May 14, 2024

Traveling in Retirement Without Breaking the Bank: Top Tips and Resources

1. Plan and Budget Wisely

Start by creating a detailed travel budget. Factor in all potential expenses, including flights, accommodations, meals, activities, transportation, and travel insurance. By planning ahead, you can avoid unexpected costs and ensure your trips fit within your financial means.

Next, consider researching different destinations and their unique attractions to find the perfect fit for your interests and budget. Keep an eye out for discounts on activities and transportation, and consider using travel reward programs to save money on flights and accommodations. By being strategic and thorough in your planning, you can enjoy a memorable trip without breaking the bank.

2. Travel During Off-Peak Seasons

Traveling during off-peak seasons not only saves you money but also allows you to experience your destination in a more relaxed and authentic way. Imagine strolling through the charming streets of a bustling city or lounging on a serene beach without the usual hustle and bustle. By planning your trips strategically, you can make the most of your travel budget while enjoying a more peaceful and memorable experience. So, next time you're planning a trip, consider exploring during the off-peak seasons for a more rewarding adventure.

Top 10 Travel Destinations for Retirees: Peak and Off-Peak Seasons


  • Peak Season: June to August
  • Off-Peak Season: November to March


  • Peak Season: June to August
  • Off-Peak Season: November to February


  • Peak Season: June to August
  • Off-Peak Season: November to February

New Zealand

  • Peak Season: December to February (summer)
  • Off-Peak Season: June to August (winter)


  • Peak Season: December to February (summer)
  • Off-Peak Season: June to August (winter)


  • Peak Season: June to August
  • Off-Peak Season: November to March


  • Peak Season: June to August
  • Off-Peak Season: November to March


  • Peak Season: June to August (summer)
  • Off-Peak Season: November to March (winter, except for ski destinations)


  • Peak Season: March to May (cherry blossom season), September to November (autumn foliage)
  • Off-Peak Season: June to August (hot and humid summer), December to February (cold winter)


  • Peak Season: November to February (cool and dry season)
  • Off-Peak Season: March to May (hot season), June to October (rainy season)

Summary of Off-Peak Advantages

  • Lower Prices: Airfares, accommodation, and attraction fees are generally cheaper.
  • Fewer Crowds: More relaxed and enjoyable experiences without the hustle and bustle.
  • Better Availability: Easier to book preferred accommodations and tours.

Summary of Peak Season Advantages

  • Optimal Weather: Typically the best weather conditions for sightseeing and activities.
  • Festivals and Events: More cultural events, festivals, and activities happening.

3. Use Travel Companies That Offer Senior Discounts

Take advantage of the many discounts available to seniors. Airlines, hotels, car rental companies, and attractions often offer special rates for retirees. Always ask if a senior discount is available, even if it's not advertised.


American Airlines: Offers senior discounts on certain routes for travelers aged 65 and over.

Delta Air Lines: Provides senior discounts on select flights for passengers aged 65 and over.

Southwest Airlines: Offers discounted fares for seniors aged 65 and over.

United Airlines: Provides senior fares for travelers aged 65 and older on select flights.

British Airways: Occasionally offers senior discounts for travelers aged 60 and over, depending on the route and time of booking.


Marriott Hotels: Offers senior discounts of up to 15% for guests aged 62 and older.

Hilton Hotels: Provides senior rates for guests aged 65 and over, which can be up to 10% off.

Hyatt Hotels: Offers special senior rates for guests aged 62 and older.

Choice Hotels: Provides senior discounts for guests aged 60 and older, offering up to 10% off.

Best Western: Offers senior discounts for guests aged 55 and over, with savings of up to 15%.

Car Rentals

Avis: Offers senior discounts through the AARP program, providing up to 30% off base rates.

Budget: Provides discounts for seniors through AARP, offering savings of up to 30% on car rentals.

Hertz: Offers discounts for AARP members, including up to 20% off base rates.

