23 August 2008

Affordable Travel in Retirement

The boomer advantage in travel is that either we're approaching retirement and have a generous number of vacation days, or we're already retired and can claim any day as a vacation day. That flexibility is key to making travel affordable.

  • Travel in the off-seasons, or at least enter "dates flexible" when booking your flight or hotel online. This Fall, I'm using this strategy for a beach resort and "off" doesn't even involve hurricanes.
  • Especially at resort and city center hotels, you'll see different rates for prime days, so check rates by date, not just an average for the nights you specify. I look for Sunday or Monday check-in's that are post-weekend rates.
  • Some cities are on sale over the winter holidays. If there's a hotel that typically serves the convention market, there's a good chance it will have affordable rates when conventions are not scheduled. This has been the case for us in San Francisco during Christmas week. But we've never found discounted lodging at Tahoe over Christmas or New Year's, and I don't care to divulge what we've spent on Thanksgiving in New York.
  • Check for extended stay hotels, often the best buy in metropolitan areas. For New York stays of 2 weeks at a time, I have cut lodging costs by 65% and enjoyed a one-bedroom apartment with full kitchen and in-unit laundry.
  • If you are near a state line, check on differences in taxes that can impact your hotel bill.
  • Camp in a national or state park: buy a senior pass or travel with someone who can.
  • Learn to love the motels on the Interstate
  • Stay at a hostel or Y. OK, granted, I've never gone this route.
  • Swap homes through an exchange service. Something else I haven't tried but The Holiday certainly made Los Angeles and the UK look promising....
  • Couch surf on craigslist. (If you don't know what this is, you absolutely must not do it.)
  • Look for a "package" from a timeshare resort (ask your friends to "refer" you). My friend The Artist is trying this out...right now.
  • Rent a house with other families (related or not) and split the cost. We've done this for stays at a lake in Oklahoma as well as trips to the Colorado mountains. It is important to select co-families with complementary talents. I only did this when there were good cooks on board. I cannot imagine what they thought I was contributing.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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