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Travel and Vacation Tips for Seniors on a Budget

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Mark Twain once said "Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do."

As our boomers are reaching the age of retirement, their thoughts become centered around the amount of time they'll have on their hands, and how to fill it. As most are now empty nesters and not doing the nine-to-five, they have the flexibility to travel where and when they want. Only a few will have an unlimited budget, so the majority will be living on pensions, and luckily there are many options for senior travel on a budget. Some seniors may feel the need to cash-in an existing pension to maintain their lifestyle as well as travel. Make sure you get professional advice before making any rash decisions.

Travel in Europe

Europe is always a big draw, but hotels in major cities can be cost prohibitive. B&Bs have become popular, particularly in Britain where so many are lovely and well appointed. You can drive around the England, Scotland and Wales staying in B&Bs and small Inns, actually in some towns they are your only options. Also if you are there don't forget to visit their top tourist destination, the British Museum in London. Driving can be pricey as gas runs about $8.00 U.S. a gallon and adding in auto insurance may persuade you to take a bus or train tour. B&Bs are slowly catching on in the rest of Europe but most are a little less comfortable then in the U.K. Train travel is a great option while in Europe and a Euro Pass can give you access to 21 countries. Guidebooks are available at local tourism offices and as locals staff them can put you on to some great out-of-the-way spots. You can also get a lot of great info at local hostels; they know all of the inexpensive places to eat and reasonable tours.


There are so many cruise options available, Alaska, Caribbean, Mediterranean, European and American River Cruises as well as Panama and the Galapagos Islands. Most cruise ships are wheelchair/scooter friendly. Everything is close at hand -- meals, entertainment, activities but make sure you confirm your stateroom will accommodate your wheelchair and has accessible plug-outlets to recharge. Don't expect to visit all the Ports-of-Call as many may use tenders or gangways that won't accommodate a wheelchair.

Pick a cruise the fits your preferences -- smaller ships are less crowded and offer fewer Ports-of-Call but you often end up visiting lovely off-the-beaten-path gems. Remember that smaller ships have more roll then the larger, so if you worry about seasickness stick to larger vessels. Budget wisely, meals and entrainment might be covered but alcoholic beverages, tips and off-shore activities are not. Choose cruise Line to fit your style, 'Celebrity' has a mature and luxurious ambiance, "Carnival" is a party ship, "Disney" is family-oriented and "Royal Caribbean" specializes in activities on and off-board. Lastly, inside cabins are cheaper.

North America

There are so many options on our own continent but the majority of Canadian retirees gravitate to the warm rays of the sun. In the middle of a Canadian winter, what can be better than a Florida beach. Flights and hotels are the most expensive from January through March. Most airlines in North America discontinued senior discounts long ago (South West Airlines in the U.S. still have a discount for 65+ travelers) but there are still a few deals to be had. Booking three months in advance can save you a few percentage points. Flying out of a U.S. airport (if it's reasonably convenient) can save you many hundreds of dollars. For people living in the Toronto/Hamilton area, Buffalo is the airport to use. Don't be afraid of asking for the best-possible rate, no matter what you're booking. Discounts are still available at hotels, museums and other attractions. Hyatt Hotels in the United States have the best discounts for seniors over 62. Searching sites like will give a good picture of what will best suit your budget. Best of all bridges the gap between an online and traditional travel agency with travel agents available 24/7 to help you find deals and offers to destinations worldwide.

Central Florida is one of the best areas to rent a one or two bedroom manufactured home for the whole winter and rates range from $1,000 per month. Central Florida is one of the best areas to rent a one or two bedroom manufactured home for the whole winter and rates range from $1,000 per month. Another hot spot that's attracting more seniors is Arizona where the winter months are warm and dry. Scottsdale and Sedona are two popular spots. There are a lot of great resorts, with plenty of golf, sunshine and spectacular desert scenery.

Last minute travel deals can be found if you do your homework.

  • Puerto Plata, D.R.
    Robert Lerich
  • Rotterdam, Netherlands
    Getty Images/Flickr RF
  • Istanbul, Turkey
    Tatiana Popova
  • Catskills, New York
    Getty Images/iStockphoto
  • Fez, Morocco
    Getty Images/Flickr RF
  • Wasatch Mountains, Utah
    Kyle Krause
  • Chengdu, China