The Norman Transcript

Features

July 15, 2014

Alternative lodging options for retirees who travel

NORMAN — Dear Savvy Senior, Since retiring, my husband and I love to travel but hotel costs eat up our budget so fast we can’t stay as long, or go as often as we’d like to. I’ve heard that there are alternative lodging options like short-term apartment rentals or even house sitting that offer a much cheaper way to travel. How can we find these?

— Retired Travelers

Dear Travelers,

If you’re willing to do a little research and preplanning, there are a number of ways you can lower (or eliminate) your travel-lodging costs and live more like a local when you travel. Here are some different options to consider and some resources that can help you locate them.

Apartment/house rentals: There are literally hundreds of thousands of privately owned properties in the United States and abroad that are offered as short-term vacation rentals. This has become a very popular alternative to hotels, for retirees.

Renting a fully furnished apartment or house is usually significantly cheaper than hotel rooms of comparable quality, and they almost always offer more space, a homier feel and a kitchen, which can save you the expense eating out every meal.

Short-term rentals are offered through the individual property owners or property-management companies.

Some of the best sites for finding them include homeaway.com, airbnb.com, flipkey.com, vrbo.com and wyndhamvacationrentals.com.

Most sites are free to use for travelers. You can also look for rentals at any online search engine by typing in your destination city plus short-term apartment/house rentals (for example “New York short-term apartments for rent”).

B&B clubs: If you like staying in bed-and-breakfasts and have a spare bedroom yourself, you should consider the Evergreen Club (evergreenclub.com) or the Affordable Travel Club (affordabletravelclub.net). These are B&B clubs for travelers over ages 50 or 40 that offer inexpensive lodging in the spare bedroom of other club members, or they may stay with you when they’re on the road.

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