Where Should I Take My 85-Year-Old Uncle So He Can Use His New Passport?

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It’s never too late to try new things. In fact, it’s one of the great joys of life.

Case in point: the 85-year-old uncle of a Clark Howard Podcast listener just got a passport.

His niece, who has traveled all over the contiguous United States with him, feels a sense of duty to put his new passport to use. But they’d need to travel outside of the country on a combined $2,000 budget.

And they’d need to keep in mind his age and certain other specifications.

What sort of trip should they consider?

My 85-Year-Old Uncle Got a Passport. Where Can I Take Him Outside of the United States on a $2,000 Budget?

My 85-year-old uncle just got a passport. Where should I take him on a limited budget?

That’s what a listener asked on the Aug. 14 podcast episode.

Asked Debbie in Arizona: “I enjoy taking my 85-year-old uncle on trips a couple of times a year. He’s a great traveling companion: curious, adventurous, agreeable, and a former social studies teacher so full of great insights. In 20 years, we’ve traveled all over the U.S., to national parks and big cities.

“Earlier this year, he announced that he got a passport! I have no idea why, but he’s very proud of it, even bringing it with him on our trip to Orlando in May. I’m now compelled to find something for us to do where he can authentically use his passport. Any suggestions?

“He’s very mobile for short spells, happy to learn and isn’t crazy about big groups but we enjoy day tours. We’d need to do something modest in price (under $2,000). I have absolutely no cruise experience and have gotten frustrated navigating that world. Help!”

Clark’s answer may be a little biased. He recently took a summer trip to Europe and loved it. He also has been offering money lessons about traveling to Europe on recent podcasts.

“So Debbie, I have the craziest idea. Don’t think I lost my mind,” Clark says. “Why don’t you take your uncle overseas [and] put that passport to use outside [North America]?

“In winter, airfares to Europe drop like a rock. The cost of accomodations become so much more affordable. You could take a trip for under $2,000, airfare and hotel included, for the two of you to Europe.”

Other International Travel Destinations on a $2,000 Budget

Clark did warn Debbie, an Arizona resident, about the weather shock she’d face going from the desert to Europe in the middle of winter.

But that’s when you can take the most affordable trip to that part of the world. And Clark often talks about that part of the world with fondness.


That’s not the only option he presented for Debbie and her uncle:

  • Asia. It seems far-fetched. But believe it or not, “you might be able, at certain times of the year, to take a trip all the way to Asia from LAX at a price under $2,000 including air, accommodations and some sight-seeing,” Clark says.
  • Latin America. The biggest portion of this is South America, although it includes Mexico and some countries in the Caribbean as well. “There’s a lot of air service out of Sky Harbor out of Phoenix. You could go to Latin America at a price that you would easily be able to do an entire trip for the two of you under $2,000,” Clark says.
  • A cruise. Go to a cruise agent if you go this route. Clark recommends an in-person cruise-only travel agent for anyone who’s been on fewer than five cruises in their life. “The fall [when] kids are in school is when there are a lot of great, great, really inexpensive deals where the two of you could easily go on a seven-night cruise and spend under $2,000.”

Of course, there are slightly less adventurous options that are still out of the country. For example, Canada, Mexico (though Clark mentioned Latin America) or The Bahamas.

Final Thoughts

It’s great that Debbie and her uncle make such good travel companions. And that they don’t let a somewhat limited budget, advancing age or other potential obstacles hold them back.

If you’re smart about airfare and hotel expenses, and you pick the right time of year to travel, you can visit far more places for far less money than you can imagine.


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