According to an AARP survey conducted in 2016, 57% of Baby Boomers said the promise of spending more time with family and friends motivated them to travel, while nearly 40% answered that taking time to relax and get away from daily pressures served as their chief reason for traveling. But no matter why you decide to take a trip, and whether you’re looking for cheap flights to Port of Spain, Cancun, London, or wherever, you’ll likely want to save money every step of the way.
Snagging a deal on your flight, hotel, or events might not be as difficult as you’d think — but you will need to be a bit persistent about it. Interested in learning how to make budget travel a reality for your next trip? Consider the following three tips.
Pay for Your Bags When You Book
If you’re serious about budget travel, you’ve probably made reservations with an affordable air carrier. In order to pass on savings to their customers, baggage fees are not included in the base price of your ticket. That means that if you’re bringing anything more than a small personal item, you will need to pay a bit extra. Many seniors find that a carry-on is a must, especially when traveling with medications. Since it isn’t advisable to keep medications in checked baggage, you’ll need to pack them properly in your carry-on. You’ll also need to check to see whether your carrier requires you to pay a fee for this type of luggage. If they do, you’ll want to pay for it when you buy your tickets. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying more for it as your trip gets closer. By planning ahead, you will save money.
Always Ask About Discounts
Some people worry that asking for a discount will make them come off badly. But when traveling, every dollar counts! Don’t be afraid to ask about a senior discount, military service discounts, and AAA rates. Many hotels offer these types of discount, as do tours, restaurants, businesses, entertainment venues, and transportation options. Even if you save only 10% or so on a purchase, that money will add up — and can allow you to put more towards a future vacation. There’s really no downside to asking; the worst they can say is no. But if you don’t ask, you might miss out on a discount travel opportunity.
Travel in the Off-Season
One of the benefits of traveling as a senior is that you likely have relatively open availability. You don’t have to travel during a school break or a popular tourist time. When booking your airline flights and hotel accommodations, keep peak season in mind — and stay far away. In general, try to travel between April and June or September through October. You’ll be likely to get better deals during “down times.” Be sure to research your destination and find out exactly when the busiest seasons are. And if you’re able to be flexible with last-minute travel, you may be able to make all of your budget travel dreams come true.
Traveling on a budget can be tricky, but it’s more achievable than you might have assumed. By planning ahead, being flexible, and not being afraid to ask about hidden savings, you may be able to afford a trip you’ve always wanted to take (for a lot less than you’d planned).