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Note: This story was originally written and published at Thrifty Traveler, a flight deal and travel website. It has been republished here with their permission. You can read the original story on the Flight First Rule on their website.

By Kyle Potter

Thrifty Traveler

Most travelers follow a similar script when planning any trip: Set the dates, pick a spot, book a hotel, book a flight, and go.

You’re doing it wrong: That’s a recipe to pay too much for flights almost every single time. But four simple words could help you significantly cut the cost of airfare every time you fly. And no, it’s not by clearing your cookies or booking flights on a Tuesday. This is even bigger than that.

We call it The Flight First Rule. And it’s exactly what it sounds like.

Instead of deciding on the dates of your trip before booking your flights,… Continue reading

You could be back in the air very soon. Photo by Artturi Jalli, Unsplash

With the European Union announcement that fully vaccinated travelers should be able to fly to Europe at some point this summer, sufficiently jabbed baby boomers can take advantage of some truly exceptional airfares currently being offered to the Continent.

There are also some lower-than-low airfares to Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and within the U.S. Some are almost mind-boggling.

But you have to know where to look — and just as important, when to look.

That’s where the website ThriftyTraveler.com comes in.

By subscribing to its Premium service, you’ll get email notifications of hot airfare deals around the globe within minutes from the time they appear — which is good, because some of these deals disappear within a matter of hours. Thrifty Traveler considers a fare worth writing about if it’s $250 or more off… Continue reading

Working out a budget doesn’t have to be hard. Photo from Unsplash.com

One of the most common questions I’m asked about travel is “How can I afford it?”

You can certainly look for the cheapest plane or cruise tix and the best values in tours, hotels or restaurants. But you can also try setting up a budget geared toward your finances so that your overall expenses don’t swamp your ability to experience those trips you’ve always wanted to take.

Financial blogger Eric Rosenberg, who writes for the website Earnin, where a modified version of this article originally appeared, takes you through the steps you’ll need to set up the kind of budget that’s right for you.

Yes, it can sound like a bit of a drag, but today’s software makes budgeting easier — and you may find yourself in some exotic land (or wherever your desires take you) sooner… Continue reading

I first wrote about medical tourism back in 2013, when it was starting to flourish as a means of saving money on medical care. The premise was that by traveling to other countries — such as India, Mexico, Thailand and others — Americans could receive hip replacements, cardiac surgeries, dental work and other procedures at considerably lower costs than in the U.S.

Then along came COVID-19, with travel to many countries banned or severely restricted. Medical tourism has been one more viral victim.

Today’s guest post, by writer Charlie Fletcher, offers a rundown on the current state of medical tourism — as well as some shoots of hope for the future as the world’s health care and tourism fields struggle to adapt.

By Charlie Fletcher

Medical tourism — the practice of traveling to other countries for affordable medical treatments — had grown increasingly popular among Americans in recent years. Until,… Continue reading

Medicare travel goal. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews
Is Greece in your travel plans for 2021, if safety permits? Medicare changes may help. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Today’s timely guest post is from Medicare expert Christian Worstell, who gives an update on how Medicare changes in 2021 can benefit American travelers — assuming we get the opportunity.

It all starts with the distribution of safe, effective vaccines, which could be available soon. And for Medicare recipients, as Christian points out, they’ll be free — just one of several upcoming perks. Here’s the latest:

By Christian Worstell


After a year of isolating at home and waiting out the COVID-19 pandemic, surveys show that once it’s safe, American baby boomers are eager to hit the road and travel again in 2021.

And as they do every year at this time, Medicare-eligible boomers are looking ahead to any changes in their Medicare benefits for the upcoming year. 

So, what does one… Continue reading

Keeping track of what’s going on with airline fares these days is almost a full-time job.

That’s why I’ve turned to Scott Keyes of Scott’s Cheap Flights — whose full-time job actually is keeping track of airline fares — to help navigate through the turbulence.

In this guest post, Scott tackles the real story behind the recent wave of U.S. airlines dropping change fees. As usual, it’s a mix of good and bad — or at least middling — news for the consumer. But for all the uncertainty, we’ll take what we can get.

By Scott Keyes

Last week, four airlines—United, Delta, American, and Alaska—announced they were permanently axing change fees, which for domestic flights had typically been $200 (plus any fare difference). Hooray!

Sort of.

On balance, this is a positive move for travelers, but it’s not nearly the panacea that airlines would have you believe. There are still… Continue reading

Are you getting the most mileage out of your travel credit cards?

And I don’t mean just airline miles, but other, lesser-known perks as well.

Today’s guest post from consumer writer Andrew Rombach should give you some ideas about how to leverage your travel credit cards to their maximum advantage — and make your travel experience just a bit easier and more economical as well.

By Andrew Rombach

While cash back, airline miles, and discounts on shopping are pretty well-known fare for many travel credit cards, there is a long list of other travel benefits you may not be aware of.

These little-known travel benefits can save you plenty of money and make your travel a lot more convenient.

And they aren’t just limited to high-end cards. Knowing what to expect from your credit card benefits should also make travel hacking a bit easier as well. Here are a… Continue reading

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

I love Chicago -- in summer. Photo by Clark Norton

I love Chicago — in summer. Photo by Clark Norton

Did you know that Chicago, San Francisco, and Pittsburgh are the best places to celebrate Christmas in America?

And I’m sorry to have to tell you this, residents of Hialeah, Florida, but you finished dead last for Christmas cheer in a survey of the 100 biggest U.S. cities, conducted by the financial site Wallethub.

You Hialeahans might as well stoke up the coal furnace right now, because all you’ll get in your stockings are lumps of the sooty stuff.

But back to the merry cities of Chicago, San Francisco, and Pittsburgh, followed close behind by New York City and Seattle, all dubbed tops for Christmas joy — and affordability, although some might question the latter.

Orlando, Atlanta, Washington, DC, Las Vegas (NV), and Portland (OR) rounded out the top ten.

How These Results Were Determined

Wallethub surveyed “29 key… 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

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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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