As a blogger who discusses the location independent lifestyle, I often hear from retirees seeking ways to afford travel. Baby Boomers have always been a fun-loving and adventurous group – and there’s no sign of that changing in retirement.
When Baby Boomers finally escape their 9-5, they’re eager to explore the world and embrace a traveling lifestyle.
Unfortunately, for many retirees, their limited bank account balance gets in the way. But this doesn’t need to be the case! With a bit of planning and creativity, travel can become incredibly affordable.
Here are 4 things you can do to afford travel without eating up your retirement savings
1. Create a travel budget
When you’re on a fixed income, one of the most important things you can do is create a budget. By tracking your finances and budgeting for food, entertainment, travel, and other expenses, you can stay on top of your finances and avoid any unpleasant surprises.
If the thought of budgeting and monitoring your finances sounds boring, don’t worry – there’s an app (or several) for that. By using a free tool like Personal Capital, you can track all of your spending in one place. Plus, Personal Capital automatically segments your spending so you know when an expense is gas, grocery, entertainment, etc.. By using a tool to monitor your finances, budgeting becomes substantially easier.
Once you have a clear understanding of your finances, it’s easy to start saving for your next adventure. Simply set aside $50-500 every month to your travel account. Then, when you’re ready to travel, you can tap that account without feeling guilty.
2. Earn extra money with a side hustle
We live in a time when it’s easier than ever to make extra money on the side. Use your past work experience to find part-time jobs online, launch your own virtual storefront in a niche that interests you, complete paid surveys online, or rent out your spare room.
It’s not unreasonable to earn an extra $20-50 an hour through a plethora of side projects. If you’re struggling to find ideas, check out this list of 99 side hustles and this list of 100 websites that help you make money online.
Once you find an extra source of income, add that to your travel budget. It won’t take long before your next vacation is completely paid for! Just make sure to save a portion of what you make to cover any taxes that you may have to pay at the end of the year.
3. Get rewarded for your spending
What if I told you that you could save for your next vacation by spending? How cool would that be! As it turns out, that’s exactly how many people afford travel.
I’ve earned $1,500 in free travel over the last two years by using travel credit cards. These cards give me points for every purchase that I make – and I can convert those points into airline miles and free hotel stays. Make all of your purchases on a travel card and your next vacation could be just around the corner.
But credit cards aren’t the only tool that can help you benefit from your spending. By making purchases through cashback sites like Ebates, or purchasing discounted gift cards on sites like CardCash, you can save even more to put towards your travel budget.
4. Find inexpensive and alternative ways to travel
One of the easiest ways to make travel more affordable is to find ways to save money on your travel. There are many ways to do this.
First, you can focus on less-expensive locations. Rather than go to Europe, visit Southeast Asia. Rather than fly across the country and rent a car, make it a road trip.
Next, skip traditional hotels for the sharing economy. Find your next vacation rental on Tripping and you can rent out an entire apartment for half the rate of a hotel. Or, if you’re really adventurous, find a volunteer opportunity on WorkAway.info.
By thinking “outside of the box” when planning your next vacation, you can easily save yourself 25-50%, and have more fun in the process.
In conclusion, money should never hinder your retirement travel
Retirement is about embracing life, giving back, and enjoying the fruits of your labor. By following the four steps above, you can ensure that money never prevents you from enjoying an active retirement. Now get out there and start traveling!
Rob Erich blogs about entrepreneurship and the digital nomad lifestyle at Money Nomad. He also discusses personal finance topics for InvestmentZen. When not working he enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and experimenting with his next business idea. Find him on Twitter at @MoneyNomadRob.
Photo credit: chriscom/Flickr.