Stepping away from the working world can open up endless opportunities for you to travel to destinations around the world. Perhaps there’s a place that’s always been on your must-see list. Or, maybe you and your spouse have always wanted to spend a few months travelling around another country.
Whatever the reason, you’re in luck. Seniors can get in on some of the top travel deals available. Why? First, you’re likely eligible for quite a few discounts such as cheaper car hire. Secondly, it’s likely you have a little more flexibility in planning, as you don’t have to plan around work schedules.
Below, we’ve put together some of our favourite travel tips for those 55 and over that will help you save money and enjoy a wonderful holiday:
1) Take advantage of your flexibility. Most travel sites allow you to choose the ‘flex month’ option when searching. From here, you’ll be able to view a list of flight prices by day, and select the least expensive days to travel. You’ll also find that flying on less favourable times of the day (such as early in the morning) can save you quite a bit.
2) Scoop up last minute, off-season deals. Sometimes, last minute deals during the off-season can save you as much as 70 per cent on flights on car rentals. Check travel sites often and see what you can find.
3) Know the airlineís fees. Nowadays, it seems airlines charge for everything including luggage, snacks, and sometimes even blankets. If you have a long flight, pack snacks and a small fleece blanket from home.
4) Take advantage of vouchers. If you find yourself travelling during a busy time of year, it’s likely an airline will overbook and ask some passengers to take a different flight. If you donít need to be to your destination right away, consider taking these vouchers. They can sometimes be worth a full round-trip ticket.
5) Consider a home swap. Sites like HomeAway can be a great way to explore a new city and have plenty of room to live. Instead of being cooped up in a small hotel room, consider exchanging your home with someone in your destination city. Or, if you’re not comfortable swapping your home, you can use the site to find long-term vacation rentals.
6) Join a senior group. There are many groups that are dedicated to giving seniors great discounts on restaurants, hotel stays, and sometimes even airline flights. Most require a yearly fee, but will pay for themselves in a matter of a couple holiday days.
7) Join ANY group. Look through your local yellow pages and see if thereís an option for organized group travel. Not only will you meet new people, but these organizations often offer reduced rates.
8 ) Avoid touristy restaurants. Wander off the beaten path and explore the city’s other restaurants. Getting even a few blocks away from the main area can save you quite a bit when dining.
9) Ask for discounts. Many establishments donít make their discounts evident, but that doesnít mean they donít exist. Whether you’re at a restaurant, hotel, or even a museum, donít be afraid to ask for a discount. You never know what you might get.
10) Pack snacks and bottled water. If you plan to walk around more than youíre used to, be sure to pack healthy snacks and bottled water. Bring it from home will help you save a bundle, rather than buying from tourist spots.
11) Avoid exchange bureaus. Exchange stations are at nearly every airport, and they usually charge you much more than normal to exchange your money. Instead, take your credit or debit card to an ATM and withdraw money from there. Even though it will charge a 2 ñ 3 per cent fee, itís less expensive than these stations.
Consider the above tips when booking your next holiday. Knowing even a few of them can help save you significant money.
About the Author: Laura Murphy has lead the eclectic vagabond life, traveling here and there and now has settled into the perfect gig for the perpetual itinerant: writing for the cheap car hire site NovaCarHire.com! She’s learned a thing or two about saving money on travel and hopes you follow her on her quest to share her lessons with folks who have a traveler’s heart, if not the budget.