Roving retirees is the new term for people who spend their retirement years traversing the world. And why not? You paid your dues at the office so you could enjoy those two weeks of vacation a year. Yet, more often than not, you took work with you, never decompressed, and missed out on fully exploring your destination. So, take advantage now that you're retired. You have the time, fewer financial obligations (now that you got the kids through college), and a wanderlust that has yet to be completely satisfied. But how do you afford it? Even with no college tuition to pay, you have a limited nest egg to last for the rest of your retirement years. SafetravelRX, an app designed to keep you safe and healthy while you travel, has five tips for exploring the world without breaking the bank.
1. Where to Go
Rather than choosing the most expensive and popular tourist areas, get off the beaten path. It doesn’t mean you have to go too far off the path unless that’s what you want. You just need to consider places that are a little less popular, go during the off-season or even think about staying in smaller towns outside of more popular cities where you have access but they are cheaper. If living in Paris has always been a dream, then balance that out with time in other destinations equally as exciting but much more cost-effective, like Belize, Vietnam, or Thailand.
2. How to Get There
Prices of flights can fluctuate daily and even hourly, depending on demand. The best deals for flights are when demand is lowest. For example, booking early in the morning or late at night, especially on Wednesdays or Saturdays, And the hours you also travel matter, with early morning and red-eye flights being the cheapest.
Also, prices peak at the beginning and end of business hours, so try booking a flight around midday, when business travel is less prevalent. Also, avoid times of the year when families are traveling for Spring break or other school vacations, as well as public holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
3. Where to Stay
Hotels are going to be your priciest and least comfortable option. Not only do you need to eat out for most of your meals, but you usually don't have the space to settle in and be comfortable for an extended stay. Your best bet is to consider options like Airbnb, Vrbo.com, or Homeaway.com, as they offer a significant range of global accommodations. Also, check reviews and look for off-season bargains. People who own vacation homes are more likely to compromise on off-season price reductions.
But why not also try out some free options? House-sitting or even house-swapping (if you still own your home) can be cost-free. Using sites like Housecarers.com and Trustedhousesitters.com, you can find homeowners that will allow you to stay for free in return for the security of knowing someone is on the property if anything should go awry. There are even luxury offerings. For $10 a year, you can join Luxuryhousesitting.com.
4. How to Live Like a Local
You'll likely run through cash quickly if you get to your destination and eat out nightly, especially at touristy restaurants. So, opt instead for restaurants that locals frequent. And shop at neighborhood markets where you will most likely find high-quality regional ingredients that enable you to try new things at much lower prices. In European cities, public transport is easy and inexpensive. Metro and underground services, 24-hour buses, bike-rental plans—even city car-share schemes—give you many options. In Latin America, taxi travel is cheap, but consider car rental if you're in town for more than a few weeks, as it might be more economical.
5. Don't Forget the Details
Of course, like everything in life, details matter, and you don't want to skimp on things like insurance and traveling safely. Both trip and international health insurance are highly recommended investments for senior travelers but read the fine print as they don't always cover everything. For example, if you are seriously injured and feel more comfortable rehabilitating at home, not every insurance plan will cover the evacuation. Check with other ex-pats to see what type of travel they have used or ask international travelers questions on Reddit or Facebook groups. And remember to download the safetravelRX app, which allows you to store all your medical records securely, find a pharmacist or physician that is vetted and speaks your language, and get emergency assistance with the push of a button.
If you dream of spending your retirement years exploring the world, you can do it. If you want to try some new places before settling in one place, that's an option too. You just need to be savvy with money management, learning when to save and when it's also okay to splurge a bit. After all, it is your retirement, so don't be so frugal that you miss out on fantastic experiences. There are also some excellent books for advice on using your dollars wisely, such as The International Living Guide to Retiring Overseas on a Budget: How to Live Well on $25,000 a Year.
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