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You don’t have to be a backpacker to travel on a budget

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Giving up your job doesn’t mean you have to give up travelling. These days, smart seniors are using their retirement to tick off their travel bucket list, saving plenty of dollars along the way.

 

Here are 10 ways that you can kick off your travels, without the hefty price tags attached…

1. Research

Plenty of research on your destination makes for a more relaxed trip.  It also gives you time to hunt out the gems that appeal especially to you and work out the cheapest or best options for your budget.

2. Be flexible

The key to saving money is to be flexible.  You might have your mind set on Spain, but don’t be afraid to jump on a ridiculously cheap airfare to Hawaii if you can. Last minute deals are another way to save for those who can travel at short notice.

3. Make it affordable

Choose your destination and then work out how to make it even more affordable. There’s plenty of information available online once you narrow down your plans.  Talk to travel experts at your local expo, or head to an agency to get their best budget travel tips. Ask your friends about their experiences and how they chose to save some extra pennies along the way.

4. Find cheap flights

Flights from Australia are a significant cost for anyone who wants to travel, but there are plenty of specials for those who keep an eye on trends. To keep up-to-date on discounts and special offers, subscribe to airline newsletters, industry publications and download apps for frequent notifications. Be prepared to make decisions quickly, so you don’t miss out.

5. It’s all about the timing

Find the sweet spot for timing your trip to certain destinations. Travelling in the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn will stretch your dollar much further, as will travelling during school holidays.  There’s also a difference between mid-week and weekend hotel prices, depending on locations, and it works both ways.

6. Where to stay

Compile a list of websites to sort through, and compare hotel prices to find the best deal.  Don’t forget to add in taxes and any booking fees to your bottom line. Accommodation packages with breakfast and internet access may also be a great way to save extra dollars, with the added features always a bonus.

Handy tip: sometimes you will find the lowest price comes from contacting an accommodation provider directly.

7. Dip into the ‘sharing’ economy

Hotels are not the only accommodation available. For stays longer than three nights or larger groups, check out short-term rentals through providers like Airbnb and VRBO. You’ll also have the advantage of hosts who can give you touring tips.

A few handy hints:

  • Try to book early, as the most desirable accommodation is snapped up quickly.
  • Look for friendly hosts who have accommodation in a good position with a great view.
  • The best rooms have an ensuite bathroom and include the use of a kitchen.  
  • Read the reviews and check references thoroughly.

House-sitting or swapping with friends is another alternative for an extended stay.  You can maximise the cost/benefit of expensive airfares by adding extra trips either side of the house stay, and make the most of the location. For example, if you have a house swap in France, it may be easy to start your trip with a few weeks in Spain. After your time house sitting, explore another adjacent country, such as Italy or Switzerland.

8. Getting around

The cheapest way to get around is to walk, so pack good walking shoes.  Public transport is the next cheapest so learn how to take the bus or train like a local.  If you stay at an Airbnb property, your host may offer travel tips or ask the hotel concierge. Local tourist guide books also often include bus and train information. Many cities have a tourist bus service which, for a daily ticket, will take you to the visitor hot spots.

9. Eat like a local

Often the most inexpensive and best dining options require you to be adventurous and eat like a local. Try Hainanese chicken rice in Singapore, wiener schnitzel in Austria; falafel in Israel; ramen in Japan, and jamon iberico in Spain.

10. Find out what’s free

There’s lots of free stuff to do in the world. Start digging around tourism boards online for free tours and check if the Global Greeter Network operates in any of your desired destinations. Greeters are volunteers who enjoy sharing their love for their city to visitors. This is a great way to see tourist hotspots, all at zero to little cost.  

Travel doesn’t have to be an expensive habit if you can match your destination to your budget. Keep your mind open, combine your bucket list with planning and the right attitude, and you too can create priceless memories without breaking the bank.

 

For more information, call Lifestyle Communities on 1300 50 55 60

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