Showing posts with label Travel Deals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel Deals. Show all posts

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Smarter Way to See the World
Money, the great inhibitor to traveling abroad. But if you’ve got to a stage in life where you have a little more free time to see the world, then it shouldn’t be wasted. With some careful planning, it doesn’t have to be: the key is knowing where to look and being flexible with your time. Here are some money-saving holiday tips for smart seniors who want to stretch their travel savings further this year…

How to Save

It’s now a well-known fact that the cheapest flights to any destination are often the last minute ones. When airlines are scrambling to fill those unused seats, that’s when you can save up to 70% off your ticket. The key, and this is difficult for most, is being able to leave on short notice. One way to get around this is to have multiple destinations in mind, along with a block of time you’ve put aside for traveling. That way when the time gets closer you have options to choose from, and are prepared for a trip.

If you prefer the certainty of an airline ticket beforehand, savings can still be had, depending on when you book your flight. Flying during the holidays is going to be the most expensive, but there is a benefit to that. The week before and after major holidays see a major drop-off in numbers of people traveling, therefore tickets will be cheaper as well.

Where to go

These destinations are relatively inexpensive to get to, but more importantly where a dollar gets you a lot, not a little. That leaves London and Paris off the list, but there are still many beautiful places to go.

While the Caribbean is not generally known for being a budget-friendly location, this picturesque island is the most geared up towards tourists and can be very affordable, as long as you know where to look. Generally, the cheapest holidays to Barbados tend to happen in the off-season. May is the best month to go, sandwiched between the end of peak season (December to April) and the start of hurricane season (June). Once you get here, the all-inclusive resorts are a very good value, since much of the cost of visiting Barbados is tied to the cost of food.

The East has long been a top destination for backpackers, due to how cheap it is. Take Bangkok, for instance. $50 gets you at least a 3 star hotel, with more than enough money for three decent meals and almost any attraction around. Speaking of attractions, a big draw is the Buddha park, where less than $3 gains you access. Once inside you’ll see over 200 Buddhist and Hindu statues; to say that there is nothing remotely like that in America would be an understatement and it’s well worth seeing once in your lifetime. A visit to any eastern country affords a valuable glimpse into a culture and lifestyle most Westerners are unfamiliar with.

Of course, these are just a couple of suggestions for cheaper destinations. Depending on where you’re based, you might also want to check out Eastern Europe, which has opened up to tourism in recent years but remains a surprisingly good-value region to travel within, as well being home to many cultural treasures like the walled city of Dubrovnik (Croatia) and the Bridge of Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina).

In short, there are plenty of ways to make your golden years ones of discovery, so start planning and you can soon start saving…

Images by David, Bergin, Emmett and Elliott, and Arian Zwegers, used under Creative Comms license

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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