When asked what they want to do after they retire, more people say “travel” than just about anything else. In fact, according to AARP, it’d be easier to count the number of Baby Boomers who don’t want to travel. That’s because a stunning 99 out of 100 intend to travel during retirement.
Of course, wanting to travel and actually doing it are two different things. This post walks you through how to turn your dreams of travel into reality.
Talk to Your Spouse
First things first: If you’re married or have a partner, make sure you both have similar goals for retirement. It’s surprising how many couples go into retirement without communicating their wants and expectations. If you want to see the world and your spouse envisioned their retirement years being spent close to home, that’s something to figure out now, not later.
If your goals don’t mesh, don’t worry; compromise is the bedrock of most happy marriages. Maybe you exchange two weeks in Switzerland for skiing in Tahoe. You may even decide to do a bit of solo globe-trotting. But until you talk to your partner, you can’t truly begin planning.
What Are Your Travel Goals?
Travel during retirement can mean a lot of different things. For some people, it’s an RV and a roadmap. For others, it’s weekend jaunts and short daytrips. Still others hope to add some stamps to their passport. And then there are those who’ve waited their entire lives to ditch everything and see the world.
Figure out where you fall on the travel spectrum. And, of course, where your partner falls. Questions to ask yourself include:
- How often do you want to travel? Weekly? Monthly? Yearly?
- Who would you like to travel with? Spouse? Friends? Family? Alone?
- Do you have specific locations you want to visit?
There may be multiple answers to these questions. For example, maybe you envision some spur-of-the-moment weekend jaunts as well as longer, planned trips. Maybe you want to take a cruise with some friends, or splurge on a rented beach house. Whatever your goals, the more specific you are, the easier it is to plan for – and achieve – them.
What Level of Travel Does Your Lifestyle Support?
Just because we retire doesn’t mean that we leave all responsibilities behind us. Some of these responsibilities may inhibit your ability to travel – or at least to travel extensively.
For example, with people living longer, more and more retirees are caring for elderly parents. And at the other end of the spectrum, plenty of grandparents are the primary caregiver to one or more grandchildren. If either scenario describes you, you may need to slightly tweak your goals.
Are You Financially Prepared to Travel During Retirement?
Depending on your goals, travel can be fairly expensive, particularly for couples. If you have a financial advisor, talk to them about your travel goals and ask what you need to do to meet them.
If finances are an issue (and when aren’t they?), there are also many options to travel for less money. For example, instead of staying in a hotel, you can swap houses with someone in another country. There are two sites you can look into for this, Home Exchange and International Vacation Home Exchange. Not only will you save on the hotel costs, you’d also save a bundle on food, since you could eat in on occasion.
A similar idea is house sitting. This is a great option if you plan to stay somewhere for a week or more. All you have to do is take care of the pets, water a few plants, and you have a free place to hang your hat.
Finally, Investopedia suggests a repositioning cruise. Instead of a round trip, these ships carry passengers from one port to another. Typically, these come at a steep discount – you just have to find your own way home. But if your goal is long-term travel, it could be a terrific way to start your trip.
Are You Willing to Try Different Locations?
Everyone seems to have a trip to Europe on their bucket list, but have you considered someplace more out of the way? You can stay in many developing countries for less than $10 a day (compared to the hundreds you’d spend in most industrialized countries).
Look into Senior Discounts
Many airlines, hotels, and rental car agencies offer discounts to seniors. In addition to checking your AARP and AAA membership benefits, call the company and ask. The worst they can do is say, “No,” right?
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
As you likely know, Original Medicare rarely covers healthcare received outside the United States. So, if you plan to travel internationally, you want to look into travel insurance. Not only does it protect you against inconveniences like lost luggage, it helps pay for any medical care you need while traveling in another country.
Alternatively, you can look for a Medicare Advantage plan that covers international travel. But, if you also plan to travel extensively within the United States, you may prefer to stick with Original Medicare plus a Medigap plan and just buy travel insurance for the occasional overseas jaunt. Our licensed agents can help you understand your options to ensure you have the coverage you need no matter how far way from home you are. Just call us toll-free at 855-350-8101.