One of the great things about getting a little older is that you have more time for travel. Whether you’re retired or winding down your working life, opportunities to visit those places you’ve always wanted to see become more frequent.
Of course, you have to fund this globe-trotting, so ways to save money are always welcome. If you’re retired, you may be relying on money saved through your working life to fund travel and holidays.
Time of year
Visiting countries outside of the holiday season is a key way to save. For example, visiting countries such as Spain and Portugal in the main holiday season from May to September is obviously more expensive than visiting them in the early spring or autumn.
Wherever you’re interested in visiting, compare in and out of season prices. It may even be more advantageous to go out of season, as it is often not as hot and there are fewer fellow tourists around.
Flights and travel
Flying in the week is usually cheaper than at weekends, and often cheaper still if you’re prepared to take early morning or later evening flights. This is usually reflected in package holiday prices with differing flight options, and will certainly apply with airlines themselves if you’re putting together your own trip.
The same applies to services such as Eurostar – Mondays tend to be more expensive due to business travellers.
Hotels in city centres and resorts will be more expensive than those further afield. If you’re hiring a car, then this can compensate for the fact you might have a bit of travelling to do to get to the town, city centre or your main resort.
The usual time-honoured advice is to either book your holiday very early or leave it to the last minute. This is a bit of an over-simplification. Yes, flights and rail travel are often less expensive when booked in advance, but if you’re prepared to be flexible you can save.
If you have a list of places you want to visit, perhaps consider two or three you’d be prepared to go to depending on the deal and holiday you can find. See what the best option is for the time you’d like to travel either online or through a high street travel agent.
Consider the overall package
Take into account the whole holiday not just one element. For example, even if a country is more expensive to actually get to by air or rail, perhaps the low costs of staying there and eating offsets this?
House swaps are a popular and effective way of spending an extended time in another country – and you get your home looked after while you’re away.
Put simply, you live in someone else’s home in another country while they – or someone else – lives in yours. This is often organised by companies online who can match you up relative to where you want to go and who wants to stay where you live.
Similar to above, but here you’re simply ‘minding the house’ for someone. This can actually be free, so making for a vastly cheaper trip away.
Free and reduced admission prices
Bear in mind you may qualify for free or reduced admission to many sights if you’re an older holiday maker. Thinking of a trip to Italy to take in Rome, Venice and Florence? Then you can save significantly on entry costs to famous places such as the Colosseum, the Uffizi and the Doge’s Palace.
Some attractions are half-priced and others are free for older visitors. This applies in several other European countries, including Greece and Spain.
A major consideration for the older generation as it can be more expensive to obtain travel insurance as you get older. Some companies won’t insure over 65’s at all, so it’s very important to choose wisely – you’ll want appropriate levels of cover at a fair price.
We specialise in travel insurance for mature travellers and offer various levels of cover including a budget travel insurance option; you can choose the type that best meets you needs.
Don’t make a great saving on your holiday only to then waste money on ‘hidden’ costs. High airport parking fees is a common complaint.
Check airport websites to see the different levels of parking they offer – sometimes there are offers and deals. For example, they might offer mid-stay parking for the same price as long-term parking.
Be careful if you take your mobile phone with you. You may unwittingly incur roaming costs that will give you a nasty shock on your next bill – if you don’t need your phone or to access the Internet while away, switch roaming off.
Save and go
Remember, if you can reduce the cost of your holiday you might be able to afford to take more holidays each year. With a little extra planning it is possible to make significant savings, which will allow you to enjoy the pleasures of travel for many years to come.