Traveling can be a completely freeing experience, regardless at which age you decide to do it. Having the mobility and chance to leave an environment in which you are comfortable and familiar to immerse yourself in a completely new world of cultural experiences is a priceless sensation that leaves a lasting impression.
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For those of us who have started planning for retirement or at least considered the financial considerations following the years after leaving the workforce, a desire to travel the world, or at least the country, can easily help make your golden years feel more memorable.
Though traveling is considered one of the best experiences one can have throughout your life, it’s not always possible for those of us who have now recently entered retirement after burning the midnight oil at our 9 to 5 for the last couple of years.
Factors ranging from health, mobility, energy, and more importantly finances can easily derail your plans to travel to exotic destinations once you leave the workforce. On top of that, there’s also the fact that having to plan a holiday or vacation abroad is a lot different now than what it was when you were younger.
If you’re planning to travel during retirement, which according to a recent American Advisors Group survey is 35% (millennials), 39% (Gen X), and 65% (Baby Boomers), having a plan of execution well before the time can be considered a saver option, regardless of your financial position.
While it’s safe to say that traveling these days is a lot more convenient and accessible to many people, with the sharp rise in online booking sites and mobile travel applications, not having the funds or finances to do so can make traveling in your retirement seem far-fetched or even completely unattainable.
A report from 2021 found that roughly 41% of soon-to-be-retired Americans claim that it would take a miracle for them to be financially prepared for retirement. In the same report, 59% of Americans claim that they will continue working well after retirement to help make up for lost income or any unforeseen financial challenges.
These robust figures reveal how many Americans have already realized that they are financially unfit to step into retirement within the next few years.
Though financial and economic conditions have been a hard pill to swallow throughout recent months, inflation and the cost of living have been a major headwind for even the most financially prepared individuals, with 80% of workers citing inflationary conditions having an impact on their career decisions.
While it’s impossible to say whether travel and leisure will ever be this affordable – even as prices have gone up – it’s time to start planning and saving for those post-retirement travel plans you have been putting off for far too long.
Let’s dive into the 10 best ways you can plan and save for extended travel in retirement.
Plan In Advance
A survey by RBC Wealth Management found that travel and vacation made the top 10 list of activities people aged 50 and older are looking forward to the most, regardless of whether they were already retired or not.
As with many other things that come with retiring and living well during your golden years, planning in advance is perhaps the biggest concern, and oftentimes many people take the time they currently have available for granted.
If you’re looking to tick off a few exotic destinations from your bucket list in the coming years, planning well in advance helps to determine your level of financial preparedness.
As a general rule, many people tend to budget for the basic things their retirement funds and social security will need to cover once they leave the workforce. Things such as rent, mortgage payments, insurance, and utilities take up a big chunk of any person’s retirement funds.
When you’re looking to spend more time on the road or in the air, having a sizable portion of your retirement savings dedicated to this means you’re well ahead of schedule. Some experts suggest that you start planning and saving for your post-retirement travels at least five to 10 years in advance.
This may seem a bit excessive, but oftentimes when people enter retirement and realize they don’t have enough to put aside for leisure and vacations, they tend to miss out on all the opportunities and experiences they were looking to enjoy for so long.
Determine How You Want To Retire
As part of your travel plans, determine how you want to retire, and by this we mean you should consider how many trips you are looking to take throughout the better half of your retirement.
Start by looking at the general costs for one person per trip, both for domestic and international vacations. Next, you can determine how long you’re planning to travel throughout the chosen destination. Remember to always add a few extra days at the start and finish of each trip to help cover physical traveling such as buses, flights, or driving.
From here on out, you can start to draw up a general idea of what it would cost you per person, per trip, whether it’s bi-annually or even quarterly. If you’re an adventurous person and want to see as much as possible, ensure that you have enough set aside that you will be able to enjoy more of these places without having to stress over the money.
It’s not possible to completely plan every trip five or 10 years before you depart, but it’s advised to at least have some road map that you can follow. Moreover, if you determine what your rate of retirement is going to be in terms of traveling, then you can set up realistic financial goals while you’re still receiving a full-time income.
