6 Ways Seniors Can Save Money Traveling
~by Sharon Wagner
The senior years are an ideal time to travel. With empty nests and flexible schedules, older adults can travel more easily and affordably than ever. However, fixed incomes mean sticking to a budget is especially important for senior travelers. Here are six ways seniors can save money on their next trip.
Traveling in peak season means paying peak prices. To save on flights and lodging, schedule travel during the shoulder season. Not only do travelers enjoy lower prices during this time of year, popular attractions are also less crowded.
Shoulder season is the period right before or right after peak tourism season. It's different than the off-season when the weather is poor for travel. Shoulder season timing varies by destination. TripSavvy explains how to time travel during the shoulder season for any destination.
Many companies offer discounts to senior travelers. One way to land travel discounts is to purchase an AARP membership. AARP members can book flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and more through the AARP travel portal to take advantage of exclusive discounts. Even without an AARP membership, seniors can receive discounted prices with many travel companies. Check The Senior List to learn which companies offer discounted prices to senior travelers.
Not all costs are incurred on the road. Unplugging appliances and electronics and turning down the thermostat reduces electricity costs while a house is empty. Seniors should also avoid purchasing perishable food before a trip, as it's likely to spoil before they return home. In addition to these cost-saving measures, travelers should secure their home against intruders and weather events before departing on a trip.
Direct flights offer shorter travel times, but they're not always the best choice for senior travelers. Not only are connecting flights—that is, flights with a layover—cheaper on average, but layovers give travelers an opportunity to leave cramped airline seats and stretch their legs.
Travelers don't need to go abroad for a memorable vacation. There's a lot to do and see right here in the United States! The National Parks are one great option for senior travelers. For only $80, seniors can purchase an America the Beautiful pass that gains them access to all U.S. National Parks for the rest of their lifetime. Annual senior passes are also available for $20.
Hotels are convenient and predictable, but they're rarely the most cost-effective choice. For better prices and a more authentic experience, consider alternative lodging options. Seniors can rent a room or a whole home through services such as Airbnb and VRBO, stay in a cozy cabin, or book a stay at a locally owned bed-and-breakfast.
Traveling doesn't have to break the bank. For seniors who value travel but don't have a lot to spend—or seniors who want to squeeze the most travel possible out of their budget—there are plenty of ways to save money and see the world. Set a budget, plan ahead, and follow these tips to save money on your next vacation.