One of the best things about retiring is having so much more time to do what you love. And for many, this means traveling. Visiting far-flung family and friends. Discovering new destinations. Enjoying best-loved vacation spots again and again. You’re hardly home from one trip before you’re daydreaming about the next.
Of course, travel can be an expensive—though also priceless—hobby. So if your bucket list is bigger than your budget, we’ve got a few money-saving travel tips that will help you to see more of the world in 2019, without breaking the bank.
Explore the Search Sites - Then Book Through the Airline
When it comes to finding the best deal on airline tickets, travel search sites are the way to go. If you want to find the cheapest flight to Hawaii in May, for example, there are a number of online search tools that will do all the legwork for you. One of the top rated search sites of 2019 is momondo.com. This savvy site scans more than 700 travel sites to find the best deal—and even includes independent carriers, like Southwest, which many other search engines leave out. Simply enter your destination and desired travel dates, and in seconds they’ll share the “cheapest,” “quickest,” and “best” options for airline tickets.
No matter which search site you use, when you’ve found the flight that works for you, head over to the airline’s website and do your actual booking there. This will make things easier if your flight is cancelled or delayed, and it also lowers your chances of being bumped, as airlines tend to give preference to their own customers.
Time it Just Right
You’ll find a number of different opinions on the cheapest day to travel. Expedia® found that the least expensive day for a departure in 2018 was Friday—which makes sense, as this is the least likely day for corporate/business travelers to book flights, so rates are more competitive for non-business travelers. CheapAir.com’s 2018 Airfare Study found that Tuesdays and Wednesdays were the cheapest days to fly out. What nearly all studies seem to agree on is that flying on a weekend—especially Sunday, as people are trying to make it back for work/school on Monday—will increase your ticket costs significantly. Though it may be more convenient to travel on a Sunday, your wallet will thank you for opting for just about any other day of the week.
Interestingly, when it comes to booking your flight, the findings are quite the opposite. Studies have found that the worst day to book a flight is Friday—and that you’re likely to find the best discounts when booking on Sunday. But this can also vary widely, and the cost difference isn’t dramatic from one day of the week to the next. If you’re not in a hurry to book and you just want to be sure that you’re getting the best possible deal, websites like AirfareWatchdog™ or Hopper.com will let you track desired flights and will alert you when fares drop on the routes that interest you.
Look Around for Lodging
There are a number of hotel booking sites that will search far and wide to find the best deals for local lodging. Sites like HotelTonight.com will find low rates for last-minute getaways, and Booking.com and Kayak® are just a few of the popular hotel aggregators. This is great for the research phase, but before you book, call the hotel directly to see if they’re willing to match the low rate. They’re often willing to price match to avoid paying a commission to a third party. Booking directly with the hotel will also give you preference when it comes to room upgrades!
Traveling with a group? You’re likely to get the best bang for your travel buck by renting a home instead of booking several rooms at a hotel. Websites like Homeaway® or AirBnB.com make it simple to find the perfect home-away-from-home at your destination. Not only are the nightly rates more budget-friendly, you’ll also save on your daily spending by cooking most of your meals in the kitchen instead of dining out.
Splurge on Lunch & Happy Hour
One of the best parts of travel is enjoying the unique delicacies and highly rated restaurants at your destination—which can add up quickly! Exploring the local dining scene doesn’t have to cost a fortune. By timing it just right, you can savor these dining experiences in the most economical way—just a bit earlier in the day!
Lunch prices are often 30% cheaper than the same entrees on a dinner menu, so call that trendy, top-rated restaurant and ask if you can make lunch reservations. You’ll enjoy a similarly spectacular menu at a price that’s much more appetizing. Happy hours can also be a great way to enjoy food and drinks without overspending. Plus, it’s a fun chance to meet the locals, who often take advantage of happy hour specials.
Of course, if you’re a Trilogy homeowner, you also have the option of joining one of Trilogy’s Explore 360 trips, which take groups of homeowners to amazing places all over the country – and the world! From Europe to Alaska, Mexico to New England, Trilogy homeowners enjoy the camaraderie of their neighbors from Trilogy communities across the country, and many of these trips are all-inclusive, so the details are all taken care of! Ask your Community Representative or Resort Club staff for more information on upcoming trips.
Inspired to start planning your next great adventure? No matter the size of your travel budget, you can stretch it surprisingly far with a bit of pre-planning, flexibility, and creativity. Happy travels!