How To Retire And Travel Cheap: 20 Travel Hacks

Traveling is one of the greatest joys of retirement, but stretching your savings throughout your golden years is important. This article explores how to travel cheaply in retirement.

These tips are just a starting point. I’ll delve deeper with additional advice and valuable insights throughout this article, equipping you with the knowledge to travel affordably after retirement.

1. Explore Affordable Destinations

One of the best ways to travel cheaply is to visit affordable countries. Keeping your daily expenses low is much easier in countries with a significantly lower cost of living. To give you an idea, here’s a list of countries with a lower cost of living:

  • Europe: Montenegro, Albania, Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Georgia, Portugal, and Turkey.
  • Asia: India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Philippines.
  • Africa: Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Ghana, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, and Malawi.
  • South and Central America: Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador.

As you can see, there are many beautiful and affordable travel destinations around the world. So, don’t limit yourself locally.

2. Prioritize Your Travel Goals

To avoid overspending while traveling, prioritize what truly matters to you. Knowing your priorities allows you to avoid spending on less important things. Having a clear focus can save you a significant amount of money, especially when you and your travel companion are on the same page.

For example, prioritizing experiences over souvenirs means you can potentially extend your trip. In my opinion, it’s more rewarding to spend money on experiences that create lasting memories than on material possessions.

Prioritization can start at home to save more for your upcoming trip. You can also prioritize during the trip itself by determining your destinations and activities. Identifying what’s most important helps you set goals and write them down, which keeps you focused and achieves your travel desires. This clarity simplifies decision-making, ultimately saving you money.

3. Secure Budget-Friendly Accommodations

Finding cheap accommodation can be a fun adventure! As full-time travelers, our top recommendations are and Both offer a wide variety of options at your destination. boasts over 800,000 properties worldwide, including hotels, apartments, and hostels. They often provide free cancellation on most rooms and a best-price guarantee.

At Airbnb, you’ll find an amazing selection of unique accommodations to rent, from apartments and condos to houseboats, treehouses, single-family homes, and even private rooms to entire villas. Prices are frequently lower than hotels in the same area, and you gain the advantage of living like a local and receiving insider tips from your host. It’s a fun and authentic way to experience a destination.

In popular areas, book well in advance to secure the best selection of affordable accommodations. Plan accordingly. Meanwhile, during the off-season or in less popular areas, you may find great deals by booking just a day or even the same day of your arrival.

Alternatively, consider home exchange services like This online platform allows you to swap homes with people worldwide, fostering connections and offering a unique travel experience.

For the most budget-friendly option, explore dorm rooms in hostels. While quality can vary, excellent hostels cater to all ages, including seniors, and offer a more relaxed atmosphere. Use to find hostels at your chosen destination.

Also, provides a platform to connect with travelers and homeowners worldwide who are willing to offer their couches or spare rooms for free.

4. Monetize Your Home With Airbnb Rentals

Traveling doesn’t have to drain your savings! Renting out your home on Airbnb while you’re away can help recoup some (or even all) of your travel costs. In high-tourist areas, you might even turn a profit, especially if you travel frugally.

To ensure a smooth experience while you’re away, consider having someone manage your listing. This person would be responsible for cleaning, welcoming guests, and addressing any questions or issues that may arise. A nearby family member or a helpful neighbor could be a good fit for this role.

5. Leverage Senior Travel Discounts

Seniors are eligible for a wide range of discounts, including reduced admission fees for parks, museums, public transportation, and tourist attractions. Always inquire about senior discounts wherever you go, as the savings can be substantial. 

Keep in mind that some discounts may have limited availability or apply only on specific days. It’s always wise to gather information in advance. Also, you can also check out Groupon,com for great deals. 

