We work our entire lives to make money. There comes a time when we need to take advantage of being retired and set our long awaited travel plans in motion. It’s time to start planning to visit dream destinations. Make your travel adventure fun and enjoyable with these few travel tips for retirees.
Whether you travel with family, friends, solo, or with your life partner, enjoy the ride, explore exciting destinations, and visit countries that are on your bucket list. Now is the time! Carpe Diem!
Travel With Sandi is a participant in an affiliate advertising program, such as Amazon and others, designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. Here is what I know about travel. Everyone’s taste is different. The opinions expressed here are mine alone.
Life is short and our retirement years are some of the best travel years. When we were planning our retirement, travel was a big part of the retirement plan. Our financial advisor quoted three stages of retirement for travel enthusiasts. Take care you don’t wait until it’s too late to get out and see the world.
The GoGo Years
The GoGo Years begin right after retirement. Vacation planning tends to come fast and furious. You want to go everywhere, see everything. With some careful financial planning you can see the world. Planning on spending your money on travel is a very personal choice, but if you are still reading this article, then I’m thinking you have retirement travel in your head.
The SlowGo Years
These are the years when we know things are getting hard to plan, accomplish, and sometimes enjoy. I haven’t made it there yet, but I know that there will come a time when international travel and long road trips will give way to shorter domestic vacations closer to home. And that’s okay, more luxury and more relaxation.
The NoGo Years
I hope I never find the NoGo Years. My father-in-law went to Italy by himself when he was 80 years young. That’s what I want to be, always the intrepid traveler. I never want to see the NoGo years, I want them long gone!
There are several types of travel insurance in addition to your regular health insurance you should consider when hitting the open road.
This insurance is specific for a period of time and usually a location. You will need this if you become ill or injured and need to be hospitalized overseas. Do you still love to ski? If you are skiing in Switzerland and break a bone, you will most likely need transport and nomadic insurance will help.
I use Safety Wing, but there are other nomadic insurance companies that offer the same coverage.
Trip cancellation insurance can be good if there becomes an issue with traveling. Most travel destinations now offer cancellations but with a credit. If you have cancellation insurance, depending on the policy, you may be able to recoup your investment.
CFAR, Cancel For Any Reason, Insurance can be very expensive. This however, is the primo way to secure your vacation dollars. It is not cheap, and depending on your life situation, it may or maynot be the right choice for your trip.
Travel The World
There are so many ways to get out and see the world.
RVing is very popular, and seeing the country in a camper van is an inexpensive way to explore your own backyard.
Extended nomadic stays or snowbirding is becoming more and more popular. Head to Scottsdale for the month of February, explore the area, live like a local, and avoid the cold weather. There are so many great snowbird destinations – Mexico, Florida, and any place warm and sunny.
Take a cruise. You can cruise for a week, two, a month, or several months. You can jump on a giant cruise ship and sail around the world. Enjoy a seven river European cruise for 45 days. The options are endless.
Vacation Clubs Vs. Timeshare
If you travel a lot and have a favorite location you go back to again and again, then a vacation club or timeshare might be a good place to begin planning some consistent travel itineraries. These are great options for snowbirds.
There are several vacation clubs where you essentially purchase a share of the club. I am a member of the Marriott Vacation Club and we travel all over the world staying at beautifully curated resorts. My go to trade with the Marriott Club is for a month-long winter vacation in the sunshine. It’s the best.
Timeshare condominiums are where you buy into a particular property for a certain week during the year. I grew up with a timeshare and we rarely stayed at our property. We were always trading it in for some place else. We have stayed all over the globe with the RCI timeshare clearinghouse. Another popular timeshare trader is Interval.
The Basic Difference
The key difference between the two is owning a week or owning a share. Vacation clubs operate resorts where you, as a member, can book them like a hotel; any time, anywhere as long as there are open rooms. With a timeshare, you must bank your week and search for a week in the location you want that someone else has banked. Essentially you are in a huge condo swap. Both have pluses and minuses, it is simply a matter of what works best for you and your ideal vacation getaway.
