Many Over 50s look forward to that time in their lives when they can indulge in the long-awaited luxury of travel. Family and work commitments often put a brake on travel dreams, but once children become independent, and work or business is well in hand, the world literally becomes your oyster.
Irrespective of your financial situation, it is wise to take advantage of any available travel cost savings and deals. Being frugal is commonsense – any money saved can be put to better use on future trips. We have gathered 5 top travel tips to help ensure your travel experience is both pleasant and cost effective:
Over 50s are generally more independent than families with accompanying kids, so are able to be more flexible with the timing of their trips. Being able to travel outside school holidays and peak times means you are in a much stronger position to grab the best holiday deals and prices.
Over 50s are often in a stronger financial position than younger travellers and can benefit from higher-tier credit card offers. Banks often offer Platinum, or equivalent, members benefits like free travel insurance, provided travel costs are paid with that card. Something we’ve all been guilty of is changing our money at the airport. Try and avoid this, as bureaux know they have a captive audience and mostly offer worse exchange rates. A better option is to change your money at home, giving you time to shop around locally for the best rates – either online, or through your bank.
While you can benefit from shopping around for the best airfares, there are definite advantages to staying loyal to a particular airline. Loyalty programmes can offer great benefits for travellers, such as faster check-ins, additional baggage limits, upgrades and other perks. If your credit card can link to an airline rewards scheme, even better.
If you aren’t benefiting from an airline loyalty programme yet, then it definitely pays to shop around online for the best flight options. While a travel agent can do a lot of the groundwork for you, you can save money if you’re prepared to do your own research and buy tickets online.
Be aware if buying online that sometimes you may fly from different terminals, or even airports, which can catch you by surprise when your trip is underway. Also, some budget airlines charge for baggage by weight. Also be prepared to possibly sacrifice free inflight meals for cheaper flights.
It is most likely you have seen or heard of Airbnb, which is an online community for people to offer spare rooms in their homes to travellers from around the world. Founded in 2008, it is an interesting and cost effective accommodation option that fills the gap in the market between hotels and backpackers.
Airbnb describes its offering as “Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 191 countries”. It’s a good way to reduce your accommodation costs while getting to know the locals.
For those who prefer to stay in hotels, there is a range of websites offering great deals. Alternatively, you could consider well-known metasearch engines, which pull together the best deals from across the Internet. Well known ones include Trivago, Expedia and TripAdvisor.
Another cost saving alternative is house swapping, where you offer your home for others to stay in, while you take advantage of someone else’s hospitality during your travels. There are various websites that arrange all this for you, including Aussie House Swap and Home Exchange.