The reality is that many seniors are on a fixed income. An income that doesn’t stretch too far after bills and a couple of small luxuries.
So how can you afford a vacation as a senior on a small income? Are you confined only to taking in a movie (in the cheap seats) or a cheap cafe lunch.
Of course not!
If your income is small it doesn’t mean you have to wipe out the chance of enjoying a summer vacation. You just need a little creativity.
There are plenty of vacation options for seniors, at a reasonable cost too! Here are some suggestions.
Related reading: 20 Frugal Living Tips For Seniors
In recent years, more seniors have looked at the options of vacationing at home, or at least near home. This idea provides a wealth of possibilities.
- No plane reservations
- And no travel agent fees
- No high gas prices
- No shots
Look at summer events in your home area. Are there music festivals or regular outdoor concerts?
These are often provided for tourists and may be free to attend. It’s more fun if you can gather together a few other seniors and maybe go out for supper together first.
If you’re not leaving town, have you considered a local hotel weekend? There may be packages that are reasonably priced, and think about pampering yourself for a weekend – maybe a movie, dinner out, breakfast in bed.
If you decide a home vacation might do the trick, start your research early and gather information on local events and activities you might enjoy.
Spread the word in your social group – you might be amazed at the interest shown by others you know. Spending your vacation dollars locally may mean spreading your fun over a considerably longer stretch of the summer.
Cheap to the beach
To many people, a summer vacation must include time at a beach. That can be a challenge if you are on a budget. However, there are ways.
First, how close are you to a beach? Would a day trip by public transportation get you there? If not, is there a reasonably priced bed and breakfast in a nearby beach area?
That can be a challenge during the tourism season, but look for specials and even consider the edge of the season, June or September. Often accommodation is much more reasonable then.
Beach vacations don’t have to only mean catching some rays. Spending time at the beach in the low season (not just June or September, but even in winter) can be a wonderful experience.
You get all the pleasure of being by the sea without the heat, the cost or the crowds. I love winter seaside holidays!
Many seniors find a day tour by coach adds variety to summer activities at a reasonable cost.
These can be to places of local interest, or many companies offer “mystery” tours where the participants do not know in advance exactly where they’ll be visiting.
These are popular especially for older seniors and those with more restricted mobility as you get driven door to door. It’s often a real advantage to spend a day with other people – sometimes strangers become new friends.
The same companies also offer coach tours of a few days, which are appealing. Look at your budget and see if you can find one to give it a try.
Rent in a group
Friends of ours join a group of local seniors and have a tradition of spending a few days each September at a rented cottage. They choose a different cottage each year so they get to see new locations.
The tourist season is almost over so prices are cheaper. Children and students have returned to education but tourist trade, local attractions, concerts and theater productions have not finished winding down still and often available at a lower cost.
Accommodation is plentiful and at a reasonable price when you go out of season or at the very end of the main season. Dining rooms are quite willing to offer group discounts – often coach tours of seniors will be sharing the facilities.
The weather in September is often beautiful, but that’s a chance you take. The fun, of course, is in being together – happy hour, morning beach walks, evenings out, meals together.
Senior travel companies
There are specialist travel companies that cater purely for the over 50’s and seniors market. And they offer a huge variety of vacations to suit all tastes.
Cruises might be the first thing you think of but honestly, there are so many more options.
Saga Holidays offer special interest holidays. You can choose from History and Archeology, Dancing, Photography, Wildlife, Bird-watching, Cycling and Art Appreciation Holidays.
They can come at a premium so best planned for well in advance and perhaps booked as a special treat.
The road scholar program
The Road Scholar program focuses on non-profit educational travel for older adults in the US. Started around 1925, this was originally called Elderhostel, but over the years, neither the “elder” nor the “hostel” fittingly describes the vast array of programs available.
These programs run all year round, but often during the summer, you can find several to consider.
You may find one in your own area that is appealing. The programs are often five days, and the cost covers everything except travel to the site.
Meals, accommodation, guided tours, lectures, tickets to events – all of this is included in the one price. Visit the site to see what some of the choices are for this summer.
An advantage of the Road Scholar program is that you are with like-minded seniors, people who enjoy travel and education and, in most cases, have experienced a lot of both. Programs are rated by activity level, so no one is left out.
If your mobility is restricted, you can pick a program that requires less walking.
Vacations the senior way
Summer vacations! Whether you like remembering past ones or are more interested in creating new memories, you will find many choices available for the cost-conscious senior traveler.
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Last Updated on 11th July 2021 by Emma