Credit Card Rewards Programs
Credit card reward programs can enhance your travel with free hotel stays and room upgrades, airline miles, and other fabulous perks for using certain cards. You should choose a card that enhances your travel. The cards that offer the best value typically have an annual fee; however, you should see a perk equal to or more than your annual charge. For example, a free night’s hotel stay would be more than the typical $99 annual fee.
To get the most benefit from your card you can use it to pay your monthly bills, i.e. groceries, cable, gas, phone, etc. These are items that you would pay regularly each month. By adding them on your credit card, you only have to pay one bill, and you receive bonus points for using your card.
The real caveat for using a travel card is to pay off your bill each month. You are not going to be saving any money if you are paying exorbitant fees. Be sure to read the fine print, you don’t want any surprises.
I keep two travel cards in my arsenal.
The Marriott Bonvoy credit card is my go to card. All my monthly expenses are attached to it and I rack up points pretty quickly. Additionally, the Bonvoy card gives me one free Category 4 Marriott stay per year. This has considerably more value than the $99 annual fee and I always use my free night.
Having the points come in handy for emergency situations, like when my daughter booked a sketchy Airbnb and we needed a hotel super quick. I had enough points on my Bonvoy card and we were able to stay in a lovely Marriott, the puppy too, for two nights and the charge was $50 (because of the dog). You can read about my Airbnb nightmare here!
I have a Delta American Express card that I use for most of my airfare purchases. I like the travel perks it offers including Rental Car insurance coverage (visit the site for details), no international exchange fees, and mileage accumulation points. Now if you prefer to fly on another airline, like JetBlue, then that may be a better card option for you.
Choose an airline card that offers things you can use. I use the accumulated mileage on my Delta card several times each year. Free flights and upgrades make traveling more comfortable.
When You Are Traveling
As we get older, the way we travel changes. We are interested in different things than when we had cherubs tagging along. You can dine at fine restaurants, spend the day at the pool, linger at museums and gardens, visit grand palaces, the list is endless.
We should, however, enjoy our travels.
Take It At Your Own Pace
Nap in the afternoon, book and early dinner, and enjoy a walk at sunrise. Our internal clocks change as we age, and jet lag is real. Take your vacation at your own pace. Relax, enjoy, relish the luxury of time. Sipping a coffee on your deck on a river cruise while the ship sails into a charming European port is memorable.
Travel In The Shoulder Seasons
When you don’t need to follow the crowd, traveling in the shoulder seasons, just off of the high season, is delightful. You can avoid the throngs of people, you don’t have to stand in long lines, and the prices are better. Cruising in May or October when the weather is still nice, but the kiddos are back in school, is blissfully peaceful.
Travel Mid Week
If you prefer to travel at the height of the season, then at least take advantage of traveling mid-week. There will be fewer crowds allowing for more elbow room. Hotels and airfares are usually better when you book mid-week also.
If possible, just pack a carry on. Lugging around a big suitcase going from the airport to uber to hotel and back is exhausting. Pack thoughtfully, pack light, and simply enjoy the getaway.
Stay In One Location
If you travel to one location at a time, or several locations where you stay for 3 or 4 days, you will have the chance to relax and rejuvenate before hitting the road again. Traveling can be exhausting and taking time to rest and enjoy your visit is imperative to having a great time.
Watch Your Budget
Set a budget, then hunt around for the best value for your money. Look for senior discounts, travel off peak, and use credit card perks to lower costs. Take advantage of last minute deals, they can bring the cost way down and since your schedule is flexible you may be available. These last minute deals usually make great spur of the moment trips to a destination you may not have considered within your budget.
Let’s Get Going
I am semi-retired, can work nomadically, and love getting out and exploring new locations. I hope you get to reap the travel benefits of all the hard years of work you logged. Find your new favorite way to travel, an exciting destination, a new travel friend, or reconnect with a loved one through the discovery of travel.
Take these travel tips for retirees and use one, some, or all. No matter what, it is time to plan your next travel the world destination adventure.