Now that you're retired or nearing retirement, you may be eager to launch those long-awaited plans for retirement travel. Whether you plan to hit every national park in the U.S., explore other countries or focus mainly on beach destinations, it's good to have travel advice and a few money-saving tips in your back pocket.
Before you lace up your most comfortable walking shoes and head for the airport, check out these seven tips for traveling during retirement.
1. Enjoy Retirement Travel at Off-Peak Times
You can enjoy significant savings on hotels, resorts, vacation rentals and more by planning vacations during off-peak seasons. For example, by vacationing a few weeks before Memorial Day or after Labor Day in the U.S., you can save hundreds of dollars on hotel and car rentals while enjoying less crowded beaches, restaurants and other attractions.
2. Take Advantage of Monthly Vacation Rental Rates
Do you want to take your time exploring and getting to know a vacation destination? Consider renting an Airbnb, Vrbo or another vacation rental for a month. You'll have ample time to settle in, meet the locals and other vacationers, and hit all the must-see attractions. If the vacation rental has a kitchen, you can save money on dining out by preparing some meals yourself. Plus, many vacation rentals offer a discount for monthly stays.
3. Save Money With Senior Discounts
You may be so young at heart that it rarely occurs to you to ask about senior discounts. However, senior discounts offered by hotels, restaurants, sightseeing vendors, retailers, car rental companies and airlines can add up to savings that you can spend on activities, dining out and longer vacation stays.
4. Choose Vacation Spots That Attract Retirees
You may love Florida, but you probably don't want to share beaches with throngs of college students during spring break. If you're looking for a vacation where you can be around other retirees and older adults, search online for cities and towns with a large older population or vacation spots that are popular with an older crowd. Traveling to destinations that attract older adults often means you'll find many businesses, restaurants and shops that cater products and services to a more mature crowd.
5. Plan Vacations Around Hobbies and Interests
If you're an avid golfer, plan vacations to destinations known for exceptional golf courses. Are you a history buff? If so, vacation in a city that offers historical sites, museums and bus or walking tours. For an educational getaway, book a vacation to a city holding a conference or convention centered around your hobbies and interests.
6. Rent Out Your House While Traveling
Do your retirement plans include staying in a vacation rental in a balmy destination for the winter? Renting a place for two or three months can be expensive, so why not recoup some of the costs by renting out your own home on Airbnb or another vacation rental site?
If you're nervous about renting your home out, Airbnb protects hosts with up to $1 million liability insurance and $1 million in damage protection. Airbnb guests also have a stake in leaving your place in good shape, since they rely on getting good reviews from hosts to be considered for future rentals.
7. Sign Up for a Group Tour
When you travel with a group, you'll meet other retirees while enjoying tours, activities, sightseeing, restaurants and entertainment. Find a group tour that appeals to your interests. For example, if you want to explore art, history and culture abroad, a group tour may offer discounted hotel rates, lower airfare and a greater sense of safety and security than you might experience when traveling alone or as a couple.
Now that you know how to save money on retirement travel, compare hotel rates for off-peak dates to see just how much money you can keep in your pocket. With careful planning, you can make the most of your retirement vacations.