If you're like most people, you probably dreamed of traveling the world in retirement. Now that your golden years are approaching, it's time to make that dream a reality – but don't let expense keep you from enjoying the luxury travel you deserve. Check out these nine tips for saving money on luxury travel in retirement. With a bit of creativity and planning, you'll be able to experience all the best the world has to offer without breaking the bank (or your nest egg). So what are you waiting for? Start planning your dream vacation today!
#1 If you haven't already, sign up for a premium travel rewards credit card
One of the best ways to save money on luxury travel is to take advantage of premium travel rewards credit cards. With these cards, you can earn rewards like free hotel stays, first-class upgrades and even Companion Passes – which can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on airfare for two.
These credit cards also offer amazing welcome bonuses of thousands of loyalty points worth hundreds of dollars when redeemed for travel (usually through the bank or credit card issuer's travel platform).
Most premium travel cards also provide various other benefits specifically tailored for the luxury traveler, regardless of age. For example, credit cards such as The Platinum Card from American Express or its equivalent for Canadian residents, the American Express Platinum Card, include a $100 (USD or CAD, depending on the version of the card) annual hotel credit you can start using after your first anniversary.
Other travel perks these cards offer include travel insurance, car rental collision damage insurance waivers, trip cancellation or interruption insurance, concierge or travel agent services and, best of all, airport lounge access that will completely change how you experience travel for the rest of your life.
#2 Plan your trips for the off-peak season
One of the best ways to save money on travel is to simply plan your trips for the shoulder or off-peak season. This is when airlines, hotels, and tour operators offer their deepest discounts to attract travelers. Retirees usually have enough spare time and the flexibility to travel during the off-peak season, making this a viable option.
You can save serious amounts of money both on luxury airfare and accommodations if you're retired and have the flexibility to travel during the shoulder or off-peak season.
However, there are even more benefits to choosing these dates for your next trip besides saving money. Not only will airfare and accommodations be cheaper, but you'll also avoid the crowds and enjoy a more relaxed pace while on vacation.
#3 Learn how to spot a good deal on first-class airfare ticket prices by tracking flights
The second most important thing to consider when setting up a luxury trip on a budget, after choosing an off-peak season date, is to be strategic when booking your trip.
Booking early is one of the most popular tips you'll read anywhere online about saving money on travel. However, though this isn't necessarily wrong, booking early just for the sake of it doesn't make sense unless you're sure you found a good deal on your ticket.
How do you know you're getting a good deal?
You need to be able to compare prices to know if a ticket price is high or low.
The best way to do that is to use a tool like Google Flights or Skyscanner to set up fare alerts for your desired flights. These websites will send you an email notification whenever the price for your chosen itinerary changes. That way, if you receive a notification of a price suddenly plummeting, you'll know it's time to book.
And when should you start tracking flight prices?
Ideally, as soon as you decide on an itinerary. Most airlines will publish airfare prices close to a year in advance, so if you plan your trip one year ahead of time, you'll have more than enough time to research different itineraries and start tracking the flights.
Of course, this brings up an interesting question. If a price falls, how do you know if you should book immediately or wait for it to fall further? Unfortunately, this is the same problem stock traders face when deciding when to buy or sell assets, and the answer is that there is no sure way to know.
The best you can do is to look at past prices to see if they've been falling for a while and are still falling or if the fall is beginning to slow down. If it's the first case, you can wait for a couple of days to see if it keeps falling, but if it's the latter, you will do your best to book right away. What matters most is that you book 1 to 3 months in advance for domestic flights and around 2 to 8 months in advance for most international flights.
#4 Maximize your points or miles by transferring points from one loyalty program to another
Many loyalty rewards programs will allow you to transfer points to another partner loyalty program at good rates. For example, you can transfer Delta Skymiles to Hilton Honors points or British Airways. You can also transfer American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy points to British Airways Avios and other popular airline loyalty programs.
This all opens the possibility to pool points you've accumulated over the years from using your credit cards, traveling and staying at different hotel chains to a single account and then use that balance to pay for all or part of a luxury travel experience.
#5 Don't throw away money on amenities you know won't use
Another important thing to consider is to be smart when choosing the type and level of accommodations when booking travel. This doesn't mean staying at a three-star hotel, far from it. What it means is that you splurge on things you'll be able to enjoy. For example, there's no point in throwing money down the drain by booking an all-inclusive luxury resort if you plan on going sight-seen all day long during your stay at your destination.
Book yourself into a nice and luxurious hotel room that only charges you for your night's stay, and use the saved money to wine and dine like a VIP.
#6 Research currency exchange rates ahead of time
When traveling internationally, it's important to keep an eye on the currency exchange rates. After all, what's the point of spending all that time and money to travel if your money won't go as far as you want it to? Depending on where you plan to travel, exchange rates to the local currency may be more beneficial if you exchange US dollars than euros or pounds or vice-versa.
Optimizing your exchange rates can mean stretching your money further if you hold savings in those currencies.
#7 Leverage cryptocurrencies wherever you can
Cryptocurrencies have been growing in popularity over the past few years, and there are now quite a few travel companies that accept them. These include Expedia, CheapAir, and others. Using crypto to pay for travel is an excellent way to save on exchange and transfer fees when traveling internationally. Additionally, some of the best crypto exchanges in countries like the UK or popular tourist destinations across the rest of Europe and other countries will make it extremely easy to trade your crypto for local fiat currency at great rates if you need to.
While the volatility of cryptocurrencies may put some people off, if used correctly, they can help you save money while traveling.
The bottom line
Luxury travel doesn't have to be expensive. Following this article's tips, you can save money on your next luxury travel experience. Whether you're looking to book a flight, find a great deal on a hotel or use cryptocurrencies to pay for your trip, there are plenty of ways to reduce the cost of traveling in style. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next luxury vacation today!