Budget Vacation Ideas Every Retiree Should Know

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Traveling is like an addiction but one that is good for the body and soul. Once you start exploring the world, it can be hard to stop. Even before you arrive back home your mind is probably busy planning that next adventure. Lucky retirees may have extra time to pursue these dreams, but long weekends and weeklong getaways here and there also scratch that itch.

Having the financial resources to travel can be a stumbling block, but this needn’t keep you from getting your feet wet (depending on where you travel, they can stay dry). A great vacation is not defined by spending large amounts of cash or putting yourself in debt. Creativity, flexibility, and budget-friendly resources are the main ingredients for planning an extraordinary vacation that won’t break your bank.

It Never Hurts to Ask

When booking your trip, ask for discounts every step of the way. Many companies provide reduced rates for travelers, depending on their age, travel club membership, or even just because it’s their slow season. This can be harder with airlines but you have nothing to lose by asking. Many of these lower prices are not advertised and sometimes just calling and speaking with a live person works. Whenever you check into a hotel, ask if there are any free upgrades available as well.

Join AAA and AARP

A yearly AAA membership is currently $57 and the second household member is free. Not only do you get towing assistance and other driver benefits, but they also have travel and vacation deals for their members. Once you join, you’ll receive their magazine, which is a good resource for planning road trips. Online, there are deals for Disney vacations, cruises, tour packages, European vacations, hotels, and car rentals.

AARP’s Travel Center has similar offerings to AAA, so compare the deals to get the best offers. Membership is around $16 a year and also includes a second household member. Member perks include 20 percent discounts at some hotels and 35 percent off for vacation rentals. They post quite a few air and hotel packages, like a four-day trip at an all-suite Orlando hotel for around $450 per person.

Closer to Home

Many active adults don’t realize that there are many spectacular landmarks and attractions within a few hours of their communities. Instead of sitting in traffic for hours, consider visiting a historic small town, parkland, winding bike trails, wineries, or a nearby city that you’ve never visited. Many state parks, museums, and other charming tourist stops are free, so look into them.

To immerse yourself in the local culture, plan to stay a few nights at an Airbnb or a small inn. Research the top-rated restaurants and interesting pit stops along the way, which can evolve into a fantastic road trip. Also, get friendly with the locals as they often have the best recommendations and might even share information about area discounts.

Go Out of Your Comfort Zone

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