Your Guide to Traveling in Retirement

Many of my clients list traveling as one of their top desires for their retirement years, and for better or for worse, traveling in retirement is often different from traveling while you’re working full time. Here are some considerations to keep in mind to make the most of your jaunts around the globe.

  • Take advantage of senior discounts. Membership in the AARP or CAA comes with discounts around the country at lodging, dining, and entertainment venues. In addition, many such places offer senior discounts independently of any organization. One of the benefits of entering this phase in your life is that you can get discounts simply because of the number of years you’ve been alive—so take advantage of them!
  • Budget first, plan second. Very few (if any) of us have unlimited funds with which to travel. To ensure that you don’t spend more than you can afford, set a budget before making specific travel plans. When you know what your limits are, you can decide exactly where to minimize costs and where to splurge to maximize your enjoyment of your trip without worrying that you’re going over budget.
  • Join travel groups designed for retirees. Ease the burden of planning, enjoy discounts, and meet other retirees with your interests when you join travel and tour groups. Many cater especially to retirees, and offer excellent discounts.
  • Travel off-season. When you don’t have children’s school schedules or busy work calendars dictating when you can take trips, elect for off-season travel, which often means lower prices and thinner crowds. Guides and others may have more time to engage with you, too, when you’re among the season’s few tourists.
  • Consider non-traditional lodging options. Instead of hotels, look into housing swaps, weekly apartment or condo rentals, and even hostels. Any housing option that includes a refrigerator and kitchen can save you hundreds of dollars by allowing you to prepare some of your own meals.
  • Opt for discounted travel options. Booking train and plane rides individually is often more expensive than purchasing unlimited travel passes, which many airlines and train systems offer.

Once you have budgetary concerns taken care of, focus on your goals for travel as you plan. If you want a worry-free vacation, consider working with a travel agent. If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure, do some sleuthing on your own to discover less traditional destinations.

No matter what you set out to find, chances are you’ll be surprised—and delighted—with your journeys.

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