5 tips to affordable retirement travel

If your retirement dream is to get out and see the world, a tight budget doesn't have to keep you tethered to the house. Airlines, hotels, attractions and other travel vendors offer a variety of incentives to court senior travelers, but you may need to do a little extra sleuthing to find these bargains.

"Discounts are getting harder to find, so travelers have to be savvier about the process," says Terrance Zepke, author of "The Encyclopedia of Cheap Travel."

Before you map out your itinerary, you need to make out a budget. That was the strategy of author and retired businessman Lew Weinstein of Key West, Fla., and his wife Pat, a retired attorney and avid marathon runner.

"We don't have unlimited funds. I don't know who does," says Weinstein, who uses a spreadsheet to track everything they spend on trips. "What we were trying to do is make both a long-term retirement plan that is consistent with the amount of money that we have and will have, and to do as much travel as we can while we're still healthy."

If that's your goal, too, here are five ideas to help you reach it.

Go for it!
Don't give up your travel plans. Prepare for a trip and cut costs by using these strategies.

1. Divulge your true age 

Forget the vanity of knocking a few years off your birth date. When you travel, broadcast your real age every chance you get and claim those senior discounts.

The Thomases of Marysville, Mich., have taken many road trips in the U.S. and Canada, cutting costs every time they whip out their AAA and AARP membership cards.

"We think that we save money by driving," says Marjorie Thomas, a former stay-at-home mom and current Mary Kay beauty consultant whose husband, Harold, is a retired electrician.


Both AAA and AARP offer discounts on car rentals, lodging, cruises, vacation packages and attractions.

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