Did you know you can save money and still travel the world to your heart’s content?
Since you have reached your golden years, a lot of people will be encouraging you to travel or to go out of your comfort zone by picking up new hobbies. And while travel is high on most retirees’ lists, it can also come with the financial burden of having to afford all these trips and vacations while also being retired and having to manage your income carefully (especially if you are getting benefits as well).
However, it is not impossible. If visiting both our beautiful country and exploring other countries has been on your bucket list for a while, know that you can do it while also saving some money. To help you make your dream come true, we have gathered some of the best advice to save some money when you are traveling or preparing to travel, so you can visit as many places as you can but also not break your savings account.
Let us know which destination is next on your travel bucket list in the comments below!
#1 Keep an eye on the airfares
When it comes to traveling, despite a lot of Americans relying on their cars to drive around the states, a plane is still the most convenient when it comes to time, and also when it comes to comfort and safety. The best course of action is to plan your trip in advance, especially if you plan to go somewhere abroad. And this doesn’t mean you should end up buying tickets at that moment, but keep an eye out and plan what you want to do, including the time when you should fly out.
There is a certain timeframe known as a “sweet spot” when it comes to traveling by plane, and in that interval, the prices for plane tickets are going to be lower than they would be in other time periods. For traveling domestically, you should book between one and three months ahead, while for international travel, the sweet spot can be anywhere between two to eight months.
Until you book your tickets, you can keep an eye out and see when the prices for your desired dates fluctuate and when they have their lowest fares. There is no need to pay more because you are impatient. You can either use Google Flights to get alerts or some other airfare-dedicated website.
#2 Take advantage of your flexible schedule when traveling
One of the best things about reaching retirement age is that you are now free from the grueling scheduling you had to do both around work and for anniversaries, birthdays, and school calendars. These types of fixed schedules can impact your travel times significantly, but now that you have reached your golden years, you are free to travel whenever you want.
This means you can take advantage of the fact that prices for planned rides are lower on certain days when the airports are less crowded and that you will not depend on the hour or fixed dates before you start looking. You can start your search with a certain period of time in mind, but if you can get cheaper tickets a few days earlier, then you should definitely take advantage of it and save some extra money!
Not to mention, keep an eye on flights for Tuesday and Wednesday: that’s when the tickets are generally less expensive.
Image By Marko Rupena From Shutterstock
#3 Avoid spending money on unnecessary fees
Before you leave for any foreign destination, you should check your credit card conditions and find out what their policy is for transitions in foreign currencies. When traveling, it is easiest to just use your card to pay for things or take cash from one of that country’s ATMs, but when you add up that 3% fee that is typical across American cards, it can end up costing you a pretty penny.
What’s more, besides this fee that your own bank will charge you, there are certain banks abroad that are going to charge you their own fees for withdrawing money or just using their ATMs. Before you start traveling, you should definitely check in on the country’s policies and check out some travel blogs on the topic.
If any, and if they are too high, see if you can apply for a travel card or something of the sort; not only will you have no extra fees, but you may also be eligible for certain benefits related to travel, such as discounts and free upgrades.
#4 Do not rely on hotels only
There are a lot of good deals when it comes to hotels, but you shouldn’t only rely on them. With the rise of places like Vrbo and Airbnb, you can easily rent a whole apartment or even a whole house, and sometimes for the same price, if not cheaper, than it would be to rent a hotel room. Sure, you will have to look after yourself, but the lower prices and intimacy of having the whole place to yourself is definitely something sought after.
If you plan to go to Europe, it’s worth checking out Booking for whole apartments to rent: it’s one of the massive websites Europeans use when it comes to traveling and booking their places to stay, and you are bound to find amazing deals for both apartment and hotel stays!
You can even score a house-sitting gig if you are feeling up to it. That way, you can not only visit a whole new place but also not spend a cent on accommodation by taking care of someone else’s house when they are out traveling themselves. This one is a match made in heaven if you are okay with such an arrangement, especially when it comes to saving money!
#5 Do not dine out every day
Despite traveling being a time when you can relax, and you can spoil yourself a little bit, you shouldn’t end up relying too much on this strategy. Not only will you end up spending a lot more money by always stopping at a restaurant to dine out, but you will also not experience everything that location can give you.
Especially when you are going somewhere abroad, you should check out that place’s supermarket or a local grocery store. That way, not only will you be able to take in their different ways of living and culture, but you may also discover some delicious new foods without having to spend as much as you would in a restaurant.
It doesn’t mean that you should only start cooking for yourself when on vacation. But to save some money and also get the most out of the travel experience, you can substitute some meals with ones you can do yourself by shopping and making your meals instead of solely buying them.
#6 Always take advantage of the strong dollar
It may seem boring, but if you have been dreaming of traveling somewhere abroad all your life, you should keep an eye on the evolution of the dollar. Not only will it give you an idea of how much money you should have with you or what the buying power of the dollar is, but it will also give you an idea of when it would be the best time to do it.
You shouldn’t plan your whole trip around this, but if the dollar has been going stronger than the local currency for a while, it would be a great idea to plan and go as soon as you can. A strong dollar will give Americans more buying power when abroad, and this can mean that you will be spending less than you would expect, which will save you money in the long run!
#7 Don’t instantly rent a car
While it is the easiest way to travel around since you have the comfort of just using the car, with how the rental climate looks now, it may end up costing you way more than you would have initially expected just to rent the car. This does not include the growing cost of gas and other car-related costs since the company may also ask you for a deposit and insurance payments as well.
When traveling abroad, you can easily look up and use mass transit whenever possible. Some destinations also have extensive bike lanes that you can use to explore the city, and you can easily get around the city using public transport. This can also apply if you are traveling inside the United States. Moreover, you can also use a cab or shared-drive service when you are in a rush.
Don’t spend unnecessary money on renting a car unless you really have to.
Since travel isn’t the only place where you can end up saving more money, find out how you can save more money on monthly bills here!
What East coast US city would have a nice walking beach access and be most affordable to spend the winter?