Most people love to travel, but it’s often not until we retire where we finally get the time and financial freedom to travel more freely. If you’re approaching retirement age and are looking to travel, there are some important factors to keep in mind.
Nothing beats the feeling of not having to go to work another single day in your life, but many people can feel a loss of purpose or become bored shortly after they retire. One sure fire way to feel alive again after retiring is through travel.
We often think of retirees as older seniors but people of all ages can find themselves not needing to work. If you’re not interested in knitting sweaters in your recliner or working on jigsaws all day, why not consider reinventing yourself through travel.
Here are five great tips for traveling after you retire.
5 Tips for Traveling After You Retire
Speak to Your Doctor
It’s always a good idea to visit the doctor for a health checkup before planning too much travel. You don’t need to be in perfect physical shape to travel, but you should check to see how any conditions you may have could impact your travels.
Whether you need to take medication for your diabetes or heart condition or recently had that painful bunion removed at a clinic like the Northwest Surgery Center, there are many things you need to be aware of before booking any trips.
For example, you may be advised that you will be unfit to travel for a certain period after undergoing certain surgical procedures or may need to make sure your current medications will be allowed into another country.
Your doctor will be able to advise you on how traveling to a different time zone or climate could affect you medication and its schedule and whether or not the medications or specific treatments you are taking or receiving will be available in your chosen travel destination.
You should always carry a letter from your doctor describing your medical condition and any medications you plan on bringing with you, since some medications may be considered banned substances in certain countries.
Having documentation for why you are carrying certain drugs may not allow you to retain them at customs but in some cases may help you avoid any fines or prosecution.
Always get any recommend vaccinations or boosters when it’s been awhile since your last travel immunizations, and if you’re planning a longer trip, it’s always a good idea to get a dental checkup and have your eyes checked.
Always pack more than enough medications you require in case you experience travel delays and pack them in your carry-on luggage so there is less chance for them to be delayed or lost during transit.
If you require special assistance while traveling, talk with a travel agent to see if there are specific tour operators that specialize in catering for disabled travelers or travelers with special needs.
While you may have more financial freedom after you retire, you will still likely need to budget for your travel. Travel can be expensive and you will have a finite amount of retirement savings to work with.
How you budget for travel will vary depending on whether you are looking to take a single round-the-world journey that will take months or possibly years, or simply want to experience a bit of travel on an annual basis.
Setting up an annual travel budget will allow you to better choose vacation destinations and let you know whether or not you can splurge on luxuries such as 5-star hotels and First-Class airfares.
Retirement usually means relying on savings and pension, where you may not ever be planning on getting a salary or income from other sources, so it’s important to make wise financial decisions to ensure you’ll have enough to live on for the rest of your years.
If you’re a senior, always seek out discounts which are often offered by hotels, tour companies, attractions like national parks, and sometimes airlines for seniors over a specific age or who hold a senior’s card.
You can also get creative with ways to pay for your travel such as renting out your home while you’re away, downsizing your home to free up some money, or looking into equity release through a reverse mortgage or home reversion.
Carefully Plan Out Your Holidays
Every traveler should carefully plan out any holiday, but what I’m talking about here with retired travelers is planning out what holidays you take and when.
You should prioritize the travel experiences that are more physically demanding earlier on in your retirement rather than later. That means booking those Uganda treks or multi-day hikes to Machu Picchu while you still have the most energy, and save the leisurely river cruises and beach holidays for a later date.
And because none of us know how much time we will have, you should try to tackle the top destinations or experiences on your bucket list first. You’ve worked hard your whole life so you don’t want to miss out on those places you always hoped to one day see.
If family is important to you, consider planning your yearly holidays so you don’t miss out on major holidays like Christmas or important birthdays.
Not having to plan your vacations around your work schedule means you will have much more flexibility when it comes to booking vacations during more favorable times.
Not only can you make sure to not miss out on important family events but you can also choose to travel during times which are more economical by avoiding peak-season travel periods which will allow you to travel more often.
Purchase Travel Insurance
It’s always a good idea to purchase travel insurance but even more so when traveling as a retired senior.
Retired people and seniors not only travel more frequently, but they also invest more money into their holidays. This means there are more chances for travel problems to occur and potentially more money to lose if you’re not adequately insured.
Seniors aged 70 and over may find it a bit more difficult to get travel insurance, but there are thankfully still companies that offer plans specifically designed for seniors with affordable premiums.
There are many ways you can save on travel insurance costs as a senior including shopping around since quotes seem to vary considerably between insurers. If you are planning on traveling frequently, you may want to look into purchasing an annual multi-trip policy which can save you a great deal of money as opposed to buying insurance for each individual trip.
When purchasing travel insurance as a retired senior, it’s important to always disclose all your preexisting medical conditions so you don’t have any claims unexpectedly denied.
Many travel insurers at least consider all pre-existing medical conditions without any up-front medical certificates and offer travel insurance for seniors up to 100 years of age for domestic, international, and cruise travel.
Other things to look into is whether your country has any reciprocal health agreements with other countries you may be traveling to that can work in place of travel insurance for overseas medical care.
You may also be able to add grandchildren that may be traveling with you on your policy for no additional charge. Don’t be discouraged if you are refused travel insurance from one insurer as you are bound to find at least one company that will issue you a policy.
Lastly, always carefully read the full terms and conditions of your policy which is often laid out in the product disclosure statement. This will inform you exactly what coverage protections you have.
If you have any questions about your policy, don’t be afraid to ask a customer support representative. Always make sure your policy covers you for the entire duration of your trip and for all countries you will be visiting.
We often think of young people as being solo travelers backpacking across Europe or Southeast Asia, but more and more retired seniors are taking up solo travel.
There are many different factors that lead to older individuals traveling solo including being divorced, becoming a widow or widower, or simply when their partner’s aren’t interested in traveling during retirement.
More and more older people are finding themselves traveling alone for the first time and they are finding the experience to be incredibly empowering. Just one online community made up of nearly 80,000 solo female travelers includes many women in their 60s, 70s, and 80s.
While the prospect of traveling solo can be daunting for some at first, especially if you have only ever traveled with your family or partner in the past, you can ease yourself into it.
Start by taking short trips close to home before setting out on longer international journeys. You can also seek out age-specific tours or join a senior travel club where you will be paired with people within your age group who often share similar interests.
Other methods of travel which older solo travelers find comfortable are taking cruises and volunteering abroad. Both offer communal settings where you are likely to meet people and not feel isolated while traveling.
That being said, don’t feel like you have to join a group or be in a group setting if you’re very independent. Every person has their own strengths and travel history so choose what works best for you.
The main takeaway is that you’re never too old to travel by yourself and you shouldn’t let a spouse that doesn’t wish to travel hold you back from experiencing things you’ve always wanted to.