Like every other challenge to retirees who are on a fixed or limited budget, the desire to travel comes with its limitations. With the long held desire to travel and visit other countries, it may well be time to face the harsh reality that we simply cannot afford even to dream of such a trip. That does not necessarily mean we’re trapped in our homes until we draw our last breath. There are alternatives to expensive travel that can be almost as rewarding.
Affordable travel for retirees on limited budgets
• Look for local bus trips that are free when you sign up to visit a casino near enough to arrive in one day, if not a few hours, on a luxury bus. You won’t be watched to make sure you play the slots, but you can if you so desire. The rule of thumb is to set aside a certain amount of money you can afford to lose (and you probably will) before you take the trip. You’re not likely to come back rich, but you can surely have a great deal of fun.
• Try carpooling a short vacation trip. Someone who has a car agrees to drive a carload of friends to a spot not too far away while the rest of you agree to chip in for the gasoline. A well-supplied picnic hamper and a cooler for drinks will cut down on the trip expenses.
• Look for regional bus tours that include meals and pre-arranged lodging. These may be far less expensive than you might imagine.
• Traveling vicariously might not be the real thing, but it can be very rewarding by keeping the mind stimulated through learning new customs and cultures. What is meant by “travel vicariously”? There are several ways. Forego The Big Bang Theory or Modern Family or whatever entertainment you normally watch on TV and switch the channel to the Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, the History Channel, and other public television programs, especially when they are showing beautiful documentaries about other countries and cultures. Many of these shows present facts and images you might not even see if you traveled personally to the region. What you soak up in this way is fodder for great conversations with friends and family later on.
• Lectures delivered by those who are from or have experienced other places are another way of traveling vicariously. Such lectures happen frequently in churches where missionaries are guest speakers. In many cases these lectures will be accompanied by slide shows as well. Other lectures may be presented in colleges and universities in the area. If you think about it there is a lot to be said for traveling without getting up off the sofa.
• Visit with people you know who have traveled and get them to tell their stories of what it’s like to come face to face with strange habits of the people they’ve met.
In short, even on a tight budget, there are ways to get out of a rut of familiarity and into some kind of new experience.