Couple bird watching

Mark Twain wrote about traveling abroad in the 1860s. One hundred years later, John Steinbeck wrote about a road trip he took with his dog, Charley. Today, the internet is saturated with travel blogs. Americans are fascinated with travel, and it’s easy to understand why: travel is one of the most rewarding experiences in life. It can also be more affordable in retirement.

Saving for Travel on a Limited Retirement Budget

Lots of retirees are embracing downsizing. Their kids are in school or have homes of their own, and for some, maintaining big yards or overpaying on utility bills just doesn’t fit their lifestyles anymore. With downsizing, a smaller home can turn into big vacations. The money you make from a sale, and your savings on lower utility bills, can help you budget for more time on the road.  

Another route to subsidizing your trips is a reverse mortgage. Whether downsizing or refinancing your current home, you can save plenty while making zero mortgage payments until you sell or vacate the home. Reverse mortgages, or HECMs, have helped a lot of retirement age homeowners by giving them access to the equity they have built up in their homes.

Lastly, credit cards offer benefits that make traveling more affordable. You probably knew that your purchases earned you cash back or miles, but did you know that some cards offer higher cashback rates if you fly with certain airlines or stay at partner hotels? If you know you can use credit cards responsibly, research them thoroughly and make sure you can take advantage of special offers.

Saving (and Making) Money While Traveling

Spend your money wisely. Staying longer in one location provides you with a more intimate trip, and it also keeps travel costs, like train tickets and car rental, down. Compare your housing options as well. Are hotels or Airbnbs cheaper? Staying at an Airbnb could help you avoid dining out at expensive restaurants too often, as many come with kitchens where you can prepare meals.

Another way to travel for less is embracing the flexibility that retirement offers. Make “Have Flexibility — Will Travel” your motto. You make your own schedule now, so why not schedule your trips during non-peak times? Airfare and hotel rooms will often cost much less. 

Finally, you can earn cash while you’re away. Airbnb is a cost-effective way to avoid expensive hotels when traveling. If you live in a city that features a lot of tourism, consider whether you’d be okay letting someone rent out your home. Note: be aware of rules regarding residency in your city, and of how renting your home may impact income taxes or reverse mortgage terms.

Final Thoughts

Retirement doesn’t have to be all babysitting all the time. You can go out and explore. As you can see, there are plenty of ways to budget for your upcoming adventures.

We at Open Mortgage wish you the safest of travels. Should you need to discuss financing options, such as a reverse mortgage, we have agents available and eager to answer all of your questions. Learn more by visiting

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