Calling people of a certain age! If you want to cut the cost of your holiday, take a look at these tips from the MoneyMagpie team.
Top tip: For serious savings you need to snap up early bird discounts months in advance or wait for cheap last-minute deals.
- Booking early
- Booking last minute
- Using the internet to your advantage
- Your guide to cruises
- Other options for cheap holidays
- The best insurance deals and holiday money
If you are retired you will probably be able to travel during off-peak periods, meaning some huge savings. You may also be able to plan far in advance. Start looking now for a cheap getaway for this winter and next year.
Check with as many tour operators as you can to see what they have on offer for next year. Some operators’ websites have separate sections just for early bookings. If not, you’ll find a search box into which you can enter your chosen dates.
Here are some advance deals to get you started:
- Thomson Holidays has packages you can book for next winter (November 2011 to April 2012) with prices starting from £209 per person. Click here to see the whole selection. The deals are covered by a redundancy protection scheme so if you are laid off after booking you can cancel free of charge.
- Book a cruise early with Saga to save up to 35%. PLUS there is a discount of up to £75 per person when you book online. You can also save up to £300 per person with a Saga Winter Sun Special Offer.
- Expedia has loads of cheap deals on package holidays for summer 2012. Simply click on the ‘Package Holidays’ tab at the top of the homepage, select the month you want to leave then leave all the options as ‘Any’. Then press search. Once you’ve done this a selection of offers will appear and you can filter these down by using the search box to the left again and choosing a budget that you can afford
If you are retired, make the most of last-minute holidays at great prices. Prices plummet as departure dates approach, so the longer you can wait the better. School holidays are the most expensive times to travel. If possible book during term time.
The downside to last-minute booking is that you may have fairly limited choices and if you want the best deals you will need to be flexible about flight times, dates and destinations.
Nearly all tour operators have separate sections for last-minute bookings so take a look to see what mega-bargains you can find:
- With Lastminute.com you can opt for a holiday package, a flight-only deal or a hotel-only deal. Go to the ‘Holidays’ tab to view last-minute (or last-second!) bargain holidays.
- Expedia is always worth a look for late deals. Go to the ‘‘Flight and Hotel’ section where you can select these last-minute bargains.
- Great Getaways also has a separate section for latest deals which you can find at the top left of the homepage(click on ‘View Latest Deals’).
- Ebookers: Go to the ‘Deals’ section here to see what’s on offer in their summer sale.
Silver surfers should grab some online bargains with this three-step guide:
Go to Travel.co.uk, where you can even search without a destination. So, if you’re not sure where you want to go but have a set price in mind, you can simply put in the departure date and see what’s on offer.
Step 2: Get some help
These sites are full of reviews, guides and advice from other travellers and experts so try them for size:
Step 3: Check auction sites
You can actually bid for a holiday at an auction site like Auctionair.
It works in much the same way as eBay – you bid on a holiday and if yours is the highest bid when the auction closes, it’s yours! There’s an entry fee of £5 and bids are ‘sealed’, meaning that no bids are seen until the auction closes. Auctions can be exciting and you can get some fantastic deals, so take a look at Auctionair now.
Also, go to Gumtree and see if anyone is selling travel tickets and holidays on the cheap. They tend to be sold by people trying to shift tickets at the last minute so be prepared to leave straight away. Click on the tickets tab (under ‘For Sale‘) and sift through the posts to see what takes your fancy.
A cruise is a really luxurious way to travel and the perfect choice if you’re looking for a relaxing, stress-free holiday.
If you’re new to cruises it may be best to take a river or canal cruise or a mini cruise first of all. River cruises are ultra peaceful and include lots of stops so you can take in the sights slowly and have plenty of time to explore all the places you visit.
Liner cruises are much more lavish with entertainment and dining on board and plenty of opportunities to put on your glad rags to meet all the other passengers. However, there are fewer stop-offs so you will spend lots of time on the boat and have less time to visit the various destinations.
For guides to Caribbean, Northern European and Mediterranean cruises, go to this section on the Telegraph website. Another useful website is CruiseMates, which has some cruise reviews to help you decide.
- Saga is a good first port of call for cruises (excuse the pun). Booking early with Saga could entitle you to a discount of up to 35%! A set number of cabins are put aside for the discounted fare and then sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Once the 35% discount cabins have been sold the discount is reduced as other cabins are sold.
- Ebookers also has a cruise section. They always have great deals available so click here to see the discounted cruises on offer.
- P&O Ferries also do mini cruises from Hull and Dover. Have a look at the information here.
- You can also book a Thomson Cruise, saving up to 30% per couple when booking online. Have a look at their selection of winter cruises and their summer 2012 cruises.
Other providers to look at:
Stay in the UK
There are plenty of stunning places to visit right here in the UK – read our full article on Cheap Holidays on your Doorstep to see our best buys. Why not leave stressful driving behind and take a Megabus or National Express coach to the destination of your choice? With National Express, over 60s qualify for Half Price Fares during off-peak travel times throughout the UK. Sadly, the Government is withdrawing these concessions from 31 October, so ensure you book before then to claim your discount. No card is required and your seat will be guaranteed when you buy your ticket.
National Rail offers a Senior Railcard for over 60s which costs £28 and entitles the holder to a third off standard and first class rail fares for one year. You can buy this online here.
For getting out aand about, both English Heritage and The National Trust give discounts for their annual and life membership to over 60s.
Do a house swap
If you’re travelling alone one great option is to join a singles travel group like Just You. Most travel groups consist of around 20-30 people from a range of ages so it can be a great way to meet new friends. There are several websites out there dedicated to help people over 50s meet new travel companions. At Over Fifties Friends you can quickly find people who have similar interests and holiday ideas to yourself.
The Man in Seat Sixty-One is a really helpful website for travel alternatives to flying. Lots of European routes offer senior fares for anyone over 60 – you do not need a special railcard, just buy the reduced-fare ticket and carry proof of age with you when you travel (your passport is sufficient).
Travel insurance can be tricky for the senior traveller, with some companies refusing to cover people of a certain age, or with certain medical conditions.
- Travel insurance with Marks & Spencer has no upper age limit on single trip policies – except for people over 80 who are travelling to the USA, Canada and the Caribbean Islands. At the moment you can save 15% when you buy a policy online. GoCompare is a great place to find cheap policies.
- Saga also offers travel insurance. They specialise in insurance for over 50s and cover most pre-existing medical conditions, and you could save up to 5% by getting it online. Read the policy details and get a quote here.
- Now read our top tips on travel insurance to find out more.
Travel money can be a real headache, especially on multi-destination holidays such as cruises. You’re faced with having to either take several different currencies with you or use your credit card and worry about expensive fees. We’ve found the perfect solution with the Moneycorp Explorer Card. This is a prepaid card which you can load with up to £10,000 in 14 different currencies, plus it’s PIN protected and valid wherever Visa is accepted. We love the option to ‘lock’ exchange rates so you don’t get caught out by negative currency movements.
The Explorer Card is available at www.moneycorpcard.com, or from Moneycorp bureaux de change – the application process takes a matter of minutes. You can then manage your account online, with the option to upgrade for great additional features. So once the card’s loaded up, you can relax and focus on enjoying your holiday! For more information, see the Moneycorp Explorer Card website.
Read our article on financial benefits for over 60s