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Is Guadeloupe on your radar? You might be able to travel hack your way there. Photo by Catharine Norton..

Is Guadeloupe on your radar? You might be able to travel hack your way there. Photo by Catharine Norton.

Today’s guest post, by writer Anna Kucirkova, lays out the basics of “travel hacking.” If you aren’t familiar with the concept, read on — it may help to inspire you to invest the effort it takes to start seeing the world for free, or at least less.

Baby boomers with the time to devote to forming a comprehensive strategy and with credit scores sufficiently high to become accomplished hackers may use these methods to land free flights, hotel rooms, and other travel perks.

Hacking is really no more than capitalizing on money you might spend anyway to take full advantage of all those enticing credit card offers you see on TV — and seeking out others as well.

But be sure to heed Anna’s warnings about common travel hacking mistakes. If… Continue reading

Sunday afternoon in Ueno Park, Tokyo.

Sunday afternoon in Ueno Park, Tokyo.

Second in a Series

My previous travel experiences in Japan had been very brief before my wife, Catharine, and I flew off to Tokyo in early April, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

How much of a language barrier would we find? Is Japan as expensive as it’s reputed to be? Would we face greater-than-average logistical  problems there?

Those taking an organized tour to Japan can avoid most of these potential problems, of course, but — just as some people enjoy figuring out how cars or watches work — I like figuring out how to get from Point A to Point B while traveling as efficiently and economically as possible.

I also like to follow my own schedule, choose my own lodgings and restaurants, and not have to follow a guide around. (This isn’t to say that I haven’t enjoyed some wonderful… Continue reading

A boomer goes backpacking in Aria's Superstition Mountains. Photo from southwestdiscoveries.com

A boomer goes backpacking in Arizona’s Superstition Mountains. Photo from southwestdiscoveries.com

Is it time to hang up your backpack when you reach your 50s and 60s or even your 70s?

Certainly not — not if you don’t want to.

Sometimes carrying your traveling gear on your back can be easier than wheeling a suitcase through city streets as well as in the country.

So even if the term “backpackers” conjures up visions of 20-somethings bearing heavy loads of camping supplies and sleeping bags strapped on their backs, heading out onto forest trails or tramping around Europe or Australia, this article by Jenn Miller at Jen Reviews may change your mind.

Jenn provides a clearly written, comprehensive guide on how to pack for a backpacking trip, filled with practical tips and advice that will save you time, space, and help make your trip even more enjoyable.

Besides general packing… Continue reading

The new Viking Star, the line's first ocean ship, cruises in Istanbul. Photo from Viking Cruises.

The new Viking Star, the line’s first ocean ship, cruises in Istanbul. Photo from Viking Cruises.

How many days in advance should you book a cruise to get the best price?

In part that depends on your destination, according to the website Cruisewatch.com, which uses artificial intelligence to study trends in worldwide cruising. In this case, says a Cruisewatch press release, they undertook a “massive study [that] examined 18,983 sailings by region with departures in 2017.”

They also conducted an “intensive analysis of over 18 million data points” (which are, of course, too numerous to detail in a press release or just about anywhere for that matter, but we are nonetheless grateful for modern technology).

Cruisewatch says the massive study found a “surprising trend: as the date of departure approaches, cruise prices fluctuate to a greater extent.” Some regions, they note, show as much as a 71… Continue reading

JetBlue offers special military fares. Photo by Tony Hisgett on flickr

JetBlue offers special military fares. Photo by Tony Hisgett on flickr

As a sequel to our posts on travel-related military discounts last year, we have a great new list of discounts for active duty and military vets thanks to the website dealhack.com. It covers a number of aspects of travel including transport, car rentals, hotels, museums and parks, restaurants, language learning, and military sign-up discounts.

You’ll find the complete list of dealhack’s military discounts (including clothing, cars and more) by going to their website; this one was compiled by writer Emma Lewis.

Transport

Amtrak: Amtrak offers an exclusive 10% military discount on the lowest available rail fare to active duty military personnel, their spouses, and dependents. All uniformed personnel and family members are also welcome to the front of any Amtrak line. Certain limitations apply (source).

