You worked hard all your life, scrimped and saved, raised the family and dreamed of one day having the time and money to travel. Now that you have retired, you want to see it all – everything you wanted to see before but could not because of other obligations. Of course, if you blow your entire travel budget for the year on one trip, you will likely be unhappy at the prospect of having to wait a year until the next adventure.
If you can find great deals and know some inside information, you can stretch those travel dollars. Here are 8 places seniors can travel on the cheap.
Las Vegas, Nevada
The perennial favorites of people of all ages, Las Vegas is a shimmering oasis in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by stark, unforgiving desert. Slot machines, world-class shows and all-you-can-eat buffets attract people from all over the world. Because there are so many hotels in Vegas, you can always find one running a ridiculous sale. Some of the best entertainment costs nothing – just go people-watching on the Strip.
A quick online search will reveal a plethora of people offering free guides to save you a bundle, while vacationing in this Midwestern mecca for family fun. Thick forests cover the landscape, separated by many lakes for fishing, boating and other water sports. The amusement parks can be a bit pricey, but you should look for senior discounts and off-season deals. Many popular entertainers divide their time between Las Vegas and Branson.
Greenville, South Carolina
This community embraces the older traveler, with free trolleys that accommodate wheelchairs. Greenville has around 70 public art installations. You can view the largest exhibit of Andrew Wyeth watercolors open to the public – also at no cost. There are food trucks serving regional and international food at palatable prices.
Lewis and Clark ended their expedition here, at the mouth of the Columbia River. There are plenty of historic attractions for sightseeing. Lodging and eateries tend to be reasonably priced. Some Queen Anne and Victorian mansions are now B&Bs. The geography offers a stunning backdrop.
If you long to go to Florida but want an alternative to Orlando or Miami’s crowds and high prices, the western panhandle town of Pensacola might be a good choice. Hotels and restaurants are generally more reasonably-priced than the tourist hot spots. This Gulf Coast town tends to have a more laid-back vibe, where you can stroll along birding and wildlife trails or on the beach.
The seafood is amazing and fresh. Aviation buffs can watch U.S. Navy Blue Angels air shows or play on flight simulators at the National Naval Aviation Museum. The museum does not charge admission. The outdoor market downtown has music, crafts and food on the weekends.
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
This scenic town is between Chicago and Milwaukee. If you want to escape the summer heat of southern destinations, Lake Geneva could be a good option. There are many reasonably-priced pubs and diners. Historic mansions line a 20-mile walking path along the lakeshore.
If rodeos and western things make you happy, you might want to check out this capital city. Cheyenne offers free narrated tours in carriages. Hotel rates are surprisingly low. You can check “hand-feeding a buffalo” off of your bucket list.
Hot Springs, Arkansas
This location is easy on your wallet for dining and lodging, while boasting stunning scenery. You can take a dip at a spa from the 1800s and visit the Gangster Museum of America.
Travel keeps our brains engaged and gives us something to look forward to in life. If you are on the fence about where to spend your hard-earned money, think of travel as an investment in your health and take that trip!
AARP. “How Seniors Can Stretch Their Travel Dollars.” (accessed May 30, 2019) https://www.aarp.org/travel/travel-tips/budget/info-2019/inexpensive-us-trips.html