Who said that your days of having fun are over after you retire? Even if you won’t be going to work every day, that doesn’t mean your days have to become tedious and that you have to take up knitting. After working for decades, retirement finally allows you to invest in yourself and indulge in those hobbies you never had time for. They don’t call them “the golden years” without reason! When asked about what they want to do after retirement, most seniors answer one of two things: spend more time with my family OR travel the world. While the former option is easier to put into practice, and most people do manage to build stronger connections with their family after retirement, traveling the world often remains an unticked box on the bucket list.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Your wanderlust days don’t have to end in your 40s. There are plenty of amazing destinations out there and, now that you finally have the time, you can see them all! Here are a few tips that will help you make your wildest travel dreams come true after retirement.
Set up a travel fund a few years before retirement
Money is by far the most common reason why people don’t travel after they retire, so it’s important to address that right off the bat. It’s true that some vacations are more expensive than others. For example, it’s one thing to go on a road trip of the Australian outback when you already live in Australia, and another thing to go from Asia on a one-month retreat across the French Riviera. If you wait until you retire to plan your first vacation, you might have the unpleasant surprise of discovering that you don’t have enough money, which is why you should start building a travel fund a few years in advance.
Ideally, it should be separate from all other investments so that you don’t mix up the payments. It doesn’t have to cover all vacations for the next ten years (that’s undoable for most people), nor interfere too much with your other savings. According to the experts at the UniSuper, setting up a superannuation fund is a great way to save up for retirement because at least 10% of your salary goes to your super fund, and then you can use that money for whatever you want, including traveling.
How much you save up for retirement travel depends on your preferences. It’s up to you if you want to visit a new country twice a year or go on a month-long cruise. You might also want to talk to your partner and set up a travel account together.
Plan your destinations in advance
Everyone has a list of destinations they want to visit at least once in their life, and if you want to cross off as many as possible after retirement, you need to prioritize. Technically, you can visit any country whenever you want but, in reality, you can’t really enjoy them to their full potential after a certain age.
For example, if you’d like to go on “active” vacations, the kind that requires a lot of walking and outdoor activities (exploring New Zealand, let’s say), it’s a good idea to plan these first, while you still have a lot of energy and don’t mind things getting a bit rough. Also, long-haul flights should also have priority because, as you get older, they’ll take a bigger toll.
Once you cross these off your list, you have plenty of time to visit other senior-friendly destinations, even in your 80s. Here are some of the most popular destinations that retirees across the world love:
- Florida – Florida is known as retirement heaven, and for a good reason. From its peaceful beaches to its zoos and fishing tours, it offers many leisure activities. Thanks to its retirement living communities, it’s also a popular destination for people to relocate after retirement.
- The British countryside – if you want a break from the noise of the city, you can’t go wrong with the British countryside, which offers an irresistible mix between awe-inspiring natural landscapes and beautiful castles.
- The French Riviera – glamorous and exclusive, the French Riviera (Côte d’Azur) is a popular destination among affluent travelers who love pristine beaches, luxury casinos, peaceful coastal villages, and designer stores.
- Singapore – although it’s popular among young tourists, Singapore also has many senior-friendly attractions, as well as a well-developed public transport system, perfect if you want to walk as little as possible.
Don’t forget about insurance.
Traveling sure is fun, but while you’re setting aside money for it, don’t forget about insurance. Many people neglect it and discover that a fall on the stairs or a twisted ankle ruined their vacation and dragged with it high hospitalization costs. Keep in mind that the risk of accidents and injury complications are more common when you get older, so don’t leave your health to chance. A good insurance policy created especially for seniors can help you get high-quality medical treatment when you’re away from home, and you won’t have to worry about unreasonably high expenses. Just be sure to compare policies carefully and check that your chosen provider covers the risks that you could encounter on your next trip.
Get smart about accommodation and transport.
Most people have spent their vacations in hotels and tend to do the same after retirement, but did you know that hotels are actually one of the worst accommodation options for senior travelers? At much lower prices, vacation homes and Airbnb’s offer you better conditions so that you can enjoy your vacation at your own pace. According to Airbnb data, seniors are the fastest-growing guest category, especially considering that people over 60s also get special discounts. And speaking of discounts, don’t forget that, if you’re traveling by plane, most airlines have discounts and bonus packages for seniors, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of them. When planning your list of vacation activities, check if museums, tour operators, or national parks offer senior discounts.