Seven cost-cutting ways for retirees to see the world
Just because you’re on a fixed income doesn’t mean your vacation should be, too. Vacations are about building memories, and there are plenty of ways to make every dollar—and experience—count. When you’re planning your next trip, adopt some creative vacationing ideas like the following:
1. Roughing it in the bush.
Camping in national parks is a highly affordable way to see spectacular natural sights like the mountains in Glacier National Park or the geysers at Yellowstone National Park. Not to mention, accessibility for all visitors is a top priority for the National Park Service to ensure everyone is able to enjoy the same breathtaking experiences.
Although camping is offered in almost all national parks, the accommodations vary from quite modern (electricity hookups, hot showers) to verging on primitive. Many camps operate on a first-come, first-served basis, while others take reservations, so be sure to review the specifics of your chosen park before hitting the road.
Although you still have to pay for camping sites, seniors can get a $10 lifetime park pass.
2. Swapping homes or volunteering to watch Fido.
Home swapping is another low-budget travel idea. Joining a home-swapping site lets you exchange your house, condo or apartment with someone else who lives across the country or the world. Although these sites require a fee (for example, $170 on HomeExchange.com), the huge savings in accommodations can make it more than worthwhile.
Alternatively, you could look after the pets of an out-of-town friend in exchange for staying at their place when they travel. In between walking the dog or snuggling with kitty, you’ll have all the time you need to explore museums, parks or cafes.
3. Volunteering on your vacation.
If you’re passionate about doing good, combine volunteer work with seeing the world. No longer reserved for 20-somethings, volunteer vacations enable travelers to give back in a multitude of ways. Work in a greenhouse farming in Jamaica, perform marine research in Hawaii or care for children living with HIV/AIDs in Nepal. A relatively low set price will cover lodging (which is often basic), meals, orientation and transportation.
Before signing up, make sure you are fit enough to take on the position and that good medical care is nearby—just in case. GoOverseas.com offers great information to get you started.
4. Booking an educational adventure.
Learn about jazz, gourmet cooking or photography by taking an educational tour in countries like Kenya, Cuba and Italy, or in one of the 50 states. Formerly known as Elderhostel, Road Scholar gears most of its 5,500 programs to older adults.
Save money on your next educational adventure by signing up for tours in your area, sharing accommodations with a roommate or requesting financial assistance.
5. Hopping on a one-way cruise.
If you have a flexible schedule and are yearning for a sea adventure, a repositioning cruise might be the ticket. Cruise lines offer travelers discounted cruises when they need to move a ship from one port to another, usually in fall or spring. Unlike typical cruises, the trips are one-way only, although the liner will stop at several ports on the way.
It’s a great way to see the sights during the offseason. Get started with this blog post from guideforseniors.com.
6. Chasing travel deals.
If you like the thrill of trying to secure the best price for a flight or the ideal hotel rate, there’s yet another cost-saving tactic: searching for last-minute markdowns on flights, hotels and cruises. Sign up to receive email newsletters from discount sites like Apple Vacations or Cheap Caribbean, as well as airlines and tour companies. In no time, your inbox will be teeming with last-minute deals and seat sale alerts.
7. Opting for a staycation.
If your city has a vibrant arts and culture scene, slash vacation costs by staying home and touring local attractions. Research your city from the eyes of a tourist, then map out an itinerary that includes, say, taking in a jazz festival, viewing lions and zebras with your grandkids, or seeing heritage buildings from a local tour bus.
Then again, if you move to a Holiday Retirement community, you could brighten a staycation by taking part in our travel program in which residents share their travel experiences accompanied by chef-prepared cultural delicacies. It’s a form of traveling where everyone can participate, regardless of their finances! Get in touch with us today for more information.