Top Tips for a Top-Flight Budget Vacation


Whether it’s for a weekend, a week, or longer, everyone enjoys getting away now and then. Relaxing and taking in new scenery does wonders to refresh the mind and spirit. However, many retired couples consider vacations out of the question because of the cost. This doesn’t have to be the case! With a little planning and creativity, you’ll find there are plenty of options for the budget traveler.

Travel Off-Seasona couple on a beach

Summer is traditionally a time for families to get away because there is no school. Retired couples and empty nesters don’t have to worry about this. There are significant savings for traveling in the “shoulder seasons” of Fall or early Spring, especially with resorts, cruise lines, hotels, and airlines. Europe may be cooler and the Caribbean may be rainier, but you can often save as much as 50%.

Stay in a House or Condo

At first glance, renting a house or a condo may seem like it’s more expensive than staying in a hotel. Once you do the math, you might find a house or apartment to be a savings after all. When you stay in a house you can cook your own meals. Most vacation rentals have other money saving features, ranging from  washer and dryer, to bikes and beach gear that you can borrow. Moreover, where you might feel claustrophobic and want to get out of your hotel room every night – spending money on entertainment. With a vacation rental, you can stay in some nights and enjoy the scenery, watch television, play board games, or read a book. If you book in the off season, and for a week or longer,  you’ll save even more money. Popular sites to find vacation rentals are vrbo and airbnb.

Make it a “Staycation” With Day Trips

“Vacation” doesn’t mean you have to get away. You can stay home and still enjoy yourself with some special day trips. Do you live near the coast or a lake? A day cruise where you can get some fishing in is a wonderful way to relax and enjoy nature. You can also go to the beach or take a short hike in the mountains. Something else to consider are state parks and historic places of interest. Many of these types of places offer annual passes, discounts to seniors, and even allow them free entry.

Go In Groups

Hikers go on a slope of mountain to sea on a wild track.Invite two or three (or more) other couples and you might be able to get a group rate. In fact, groups are the way to go when renting a vacation home too. If you’re considering the off-season, resorts and hotels want to keep their rooms as booked to capacity as possible and group rates can help them to stay full. Don’t be afraid to ask, you may be pleasantly surprised at the price of lodging if you offer to bring lots of friends.

Consider Hostels

Hostels are more than bunk beds for college students. Many have private rooms, bathrooms, and nearly all of the features of typical hotels. Elder hostels provide a safe, comfortable place for seniors to stay at low cost. They offer plenty of activities, tour packages, and even meals at an affordable rate. Visit RoadScholar to learn more about elderhostel trips.

Thrifty Tips for Your Trips

There are many more considerations for vacationing on a budget – here are a final few.

  • Camping: if tents aren’t your thing, most campgrounds offer affordable cabins
  • Check out some of the smaller airlines: they can offer flights at $50.00 and under, but you will have to check their website often for deals, and fly within a certain time period.
  • A reverse mortgage is another consideration that will allow you to have the money you need to take the vacation of a lifetime, without having to necessarily worry about being on a budget.

Living on a fixed income shouldn’t keep you from having a wonderful vacation. Shop around for the best prices, and consider going off season. Take some time to research fun local restaurants that aren’t very pricey, and when at all possible bring or cook your own meals. Save money with passes and senior discounts, and look into staying somewhere other than a standard hotel. When it comes to getting away from it all, you’re only limited by your imagination.


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