Retirement marks the beginning of a new chapter in life, a time to explore the world without the constraints of work schedules and deadlines. It’s an opportunity to indulge in the joys of travel. Still, concerns about finances can often put a damper on these dreams. 

The good news is that you can embark on incredible journeys without breaking the bank. Consider these 18 friendly and practical tips on how to save on retirement travel while still savoring every moment.

18 Ways to Save on Travel

These tips will help you save money without sacrificing your experiences. You’ve worked long and hard to get to this point, you deserve some well-deserved time off and enjoyment. 

1. Plan Ahead for Affordable Adventures

While spontaneous trips are fun, planning ahead can help you snag the best deals. Start by setting a travel budget to give you a clear picture of what you can afford. Research and choose your destinations well in advance. Good planning allows you to take advantage of early booking discounts and time to research local senior travel discounts and activities. Websites like TripAdvisor, Expedia, and Kayak can be your best friends when hunting for affordable flights, accommodations, and travel packages.

According to Frommer’s, you should consider these time frames when booking your airfare:

  • International: at least 6 weeks ahead
  • Domestic in summer: at least 47 days ahead
  • Domestic in autumn and winter: at least 62-69 days ahead
  • Domestic in spring: at least 90 days ahead

2. Embrace Off-Peak Travel

Retirement comes with the luxury of flexible schedules. Take advantage of this by traveling during off-peak seasons. Not only will you avoid the crowds, but you’ll also find significantly lower prices on flights, accommodations, and attractions. 

Imagine strolling through the charming streets of Europe or lounging on a serene beach without the hustle and bustle of peak-season tourists. Plus, you’ll have a more authentic experience, mingling with locals and enjoying a quieter atmosphere.

3. Hunt for Senior Travel Discounts

One of the perks of reaching your golden years is the abundance of senior discounts available. From transportation to accommodations to attractions, many businesses are eager to cater to the 55+ crowd. Don’t be shy—ask about senior discounts whenever you book anything. 

Some well-known organizations like AARP offer membership benefits that include exclusive travel discounts. Keep an eye out for special deals and promotions tailored to your age group, and carry your ID to take full advantage of these savings.

Did you know the National Park Service offers a lifetime pass for seniors aged 62 and older? The pass can be purchased for $80 and allows you and any companions traveling with you  (regardless of age) to gain entrance to over 2,000 recreation sites.

4. Explore Alternative Accommodations

While luxury hotels are lovely, there’s a world of alternative accommodations that can provide a unique and budget-friendly experience. Consider renting a cozy cottage, booking a stay in a local bed and breakfast, or even trying out a vacation rental through platforms like Airbnb or Vrbo

These options often come with kitchen facilities, allowing you to save on dining costs by preparing your meals with fresh local ingredients. If you are visiting an area where family or friends reside, consider staying with them for a few days.

5. Opt for Slow Travel

Rushing from one destination to another can quickly inflate your travel expenses. Embrace the concept of slow travel, where you spend more time in fewer places. Not only does this allow you to immerse yourself in the local culture entirely, but it also saves money on transportation costs. You’ll have the chance to explore hidden gems, connect with locals, and create memories beyond typical tourist experiences.

6. Consider Alternative Transportation

Renting a car can be expensive. Depending on where you visit, you can go sightseeing without a car. Consider alternative forms of transportation such as renting a bike, walking, ride-share companies, or public transportation.

Public transportation isn’t just cost-effective; it also offers a genuine way to experience a destination like a local. Many cities offer senior discounts on buses, trains, and trams. Instead of shelling out money for a car, hop on a bus and enjoy the scenery. 

7. Embrace Free and Low-Cost Activities

Entertainment and experiences don’t have to come with hefty price tags. Many destinations offer free or low-cost activities that allow you to explore the area without draining your retirement savings. 

Take leisurely walks through parks, attend local markets, visit museums on discounted days, or enjoy a beach day. These activities can provide just as much joy as more expensive options while keeping your budget intact. So before heading out on your trip, research the area you will be visiting to see what it offers.

