Senior citizens are able to benefit from a number of discounts and other savings toward their travel expenses. One of the most significant opportunities for savings is booking travel when it’s cheaper, during off days and off-seasons, due to heightened flexibility in retirement. Unfortunately, many seniors need these savings to offset some of the added costs they incur due to age-related needs and preferences. No one enjoys getting hit with a surprise expense, so we’re sharing three somewhat hidden costs of travel that seniors should consider when booking their trips.
Travelers Insurance (Or Lack Thereof)
Due to the global pandemic, many seniors are still holding off on traveling, especially abroad—making the under-50 crowd more likely to purchase travelers insurance at this time. That said, pre-pandemic people over 50 were responsible for most sales of travelers insurance. Once travel feels safe again, we expect to see an even greater percentage of senior travelers purchasing insurance for their trip.
Travelers insurance isn’t a required expense, but it’s essential for seniors, who face more medically related emergencies than their younger counterparts. Seniors are also more likely to take extended, international trips (outside of the current pandemic). According to Travel Agent Central, the pairing of these two factors make seniors prime candidates for travelers insurance, which is often bought for expensive trips and by travelers concerned about health.
For seniors who choose not to purchase travelers insurance, the cost of an emergency while traveling can be financially damaging—even for domestic trips. Medicare provides an incredible value for seniors, but coverage while traveling isn’t always guaranteed, especially for international trips. Original Medicare (Part A & Part B) does not cover healthcare costs while traveling abroad but provides great coverage across the US. Medigap plans will often cover medical expenses when traveling abroad, whereas Medicare Advantage plans may cause difficulties for beneficiaries both domestically and internationally. You can learn more about Medicare coverage while traveling here.
Wise Advice: Always check your healthcare coverage before going on a trip to avoid devastating out of pocket costs for healthcare while traveling. Need help understanding your policy? A Chapter Advisor is just a phone call away, and our advice is always free.
Accommodations for accessibility
Generally speaking, as we age, it’s natural to lose some of our physical fitness. In addition to the loss of strength and endurance due to age, seniors are much more likely than any other age group to have a disability. The accommodations necessary for individuals with mobility issues and disabilities are often considered “luxury,” which results in a significant upcharge. Hotels with elevators and air conditioning in cities filled with historic buildings, for example, can be difficult to come by and significantly higher priced.
In some cases, doing your research can help you avoid some of these costs. If you need to find activities and accommodations that fit your needs or preferences, factor those needs into your research and look for travel blogs and websites (like this one) that focus on accessible travel.
Wise Advice: Consider traveling to historic, seafront cities by cruise ship for an accessible place to stay each night.
Offline booking fees
Some travel companies charge offline booking fees because booking offline requires a representative to assist you—which costs the airline money. Offline booking fees, while avoidable by any age group, are more likely to occur for senior travelers, who might prefer booking over the phone rather than online due to preference or computer abilities.
These fees are incredibly unpopular and may be done away with, but if you’re comfortable booking travel online, it may be best for your bank account. Many online booking platforms make comparing prices across companies and travel days easy, so you may save extra money by seeing your options.
Wise Advice: If you aren’t comfortable booking travel online, family members and friends can be helpful—plus it gives you a reason to call and catch up!
Having time to travel is a great benefit of being retired. It’s important to pay close attention to the fees you pay while booking, so you know you’re spending your money intentionally. These are three travel expenses that seniors, in particular, should be aware of, but there are countless other hidden fees to keep an eye out for.
If you ever need help understanding how your Medicare coverage will work while traveling, a Chapter Advisor is just a phone call away! Our advice is always free.