Traveling and Using Retirement to Your Advantage

November 16, 2019

Time can be your best friend during retirement!

Working life requires you to structure your days around a certain number of hours and responsibilities. For retirees, unless you volunteer strict hours or work a part-time job during your retirement, you aren’t bound by the same constraints.

Instead, you can save money by using your time strategically. Want to travel in your retirement, without breaking the bank?

Here’s how:

Use Time to Offset Costs

Depending on where you’re going and when, plane tickets are expensive and come with a whole host of problems, expenses, and headaches. You’re limited in what you can carry, you might lose your luggage, and that’s not even to mention the inflated costs of airport food!

Trains like Amtrak are more environmentally friendly with fewer restrictions on luggage, but they cost more than a plane – especially if you’re going for several nights and want a cabin.

For a retiree, you have one advantage to off-set these costs: time. 

Road trips are a great way to use time to your advantage. While you do have to pay for gas, spending a whole day or two driving is often much cheaper than plane tickets.

Take Adventures, Not Trips

If you plan a road trip that takes you from Point A to Point B, no in-between, then you’re still paying for the price of gas, accommodations, and food. For only one destination, the ‘trip’ starts to feel very expensive.

However, if you have multiple destinations and stops in between, a one-week trip becomes a many-week adventure – all for the same transport cost. This helps you gain more for you money, and the only additional price is time.

This option best suits travel by car, once again, though train layovers can be used to your advantage with care. The American road trip isn’t just a classic. It’s a secret weapon for retirees to save money, while using their flexible schedules to their advantage.

Travel at the Right Times

Those with full-time jobs are often restricted to traveling on the weekend, or during seasons where vacation time is easy to obtain. Luckily, that’s not the case for you.

Booking hotels, buying tickets, or even visiting resorts during off-seasons can provide you notable discounts. A plane ticket for a Tuesday in the spring will be far less appealing to the general working public, while Saturdays during the summer may be booked tight.

Likewise, the roads will be far less congested during early weekday mornings, while you can be cozied up somewhere for the weekend rush.  

Plan Long-Term

Hotels can be budget friendly, but if you’re making long trips (or adventures), the costs do stack.

With more time comes more travel opportunities. That makes it wise to invest in hotel loyalty programs, travel booking memberships, and other rewards programs. The more often you stay in certain hotels, the more discounts you can receive. As a plus, many chains offer senior discounts that you can leverage.  

Likewise, instead of buying one-time plane tickets, renting a car, or both, you can save more money by thinking ahead about transport. Using your own car is cheaper, or you can trade it in for a more fuel-efficient model that takes you greater distances for less.

Conclusion

Not everyone can afford the time to travel, but retirees are in a unique position to take advantage. With the right timing, the right itinerary, and a little forethought, you can save a great deal of money while seeing even more wonderful places.

After all, you’ve worked hard to get here; why not enjoy it?