8. Consider Group Travel

Traveling with a group can lead to significant savings on accommodations, transportation, and tours. Whether you’re exploring with friends, family, or fellow retirees, group travel often comes with bulk discounts that can add up to substantial savings. Additionally, group trips provide opportunities for shared experiences and memories, making your journeys even more special.

9. Be Mindful of Currency Exchange

If you’re traveling internationally, keep an eye on currency exchange rates. Fluctuations can impact the cost of your trip significantly. Consider exchanging money ahead of time or using credit cards that offer favorable exchange rates. It’s also wise to notify your bank of your travel plans to avoid any unexpected issues while using your cards abroad.

11. Use Travel Rewards and Miles

If you’ve been using credit cards that accumulate travel rewards or miles, now is the time to cash in on those benefits. These rewards can significantly reduce your travel expenses, from flights to accommodations. Check with your credit card provider to determine how to redeem your rewards for maximum value. You might even be surprised at how much of your trip can be covered through these rewards.

12. Consider Volunteer, Work Exchange, or Learn Abroad Programs

Retirement doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stop working altogether. Many destinations offer volunteer opportunities or work exchange programs that allow you to contribute your skills in exchange for free or discounted accommodations and meals. Not only can this save you money, but it also gives you a chance to connect with the local community on a deeper level.

Road Scholar offers educational travel programs that allow you to explore while learning. Whether you’re interested in music, art, golf, or birding, Road Scholars offers learning adventures for almost anything you might be interested in.

13. Pack Light and Smart

Packing efficiently can save you from costly baggage fees and the hassle of carrying around excess weight. Most airlines charge for checked bags, so try to fit everything into a carry-on suitcase. Additionally, packing versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched can help you avoid over-packing. With less luggage, you’ll also find it easier to navigate public transportation and move around comfortably.

14. Use Travel Apps and Websites

Technology has made travel planning and budgeting easier than ever. There are countless travel apps and websites designed to help you find the best deals on flights, accommodations, and activities. 

Skyscanner, Google Flights, and Hopper are great for finding affordable flights, while and offer competitive rates on accommodations. For activities and attractions, apps like Viator and GetYourGuide provide a variety of options at different price points.

15. Consider House Sitting

House sitting is another creative way to score free accommodation while traveling. Websites like TrustedHousesitters and HouseCarers connect travelers with homeowners who need someone to look after their property and pets while they’re away. In exchange for your services, you get to stay in a comfortable home without paying for lodging.

16. Research Local Dining Deals

Eating out can be a significant expense while traveling. Research local dining deals and happy hours to save money without sacrificing the culinary experience. Look for restaurants that offer fixed-price menus or lunch specials. Additionally, try street food and local markets, which often provide delicious and budget-friendly options.

17. Reconsider Souvenirs

While bringing back souvenirs can be a cherished part of travel, they can also add up quickly. Instead of spending money on trinkets that might gather dust, consider investing in experiences. Use your money to participate in activities you’ll remember fondly, like taking a local cooking class, going on a guided hike, or attending a cultural performance.

18. Stay Flexible and Open-Minded

Sometimes the best travel experiences come from being flexible and open to new opportunities. If you’re willing to adjust your plans based on last-minute deals, you might find yourself embarking on unexpected adventures that are both affordable and incredibly rewarding. Stay open-minded about destinations, travel dates, and even the type of accommodations you’re willing to try.

Let the Traveling Begin

Traveling in retirement doesn’t have to be a drain on your finances. With careful planning and a willingness to explore alternative options, you can embark on incredible journeys without sacrificing the quality of your experience. 

Schedule a meeting with Five Pine Wealth Management, and let us help you with your financial goals so you can pursue the retirement you deserve to enjoy. So, gear up, pack your sense of adventure, and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime—without compromising your financial stability. Email us at or give us a call at 877.333.1015.