Thursday, August 22, 2013

3 Strategies for Affordable Travel in Your Golden Years

After decades of the long grind, you’ve retired and finally have the time to travel the world and do things you’ve always dreamed about but couldn’t do on a working schedule. As liberating as this realization may feel, it can come as both a shock and disappointment when we have the time but lack the finances to start marking off our bucket lists. 

However, keeping a few tips in mind, one shouldn’t need to sacrifice all of their retirement plans due to limited finances by keeping a few bits of advice in mind when planning their retirement travels:

1. Plan early and plan now

Nobody is too old to start planning for a better retirement. In order to be able to afford everything you need and desire in retirement, it’s first important to address how much you’ll need to survive. 

Folk who want to project their needs in the United States can use this retirement calculator, and others from New Zealand or Australia can find helpful financial tools at Suncorp Superannuation. These estimates can help those approaching retirement to gauge their assets and learn how much they’ll need to save to comfortably retire.

As with any sort of planning, the sooner you begin – the better. Retirement can be extremely difficult to accommodate without funds in old age, but it is possible. Many retired individuals continue to hold part-time jobs for additional income and employee benefits, which can help as health insurance premiums begin to rise drastically with age. 

It’s also important to consider the most cost-effective living situations in order to stretch your retirement fund as well as possible.

2. Book in advance (but not too far)

Life can be unpredictable, but your travels shouldn’t ever rely on chance or spontaneous decisions. Booking any flights you require and hotels that you’ll need to stay at least a month in advance is necessary. 

This can give you time to account for the costs of dining, travel, and other expenses you might incur while abroad. Those who scope out tickets during slumps of airline traffic can end up paying half or less for their travel fare.

However, take care to not plan too far in advance, since the personal illness, inclement weather, delayed flights, events in the family, and other issues can punch a hole through an otherwise immaculate travel plan and cause you to waste money. Tickets are almost always nonrefundable except for limited circumstances. 

When you finally have your destination chosen you should start a checklist of what you need to pack. Get out your luggage and check for damage and proper function of the latch components. Also important is your carryons, you want to have the best carryon luggageyou don't want to find out your luggage should have been updated when your already many miles from home.

When browsing, seek times between holiday seasons since travel prices go down drastically all around during periods of low traffic. Last-minute plane tickets alone can waste hundreds of dollars, and scoping these prices far in advance can reduce the likelihood of being gouged.

3. Choose thriftier destinations

While choosing destinations like Paris, London, Tokyo or Sydney might be on the top of your list for travel destinations, these options are frequently far more expensive than other options. 

Even worse, they’re often littered with tourist traps and opportunistic crooks. Choosing the road less oft traveled when choosing your travel destination can make a trip cheaper, safer, and more culturally authentic.

It’s worthwhile keeping up with current events to determine when the right time to start buying tickets. Depending on how a country’s currency is holding up, conversion rates may favor your dollar much more strongly than usual. 

This means that your dollar will hold stronger when buying tickets and on any other expenses while abroad. According to CNN Travel in 2012, tourists enjoyed vacations to Mexico, Egypt, and Greece at record low prices due to the fluctuating value of their currencies.

While affording your dream vacation might be difficult when your retirement fund needs to be stretched, managing your expectations and being smart with fiscal planning can result in your golden years is the most adventurous of your life.

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