6. Find The Best Flight Deals

The time invested in researching airfare can yield significant savings. Retirees, with their abundance of time, are perfectly positioned to leverage this strategy. Here are some tips and resources to help you find the cheapest flights:

  • Embrace Schedule Flexibility: Consider flying on weekdays (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays domestically; weekdays internationally) to take advantage of lower fares. Additionally, explore off-peak travel periods, such as January, February, or August, for further savings. While early morning departures may be less convenient, they often represent the most economical option.
  • Utilize Flight Comparison Tools: Leverage online flight comparison platforms to efficiently compare pricing across multiple airlines. While domestic flights typically benefit from booking directly with airlines, comparison tools remain valuable for comprehensive searches. Consider signing up for price alerts on desired routes, but be mindful of potentially high email frequency.
  • Strategic Booking Windows: Implement a strategic approach to booking times. Aim for a two- to three-week window for domestic flights and a four- to six-month window for international flights to secure optimal pricing.
  • Explore Budget-Friendly Options: Consider including budget airlines in your search for potentially lower fares. Additionally, explore specialized websites that aggregate travel deals and even identify pricing errors, offering opportunities for significant savings.

Here are some websites that can help you get the cheapest flights:,,, and Google Flights. For airfare mistakes and error checking, try these sites: and

7. Secure Travel Insurance And Review Medicare Coverage

Spending money on good travel insurance can save you a significant amount of money in the long run. This is because Medicare generally does not cover medical care outside of U.S. territories, and sometimes not even outside of its service area within the USA.

Do note that according to Medicare Interactive, if you have Original Medicare, you have coverage anywhere in the U.S. and its territories (including all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands).

And with Medicare Advantage Plans, these may or may not cover care outside their service area. Additionally, continuous travel outside your plan’s service area for more than six months can result in automatic disenrollment.

It’s important to check your specific Medicare plan and understand its inclusions and exclusions regarding your travel destinations. This will give you an idea of how you will manage your travel insurance.

8. Work Or Volunteer While You Travel

Another great way to save money while traveling is to make money when traveling. In fact, it can be a way to supplement your income or even cover your expenses entirely! Here are a few job opportunities you can hunt to turn your wanderlust into a financially enriching experience:

  • Teach English Abroad: The demand for English teachers is high globally. Fluency and potentially a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) degree (depending on location) can land you a rewarding job.
  • Become A Workamper: Find campground hosting, maintenance, housekeeping, or office work through Workamper (only available for US citizens). If you’re a non-US resident and curious about what types of jobs are available, try going to: RV and travel work are also available in other countries, you just need to look for them.
  • Become a Seasonal Expert: Explore tour guide or seasonal positions through platforms like Alaska Summer Jobs,, or
  • Protect Public Lands: Consider becoming a Park Ranger at a National or State Park. Search jobs on under “National Park Service.”

If earning isn’t exactly what you need but extending your helping hand is, you may want to try volunteering while traveling. While volunteering won’t give you money to make travel cheap, some volunteer programs can provide you with free lodging instead, which can lower your travel costs significantly. Here are your options:

  • Farm for Free Accommodation: connects volunteers with organic farms for room and board in exchange for your help. It can be physically demanding, but a rewarding experience for nature lovers.
  • Volunteer Your Skills: Organizations like EarthWatch Institute, Habitat For Humanity, and Global Vision International offer volunteer opportunities that make a difference.
  • Join the Peace Corps: Serve your country and a community by volunteering with the Peace Corps in over 60 countries.

Whether you crave paid work, volunteer experiences, or a combination of both, there are opportunities waiting for you.

9. Utilize Public Transportation

Take advantage of public transportation systems to reach your destination city in a cost-effective manner. Doing so can let you immerse yourself deeply in the local culture by exposing you to everyday life and potentially giving you ample opportunities to interact with residents. Impromptu encounters on public transit can often become treasured travel memories.

When selecting accommodations, prioritize locations with convenient access to public transportation hubs or within walking distance of key attractions, particularly in metropolitan areas. Explore alternative options such as ferries, which can sometimes be a more affordable and equally enjoyable alternative to organized boat tours.

For situations where a rental car is necessary, utilize comparison websites like to secure the most competitive rates. Independent car insurance providers like may offer broader coverage at potentially lower costs compared to standard rental car insurance packages.

Biking and walking offer additional cost-saving opportunities while promoting physical activity and allowing you to explore at your own pace.

