One of the best parts about getting older is having more time to travel. While your younger decades may have been consumed by a career and kids, your later years are the time to explore the world with a new sense of wonder. However, this is also a time when you may need to be more fiscally conservative than ever before, so choosing low-cost destinations is crucial. If you’re not sure where to go next, fear not. Read on to learn the five best budget-friendly travel destinations for those over the 65, according to industry experts.
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What better way to spend your golden years than under a golden sunset? “The fantastic, crystal clear beach waters of the Bahamas are enough reason never to miss a trip there,” says Anton Radchenko, founder of AirAdvisor. The chain of islands off the coast of Florida is home to more than 2,000 beaches, with the capital city of Nassau offering a handful of free and public ones.
The Bahamas are relatively safe,” says Radchenko. “But if a senior is traveling, we recommend joining a group tour where they can also suggest the best tour itineraries according to your preference.” If that’s not your style, we recommend sprawling out on the white sands of Cable Beach (free) or visiting the Pirates of Nassau Museum ($13.50). An all-inclusive resort will help you keep extraneous charges to a minimum.
Known for its waffles, fries, beers, and chocolate, Belgium makes a fabulous destination for those over 65. “The city is relatively small and accessible on foot,” says Radchenko. And because it’s less popular than its European neighbors like France and Germany, it’s also a tad more affordable.
Bruges is identified by its medieval architecture, canals, and picturesque cobbled streets. You’ll find one of the best—and most affordable—pastimes here is simply wandering around. Once you’re done with that, you can visit a range of cultural centers, such as the Gruuthusemuseum and the Bruges Beer Experience Museum for an educational afternoon.
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If you’ve never visited Scotland, now might be the time to hop across the pond. U.S. News & World Report notes that Glasgow is one of the most affordable cities abroad, with four- and five-star hotels available for less than $150 a night. What’s more, many of the attractions in this city are free or budget-friendly.
On your first day, walk the grounds of the University of Glasgow and the Necropolis cemetery. Then, make time for cultural institutions such as the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (free) and the Glasgow Cathedral (free). You can take the train to the slightly pricier Edinburgh for just $7 if you decide you’d like a change of pace.
U.S. News & World Report ranks the capital of Hungary as one of the most affordable European vacations. Budapest is split by the Danube River and much of the city has been granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
Once you’re there, visit the impressive neo-gothic Parliament building (free), take in the Great Market (the price depends on how hungry you are), and stroll the Jewish Quarter (free). For something you can’t get anywhere else, visit a ruin bar. These drinking holes are housed primarily in dilapidated warehouses and pre-war buildings. You’ll feel like one of the kids again as soon as you step inside.
It’s possible to find flights to Ireland from the U.S. for under $400, which is why this destination is one of our favorites for older folks on a budget. To get to Galway—one of the country’s most vibrant and walkable locales, fly into Shannon airport and hitch a rental car or tour bus north. There, you’ll be charmed by the Irish step dancers in the town square and dozens of pubs playing traditional Irish music (live, of course).
From Galway, you can easily travel to Connemara National Park (free) to enjoy the hiking trails and stunning scenery. You can also take a bus for less than 20 euros to the haunting Kylemore Abbey, a Benedictine nunnery with acres of gorgeously manicured gardens. After a long day of exploring, kick back with a pint at your hotel—many can be booked for fewer than 100 euros a night.
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