For many retirees, their No. 1 retirement aspiration is to travel. A Transamerica survey found that 62% of Americans hope to travel in retirement, more than the number who aspire to spend more time with friends and family (57%) or pursue a new hobby (48%). But budgeting for travel in retirement is becoming increasingly difficult.
“With inflation, achieving this goal in the near term may seem impossible right now,” said Shannon Raisor, senior team lead of customer support at Wise. “But (by) taking a few key steps to manage their money, retirees can have the adventure of a lifetime without the financial burden.”
travel-in-retirement-during-times-of-inflation/?utm_campaign=1182081&utm_source=nasdaq.com&utm_content=1&utm_medium=rss”>Here’s how retirees can travel throughout their golden years without blowing their fixed budgets.
Avoid Foreign Transaction Fees
“People are often made to believe that their cards and banks offer no foreign transaction fees,” Raisor said. “In reality, they’re frequently charged hidden markups in the exchange rate. In fact, a study found that vacationers spend over $3.3 billion on transaction and exchange rate markups.”
These fees can easily add up and take a bite out of a retiree’s travel budget. To avoid fees, exchange currency ahead of time to secure the best rates and use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees while traveling.
“Retirees should also consider a universal account,” Raisor said. “With a universal account, they can hold and pay in local currencies, save money by getting the same exchange rates the banks pay, and better track their purchases made abroad to get a clear idea of how they’re spending against their total budget.”
Live Like a Local
“Another way to save on retirement travel is to live like a local whenever and wherever you can,” Raisor said. “What I mean by that is instead of dining out every night, for example, shop at a local supermarket and cook your own meals inspired by local cuisine. Instead of paying for a car service or taxi, take public transit or rent a bike. Instead of renting a fancy hotel room, use a hospitality marketplace or exchange site for affordable accommodations.
“Living like a local can help retirees not only save money but get a more immersive and authentic cultural experience during their travels.”
Mary DeSpain, president at Destination CLEs, which specializes in educational vacation opportunities, advises against waiting for last-minute deals.
“Cruise lines, hotels and resorts often reward those who book ahead with discounted rates and add-ons,” she said. “When cruising, planning (early) means you’ll have more options to choose from when selecting layout and location. If rates go down after you’ve booked, you’re often able to adjust your price, so booking early means getting the vacation you want at a great price.”
Travel During the Offseason
DeSpain recommends traveling to a destination during the offseason or “shoulder” season — the time right before or after peak season.
“With fewer travelers visiting a destination during the offseason,” she said, “you’ll have faster access to typically busy tourist attractions and accommodation rates are usually lower, giving you more bang for your buck.”
Book Cruises as a Group
“Whether you’re planning a family reunion, friends’ getaway or a special interest group, you may be eligible for a free cabin when traveling in a group of eight or more staterooms,” DeSpain said. “Plus, groups can often get perks, special amenities and onboard credit.”
Book Weekday Trips
An advantage of traveling as a retiree is that every day is your weekend, so you can more easily book trips during the week than the general population.
“Traveling on a Tuesday through Thursday is likely to be cheaper than traveling over the weekend,” said Tim Hentschel, co-founder and CEO at HotelPlanner, a resource for finding hotel deals.
Avoid Popular Travel Destinations
Hentschel recommends booking trips to less popular destinations to save money.
“Visit secondary cities that are less crowded and less expensive,” he said. “Rather than a trip to Manhattan, consider antiquing in Woodstock or Beacon, New York. Rather than an expensive beach trip to Key West or Miami, consider Gulf Coast (destinations) such as Destin, Florida; Gulf Shores, Alabama; or Pensacola, (Florida).”
Take Advantage of Any Discounts You May Qualify For
“If you are a military veteran, AAA member or a senior citizen, always ask for those discounts if you qualify,” Hentschel said. “You earned them; use them. Even if the hotel or retail business doesn’t offer any of these discounts, a friendly person at the front desk or checkout may give you their ‘friends and family’ rate, which is typically 10-20% off. It never hurts to ask. Over time, you can save thousands of dollars.”
Consider a Volunteer Trip
Do good, see the world and save on travel by going on an expenses-paid volunteer trip.
“There are hundreds of global charity organizations — such as Mercy Ships or Samaritan’s Purse — that will pay for their volunteers to travel,” Hentschel said. “And typically there is always some free time to sightsee.”
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 9 Ways To Save on Travel in Retirement During Times of Inflation
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