I love to travel and I’m ready to take off at a moment’s notice whenever the opportunity arises and it’s financially feasible. Just put me on a plane and point me somewhere. Seniors are traveling more than ever and are always on the lookout for new adventures. But planning and coordinating all the elements that go into can be confusing and most of us want to get the best price so we don’t waste the money we need to live in retirement. For that reason, I’ve put together a list of the best travel websites, deals, and sources for travel gear that I’ve have found so far.
Mature travelers have a world to explore
As we get older the way we travel may change. And, although some of us are still walking the Camino, seeking adventure in unknown territory, or living the hostel life, others may want to take it easy and enjoy more luxury.
I love traveling in Europe and for me, one of the best ways to do it is to take a river cruise. River cruise ships are smaller and more intimate than huge cruise ships. (although I love those too) It’s so fun to be dropped off for the day in a quaint little medieval town and be able to meet the people and experience their culture. Then, you’re back on board for dinner and a relaxing float down rivers strewn with castles and other beautiful landmarks.
I also love venturing throughout the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean. There’s always something fascinating to see and learn about. To tell the truth, anywhere in the world would be fascinating to me and I plan to explore much more of it. I may have to win the lottery to do it, but that’s another story.
And don’t forget your hometown
Sometime life gets complicated and you can’t always dash out of town whenever you want. When I’m not abroad or out of state, I explore my hometown of Los Angeles and the surrounding area. LA and all of California is sort of like a country unto itself. I love our state’s cultural diversity and, of course, our beautiful weather.
Senior Discounts – (we may not enjoy being called seniors, even though we are, but the discounts we qualify for are awesome! Affinity Groups, like, AAA, Senior’s Coalition, AARP, Veterans Organizations, Alumni Groups, etc. offer tremendous saving opportunities for seniors. If you’re not part of an affinity group like those I’ve listed, think about joining one. Make sure to check out some of the senior discounts that are available to Baby Boomers here.
Start by getting CLEARed for takeoff
No one loves standing in line at the airport to check-in. Even TSA-Pre takes time. But if you’re a CLEAR member, all you have to do is look into their screen at their airport kiosk or present your fingerprint and you’re done. You’ll be CLEARed immediately. CLEAR uses biometrics like your eyes and fingertips, instead of traditional ID documents, to get you through security faster at airports and stadiums.
Earn points to save money on your vacation
- Points.com – It gets frustrating when you join a bunch of programs to earn travel points and then have to keep track of all of them. Points.com is one of the best travel resources out there that makes it possible to have one place and one password for all your programs. Your points are automatically updated and can be viewed on one dashboard. Trade and exchange your points or buy and gift miles.
The best online travel websites for booking
It’s always a good idea to have a travel agent make your arrangements and give you recommendations but you may also want to check with these online travel websites to make sure you’re getting the best price.
- Agoda.com is excellent for booking hotels, flights, rental homes, and car rentals, especially in South East Asia. It’s based in Singapore. If you’re traveling to an Asian destination, you can’t beat it for the best hotel deals and vacation rentals in that area of the world. You can also find excellent prices for travel in Europe, Australia, and the Middle East.
- Booking.com – This is the PREMIERE online travel website for flights, hotels, car rentals, vacation rentals, restaurants and more. They service over 1,000,000 properties all over the world.
- Expedia – This site does it all as well and is an equally popular site for affordable flights, hotels, cars, vacation rentals, cruises, bundle deals and more. It’s one of the MOST TRUSTED search engines for making travel reservations.
Expedia subsidiaries: Expedia owns several booking aggregators. They all offer similar services and you’ll probably find almost the same prices for flights, hotels, etc. It’s always good to check, though, as they sometimes feature their special deals.
- Hotwire – You can save up to 60% when you book 4-star-PLUS hotels using Hotwire all over the world. It’s also a great site to book flights, cars, and to create your own vacation packages.
- Travelocity! – Home of the traveling gnome. The Amazing Race uses Travelocity to book travel reservations for its contestants all over the world. Find flights, hotel rooms, cruises, car rentals and activities at competitive rates.
- Orbitz – You can earn Orbucks on flights, hotels and more.
- Kayak – This site searches hundreds of other travel sites at once to find the information you need to make the right decisions on flights, hotels & rental cars.
- Trip Advisor – Before you go anywhere visit Trip Advisor to find reader reviews on hotels, restaurants, and activities. I never go anywhere without consulting it. And now, you can also book hotel reservations. You’ll find amazing ideas and tips for activities, restaurants, tours, and more all over the world.
How to find the best deals on flights
These travel websites are search engines that focus more exclusively on airline bookings including last minute flights. Why spend more for an airline ticket than you need to? Save money to enjoy your vacation instead. You may want to give several of these flight search engines a try to find the best rates.
