The Clever Travel Companion Updates

10 Travel Tips Exclusively for Retirees March 03 2018, 0 Comments


1. Travel During the Week

Since you're retired, you'll be able to travel during the week, which often is less expensive than on the weekend. According to USA Today, the cheapest days for domestic flights generally are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. For flights to Europe, weekdays also tend to be more affordable than weekends.


2. Travel During the Offseason

With total control over your schedule, you'll be able to travel when it is cheapest to reach a particular destination, rather than whenever it fits into your office schedule. This means you can save a significant amount by traveling during the off-season, such as heading to desert destinations during the summer and mountain towns during the spring and fall. Check with discount travel sites such as Hotels.com, Priceline and Expedia in your search for lower rates on hotels and airfare.


3. Make the Drive

Since you aren't pressed for time anymore, consider driving to your destination rather than flying. Even with gas (and maybe hotel) costs, driving can be less expensive than flying. Rather than driving your own car, consider renting a car for long-distance travel over a short period of time, an approach that, in the long run, could be cheaper than driving the 10-year-old family vehicle. With the right attitude, you might even find a scenic summer road trip even more enjoyable.


4. Bunk With Friends or Family
You might have that cousin in Cleveland whom you haven't seen in years. Consider asking them to host you for a night, or more. "Leisure in Retirement: Beyond the Bucket List," a study done by Merrill Lynch, said when assessing what is important to them, 34 percent of retirees said that was making family connections, with 23 percent of them looking to boost friendship and social connections. A trip to visit could do just that. You will get more than cheap travel out of this experience.


5. Take Longer Trips

You likely had a limited number of vacation days when you worked in an office, but now that you're retired, you can take one long journey instead of multiple shorter trips, saving money on back-and-forth airfare. For example, rather than taking separate trips to Italy, Greece and Spain, you could combine these countries into one trip, establishing a base and then traveling to the other destinations via low-cost air carriers or train.


6. House-Sitting

House-sitting can be an excellent way to find a free place to stay. Many people simply want someone to watch their pet, water their plants and bring in the mail, and with a lifetime of work under your belt, you'll have a plethora of demonstrated responsibility to show off to potential hosts. To help decide whether house-sitting is for you, check out websites such as TrustedHousesitters.com.


7. Take Advantage of Senior Specials

AARP deals exist for many elements of travel, including train fare, car rentals, hotels, flights and entire vacation packages. Take advantage of these retirement discounts to save a significant amount on every step of your journey. Outside of AARP, many hotels, resorts, restaurants and tour operators offer special discounts for older travelers, but those businesses might not automatically let you know about the deals — especially if you seem willing to pay full price.


8. Find Underground Spots

With more free time on your hands, make it your mission to learn about under-the-radar destinations that might be cheaper to travel to than expensive mainstays such as Paris, London or Rome. As a bonus, you likely will have a more authentic experience at a destination that doesn't cater heavily to tourists.


9. Travel With Another Retiree

If you can find other retirees with flexible schedules, you can drive down the cost of your trip by sharing housing. Remember how your sister said she always to travel to Las Vegas with you? Invite her to go and by doubling up in a hotel room, you can slash your bill in half.


10. Cook Your Meals

It's amazing what you can do with a small hotel refrigerator, some corner stores and a little creativity. You don't have to eat every meal in restaurants. Instead, go local and pick up a loaf of fresh bakery bread, some fruit and cheeses and sliced meat from a local deli. Many of the shops will have utensils and condiment packets, too. This approach should allow you to save a significant amount on your food bill — and think of the nice shopkeepers you'll meet along the way.


How To Budget For Your Next Big Trip December 11 2017, 0 Comments


72% of millennials value experience
 over material possessions. Business thought leaders coined the term “experience economy” to capture this value system. If you’re someone who spends more on experiences than possessions, you’re probably more interested in budgeting for your next trip abroad than for a house or car. Here’s how you can budget for your next big trip.

Brush Up Your Organizational Skills

Steph Jagger, who traveled around the globe and skied more than 4 million vertical feet, has some insight into what it takes to plan a dream-come-true trip. These kinds of trips take significant organizational effort. If you don’t organize first, you’ll end up pouring money down the drain at some point or another along your journey.

How are your organizational skills? It’s time to take them to the next level. Steph Jagger, who managed to save 31,000 dollars and take a year off from work to pursue her dream, planned her trip down to the nitty-gritty details -- even the weight of her toothbrush. Take a page out of Jagger’s book and channel all of your excitement for your trip into organizing.

As you organize, aim at creating a stable itinerary for your trip, as well as nailing down the most expensive items. Then estimate the amount you will need for the things you can’t plan for accurately. Tack on money for unexpected costs and emergency situations. Next, divide the total by the number of months you have until your big trip. This is how much you need to save each month.

If the number seems unattainable, reconsider your costs. Research ways to cut travel costs, and work with your budget until you reach a number that is realistic.

Work Hard Beforehand

Consider taking on a second job while you save for your trip. Not only will you be able to put aside extra cash, but you will also be using up a chunk of your leisure time, which can create even more savings. One travel expert at the “Travel Latina” puts it this way, “(A side job is) also a great way to keep yourself from having the time to go shopping or to go out drinking with friends”.

A Word On Debt

When you work hard beforehand and accumulate a portion of the money you will need for your trip, you will be less likely to slide down the slippery slope of credit card debt. If you do need to put some of your trip expenses on credit cards, commit to a plan that will allow you to pay off the cards responsibly. 

Look for cards that have a deferred interest plan, which will give you a window of time for paying off the debt before interest rates kick in. Create an automated deduction from your weekly or monthly income, which you can comfortably put towards car payments once you return from your trip.

Now that you know how to budget for your next big trip, let the dreaming begin! Researchers have found that the mere act of planning out a trip increases happiness. Enjoy planning your trip, down to the minute detail. Figure out how much you need to set aside each month. If you can’t save up enough beforehand, use credit cards wisely.