If you’re like many older Canadians, you look forward to travelling now that your working days are done. Yet the price tag of vacations and even short getaways can quickly add up – especially when you’re adjusting to life on a fixed income. Luckily, there are several tricks for finding low cost getaways for retirees, whether you’re looking to stay closer to home or venture across the globe.
Go back to school!
Are you planning a visit to a city or area that’s home to a university or college campus? If so, you may have the opportunity to save on your accommodations by staying in a college residence or dorm room. When school is out, (ie. in the summer session) some post-secondary institutions make their rooms available to travellers. There’s a wide variety of accommodation styles available for budget-minded senior travellers, including private rooms and baths, rooms in a shared unit with common living areas and washrooms, or dorm-style rooms. Check the Connect on Campus site for Canadian university accommodations or University Rooms for options worldwide.
Explore off the beaten path
To keep costs down on your getaway, consider a nearby but less popular destination. For example, head down to the Deep South – of Ontario that is. This often overlooked part of the province is home to stunning Point Pelee National Park. The area’s unique climate means visitors can enjoy flora, fauna and wildlife not found in other parts of Canada. And if you stay in nearby Chatham-Kent County you can enjoy inexpensive accommodations and restaurants.
Try a home stay
If you’re searching for a low cost getaway, but aren’t quite ready to try an Airbnb arrangement, consider a “home stay” in a private residence. This differs from Airbnb because the homeowners are also on the premises while you are – similar to a traditional bed and breakfast. Homestays may suit older travellers because not only are they cheaper than hotel stays, they give you a chance to socialize with the homeowners as locals and learn more about the place you’re visiting. This works well in big cities where hotel rates are expensive — places like Toronto, Boston, and New York City. And remember, if you’re heading across the border you may want to consider getting travel insurance.
If you love the idea of a weekend exploring nature but find the idea of sleeping on a hard cold ground unappealing, consider an inexpensive camping getaway in a cabin or yurt — a portable, round tent on a wooden platform. Increasingly, more national, provincial and private campgrounds offer cabins or yurts for rent by the night to attract travellers (including retirees) who want to enjoy “roughing it” in comfort.
While some cabins or yurts may still be pretty bare bones without electricity or indoor plumbing, others come equipped with solar power, WiFi, and even electric heaters. Camping may be one of the cheapest ways to enjoy a getaway, especially if you qualify for a senior’s discount on your nightly park fee. Check the Ontario Parks website for more information and current fees.
Travel mid-week, off Season and with a discount
When you’re a retiree looking to save money on short getaways, remember that you enjoy a more flexible schedule than other travellers who may have to accommodate their family’s work and school schedule. Look for deals on midweek and off season flights and hotel rooms. Don’t see a senior’s discount? Ask. Not all restaurants, lodgings, or airlines advertise their senior’s rates, and you could miss out on moneysaving offers if you don’t request one.
With some planning, research and creativity you can find low cost getaways for retirees and enjoy a new adventure or two.