For the 50+ Traveler

It’s a fresh new year and a fabulous time to upgrade your travel style.

Resolve to make 2020 the year that you save money, have more fun, and feel more secure while exploring our beautiful world. These seven travel resolutions will put you on the path to traveling like a pro!

1. Save Money On Plane Tickets

Resolve to save on travel expenses, and you’ll be able to splurge on unique souvenirs and other luxuries on the road. Airplane tickets can put a serious dent in your bank account, but you can lessen the blow by booking them a month and a half out and shopping around for the best rates. Websites like Skyscanner and Google Flights can rapidly sort through available flights. Hopper is a mobile app that makes predictions about when flight pricing will fluctuate and is exceptionally useful if your travel dates are flexible.

If you’re really flexible with dates and destinations, Secret Flying will be your new best friend. This website scours the Internet for pricing goofs and deep discounts and offers cut-rate fares to those lucky enough to scoop them up in time. The only catch is that the departure city is fixed, and the dates are not flexible.

Budget airlines might look less expensive on paper, but there are often hidden costs lurking in the fine print. If you decide to fly with a local or budget airline, print out your boarding pass ahead of time and be prepared for some steep baggage fees. Sometimes, it’s better to go with the legacy players.

Make the resolution to spend more of your budget enjoying your vacation instead of traveling to it.

2. Brush Up On A New Language

Make 2020 the year that you break down language barriers.

You don’t need to be fluent in another language to connect with locals and have a more meaningful and memorable vacation. Knowing a few key phrases is generally enough to enhance your experience. It’s also an excellent way to show your local hosts that you respect their culture and language.

Duolingo is a popular app that allows you to tackle a new language through pictures and easy lessons. Mindsnacks takes it to the next level with interactive games. You can download either app on Android or iPhone.

Google Translate is an excellent resource for when you just can’t find the right word or phrase, and TripLingo is a travel-specific app that gives you the words you need when you’re on the go.

3. Stay Healthy On The Road

There’s nothing worse than being sick away from home. Although you can’t prevent every curveball illness or accident, you can resolve to stay healthier in general with a few simple steps.

Before you hop on that airplane, make sure that your vaccinations are up to date. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a comprehensive list of necessary and suggested vaccinations. Some of them are location-specific or related to specific activities. You should also invest in good travel insurance. World Nomads is a popular option that allows you to customize your plan.

Don’t drink the tap water, and be wary of ice, especially when ordering beverages from street stalls. If possible, get your drink without crushed ice. It will taste just as good, and you’ll stave off any unpleasant stomach bugs that could ruin your trip.

4. Avoid Being Scammed While Abroad

Unfortunately, tourists are seen as easy targets in plenty of places, and there are folks who try to take advantage of them. Avoid getting ripped off by becoming familiar with common scams and keeping your wits about you. If something seems too good to be true, it almost always is.

Do your research in advance, and poke around on expat Facebook groups to find out what scams are common in the areas you’re planning on visiting. Long-term expats and locals will steer you in the right direction and away from trouble.

By resolving to arm yourself with knowledge, you’ll be far less likely to get ripped off.

5. Make Yourself A Hard Target

Resolving to make yourself a hard target is one of the best ways to ensure a safe and pleasant trip. Petty crime is a global issue. Protect yourself by separating your valuables, using a money belt under your clothes, and bringing your own lock if you’re staying in a shared space.

Always give a copy of your passport to a trusted friend or family member. Before you leave, enroll in STEP, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. You’ll receive email updates from the State Department about any problems or conflicts that might arise.

Resolve to be a hard target, and you’ll be less likely to find yourself in hot water while abroad. A few simple steps can give you incredible peace of mind.

6. See The Best Attractions Without The Crowds

The most enchanting destinations in the world are a double-edged sword. The more astonishing an attraction is, the more likely it is to draw crowds. Resolve to sidestep the masses and still see the sights in 2020 with a few simple steps.

The crowds are much thinner during the off-season, on weekdays, and first thing in the morning. Buy your ticket a day in advance and arrive before the attraction opens. You’ll get the double bonus of seeing it at first light and avoiding too many fellow tourists.

Be aware of the local holidays and consider hiring a guide.

7. Always Know Where You’re Going

Resolve never to waste valuable vacation time finding your way ever again.

MAPS.ME and Sygic are mobile map apps that work offline. Download either, and you’ll always be completely oriented, even in a strange city. You can pin your hotel, search for restaurants or attractions, or simply keep an eye on where your taxi is going.

You’ll save yourself some frustration and also keep safe with these simple downloads.

A brand new year calls for a brand new travel style. Take your globetrotting game to the next level with these seven resolutions.