- CheapOair – This is an independently owned company. They are more competitive for international flights than domestic and always have great deals. They also offer hotels, cars, cruises and vacation packages.
- Momondo – This travel fare aggregator and a flight search engine is part of Kayak.com and a subsidiary of Booking Holdings. It will find you the lowest fares on flights, and also offers hotel and car rentals.
- Skyscanner – This travel website uses a unique search engine technology that connects to hundreds of airline, hotel, or car rental sites to give you the lowest prices out there. They also have a free and easy to use a smartphone app.
Take a cruise – you know you deserve it
As I mentioned before, I love cruising and it’s one of the easiest, most luxurious and most popular way for seniors to travel. That’s because you are essentially traveling in a floating hotel that takes you from one stop to the other, usually while you sleep. Read about my Mediterranean Cruise I took on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth here.
- Cruise Direct – Cruise Direct has some of the best discounts for cruise destinations all over the world. The major cruise lines they cover include Carnival, Celebrity, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Disney, Holland America, MSC, Norwegian, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. You can even book last-minute cruises at the best prices.
- MSC Cruises – Book your cruise on their website and find an incredible deal! – MSC offers all the quality and comfort of a 5-star hotel, and much more, offering awesome deals and excellent cruise experiences.
Here are some of the highlights that set MSC Cruises apart:
- Elegant, modern cruise ships with comfortable, well-equipped staterooms
- Expertise and experience on the sea: discover the world with the Masters of the Sea
- Wide choice of restaurants serving high-quality cuisine prepared with fresh ingredients, as well as partnerships with market leaders like Eataly
- Broadway-style entertainment in stylish theaters seating up to 1,600 people
- Friendly, well-trained personnel dedicated to providing the highest levels of service
- A special focus on families, with family staterooms, kids’ entertainment programs, and kids under 12 cruising for free when sharing a stateroom with two adults (only taxes and port dues, flights and transfers (where applicable applies) *
- Lavish onboard spa offering a wide variety of relaxation and treatments
Hotels and Vacation Rentals
There’s nothing worse on a trip then staying at a substandard hotel or vacation rental. Since it’s where you’re going to be spending time to rest up in between adventures you want to make sure it’s comfortable, convenient and safe.
- Hilton Hotels, include Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Canopy, Curio, Doubletree, Tapestry Collection, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Tru, Homewood Suites, and Home 2. They all offer outstanding rooms and services throughout the world. You can join Hilton Honors and earn points for future visits. If you’re an AARP member you’ll receive a 10% discount.
- Hotels.com – Simply the best for affordable deals on hotels just about everywhere! Their search engine will help you find the best hotels and airline-hotel bundles.
- Home Away – Not into staying at a fancy hotel? Rent a home or rent your own home out as a vacation rental. Home Away has properties all over the world. All you have to do is enter where you want to go, your arrival and departure dates, and their website will bring up rentals in big cities, in the country, by the lake, or any environment you desire.
- Best Western Hotels – I’ve always had good luck with Best Western Hotels in the United States and have stayed in them many times. Their rooms are affordable if you’re on a budget and well-maintained. Best Western offers Senior Discounts so make sure to ask for it when you book your reservation.
- Wyndham Hotels and Resorts – You can find Wyndham Hotels and Resorts throughout the world and earn Wyndham Rewards each time you stay there. Don’t forget to ask for your 10% Senior Discount through AARP or AAA.
- Motel 6 – Motel 6 also offers Senior Discounts. It’s known for its “no-frills” affordable rooms if you don’t want to spend all your cash on hotels along the way. You may want to check reviews before booking as some are better than others.
- Radisson – Radisson hotels are available worldwide and are known for their outstanding service and properties. If you join Club Carlson, you can earn points to stay at Radisson Blu, Radisson®, Park Plaza®, Park Inn by Radisson and Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM.
- Extended Stay America – With over 625 hotels across the U.S., Extended Stay America offers affordable suites that don’t feel cramped as well as fully-equipped kitchens, Free GRAB-and-go breakfast, on-site laundry, and other amenities. It’s perfect if you are staying for a long period of time as they have weekly, biweekly, and monthly rates.
- Groupon Getaways – Want a quick getaway that is affordable and fun? Make sure to check with Groupon Getaways to find the perfect weekend trip or amazing vacation package deal.
- Living Social Vacation and Flight Packages – Groupon and Living Social are under the same umbrella. Find great deals on vacations and flights by checking on Living Social. You may be surprised at what you come up with.
- Sandals and Beaches Resorts – Enjoy a luxury inclusive vacation in the Caribbean where you never have to worry about tipping, where to eat, or what beach to go to. It’s all there in one place. They are perfect venues for weddings, romantic holidays, and some are designed for the entire family.
