Real Life Retirement:  what real people are doing after age 55 


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dominican republic resort villas

A winter day in a resort in the Dominican Republic where the temperature was 80° Fahrenheit. 

 Save money on "hotels" for senior retirees

One of the newest ways to save money on hotels when you travel is a variation on a vacation rental.  Among the new online companies facilitating short term rentals for people of all ages are AirBnB, Roomarama and 9Flats.

They charge a modest fee on the rental amount and serve as a financial intermediary between the renter and the homeowner.

You pay when you make the reservation, but they do not pay the homeowner until after you have actually been in the rental unit--which is often someone's spare bedroom.  If it turns out not to be as advertised, you can stop the payment through AirBnB.   (For more advice about how to avoid vacation rental scams, go here.)

Vacation in a foreign country for free

Imagine living in a quaint village in the south of France for a month.  Or spending a few weeks in a Cape Cod cottage. And the cost?  Zero. What you do is simply swap your home for a few weeks with someone else in another location.  

Online websites: or  Or simply search for "home exchange".  This service works best if you live in an attractive  location.

A Real Life Retirement: 

Vicky and Tom live in Malibu, California.  A couple of years ago they decided to do a home exchange so they could spend time in southern France.  Because their home was located in a desirable area, soon after their home was listed they heard from a couple with two children who wanted to exchange homes for a month in summer.  It turned out well.  They spent four weeks living like the French--shopping at the  village open air market in the morning, having fabulous dinners at local cafes, meeting friendly new people. The only problem that arose was that the French couple who stayed at their home could not figure out how to run the washing machine.  So if you do this be sure to leave clear instructions or have a friend stop by to see if your guests need help.

Very Cheap and Free--especially for young people

Hostels have been around for decades and are now open to all ages, but they are most popular with  young travelers.  They are quite cheap, usually clean, but you will probably find yourself bunking with six to eight other people. Not much privacy.  Find them at

Yet another way to travel thriftily is through the social networking website called  Hosts are not allowed to charge anything.  Again, this is more suitable for young people.

NOTE:  All names on this site have been changed to protect individual privacy.  The stories are real, the names are not. 

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