Enterprise: Provides senior discounts through AARP, offering savings on car rentals.

National Car Rental: Offers senior discounts for AARP members, with savings of up to 20% off.


Royal Caribbean: Offers senior rates for travelers aged 55 and older on select sailings.

Carnival Cruise Line: Provides senior discounts for guests aged 55 and over on certain cruises.

Norwegian Cruise Line: Offers senior fares for travelers aged 55 and older on select cruises.

Holland America Line: Provides special rates for seniors aged 55 and over.

Princess Cruises: Offers discounted fares for seniors aged 55 and older on select sailings.

Rail Travel

Amtrak: Offers a 10% discount on most rail fares for travelers aged 65 and over.

Eurail: Provides senior discounts on Eurail passes for travelers aged 60 and over, offering reduced rates on train travel across Europe.

BritRail: Offers senior discounts on BritRail passes for travelers aged 60 and over, providing savings on train travel in the UK.

Via Rail: Provides a 10% discount on train fares for seniors aged 60 and over in Canada.

Additional Resources

AARP: Many travel discounts are available through AARP, including discounts on flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and more for members aged 50 and over.

AAA: Offers various travel discounts and deals for members, including savings on hotels, car rentals, and vacation packages.

4. Join Travel Clubs and Loyalty Programs

Join travel clubs and loyalty programs to earn points and receive discounts. Frequent flyer programs, hotel loyalty programs, and credit card rewards can provide significant savings on future travel. Look for programs that offer benefits that match your travel habits and preferences.

Travel Loyalty Programs

  • American Airlines AAdvantage
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • United MileagePlus
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards
  • Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • Hilton Honors
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • World of Hyatt
  • Wyndham Rewards
  • Choice Privileges
  • Hertz Gold Plus Rewards
  • Enterprise Plus
  • National Emerald Club
  • Avis Preferred
  • Budget Fastbreak
  • Alamo Insiders

Other Travel Loyalty Programs

  • Amtrak Guest Rewards
  • Cruise Line Loyalty Programs (e.g., Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor Society, Carnival VIFP Club)
  • Railway Loyalty Programs (e.g., Eurostar Club, VIA Rail Preference)

These programs often offer various perks such as free flights, hotel stays, car rentals, upgrades, and other travel-related benefits. Joining multiple programs and strategically using credit cards associated with these programs can help maximize your rewards and travel benefits.

5. Use Public Transportation

Using public transportation instead of taxis or rental cars can save you a lot of money, especially in cities with efficient and affordable transit systems. Research the best public transportation options at your destination and consider purchasing multi-day passes for additional savings.

Websites and Apps for Public Transportation in Foreign Cities

Google Maps

  • Provides detailed public transportation information for many cities worldwide.
  • Offers real-time transit updates, schedules, and directions.
  • Available as a website and app (iOS and Android).


  • Specializes in public transportation information for major cities around the world.
  • Offers real-time transit updates, route planning, and disruption alerts.
  • Available as a website and app (iOS and Android).


  • Covers public transportation in over 3,000 cities worldwide.
  • Provides real-time transit updates, route planning, and service alerts.
  • Available as a website and app (iOS and Android).


  • Offers real-time public transportation information and route planning.
  • Available in many cities across the globe.
  • Available as an app (iOS and Android).


  • Provides information on how to get from one place to another using various modes of transportation, including public transit, flights, and car rentals.
  • Offers detailed route planning and cost estimates.
  • Available as a website and app (iOS and Android).

Official City Transportation Websites

  • Many cities have their own official public transportation websites that provide schedules, maps, and service alerts.
  • Examples include Transport for London (TfL) for London, MTA for New York City, and RATP for Paris.


  • Provides information on trains, buses, and flights across Europe.
  • Offers booking options and route planning.
  • Available as a website and app (iOS and Android).