Budget For Emergencies
The whole reasoning behind your savings and retirement accounts is to help set you up financially once you exit the workforce. Your financial situation should allow you to live comfortably from the funds you managed to save up well in advance.
If you’re looking to be an avid traveler during the better half of retirement, be mindful of any unforeseen and unplanned emergencies that might reveal themselves while traveling.
What’s traveling without a few mishaps here and there, it’s a common occurrence. But, when you’ve reached a certain age, where you don’t want to stress about your health and wellbeing while away from home, or even any other unforeseen emergency, it’s advised to budget and plan for these emergencies as well.
As part of your travel savings, make sure to have enough funds set aside for any medical or non-medical emergency that might show itself while you’re abroad.
Yes, travel medical insurance does help cover these costs, but if you’re in a situation where you need to be returned home or choose to return, you will need to ensure you have enough possible funds to cover these expenses.
Whatever it may be – missed flights or breaking your hip – always make sure you’re set to cover the costs, even if it means that it will cut your holiday by a few days.
Create a Bucketlist
Having a bucket list may sound somewhat cliche, but still, it’s a way for you to jot down some ideas and inspiration about the places you’d like to see well before your time to do so has come to an end.
Having a bucket list during retirement tends to look a bit different than what it did when you were still in your 20s or even in your late 40s. Perhaps the challenging economic climate in America has led you to consider retiring abroad as inflation, and the cost of living outweighs your retirement savings.
Now that you have more time to enjoy the things you’ve always wanted, friends, family, traveling, and hobbies, you may want to create a bucket list to help you tick these boxes more frequently throughout your retirement.
Traveling during your golden years could mean that your bucket list has some foreign destinations and, of course, a few dozen domestic vacation spots.
Whether it’s spending a couple of days in fishing villages in and around Iceland while taking up home in one of the many Vik hotels, sailing across the crystal clear waters in Eastern Asia, or even going on a safari in Africa – these opportunities are a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Setting it up like this means you’re able to enjoy the more exhilarating parts of traveling while you still have the mobility and energy to do so. Once you’ve hit a certain age or even perhaps incurred an injury or medical condition as you get older, it might become more difficult to sit on a plane for several hours or walk miles on end throughout foreign cities.
Your travel bucket list should consist of having the more taxing and exhausting activities first those that include long-haul flights or bus rides, while shorter drives can be lower on the list.
Research Extended Holiday Stays
If you’re in the position to take extended holidays, either abroad or simply in a town near you, don’t hesitate to research extended holiday rentals.
Even as it’s become increasingly easy and more convenient to find and book accommodation online or through mobile apps, there’s a chance you might need to reserve specific holiday stays well in advance.
Not only are extended stays often cheaper or more affordable than short stays, but for seniors traveling, either alone or with a group or partner, it means they can remain in one place or city for longer.
Booking extended stays is common among older travelers, and in 2018, Airbnb released a report that showed longer stays, including fully equipped and furnished houses or apartments, are more popular among those aged 60 and older.
This way of traveling gives you more time to explore the local area, and it helps you to be in a quiet and relaxing environment without having to leave every other day due to the amount of time you have available for the trip.
Although it’s cheaper to book long stays, and a more preferable way of traveling, make sure to do your homework, as not every destination you may be going to have this option.
Plan and Save for Excursions
A majority of any travel budget consists of transportation, accommodation, and restaurant costs. While these do tend to be the pricier expenses, as a retiree you still want to get the most out of your holiday, regardless of where you may be in the world.
Daily excursions such as boat rides, visiting museums and galleries, heritage or cultural sites, or any other thrilling experience that you may encounter will end up costing you some part of your travel budget.
There is still an upside – and downside – to the stronger dollar, even as Americans have flocked to foreign destinations in droves over the summer as stronger purchasing power abroad gave them more for their money’s worth back home.
That’s why as a general rule, you should plan what you’d like to see and do in the area you’re visiting. This might seem like a straightforward thing to do when traveling, but as someone who might be traveling on a tighter budget and having less mobility to do certain activities, you will need to plan accordingly.
