Seniors tell us how they travel (internationally and around the world), and stay in touch with family and friends back home without killing their budgets.
At AirTreks, we believe in travel for everyone. Our years of experience in the industry have shown us that it’s not only possible—it’s vital. We’re especially inspired by some of the senior travelers we know. They’re out there, showing the world that there’s no age limit when it comes to seeing the world.
Read on to see how you can balance commitments and even a budget without giving up your travel dreams.
Balancing Home and Away
Much like everything else in life, travel is a bit of a balancing act. While there are folks out there who enjoy being nomadic all the time, most travelers (regardless of their age) are more comfortable dividing their time between home and away, even if that means building a new nest in a foreign country. Here’s a some sage advice from seniors who’ve worked travel into their plans on a regular basis:
1. Reduce Unnecessary Commitments
“The main benefit of a being a senior traveler, a retired senior, is that there are fewer commitments to worry about. We have all necessary mortgage, car payments, etc set up for auto-pay. We also have a house sitter to take care of the house and our dog in our absence. Lastly, we are fortunate that my sister is available to split the responsibility of helping elderly parents.” – Arnie Jacobson from Arnie and Jo Are on the Go
“Since we’re both retired, we have no more work commitments Although we can’t say we have no commitments, we’ve worked hard to make sure we have as few as possible. We spent the year before we began our travels full-time selling everything which was an experience that showed us just how much our stuff can keep us tethered to one place. Now, we rent an apartment and simply lock it up when we’re away.” – Anita Oliver & Richard Nash from No Particular Place to Go
2. Use technology and frequent trips home to stay in touch
“We chose one location as home base to return to regularly because it’s important to us to be rooted in a place–we have elderly parents and children spread out across the U.S. and need time to visit them, as well.” – Alan and Donna L. Hull of My Itchy Travel Feet
“Our son is very supportive of our travel dream and, while we miss him and our grandson, we know they’re wrapped up in their own lives too. Skype helps bridge the time away as well as annual visits back to the U.S. and we can’t wait to share some of Europe with them.” – Anita Oliver and Richard Nash of No Particular Place to Go
“I spend at least a month each year with my children in their homes.” – Carole Terwiliger Meyers of Berkeley and Beyond
3. Give yourself time to relax between trips
“There have been years where Alan and I scheduled too many trips too close together. It left almost no time to contemplate what we saw on a journey or enjoy the anticipation of the next trip. We hadn’t finished going through all the photographs before it was time to pack again. Nowadays, we’re smarter about our travel schedule, planning one or two major trips per year with small getaways filling out the rest of the calendar, being sure to leave plenty of time in between trips.” – Alan and Donna L. Hull of My Itchy Travel Feet
Balancing a Budget on the Road
Not all of your money can end up in your travel fund – all of the seniors we talked to agree, some forethought (and a flexible budget) will save you lots of cash and almost as many headaches. Income (whether it’s a fixed monthly payment from a retirement fund, or a variable amount from a new business venture) can’t be ignored altogether just because you’re on the road. Keep your budget in check with these tips:
1. Build travel into your budget.
“We live on Richard’s social security check and draw additional money each month (it varies from 2-3 thousand dollars depending on our needs) from savings which provides us with a good quality lifestyle. Since we have no financial commitments in our home country except for a Medicare payment each month, all of our expenses relate to day-to-day living and travel. That includes rent, food, utilities, gas for our car which we bought used, car and health insurance, medical costs and prescriptions and entertainment including travel. We cook most of our meals at home which saves quite a bit of money and shop around for the best prices when we travel.” – Anita Oliver and Richard Nash of No Particular Place to Go
“If you want to travel, it needs to be included in the budgeting process or the travel will never happen. We allot a specific amount of money each month to our “fun travel” fund.” – Alan and Donna L. Hull of My Itchy Travel Feet
2. Plan trips in advance
“We’re planners. On our extended trips, we plan all of our locations and stays way in advance. We set up a spreadsheet so that we can determine the exact cost of each facet of the the trip, flights, hotels, driver services, ferries, trains, possible sights we want to take in, etc, and start setting aside funds accordingly.” – Arnie Jacobson from Arnie and Jo Are on the Go
“And if we’re planning a large trip, like a long cruise, we start more than a year in advance determining where the money will come from plus how much we’ll need to add to the fund on a monthly basis. We look for ways to cut back on luxuries, adding that unspent money toward our travel goal.” – Alan and Donna L. Hull of My Itchy Travel Feet
3. Be comfortable but cost-conscious on the road
“We’re cost conscious and try not to make frivolous purchases but we also realize that living well means an occasional splurge. We’ve also come to learn that so much of what we love about travel costs very little (museums, on-site tours) or nothing: stunning views and vistas, walking along a charming village street, listening to street music, people watching and enjoying a sunrise or sunset over an ocean.” – Anita Oliver and Richard Nash of No Particular Place to Go
“I calculate carefully, but I don’t cut corners. When I was younger my focus was on spending as little as I could. Now I’m careful but if a bit of comfort (my own bathroom, for example) means paying a little more, so be it.” – Leyla Giray Alyanak Women-on-the-Road