AP Photo/Desmond Boylan

Money is tight for most South Africans so smart travel planning is essential. But if you’re retired and can travel whenever you want, it’s smart to aim for off peak season as you can avoid the crowds, the heat of summer and get a great travel deal to top it off.

Anthony Grant, CEO of FNB Foreign Exchange, says, “Travelling around the world is always a rewarding experience and visiting family and, particularly, grandkids and great grandchildren in other countries is such a great opportunity that you want to enjoy every moment thereof."

"So, make sure you do your planning, reserving and confirming sooner rather than later. In today’s tough economic times pensioners should particularly pay attention to how they spend their money to ensure they have enough to sustain themselves in the long term. Before travelling, it’s always best to do some research that can possibly ease the cost on your travel expenses”.

Here are some tips for seniors to consider for international travel:

Money matters

When booking your flights and accommodation, always ask if there are any special travel deals for seniors. By making a simple enquiry you could possibly save some money on both your travel and accommodation costs. When you get discounts for various expenses, the cumulative impact on your overall travel bill can be quite substantial.

Travel in a group

By travelling with a group of friends and family you can save costs in areas such as accommodation and entertainment. For example, if you are with a group of friends and family you can all contribute towards renting a holiday home. This is essentially about easing the impact on your wallet by sharing costs.

Travel off season

Travelling during off peak season can save you a lot of money, conduct some research about the different places you wish to visit and check when they are off peak. Generally, when you travel off peak you are likely to pay less compared to when travelling during a busy period.

Know your medical status

Always consult with your doctor and get clearance for you to travel, that’s if you have any special medical condition. If you take medication, pack it in a place where it will be easy to access so that you can reach it as and when you need it. Try to take extra medication, if you experience a flight delay that is more than 24 hours you will at least have some medication to cater for delays.

Be prepared for emergencies

Before leaving for your holiday, make copies of your essential documents such as your passport and contact numbers of the hotel where you will be staying and leave these behind with a family member. Record details of your embassy in the country that you will be visiting and keep it in a safe place for use should the need arise. Keep in touch with family members back home as often as possible, and let them know if your location changes. Another important consideration to make is to get travel medical insurance.

“The key to any trip is being smart with your money, especially as a pensioner – and that starts before you even hit the road. Happy travels this holiday season. Be safe, be savvy and have a great adventure,” concludes Grant.