Carnival Cruise Lines: Carnival Cruise Lines offers… Continue reading

Times Square on New Years' Eve -- I'll be watching at home

Times Square on New Years’ Eve — I’ll be watching at home

The one time I don’t like to travel during the year is between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Theoretically, it’s the week when I clean up my office, get my affairs in order, and enjoy more time with family and friends. Oh yes, and watch some football, especially my beloved Michigan Wolverines, who often play in a bowl game on the morning of January 1 so I have to be abstemious the night before.  Go Blue!

In practice, it doesn’t always work out that way, but I still prefer spending New Year’s Eve at home with my wife, Netflix, and clam dip, unless we’re invited to a small party with nearby friends or family. I lived in New York for 20 years and never made it to Times Square to see the ball drop — not on… Continue reading

You can be a jet setter if you follow some simple financial rules.

You can be a jet setter if you follow some simple financial rules.

Today’s guest post is by financial writer Jackie Edwards, who offers some tips on how to get your finances in order to budget for your next big trip (and beyond).

Among other tips, she cautions that while international travel isn’t just for the rich, you should approach travel as an investor would — making sure it pays off for you personally.

Good planning, choosing the right destinations, and learning about personal finance are other ways to develop a realistic travel budget. So don’t assume you can’t afford foreign travel — instead, make it happen using the resources you have (or can develop) and using them wisely.

By Jackie Edwards

The term “jet-setter” implies a person who hops around the globe, seeing places others only dream of. It’s often used in conjunction with other terms like “the wealthy”… Continue reading

Markets like this one in Barcelona offer excellent lunch possibilities. Photo by Clark Norton

Markets like this one in Barcelona offer excellent lunch possibilities. Photo by Clark Norton

Today’s guest post, by Aussie-expat writer Brittnay,  is about some ways to save money while traveling in Europe — which can be a very expensive destination these days. I’ve added my own comments after each tip, usually to expand on them a bit.

While these tips only scratch the surface of the topic, they’re all valuable ones to keep in mind while planning your next European vacation.

By Brittnay

Although travelling through Europe can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be.

We’ve put together five tips that have allowed us to visit 21 European countries in the past two years! Using these tips enable you to experience the cities and towns you visit more like the locals do — and that’s usually a good way to save money. 

  1. Get a City Welcome Card

City… Continue reading

One of Europe's sleek new trains. Photo from Rail Europe.

One of Europe’s sleek new trains. Photo from Rail Europe.

My favorite method of traveling through Europe is by train, and Americans are fortunate to be able to buy Eurail Passes, which offer a variety of ways to tour the continent by rail.

You can choose among the One Country Pass — allowing you to thoroughly explore, say, France, Italy, or Spain; the Select Pass, which lets you choose among two, three, or four bordering countries; or the global pass, good for exploring the whole of Europe, up to 28 countries.

And from now until December 31, you can purchase Eurail Passes at 20 percent off their usual price.

On top of that, you’ll get an extra 15 percent off if two of you travel together on all segments.  (Make sure you choose you travel partner carefully, since you will just have one pass with two names on it,… Continue reading

Taughannock Falls overlook is free to all. Photo from VisitIthaca.com

Taughannock Falls overlook is free to all. Photo from VisitIthaca.com

This concludes our four-part series containing 50 tips about How to Travel Cheaply. In today’s guest post, Jesse Miller looks at how you can save money on sightseeing and entertainment, how to manage your money while traveling, and adds some safety tips that can have financial ramifications as well.

Previous posts in the series offer tips on  Planning Your Trip, Saving Money on Transportation, and Saving Money on Accommodations and Food.

By Jesse Miller

Sightseeing & Entertainment Tips

1. Be Picky.
Plan to visit your top two or three sites instead of taking a whirlwind tour of all the attractions your destination has to offer. By doing so, you can spend as much time as you’d like connecting with these areas while eliminating rushing around from one tourist spot to the next.

While at these locations,… Continue reading

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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