A primary goal for many retirees is to travel. Even if you are on a tight budget, with some research and creativity travel can be very affordable. The secret to saving money on travel is time and flexibility. In retirement you can be more flexible with your dates and destinations and you have the time to plan, research and shop for the best deal.
Travel during off-peak or shoulder season to get the best prices on airfare, hotels and restaurants, this is generally April – June and September – October. You can experience tremendous savings by travelling when everyone else isn’t. However, many businesses close during the off-season so be sure your preferred sites and accommodations will be open when you plan to travel. Additionally, review the weather patterns during your stay to be sure it won’t be too disruptive to your plans.
Unless your goal is to wait for a last-minute deal, it’s best to plan ahead. According to a study conducted by Cheapair.com, in 2018 the best time to book airline travel was 70 days in advance and in 2017 was 55 days in advance. Travel expert and co-president of FrommerMedia, Pauline Frommer, found that statistically you save 19% if you book airfare on the weekend – possibly because corporate travel agents book travel during the week. Travel on Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday to get the best rates on airfare. Also consider alternative, less popular airports, flights with a layover and flights at less popular times for a lower price.
Retirees have more flexibility on dates and destinations. You can save money by letting the deals determine when and where you go. If you haven’t nailed down a destination, consider the following websites to find the best airfare deals, Skyscanner.com, GoogleFlights.com or Kayak.com.
Additionally, once you stop working, you can save money by taking longer vacations. You can visit several different countries on an extended European vacation for the price of a single international ticket. On a longer vacation, you can also save money utilizing vacation rentals through Airbnb or VRBO. Your per night cost for a vacation rental is generally much lower than a tradition hotel and the accommodations frequently include kitchen facilities. You can also save on restaurant expenses by preparing some of your own meals.
Save money by finding the best deals on hotels and bed and breakfasts on sites such as Tripadvisor.com, Trivago.com or Booking.com but where possible make your reservation directly with the hotel. They will appreciate a direct booking and may offer you a better rate or a better room. Hotels pay significant commissions to third party booking sites. Additionally, you can save money and enhance your experience by sleeping and eating off the main drag or just outside the center of town.In retirement, with a little effort and initiative you have the time and flexibility to find great travel deals to fulfill your travel goals.