10. Consider RV Travel

While buying an RV isn’t cheap upfront, it can be a good long-term investment for affordable travel and exploration of the USA’s vast beauty. The high initial cost is offset by significantly lower daily expenses, as accommodation costs become minimal on road trips. Additionally, a wide variety of RVs cater to different retirement budgets and comfort levels.

The charm of RV travel lies in the journey itself. Many retirees relish the RV lifestyle, and there’s an abundance of welcoming RV campsites and facilities throughout the US.

Before making such a significant investment, ensure you’re truly ready. Thorough research is essential. Consider renting an RV first to test the waters and see if this mobile lifestyle suits you.

11. Prepare Meals To Save

Eating out every night can quickly deplete your travel budget. Consider cooking some meals yourself to save money. Renting a home with a kitchen through Airbnb allows this flexibility, unlike a typical hotel room. Stock up on groceries and prepare your own meals—it’s significantly cheaper than dining out all the time.

Craving a restaurant experience? To balance your budget and enjoy local flavors, consider cooking your own breakfast and lunch, or vice versa. This way, you can still treat yourself to some restaurant meals while staying on track financially.

For the most authentic dining experiences, ask locals for their favorite spots. These eateries are often more affordable and offer delicious local cuisine, immersing you deeper into the culture.

12. Try Housesitting For Free Accommodation

Housesitting offers a unique cost-saving strategy for accommodation. You get to stay in someone’s home (and care for their pets) free of charge, typically for extended periods. In exchange, you’ll be responsible for watching the house and may even perform light maintenance duties.

If you don’t know where to start, go to It’s a reputable platform known for its verified user accounts, ensuring a safe and secure experience for both homeowners and housesitters.

13. Immerse Yourself With Slow Travel

For budget-conscious travelers, slow travel is the key. Whirlwind trips across the globe can be expensive. Instead, embrace a slower pace and savor your experiences.

Extended stays allow you to truly immerse yourself in a destination. You’ll delve beyond tourist traps, discover hidden gems, and connect with local culture and people. Additionally, longer stays often translate to better deals on accommodation and reduced transportation costs.

Read: 101+ Ideas For Your Retirement Bucket List

Retirement Travel Must-Haves

As full-time travelers, we’ve tested a lot of products over the years and that’s why we created this list of items that are must-haves for every traveler. We can highly recommend them without any hesitation:

  1. Travel Hammock: This lightweight hammock is made of ultra-light parachute silk material, fits in a small portable bag, and is very easy to use. You can relax easily anywhere: on the beach, by the lake, in the forest, campsite or (rented) home.
  2. The North Face Backpack: a high-quality, versatile, and practical daypack from one of the best brands in the world. A great choice no matter what travel plans you have for retirement.
  3. Kindle E-Reader: A waterproof E-reader for unlimited reading while traveling in retirement. It has an adjustable warm light to shift the screen shade from white to amber. And it works with Audible so you can switch seamlessly from reading to listening.
  4. Sony Noise-Canceling Headphones: The world-leading noise-canceling headphones make your travel trip more comfortable and less exhausting. One of the best travel products out there.
  5. Go Pro Hero 12: It’s one of the best and easiest travel cameras to take on your retirement trip. The built-in stabilizer produces smooth and high-quality videos and images. And because it’s so small it fits in every bag. It’s our go-to camera wherever we go.
  6. Surfshark VPN: Protect yourself and your data while traveling with a top-rated VPN. Avoid the hassles of data theft and location restrictions with Surfshark VPN.

Check out more of my recommendations about the best travel gear here: Recommended Travel Gear.

Please note that these links are affiliate links. When you make a purchase using these links, we get a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

14. Explore Relocation Deals For Flights And RVs

Cruise lines and RV rental companies sometimes offer relocation deals, also known as repositioning cruises or rentals. These deals can slash your travel costs significantly, with savings of up to 75% on cruises or securing an RV for as low as $1 a day!

The catch? Relocation deals typically involve one-way trips, starting your journey in one location and ending in another. However, these destinations are often major cities with affordable and convenient flight connections. Additionally, relocation deals are frequently available during shoulder seasons, offering a budget-friendly way to travel outside peak times.,, and are great for finding relocation deals for RV rentals. Meanwhile,,, and are places where you can find repositioning deals for cruises.

