If your dream is to travel after you’ve retired, don’t let a tight, retirement budget stop you! With the right planning, it’s possible to find great deals that let you see the places you want to see without breaking the bank. Once you’ve figured out your budget, use these 3 tips below to help build a cost-efficient itinerary that lets you travel the world.
#1: Take Advantage of Your Age
No matter where you go, bring an ID with your age on it. Many museums, attractions, events, and venues across the world offer discounts for seniors that you should take advantage of. These savings could be over 10% and can really add up.
If you don’t have an AAA or AARP membership, you might also consider getting one. Both services offer significant discounts for hotels, car rentals, tours, tickets and more.
Finally, make sure to ask your travel organization or hotels about senior benefits. These are often not advertised and you’ll only know through inquiry. Finally, some airlines actually offer senior discounts too. For example, United offers this in select areas but you need to ask about it when you’re making the reservation.
#2: Look Beyond Hotels
One of the biggest expense items for any trip is your hotel room. If you are traveling to a reasonably safe area, you should look into AirBnB as an alternative to hotels. On AirBnB, you can rent rooms from a local in the country – and often at significantly discounted rates to hotels in the area. Furthermore, there are benefits to using AirBnB over a traditional hotel room beyond price. Many great hosts will give you insights from the perspective of a local and often times will have nicer accommodations than a hotel would.
If you must stay in a hotel, get rates from the source. Don’t trust hotel aggregator websites or a travel agency. For smaller hotels, you can often call the hotel managers and negotiate the listed price if you are traveling during a non-peak period. If you are purchasing rooms online, you should visit the site using the native language of the region then translate the page with Google Translator. While this is more work, it can save you quite a bit of money. This is because hotels often charge locals a different price than they charge travelers from the US since they know tourists can afford to pay more.
#3: Travel with a Group
Consider traveling with a group. It could your family, friends, church members, retirement community or even a tour group. A group of travelers are often in a much better position to negotiate on prices for just about everything – from hotels to food to tours.
If you choose to use a tour group, make sure you do diligence on the activities they promise. Tour groups usually have revenue share with the service providers they choose so sometimes bad tour groups will use lower quality services and charge a higher price. A good place to do research on activities is Trip Advisor. If you find a good tour group though, you will not only get a superior experience but also better prices as a result of your group’s negotiating power.