Your retirement shouldn’t just mean an end to your many years of dedicated work. It should also be an opportunity to do all the things you didn’t have the time and money for in previous years; it’s a well-earned reward for a lifetime of working towards your goals.
With this in mind, it’s important to plan ahead so that when the time comes, you can take full advantage of your newfound freedom. Assessing your goals, budgeting, saving, looking after your health, and other forms of preparation will ensure that you’re ready to enjoy traveling at leisure.
As much as you may think you’ll be satisfied doing as little as possible when you’re retired, that novelty doesn’t last as long as you think. Soon, you’ll be itching to get out there and grab life by the horns once again. Therefore, planning only for basic living expenses and the odd luxury won’t leave you with much room to explore.
Travel during retirement should be budgeted for just as much as essential costs like medical care, insurance, and accommodation. It may be difficult to budget accurately with the looming prospect of inflation and an ever-shifting world economy, but with the help of a savvy financial advisor or budgeting apps, you should be able to put away enough money to cover the vacations you’ve always wanted to take.
It’s good to remember how travel expenses add up over time. You’re not just budgeting for plane tickets, rental cars, food, and hotels. There are always unforeseen expenses. You’ll need money for things like tips, fuel, eating out, and other associated expenses.
It’s also good practice to keep a little aside for emergencies while overseas. You never know when you might need urgent medical care, or to arrange for something last minute at home. Depending on where you are in the world, emergency costs can vary greatly. You don’t want to be stuck without the resources to properly safeguard your wellbeing.
Set Aside Money for At Least One Family Vacation
While the majority of your travels will probably just involve you or you and your partner, setting aside some money to take at least one big trip with your kids and grandkids will provide you with a treasure trove of wonderful memories to cherish in your golden years.
Life is most joyful when shared, especially with family. Prioritizing that kind of quality time with them will be worth every penny. It will provide everyone with a chance to bond over a novel and exciting experience.
Try to plan for something that everybody can enjoy. Think about your family and their needs, likes, passions, interests, and dislikes. If your daughter-in-law hates the cold, don't plan a ski vacation. Inclusivity is key to a harmonious family vacation that brings everyone closer together.
While some element of compromise is usually necessary from all parties, you can still go the extra mile to ensure that everyone has a chance to relax and enjoy themselves.
Give Some Thought to Your Dream Destinations
To be able to plan effectively, you need to know where it is you want to go. For example, a trip to South America or Africa will be significantly less expensive than a trip to Northern Europe.
How you prepare will also depend on the types of activities you want to engage in while you travel. Do you want to go on multi-day hikes? Spend days on end watching the waves roll in on a Caribbean beach? Skydive? Surf? Do a culinary tour that satisfies all your foodie fantasies? All of these factors will contribute to the kind of preparation you prioritize. You may need to focus more on saving money or on keeping yourself in good shape, or both.
You could even take it a step further by developing skills that will help you enjoy your travel activities even more. Take surfing lessons in your fifties, and all of a sudden, that trip to Hawaii or Australia just gained a whole new element of fun.
Don’t Put It Off
You can never be too prepared for your retirement travel plans, but in the same breath, be wary of putting things off too long. There’s always an excuse not to go this year. There’s always some special occasion, or the conditions aren’t perfect, or you can’t decide where to go first.
Travel is always a leap of faith, especially in later years. There will always be something you fail to predict and bumps in the road. Don’t let these things stop you. Part of the joy of travel is adapting to unforeseen circumstances.
The unknown is always a bit scary, but the best travel experiences often come from the moments where you’re forced to diverge from your predetermined path. You may end up discovering a brand-new experience that couldn’t have been planned for.
The spontaneity that leads you off the beaten path leads to destinations that tourists don’t often get to see, and you certainly won’t make these kinds of discoveries by sitting at home for another few months. Get out there and make the best of it, you won’t regret it.
Make Retirement Travel Your New Adventure
Prioritizing your retirement travel plans may feel like pouring resources into something that’s intangible and far away. However, when the time comes for you to hang up your hat and take off for some well-earned adventure, all that preparation will pay off tenfold.
The joy and discovery that awaits you on the other side of retirement are well worth preparing for, even if you experience a few setbacks along the way.
If you have colleagues or friends of a similar age to you, try strategizing together and keep each other accountable for your respective retirement goals. Perhaps one day you’ll head off on your dream retirement vacation as a group!