5 Tips to Save on Airline Tickets

Saving and budgeting for you vacation can be a challenge, even before factoring in the cost of airfare. Yeah, you could go on a road trip or stay close, but sometimes it’s worth it to go far far away and truly relax. Whether you are looking for adventure or leisure you can make the most out of your dollar by minimizing the cost of travel.

indexHere are some tips that you can use to save on your next vacation:

Know When to Buy

Watch the rates well in advance of your vacation. Buying air plane tickets well in advance or waiting until the very last minute is not the best practice, instead you want to buy your tickets 6 to 8 weeks in advance. At this time airfare typically hits a low point, so make sure to purchase during this time.

Be Flexible on the Dates

Sometimes you can find lower rates by looking for flights in a range of dates instead of at a specific time. Flying mid-week can save you up to 10%, Wednesday is usually the best day if you are looking to save.

The Early Bird Gets the Worm

Not only are there specific days of the week where airlines will offer discount rates, but also early in the morning flights tend to be cheaper. Try to fly in the morning and throughout the workday to get a better rate.

Buy on a Tuesday

Take advantage of the industry’s competitive nature! Mid-week is not only the best tie to fly, it’s also the best time to buy tickets. On Tuesdays most airfares will start to go on sale when the airlines adjust their fares to match competitors.

Know When to Pull the Trigger

Airfares not only fluctuate day by day, but also hour by hour. Take time to learn the market and be ready to pull the trigger on a good deal!

Thinking About Downsizing?

Some thing that many retirees consider is downsizing from their current home, which they likely have a lot of equity in, to a smaller, less expensive, home, town home or condominium. But is this a good idea? Is it wise to downsize?

Realestate retirement plan

Many people consider selling their large family homes, which they have a lot of equity in as part of their retirement plans. When you are ready to downsize it’s important to think about where you will be moving to and which type of home to want to buy for retirement. Many retirees choose to move into condos. As a retired person living in a condo has many advantages that allow them to be worry-free such as no lawn care, snow removal, the availability of a fitness center and pool in some cases and also having the ability to travel at a moments notice since you have less responsibilities centered around your home.

After a decade of record breaking house prices in the greater Toronto area this is an appealing direction that many are moving towards there are endless possibilities. You could even choose to have a cabin near a lake or ocean in a more rural location, no more commute, less maintenance and beautiful quiet surroundings.

One problem with downsizing however is that it may it always work out the way that you would think that it would. In many cases home owners walk away with less money that they had anticipated. For example if you are downsizing from a $400K home to a $300K home there will be little left after real estate and legal fees.

This doesn’t mean that downsizing can’t work for you, if you do it right you can walk away with a nice nest egg that will allow you to do the things that you dreamed of such as traveling.

Be Honest About It

Why are you planning to sell your large family home? Financial reasons? Practical reasons? Have your kids moved away? Is your house just too big? Do you want to move closer to your grandchildren? Do you enjoy travel and it is unnecessary? – these are all good reasons to consider downsizing.

Assess Your Needs

How will you live your daily life? Should you consider a bungalow? Is the convienience of a condo appealing to your needs? Take a look at the activities that you currently participate in and those that you wish to participate in and go from there. Taking a look at what you need will help you determine what you do.

Location, location, location

Decide where it is that you actually want to live. What would you like your retirement to look like? Do you want to be in a rural or urban area? Do you want to be closer to your family? Do you want to downsize to a smaller home or condominium?

Smaller does not always equal cheaper

Depending on where you are moving to you may find that monthly expenses are higher than you currently pay. These trade offs can be difficult to quantify, for example if you are moving into an urban condo with many amenities you might find the condo fees can be very high.

Price it Out

If you are considering downsizing make sure that you have realistic expectations. The truth is that most people will walk away with less than they anticipated.

For example: Let’s say you are moving from a $600,000 home to a $400,000 condo. You would think you’d be left with a whopping $200,000 for your retirement. Then you factor in real estate commissions of $30,000, $2,500 in legal fees, $3,000 in land transfer tax, moving fees of $2,500 and outstanding property taxes of roughly $1,500.

Now subtract any outstanding mortgage you have on your property and factor in any new furniture you may need for your now smaller environment. You may find that your downsizing has left you with a modest $50,000-$80,000.

To get a better understanding of what you can expect real estate agents can be very helpful.

Make a Plan

Financial advisers are excellent people to consult when you are putting together a plan for downsizing your home. They will help you draw up a financial plan that will outline many potential scenarios that can help you meet your retirement goals.

