Travel tips

Budget Travel Tips for Seniors

Seniors who are careful about planning a long-awaited vacation have the patience and good sense to wait for the best deals on travel, accommodations, and other travel expenses. It’s well worth the time it takes to do it right, to find the best deals and make the most of a trip you’ve dreamed of for years. Whether you’re headed abroad or traveling within North America, take advantage of the many resources available online that can help senior travelers save money and plan a vacation they’ll always remember.

Don’t forget you can save money at home before you leave by unplugging televisions, computers and, appliances, which draw electricity even when not turned on. Shut your water off and turn the thermostat down while you’re away to save energy costs.

Comfortable, affordable lodgings

With the exception of airfare, finding comfortable yet affordable lodgings is the most costly and important objective of the savvy senior traveler. Think about the things you most want to see and do once you’ve arrived at your destination, then begin researching hotels and looking for the best locations at the best prices. Remember, you want to avoid wasting time getting to your destination and sitting in traffic, so consider location very carefully when arranging accommodations. Utilize websites like Priceline and Hotel Tonight to find the best deals.

Senior-friendly travel organizations

As a senior, you have opportunities for travel discounts that weren’t available in years past. If you’re a member of AARP, you’re eligible for discounts on hotels, airfare, and other travel-related expenses. For a membership of $16, you have international access to discounts at high-quality hotels. Don’t be afraid to inquire about additional senior discounts no matter where your travels take you. Websites like Kayak can be a tremendous advantage as well because they combine data from multiple search engines, putting the best deals right at your fingertips and on a timely basis. 

Cope with connections

Unless you’re a senior under serious travel restrictions, avoid booking direct flights, which are considerably more expensive. It’ll take a little more time and there’s the sometimes chaotic ordeal of connecting flights to deal with, but you can save hundreds of dollars this way. Think of being able to use the money you’ll save for a sumptuous dinner at a four-star restaurant, or a pricey keepsake you’ve just got to take home with you.

Free stopovers

If you’re on a flight with a connection with a long layover, consider asking the airline for a free stopover, an additional day or two where you’re awaiting a connecting flight, to milk as much time and experience as you possibly can from your travels. If your connection city is London or Paris, it’s a great chance to squeeze in a day or two of meaningful travel experiences. It’s worth a shot; airlines are often eager to do their customers a favor in the interest of good customer relations.

Make yourself at home

The sharing economy made a major contribution to the travel industry with the institution of Airbnb, which allows you to rent space in someone’s home (in locations all over the world). This can be an excellent option for seniors who’d prefer to stay in surroundings with all the comforts and familiarity of home. And in many cases, it puts you closer to the attractions you most want to see.

Travel flexibility

Seniors are frequently targeted via the internet, email, and regular mail by scammers using travel offers at bargain-basement prices to entice gullible travelers into making self-destructive financial decisions. Always verify information about such offers and those making them by checking URLs, phone numbers, addresses, and other information. And never pay for something via the internet before researching it via the Better Business Bureau and your local attorney general’s office.

If you’ve waited for retirement to do some serious traveling, do yourself a favor and be smart about the costs. You’ll get more out of the experience and have more freedom to travel the way you want to by being savvy about airfare, lodging, ground transportation, and other associated expenses.