15. Discover Free Activities In Every City

Stretch your travel budget further by incorporating free activities into your itinerary. Most destinations offer a surprising array of free things to do, from fascinating museums with free admission days to historical walking tours or lively cultural events.

A quick web search using “free things to do in [destination name]” or a visit to the local tourist information office will open doors to a treasure trove of budget-friendly experiences. You’ll be surprised at how much enjoyment you can discover without spending a dime!

16. Connect With Locals Through Your Network

Tap into the power of your social network to enhance your travel experience! Do you have a relative in Europe or a friend with family at your destination? Reach out and connect—you might be surprised at the warm welcome you receive. Many people enjoy connecting with travelers, and you could potentially score free accommodation or a home-cooked meal.

For me, the most rewarding travel experiences involve genuine connections with locals. Accepting an invitation to stay at someone’s home or share a meal is a humbling and enriching experience. It fosters cultural exchange and creates lasting memories.

Beyond accommodation, your network can be a valuable resource for insider information and tips. They can recommend hidden gems, must-see sights, and budget-friendly options, making your trip even more enjoyable.

17. Plan Smart To Reap Booking Rewards 

Proactive planning is a powerful tool for budget-conscious travelers. By booking flights and accommodation in advance, you can secure lower prices compared to last-minute rates (unless you snag a rare deal, of course!).

The beauty of retirement travel is the abundance of time for thorough research. Leverage this time to gather information, compare options, and find the best deals on flights, hotels, and activities. The more prepared you are, the more opportunities you’ll have to score budget-friendly travel arrangements.

But remember, planning goes beyond just booking! Researching your destination, creating a budget, and considering potential challenges will ensure a smooth and enjoyable travel experience.

18. Uncover Local Gems

Retirement is the perfect time to explore the hidden treasures in your own backyard! You don’t always need to go on long-distance journeys to discover something new and exciting. Consider local day trips, weekend getaways, or regional explorations—these adventures can be surprisingly fulfilling and budget-friendly.

Living in a familiar area can sometimes lead us to overlook nearby wonders. However, a little research can reveal a wealth of unexplored beauty right under your nose. From charming towns and historical sites to scenic hikes and cultural festivals, there’s likely more to discover than you realize. Embracing local exploration can transform your retirement days, filling them with enriching experiences close to home.

19. Track Your Expenses

Monitoring your travel expenses is crucial for maintaining a budget-friendly trip. Without tracking your spending, it’s difficult to assess how effectively you’re managing your finances.

Before booking anything, determine a realistic travel budget. This can be a detailed breakdown by category (accommodation, transportation, activities, food, and drinks) or a simplified daily spending limit.

I highly recommend that you use a travel expense tracker app. This type of app allows you to set a daily budget, manage multiple currencies, and categorize your spending, providing valuable insights into your financial progress.

By diligently tracking your expenses, you can identify areas for potential savings and ensure your travel aligns with your financial goals.

20. Go For Cheap Cruises

Cruise vacations can offer an all-inclusive and hassle-free travel experience, perfect for retirees seeking relaxation and exploration. However, the price tag can sometimes be daunting. Luckily, there are ways for savvy retirees to snag cruise deals and enjoy a luxurious experience without breaking the bank.

Consider alternative itineraries. Instead of peak-season Caribbean cruises, explore shoulder seasons or repositioning cruises. Repositioning cruises move ships between destinations and often come at a fraction of the cost. You can also hunt for cheap cruises on

Be flexible with your travel dates. Cruise lines often offer significant discounts for bookings made well in advance or last-minute deals. Signing up for email alerts from cruise lines or travel websites can help you snag these limited-time offers. By being flexible with your travel window, you can unlock significant savings on your dream cruise vacation.


Retirement is the best time to embrace new experiences and explore the world. With a little planning and the tips explored in this article, you can have the most unforgettable adventures without breaking the bank.

The journey doesn’t stop here! If you’re seeking additional inspiration and practical advice for enriching your retirement lifestyle, be sure to explore my other articles:

Happy reading!


My wife and I quit the rat race and retired in 2021. We RV'ed around the US for a couple of years and now we're slow traveling outside the US!

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