Easy, efficient and economical: Eight tips for affordable travel

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Whether you prefer to stay local, cross the border, or hop on a plane overseas, travel is undeniably exciting. But excitement often comes with a price tag and unless that vacation is in your backyard (literally) it can often be a sizeable investment.

But that’s no reason to write off travel. Consider this — it’s the time of your life when you can travel to all the places you had to put off when you were distracted with your career or growing family. The travel experts at Choice Hotels Canada want to help make travel easier and have gathered a helpful list of eight money-saving tips perfect for your next trip.

  1. Forget the 65 rule

One thing many travellers don’t realize is that not only do many boomer discounts start as early as 50, but just because they’re not openly advertised, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  Anytime you’re making a purchase, be sure to ask about special rates.

  1. Stock up on Senior Days

Canada’s two biggest drugstores, Shoppers Drug Mart and Rexall, both offer monthly senior days with discounts of up to 20 per cent. This is the perfect time to stock up on travel-sized bath and beauty products, snacks or reading material for your trip, and is typically more affordable than a last-minute airport or gas station shopping trip.

  1. Relax on the RIGHT Side of the Tracks

Travel cross-Canada in a comfortable train cabin. With routes passing through the scenic Rockies and vast wilderness, it’s a relaxing way to see some of the great outdoors without the stress of driving or traffic. Select trains come with sleeper cabins that offer proper beds, making it one of the most enjoyable ways to see the countryside. Plus VIA Rail offers year-round discounts for travellers 60 or older.

  1.  Get on the Greyhound

If you’re heading somewhere unfamiliar and it’s not too far (we’re thinking a five hour drive or less) consider a ride on a Greyhound passenger bus. Not only will it help manage any stress associated with driving, but there’s also a 10 per cent discount for travellers 62 and over.

  1. Drivers: Double Your A’s

If you’re over 65 and receiving a pension, make sure you’re taking advantage of the automobile insurance discount offered to retirees in Canada. Another way to save on driving costs is by joining the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), where membership bonuses include special prices on almost all hotel websites alongside discount program listings.

  1. Travel During Off-Season

One of the great perks to life after work is the option to travel whenever you want. Instead of dealing with crowds of tourists, packed airports, steep prices and that inevitable headache, consider visiting your favourite cities during fall or winter. Southern European countries like Spain and Portugal have comfortable weather conditions year-round, so you can avoid the Canadian winter while saving on travel costs.

  1. Plan for the Plane

Travel often comes with a lot of time in massive airports, and navigating them can be stressful and exhausting. Fortunately, many airports come equipped with golf carts and drivers to assist both older travellers and those with disabilities. Simplify your airport experience by calling ahead to your gate so they can arrange for a driver to be waiting when you pull up. Once you get to your gate, avoid the boarding rush (and get a spot for your carry on) by speaking to the front desk at the gate. Most airlines will assist travellers with early boarding.

  1. Send Items in Advance

Many airlines and buses charge extra for additional baggage. If you’re travelling for birthdays or during the holidays, like Hanukkah or Christmas, with numerous or oversized gifts, consider sending these in advance which will both save you money and the hassle of carrying them with you.

Travel is meant to be enjoyed, so consider these simple tips the next time you’re planning a trip away. With a little bit of planning and research, you’ll not only save money, but cut down on stress and any unexpected surprises.  Plus you can earn free hotel nights and other rewards when you sign up for a hotel loyalty program like Choice Privileges, which earns points on stays at hotel brands like Comfort, Quality, Econo Lodge and more.

Special rates for CARP members!