- VRBO – VRBO is a part of the HomeAway family, the world’s leading online marketplace for the vacation rental industry with sites representing over 1 million paid listings of vacation rentals in 190 countries. It’s also a part of the Expedia, Inc. family of brands. Through VRBO, owners and property managers offer an extensive selection of vacation homes that provide travelers with memorable experiences and benefits, including more room to relax and added privacy, for less than the cost of traditional hotel accommodation.
Restaurant deals to save money eating out
There’s no reason to overspend on dining and meals if you don’t have to. There are great deals everywhere if you make the effort to find them.
- Restaurants.com – Save on over 62,000 restaurants all over the United States. Find discounts, deals, and coupons for your favorite dining spots or give someone the gift of a night out on the town.
- Groupon and Living Social – Both sites will help you find great deals on local restaurants as well as culinary events, and other fun events. Discover deals in your hometown or the city you’re visiting.
Planes, trains, buses, and cars – to get you to your destination fast
Unless you are staying in an inclusive resort where you’ll never leave the property, you’ll need to get from place to place somehow. If you love driving, you can always rent a car or take advantage of trains, buses, or tours to get you where you want to go. These transportation travel websites will help.
- RentalCars.com – USA & Worldwide rentals – As the world’s biggest car rental booking service, they provide cars at over 53,000 locations worldwide
- Rail Europe – The best way to travel through Europe is by train. That way you can enjoy the view and get to see the countryside as you travel! If you book a high-speed train it will take you where you want to go in a fraction of the time and it’s such a comfortable way to get from one city to the next.
- Sixt Car Rentals – We used Sixt when we drove through Italy and it was a pleasant experience. It’s affordable and reliable with wonderful customer service.
- Hertz Rental Cars – We’ve watched Hertz commercials ever since we were young. They’re a well-established rental car service. I booked one of their cars to visit Pala Casino from Los Angeles and it was easy peasy. I had unlimited mileage and used my AAA discount. Not only was it affordable but I loved my car.
- Auto Europe – This site offers the best auto rates in Europe. It’s been around for 60-years and has partnerships with all the most reputable car rental companies. If you find a lower car rate, they will lower their rates to beat the price. They also have a 24/7 service hotline – available from pick-up to drop-off and over 20,000 convenient pickup/dropoff locations throughout Europe.
- Big Bus Tour – I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Big Bus Tour we took in London. It’s the best way to get around the city. And what’s cool is that there are Big Buses throughout the U.S. and the world. Their Hop on Hop off buses are guided tours (sometimes live) that highlight points of interest but are entertaining and informative as well. I’m also excited to announce they are now in Los Angeles.
- Zipcar – This is a very cool car-sharing service and is part of the Avis-Budget family of rental cars. Reserve a car billed by the minute, hour, or day or purchase a monthly or annual membership. Then you can pick up the car at various locations where they are available. This is perfect if you only drive once in a while and don’t want to deal with the hassle of owning and maintaining your own car. AARP discount available. Zipcar is the world’s leading car-sharing network with more than 1 million members and over 10,000 vehicles in urban cities and college campuses throughout the U.S.A, Austria, Canada, France, Spain, Turkey, and the U.K.
Guided tours, sightseeing, and fun activities
I love going on tours whenever I’m in a new city but you want to make sure you are dealing with a legitimate tour operator. There are some tours specially designed for senior travel that will make your experience all the more fun.
- GoCollette – This highly-respected guided tour company has been booking exciting trips all over the world for 100 years. You will save time and money and have all the details taken care of for you with their stellar and personalized guided tours. Their focus is on getting the best prices for the most satisfying travel experience.
- Viator – This online booking site offers tours, sightseeing excursions, activities, and special events. It’s affiliated with TripAdvisor and is based on best reviews with over 60,000 things to do. All of its recommendations are vetted by personal experience. Search by destination, popular attractions, and tours. It’s one of the best travel websites to find the best deals and ensure your vacation will be fun and exciting.
- Tours4Fun – Nothing makes a trip more exciting than a well-designed tour. Tours4Fun offers packaged tours as well as day trips all over the world. They include bus and coach, train, bicycle, boat, and walking tours as well as special activities, events, and day passes. Put your whole trip together on one site.
- Sightseeing Pass – When you purchase a Sightseeing Pass you’ll find it’s an exciting and efficient way to visit new cities and save lots of money. The pass includes many of the city’s best attractions, hop-on, hop-off bus tours, cruises and will provide you with exclusive dining options.
- 365 Tickets – Buy e-tickets to more than 2000 Visitor Attractions and Theme Parks worldwide. 365 Tickets is built on the latest technology and sells directly with no middleman. You’ll find money-saving packages to get into all sorts of fun things to do in the city you are visiting.
