Over-Looked Summer Budget Travel Tips for Seniors

  • 01 of 05

    Become a "Road Scholar"

    Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com

    One of the best budget travel tips for seniors involves a time-honored organization that has been operating summer programs for a generation.

    From 1975 until 2009, the non-profit Road Scholar program was known as Elderhostel. The original idea was to open college housing to elderly travelers for a senior summer school with unique educational programs.

    These senior summer travel programs are now offered throughout the year, and accommodations are made at hotels and retreat centers as well as university housing. Reservations are still referred to as enrollments. Although many of the participants are at or near retirement age, there is no minimum age listed for participation.

    Road Scholar offers programs in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and Antarctica, Africa, Middle East, Asia, Australia and the South Pacific. Most tour prices include accommodations, meals, field trips and lectures.

    For example, the "All About Glass from the Crystal City and Around the World" tour in Corning, N.Y. packs 10 lectures and four field-trips into a three-night itinerary starting at $498/person ($166/day). That daily rate is roughly the average for U.S. programs.

    The "Palaces and Gardens of Italy, France, Iberia and Morocco" trip covers 16 nights for $1,999 ($125/day). It includes 42 meals, 10 field-trips and an expert lecture.

    Although not always inexpensive, these programs provide value and would be difficult to duplicate on your own at the prices listed.

    Transportation to-and-from your program is not included, so it might pay for budget travelers to pick something close to home or close to another location they intend to visit.

    Nonetheless, this is one of those over-looked summer travel tips that could add to your education as well as your travel enjoyment.

    Continue to 2 of 5 below.
  • 02 of 05

    Get Cheap Train Tickets with Senior Discounts

    Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com

    Rail Europe offers senior discounts to travelers age 60 and older. The discounts are not good for all passes, but grant first-class access where they are accepted.

    Among great over-looked summer travel tips, these senior discounts present a great way to see Eastern Europe, Great Britain and other parts of the continent.

    A senior discount may be applied to Britrail Pass, Britrail England Pass, France Rail Pass, Eurail Romania Pass and Eurail Ireland Pass. On the Britrail Pass, for example, a senior discount sometimes saves $50/person over the standard adult price. The same discount on the Eurail Ireland Pass can be $63/person.

    Always be certain you check the point-to-point costs for your itinerary before buying passes.

    Continue to 3 of 5 below.
  • 03 of 05

    Invest in a Senior Pass from the U.S. National Park Service

    Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com

    Over-looked summer travel tips for seniors rarely get better than this: a lifetime pass for entry into U.S. national parks for $10, plus another $10 for postage and handling.

    Consider that the U.S. national park pass, good for unlimited visits within 12 months, is a relative bargain at $80 -- four times the cost of a lifetime senior pass.

    Because the national parks also employ concessions that are privately owned, not all charges you might encounter are covered by the pass. But entry fees are paid in full.

    It's true that some fine national parks don't charge an admission fee. But just one visit to the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone (admission at each is $25 per car) will pay for this pass.

    To take advantage of the offer, you must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United Sates and at least 62 years old.

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  • 04 of 05

    Consider European River Cruises

    Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

    European river cruises are popular among travelers 60 years of age and older. These itineraries enable them to set foot in more cities and towns without a series of complex transfers. Unpack once and enjoy the trip.

    Most European river cruises are on the expensive side, but if you're willing to do some shopping, there are solid deals to be found.

    For example, Grand Circle Cruise Line offers a trio of trips lasting 12-15 days for under $200/day per person. That's roughly half what many other European river cruises will require.

    Ocean cruises typically cost less, but consider that many European river cruises include shore excursions with your fare. You won't need to pay for guided tours of the cities visited. You're also likely to have more ports-of-call on your itinerary.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Consider a Trip to Latin America

    Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com

    Latin America is a great place to visit any time of the year. Daily costs while traveling here are several cuts below what you'll pay to travel in Europe or even North America.

    Why include it in a story about over-looked summer travel tips for seniors?

    Summer is the off-season in many parts of Latin America. You can find even lower prices on travel than the reasonable rates at other times of the year.

    For example, luxury hotels in Panama sometimes charge under $150/night in some places, and a standard room can cost $50/night or less. Dining options are also relatively inexpensive.

    In neighboring Costa Rica, small resorts along the Pacific coast offer rooms under $100/night.

    Finding a destination can be as easy as watching for airfare specials to Latin America. Watch for when airlines introduce a new non-stop route. Many times, these routes from Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami or Los Angeles will be heavily discounted for a short time.