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How to Travel and Still Save for Retirement

Have you created your “bucket list” yet? Many baby boomers have a list of things they want to do during their retirement years. Traveling is the most common item found on these bucket lists, with travel plans ranging from whirlwind weekend trips to world cruises and hanging out in foreign countries for an extended trip.

What happens if life intervenes along the way and you enter retirement with physical limitations that make fulfilling those travel plans difficult or even impossible? To avoid this kink in your retirement plans, you can find ways to fulfill your travel dreams while you’re still able to make the trek to places that you may not be able to visit later in your life. You can even do this without sacrificing your retirement savings. Here’s six “travel now and still save for retirement” hacks that can help you see the world without hurting your nest egg.

1. Offseason travel

Peak seasons are when everyone plans to travel. That’s also the time when you’ll find prices for flights and accommodations at their peaks. You can travel without skimping on your retirement savings contribution if you look at traveling during non-peak times. Airfare and hotel prices can all be reduced significantly if you don’t make your trip at the height of tourist season.

2. Show me yours and I’ll show you mine

If you’re living in a popular vacation area and own your home or condo, consider house swapping as a way to save on travel costs. There are home exchange websites with searchable databases of people interested in home swapping for a vacation. This arrangement not only saves you the cost of a hotel, it gives you access to a kitchen so you don’t have to eat out every meal.

3. House sitting

Don’t like the idea of strangers hanging out in your home for a couple of weeks? Another way to hit your travel goals without dipping into your retirement savings is to offer yourself as a house sitter. A house sitter usually agrees to keep an eye on someone’s property while they’re away in exchange for staying there free of charge for a set period of time. You may be asked to care for the homeowner’s pets, too, so be sure to check on that aspect before agreeing to house sit.

4. Hostels are cost-effective

Hostels are not just for young backpackers exploring the world on a shoestring. People of all ages are discovering the affordability of hostels. Not all hostels are set up in dormitory style accommodations but now offer private rooms for those not comfortable with sharing. Hostels can cut your travel costs so you aren’t tempted to skim off funds from your monthly retirement savings.

5. Repositioning cruise? What’s that?

The purpose of a repositioning cruise is the move the ship from one ocean to another. They don’t do this with the ship empty; they book passengers on these trips at a greatly reduced rate. These trips are also usually done during off-peak seasons, so you’ll get those savings, too. The downside is that a repositioning cruise is usually only one way. But since you’ll be going during off-peak times, a one-way flight back won’t cut into your allotted monthly retirement savings.

6. If camping is your thing…

If your dream is to travel the U.S. and you happen to love camping, then offering yourself as a campground host at one of our national parks can be an affordable way to do it. You will have to do a bit of work but look at it this way: it’s a great way to help support our gorgeous national parks. There may be housing offered for volunteers at some parks and most will offer free RV sites with hookups to volunteers.

7. Put your credit card to work

If you’ve been responsible with your credit card use and your credit rating reflects that, you may be able to take advantage of credit card travel offers. This could be an option to cut your travel costs if you’ve made a habit of paying off your credit card balance on a monthly basis. This lets you avoid paying a chunk of interest to the bank. Many cards let you accumulate points toward travel when you make everyday purchases. Taking advantage of these programs can help with travel now without going cheap on your retirement later.

Off you go!

Working travel into your life schedule can happen if you take a frugal approach to it. Know what your goals are for retirement and have a plan to get you there. It isn’t hard to do; a 15-minute retirement plan may be all you need to get your started.

With your retirement goals locked in, you’re ready to go! You can travel while you’re young without sacrificing your comfort in retirement later on. All it takes is a little planning and some serious dedication to both retiring on your own terms and having fun while you get there.