What Is The Best Gift To Give Yourself In Retirement?

OK, the title may be a little off topic. The truth is, the best gift to give yourself is good health, the second is what we'll be getting into and that is travel. And this week, I'm going to talk a little about traveling when you're retired.

Why Travel?

Believe it or not, I have been asked this question more than once. There are a lot of reasons to travel. And one big reason travel is popular during retirement is to get better weather, especially if you live in the north! For me, I like to travel to visit and experience new places and cultures! Visiting other countries is so inspiring. But, you don't have to go far to discover new places. Here in New England, I often travel to New Hampshire, Western Massachusetts, and Connecticut for hikes in new places.

8 Retirement Travel Tips

1. Slow Travel

Slow travel may be the best method for you as it does take more time and also can cost less. Instead of having firm start and end dates, slow travelers stay longer wherever they go and absorb the details and exxentricities from each destination. Extending the stays allow for lower-cost accommodations and fewer transportation expenses.

2. RVing

If you're staying in the country, recreational vehicles are a great choice for seeing the U.S. or Canada. They allow you to visit state and national parks along with some of the backroads you'll never get on the interstates! You can get RVs in a wide range of comforts and costs so that you can travel in your preferred style. Be aware, RVs have a significant upfront cost, but with extended road trips, they become less expensive each day as you don't pay for accommodations or eating out. You can find RV campsites almost anywhere. The journey becomes as much fun as the destination!

3. Extended City Visits

Have you ever thought about what life is like in Copenhagen or Buenos Aires? It's now easier than ever to book extended stays in some of the world's greatest cities through online services such as Airbnb. So, instead of staying in a hotel, Airbnb hosts often give significant discounts to longer-term visitors to avoid vacancies and reduced maintenance costs. Make sure you know the visa limitations of the country before booking your extended stay.

4. Train Travel

Train travel is one of the best ways to see different parts of the globe. Europe and Asia offer some of the most convenient and exciting journeys, which can be made easier and cheaper with the right train passes. The Eurail is not just for college grads on a summer fling before starting their first job. It is a flexible multi-ride pass and are available in several varieties, so find the one that is right for you. The conglomerate of systems includes 28 different countries.

One classic train route is the Trans-Siberian Railway. This route travels overland from St. Petersburg, Russia all the way to Beijing, China. It's a well-worn ride on the rails through a fascinating part of the world. You can plan some scenic stops along the route to maximize your experience.

My first trip to Europe was on board the Venice-Simplon Orient Express, a Luxury train from London to Venice. There is also a version that will take you from Paris to Istanbul! The key to these is LUXURY, which means the cost is high.

5. Book Multiple Tours

If you're flying a long time to take a tour on one of your bucket list destinations, maximize the value of your flight costs by booking multiple tours. The best way to do this is to fly to a “global hub” such as Bangkok, Thailand, Quito, Ecuador, and Paris, France which are all exciting places on their own, but they also make excellent “launching points” for tours in nearby sites and countries. Make sure you add a couple of extra days on one or both ends so you can enjoy what the hub has to offer.

6. Around-The-World Flights

Around-the-world flights are a great way to explore the globe. For one price, these flights allow for a set number of flight segments or miles depending on the type and price of your ticket. These tickets come with a lot of rules about stopovers, reservations, and booking restrictions, so they can lack flexibility. But, as long as you follow the guidelines, it can be an efficient way to visit many destinations. Tickets are normally good for a year, so you can take your time as you circle the Earth, leaving room for extended stays and long side excursions. The two main airline alliances that provide this service are Star Alliance and Oneworld.

7. Retirement Cruises

Maybe flying isn't for you, but you love the water! Some cruise lines make accommodations for retirees who wish to stay on for multiple embarkments. For example, the cruise line, Oceania, offers 180-day cruises that visit over 30 countries. These cruises may look expensive at first glance, but when compared to everyday living expenses at home, they become more reasonable.

8. Travel Rewards

Travel rewards are the points or miles you earn from your credit cards, frequent flying miles, and hotel stays. By carefully choosing which credit cards to sign up for and use, you can earn significant travel rewards, especially with the sign-up bonuses. Several websites provide guidance on which cards are best for the airlines your use and your preferred hotels to stay at.

In Closing…

Some of these options may be better for you than others. For our first flight to Europe, when we took the Orient Express, we used travel rewards for two free business class tickets from Boston to London. The train travel option appeals to me as it gets me off the beaten path! Also, for cruising, I prefer the “Small Boat” options as they can stop places the big ships can't!

If you're thinking about some of the ideas, I suggest you talk to a travel agent or tour group. They will know the best options from what you're looking for and they can find great deals! One of our recent trips was to Costa Rica which we found from a travel agent, who booked us with a tour group. The special thing about this tour as it was designed to have both older adults who traveled with their children or grandchildren. The young kids made it different from your normal “old folks” tours!

If you have questions or would like to know more about my travel agent, let me know in the comments!

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