While many retirees look forward to traveling once they retire, travel is not what is used to be (when is the last time you actually had all three seats in your row on the airplane empty?) and everyone should be sure to plan their trips and travels before they set out. This does not mean having a hotel reservation at every destination…..you may want the flexibility of staying longer at a new place…or leaving earlier if the weather is bad or the sights are not what you wanted. Whatever you choose, think about travel as a great adventure and begin to prepare…even while you are still working.
Before you begin your great retirement adventure, here are a few things to consider:
1) If you are traveling with a spouse or partner, are you interested in the same things? It is not a great idea to begin your retirement with one or both of you resentful of the other one’s ideas. Has there been an honest conversation about what each of you expects to see and do? Is one of you a Type A traveler who wants to explore every nook and cranny of a place while the other prefers a more leisurely pace, with stops to walk on the beach or people watch in a café? Does he want to play golf in every new country and she want to see all the museums? Are you willing to set off alone for a day or two while the other person does what he or she wants? For the sake of your retirement…and indeed the future of your relationship… be sure you each state your expectations and agree on accommodating both points of view.
2) Be realistic about your health. Do you get anxious if you think you can’t get to a doctor quickly? Do you have health issues that may prevent you from going to high altitudes or very dry areas? If your partner insists on zip lining but you prefer a quiet afternoon in a hammock as a way to pace yourself, can you accommodate each other?
3) Travel should be about trying new things. Whether it is a food that is foreign to you or a shadow play or a Japanese opera, say yes before you say no. If you wanted the same old same old, why travel at all?
4) Don’t put it off. If world travel is in your retirement plans, do not say “next year” or delay the travel. You know how your health is today; who knows when knees may begin to give out or other physical ailments may appear. And if this trip turns out to be what you hoped, you can always try another one next year!
I have just returned from traveling with some new retirees. Stay tuned for more tips and tales on retirement travel.