Tips for Using Public Transportation in Foreign Cities

  • Download Apps Before Traveling: Ensure you have the necessary apps installed and updated before you leave.
  • Check for Offline Maps: Some apps, like Google Maps, allow you to download maps for offline use, which can be very helpful when you don't have internet access.
  • Research Local Transit Passes: Many cities offer day passes or tourist passes that provide unlimited travel on public transportation for a set period.
  • Learn Basic Local Phrases: Knowing a few key phrases in the local language can help you navigate public transit more easily.

Using these resources, you can navigate public transportation in foreign cities more efficiently and with greater confidence.

6. Travel with a Group

Group travel can offer significant cost savings. Many travel agencies offer discounts for group bookings, and you can often negotiate better rates for accommodations and activities when traveling with friends or family. Additionally, traveling with a group can enhance your experience and provide companionship.

Here’s a few examples of accredited companies that offer seniors a group travel experience:

Road Scholar

  • Description: Formerly known as Elderhostel, Road Scholar offers educational travel programs for adults. Their trips focus on learning and cultural immersion, with programs led by expert instructors.
  • Offerings: Domestic and international trips, cruises, intergenerational programs, and independent city explorations.
  • Website: Road Scholar

Grand Circle Travel

  • Description: Specializes in travel for seniors, offering a variety of small group tours and river cruises. They focus on cultural immersion and provide enriching experiences.
  • Offerings: International tours, river cruises, small ship cruises, and land tours.
  • Website: Grand Circle Travel


  • Description: An adventure travel company exclusively for travelers aged 50 and over. ElderTreks offers small-group tours that emphasize adventure and exploration.
  • Offerings: Adventure travel, cultural journeys, and wildlife safaris.
  • Website: ElderTreks

Saga Holidays

  • Description: A UK-based company that offers travel experiences specifically for people aged 50 and over. They provide a range of escorted tours, cruises, and resort stays.
  • Offerings: Escorted tours, ocean cruises, river cruises, and all-inclusive resort holidays.
  • Website: Saga Holidays


  • Description: A family-owned company that offers upscale tours and cruises, Tauck provides exceptional service and unique travel experiences. They cater to all ages but have specific programs for seniors.
  • Offerings: Guided tours, river cruises, small ship cruises, and family travel.
  • Website: Tauck


  • Description: A tour operator that offers a wide range of guided travel experiences, Collette provides tours that cater to seniors, including a more relaxes pace and smaller group tours.
  • Offerings: Escorted tours, river cruises, faith-based tours, and small group tours.
  • Website: Collette

Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T.)

  • Description: Focuses on small group travel for older adults, offering unique and immersive travel experiences. They provide in-depth explorations of destinations around the world.
  • Offerings: Small group adventures, solo travel, and special interest tours.
  • Website: Overseas Adventure Travel

Silver Travel Advisor

  • Description: An online travel resource and review site specifically for older travelers. They provide advice, reviews, and special offers for senior travelers.
  • Offerings: Travel reviews, advice, and discounts.
  • Website: Silver Travel Advisor

7. Be Flexible with Your Travel Plans

Flexibility can lead to substantial savings. Use fare comparison websites and apps to monitor flight prices and book when they are at their lowest. Being open to changing your travel dates or destinations based on available deals can also help you find the best prices.

8. Protect Your Travel Investment

Travel insurance can be a wise investment to protect against unexpected events that could disrupt your plans and incur additional costs. Look for policies that cover trip cancellations, medical emergencies, and lost luggage. Compare different plans to find one that offers comprehensive coverage at a reasonable price.

Traveling during retirement is a wonderful way to enjoy your hard-earned freedom and explore new places. By planning ahead, taking advantage of discounts, and being flexible with your plans, you can make the most of your travel experiences without compromising your financial security. Remember, the goal is to enjoy your travels while maintaining a comfortable and secure retirement.

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Our job begins where most advisors stop—saving money is great, but how do you spend it without risk in retirement? Welcome to Every Day is Saturday with Brad Gotto and Matt Stahl, partners and private wealth managers at Fiat Wealth Management.

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