Retirement Living

When individuals begin considering their way of living in retirement, they may consider moving to a small, cheaper home. Some may even look at seniors’ condos or retirement homes. If the house you live in has been paid off, you may think about downsizing but you may actually see your housing costs increase, even though technically, you are reducing.

Baby BoomersMany who have lived in the city are moving to a cheaper, less urban setting.  This also typically lowers property taxes. Some individuals feel adventurous and that they are financially at the age in their lives when they can see the world and travel without obligations such as work and children to care for.  Some enjoy doing this in an RV. RVs typically cost between $5,000 and $160,000.

While travel is seen as exciting by some, it is not for every retiree. Some prefer to remain in the community they have live in for a while-they feel better knowing their neighbors and possibly having family nearby. They may already be familiar with the activities in the area.

Some do look at moving away, especially if family is living far away.  A lot of people prefer to be near their adult children and especially grandchildren. Moving near family also provides a connection in a new city. Socializing and activities may be introduced by your family.

If you are to do it feasibly, why not go live in Australia for a few months? It does not have to be there- the point is , go do what you always wanted to but could not because of work, school or caring for children.

Today, many retirees are pursuing a college education, or at least taking a few classes.  Many are seeking post-secondary education either as additional education or purely for interests’ sake.  In many American states, residents are eligible for a few months of free tuition if they are over the age of 65. Many find it beneficial to their mental health, to keep their minds active and always learning. You can take the Introduction to Shakespeare course you never had time for, or Introduction to Physics.

Some,  but certainly not all retirees find themselves feeling restless during retirement, especially at the beginning. When you have gone to work every day for fifty years, this feeling is not uncommon. Many retirees look at volunteering as a means to do something with their time, improve certain skills, utilize skills they already possess, and meet new people.  There are many organizations, both profit and non –profit, needing volunteers. Finding a volunteer position which fits your skills and interests should not be too difficult-from building houses to serving soup at a soup kitchen to working with children- everywhere is searching for volunteers. This generation has been involved with activism for decades, pursuing a cause you are passionate about but were never able to dedicate a time to- the time is now!

However you decide to spend your retirement, whether it be volunteering, lying on a beach or traveling the world, make sure it is exactly how you want to spend it and it is what is making you happy. After all, you only have one retirement.

Flying South for the Winter

Many people consider flying south for the harsh, freezing winters to spend them on the white sand, by the ocean, basking in the sunshine.

Sandy BeachesHow do you know if this is the right decision for you? How will you know if this is what you need to enhance your retirement? Many think about becoming a snowbird in their retirement because they feel this is the first time  in their lives with no work pressure, no caring for young children, and they feel they have finally earned a breath of relaxation. There are a few thing you need to be aware of before you give yourself permission for takeoff.

You must consider your current income.  Your income is now likely fixed, unlike before.  Be sure to shop around, looking at different accommodations and prices, what may be included in some packages, and ensure this is something you are able to spend your finances on.  The last thing you want is to have overspent when on a fixed income.

If you are traveling with a spouse or companion, discuss finances ahead of time. Plan what will be spent and be sure to give yourselves time to consider the options of where you will stay, what you will be spending on food and drink, if you will have transportation while there. If you have family, you will be away from them for months at a time. Think about how that will affect them and how it will impact you.  Discuss with those family members how often you will be in touch with them, and if they are able to visit you.

If you do end up flying south for the winter, you may choose to rent or own a home. Depending on what works best for you, you may choose either- some recommend turning off heat and hydro in your original home to cut down on the bills. Some choose to have a live-in house sitter, in which case you will need to keep those things on. Depending on your financial situation, you may choose to have the house sitter live there only paying bills.

Some people may also use a sitter for their pets, however most people will bring their pets  with them.  If you do, ( and you probably will) you may bring them on the flight with you. Almost all airlines charge a fee for bringing a pet on the airplane. If you end up driving down south, ensure your pet has an abundance of food and water. Be sure your pet has seen the veterinarian  and has all vaccines up to date. Some airlines will require  certification for a pet before flying.

If you choose to snowbird, you will want to choose insurance that cover them from state to state ( if American). If flying to the US from Canada, be sure to have Traveler’s insurance that will cover you in case of an emergency. Canadians are able to travel to the USA for six months provided they possess a passport. Bringing a birth certificate along with your passport is best.

Snowbirds may want to anticipate that they could need to get home very quickly in case of an emergency such as family illness or death. It is recommended to set money aside for flights home should this be the case.

Some novice snowbirds are nervous about making friends. An important thing to remember is that all snowbirds were once in the same position.  Within the community, and on the beach, there is ample time to make new lifelong friends you can see yearly.