- Tours by Locals – I’ve always found that some of the best tours are given by local residents. Tours by Locals provides private and customized tours by tour guides who live in and know the area you are visiting. They have 3468 Guides in 156 Countries all over the world. You can also use local guides as a more personal alternative to cruise line shore excursions. All you have to do is enter your cruise line, ship and, date to hook up with a guide the moment your ship arrives at a port.
Travel insurance is a MUST especially if you’re over 50
Purchasing travel insurance should be based on your individual needs. If you are a Baby Boomer or senior, make sure the policy you buy will handle any chronic or sudden medical conditions that may occur while you’re on a trip. Even if you are perfectly healthy something could happen that you didn’t expect. Some travel insurance companies are age-sensitive.
- AXA Travel Insurance – One factor that’s important to take into consideration when purchasing travel insurance as a Baby Boomer is the availability of a Pre-Existing condition waiver. AXA offers one for all of its members up to the age of 100 years old. However, members must purchase a policy with AXA within 14 days of making their first booking to qualify for it. Their prices are competitive and they offer the same benefits for people age 0 – 100. You can set up direct billing with hospitals abroad and they have a medical team on staff 24/7.
- Travelex Travel Insurance – This company provides travel and trip insurance and is known as one of the best for multi-generational family travel. Travelex makes it their priority to ensure you have the best vacation possible. Children under 21 are insured at no additional cost and they provide coverage for emergency medical evacuations. Other products include expedited passport services and international driving permits.
- Travel Guard Insurance – We’ve used Travel Guard several times and it was always an excellent experience. It’s also one of the most highly rated for Baby Boomers. They offer coverage for unexpected medical expenses while you’re on your trip. You can also track your luggage using their Bag Trak® service. Trip cancellation coverage is standard and there is coverage available for preexisting conditions. Take advantage of the My Travel Guard feature which lets you build your own plan, specifically for your individual needs. Check out their Pre-Existing Medical Condition Exclusion Waiver – With the waiver, it’s possible to be covered for some medical issues on your trip, despite your pre-existing condition.
- World Nomad’s Travel Insurance – This travel insurance company is often recommended by top travel bloggers. It works especially well for adventure travelers.
There’s no reason you can’t look amazing when you travel but to save trouble packing you’ll want to find clothes that are travel-friendly and wrinkle-free.
- Anatomie – This company is the Official Luxury Clothing Brand of Forbes Travel Guide in 2019. Pack your suitcase with wrinkle-free clothing that is trendy and classy. There’s no reason to look dowdy when you travel and all their clothing is super comfortable to wear.
- Herschel Supply Company – This company is based in Vancouver, Canada and is a design-driven travel-oriented brand that is known for its precise detail. They offer backpacks, crossbodies, athletic wear, insulated jackets, outerwear, luggage, and other travel and activewear apparel and accessories.
Luggage brands and travel accessories
I believe in traveling as light as possible so you don’t find yourself hauling heavy luggage around. No one wants to get hurt or feel achy when they travel and this is especially true if you’re older.
- Chester – Carry-on luggage is made with some of the strongest and sleekest materials you can find. If you’re looking for a super functional carry-on bag take a look at the Minima Carry-on21.5″ x 13.5″ by 8.5.” It’s TSA and cabin approved with silent 360 multi-directional wheels and an Aerospace-grade polycarbonate hard shell. 7lbs.
- eBags – Find a wide array of top brand luggage, purses, travel supplies, and backpacks at affordable prices. eBags has a huge selection of travel-related products at the best prices I’ve found. \
- Zappos Travel Page – This is new! Zappos, which is known mostly for its shoes, now has a page dedicated to travel products that include clothing, shoes, accessories and more. And, of course, you always want to wear comfortable shoes when you travel especially if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking on your trip. You’ll find just about every brand you can think of on their website.
- Make sure to check out my personal Amazon Recommendations – I’ve added travel products as well as other fun things I have used and enjoyed.
- baggallini – I LOVE their RFID protected handbags, backpacks, laptop bags, rolling bags, and accessories. All of their items are sturdy, easy to wash, and will keep your important documents and money safe from pickpockets and thieves.
- TRTL Super Soft Neck Support Travel Pillow – This awesome and super-soft pillow is scientifically designed so it won’t shove your neck forward. Plus, you can wrap it on either side of your neck. If you want to get some shut-eye on a long flight, you will adore this pillow.
Learn a language
- Babbel – This is an effective and easy way to learn a foreign language. It’s a subscription-based and comprehensive learning system that combines effective education methods with state-of-the-art technology.
Travel books to inspire your wanderlust
- Lonely Planet – For the ultimate in guidebooks, coffee table books, eBooks, maps, phrasebooks, maps, magazines, how-to’s and other travel resources, visit Lonely Planet. You’ll find over 500 inspirational and trusted books as well as award-winning digital products.
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