With your career behind you and years of savings built up, you are finally free to explore the world and see everything you had put off seeing until now. It’s a very exciting time, which is why it can be easy to get carried away with your budget. Here are a few ways to keep your trip costs down while still making the most out of your retirement travel.
Compare, Compare, Compare
Don’t book flights or accommodation without using a price comparison website. Skyscanner is the market leader for flights — it even allows you to see the cheapest prices for any given destination or the cheapest destination for certain dates.
Trivago, meanwhile, is a good option for comparing hotels, showing you the different prices available for a single given room. Once you find a hotel you like, there’s just one more thing to do. Some hotels offer cheaper rates or better perks for direct booking, so head to their website to see if you could save even more money.
Or, Use A Travel Agent
There is a bit of a stereotype that seniors are the only people still using travel agents, whereas younger people book independently. This is not necessarily true, as over 80 percent of seniors have embraced the money-saving opportunities of the internet (thus the comparison advice above). However, if you’re not the kind of person who actively enjoys the planning part of a vacation, then you might actually be able to save more using an agent. According to the AARP, using a travel agent can save you $452 on average.
Watch Out For Scams
The travel industry is unfortunately plagued by scammers and fraudsters, many of which assume an older adult will be more vulnerable. It’s up to you to stay safe and be smart. Only work with trusted and reliable companies for your travel plans, preferably those with an established reputation or good online reviews. In doubt, you can also check if the business is listed with the Better Business Bureau; if not, you might want to steer clear.
Learn to Spot a Tourist Trap
Most big tourist destinations are packed with terrible restaurants designed solely to part unsuspecting travelers with their money. Often, they rely on a location near a landmark, which can be particularly appealing for a senior who needs to sit down after three hours in a museum.
Spotting a tourist trap is often easier said than done — there’s a reason they’re called “traps”. However, they usually share a few key characteristics. This blog post on identifying them relates to Paris specifically, but the advice goes for just about anywhere.
Protect Your Money
Nothing ruins a vacation faster than getting pickpocketed or robbed, and seniors are often considered easy targets. Luckily, common sense will protect you against most kinds of theft. Don’t flash wads of cash or expensive items in the street, keep valuables in a hotel safe when you’re out, and be aware of your possessions at all times. If you feel like you need extra protection, Pacsafe’s range of bags and wallets is the industry standard for anti-theft gear.
Cut Down on Costs at Home
When you’re so worried about how much money you are going to be spending on your trip, it can be easy to forget the cash you might be spending back home. Before you leave, cut down on your utility costs by unplugging your appliances and turning off the thermostat.
Only because you now have the funds to travel doesn’t mean you can’t be money-savvy when planning your trip. There are hundreds of ways to save cash on travel, especially these days with the help of the internet. By following the tips above, you’ll be able to travel more often, to farther destinations, and keep your wanderlust alive for years to come.