Retire Well

Don't miss out on these retiree travel perks

How to land the best retiree travel discounts

Want to see the world once you're done working?

The latest Transamerica Retirement Survey, conducted this year, found baby boomers cited travel most often as their top dream for retirement, above spending more time with family or pursuing hobbies.

But it looks like any traveling will have to be done on a tight budget. That's because, of that same group, only 51 percent think they are currently building a large enough nest egg to stop working and more than half said outliving their savings was their greatest fear.

Yet there are ways to cut costs if you want to travel and do it for less.

Ask before you book

Many hotels, resorts, restaurants and tour operators offer special discounts for older travelers, but they may not automatically let you know about them — especially if you seem willing and able to pay full price.

"It's important for a retiree to ask," said Debra Sternberg, assistant team leader with Liberty Travel in Bay Shore, New York.

Don't assume someone knows your age and eligibility; instead, tell whomever you're dealing with that you're a retiree, she added.

Be flexible

With no work or school schedules to follow, use your ability to travel whenever you want to your advantage.

Traveling at off-peak times, such as on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and avoiding holidays are good strategies.

Sternberg, who has been a travel agent for 30 years, also advises her clients to keep an open mind about their destination to make it even cheaper. "As long as you're flexible, you can be saving a large sum of money."

She also says many older clients can take advantage of last-minute travel packages that may offer great savings.

Talk to a human

It's always a good idea to use online travel sites to look for the lowest fares, but also call and ask travel agents or hotel representatives specifically about senior discounts.

Speaking to someone will help you make sure you're getting the best deal.

That's because some senior discounts kick in as soon as you turn 50. Others may not be available until you reach 60 or even 70.

Also find out whether those perks only apply at certain times or have other restrictions.

Leverage memberships

After your 50th birthday, you can join AARP, the advocacy group for older Americans, for $16 for one year, and that membership entitles you to a bunch of discounts on car rentals, hotels and tours.

The best perk? Any savings you get may bring you that much closer to making your dream trip a reality.