Planning and saving for any excursions, other than what you might already have on your bucket list gives you a bit more time to research what there is to see and do in the area that’s both budget-friendly and age-appropriate.
Make Room for Multi-Generational Trips
Taking some time to travel with the family will also be needed throughout your busy holiday vacationing schedule, and that’s why we recommend that as part of your post-retirement travel plans, you make room for multi-generational trips.
These trips may generally be more relaxed and will take less effort to execute, seeing as this may involve a larger number of people or even your family members.
Multi-generational trips are a win-win in most cases, especially when it comes to vacationing with family members.
As a retiree with ample time on your hands, there’s a high chance you’re now looking to spend more time with your family and grandchildren. Multi-generational trips are easy to plan, and everyone can join in.
While some families may plan for a trip overseas, another might simply look to spend a few summer days by the lake or seaside. Whatever this may be, or wherever you’re planning to go, it’s good to have these trips well within your travel planner.
If you’re a family that takes a lot of multi-generational holidays throughout the year, make sure that you already have these travel costs included with your annual travel plans. Additionally, make the effort to calculate for emergencies and other expenses that may suddenly arise during your family holiday.
Travel in Groups or with Friends
A smart and convenient way to save a bit of money while traveling is by splitting the costs with someone else.
It’s not to say that all retirees will have the capacity to travel with their partners during retirement. And while this may be a common factor, it’s still possible to travel with a friend or a group of people.
The benefits of traveling with others, especially now that you’re a bit older, are plentiful. For starters, it’s a lot cheaper to share a hotel room, food, or taxi with someone else than having to pay for everything by yourself. Then, having another person with you means you get to see and do more as both will have a list or itinerary of places they want to visit.
Traveling with a friend or in a group is also safer for your physical health and well-being. Take for example you’re traveling alone, at the ripe age of 70 years, and you obtain an injury while alone in your hotel room, or a street far from any nearby hospital or people. Those who are with you will be available to assist you as needed, regardless of the situation.
Finally, travel groups oftentimes have senior travel packages that have been tailored for senior citizens and their needs. Prices tend to be a lot more affordable, and the places you will be visiting are often chosen to cater to your needs as a senior citizen or retiree.
Assess Your Health Before Planning Your Trips
While it’s true that age is just a number, research by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources revealed that white Americans aged 55 to 64 are less healthy than their British counterparts.
More so, despite higher overall incomes and higher levels of health care spending, the proportion of those that report being in fair to good health decreases from 43% among those aged 85 and older to 21% for people aged 55 to 64.
Today we still see many retirees, or those entering their golden years that are in perfect health as they live a more active lifestyle once they start to settle down.
While you may share how you’ve always led a healthy and active lifestyle, unforeseen health and mobility issues may arise out of nowhere, causing you to put pause your travel plans for some time.
This might not be the case across the spectrum, yet, it’s still advised to plan a frequent visit to your health physician before taking a trip abroad. This is now even more crucial after the time spent indoors and in quarantine due to the nature of the global pandemic.
As we slowly emerge from our homes and get back out there to travel again, it will be even more important for you and your family to take care of their health before jetting off overseas.
After years of working, months of waiting, and weeks of planning, there’s no better time to travel than in retirement. While it may be a time where you tend to take things a bit easier and slower, traveling is one of the most rewarding experiences any person should encounter at least once in their life.
While you may think you have enough time to travel during your retirement, it’s never a given, and though you can plan every single detail well in advance, it’s not to say that it will ever become a reality if you only wait longer.
To Finish Off
Now that you’re now working anymore and have saved enough to help you live the retirement you’ve always wanted, it’s time that you enjoy the best years of your life, whether it’s by pursuing new hobbies or learning a new skill, or even traveling.
Just always remember to plan well in advance and budget properly for every trip you’re looking to take. Allow time to map out everything perfectly, and consider your health and mobility against the places you’re looking to visit. Perhaps think of traveling with a few friends or in a group to help split costs, or simply look for travel packages that are suitable for your age.
Traveling is an experience like none other, and while you may not have had the opportunity to do much of it during your younger years, retirement can be the perfect time to get started on your bucket list.
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