RETIRED TRAVEL: HOW to get the most out of senior travel

Many people who work hard dream of retiring from their jobs to travel. Nearly as many people find the lure of traveling is countered by the hassle of packing, planning, and leaving home for longer than a few days.

Senior travelers can find it difficult to get started due to the “baggage”, which includes pets, habits, elderly parents, children, grandchildren, professional support networks and various household items. Even a few months away from home can prove difficult.

Our retirement travel was a blessing. In 2010, we sold our house and moved to South America. We started teaching English for a short time. We traveled almost everywhere for the next ten years, from long trips overseas to weekends in the USA, biking to road trips to walking through Spain, solo adventures to sharing river cruises, house-sitting, and hotel-hopping.

When we set out on this journey, we didn’t know where it would lead us. But before we knew it, we had visited over 70 countries across six continents.

We all know that such extended travel is not for everyone. However, anyone willing to make the leap and spend a few months exploring the world with curiosity and interest can reap the many benefits of traveling.

We want you to use your time and flexibility in retirement travel. Let’s stop thinking about a full-fledged holiday, which is what you have to do with your limited vacation time. Instead, let’s think about independent, slower travel. That’s where discoveries are made. We encourage you to travel independently, even if you are part of a package holiday.

Why seniors love to travel and why they are good at it

Older travelers enjoy many great benefits. You have the time and freedom to extend your trips and focus on the present rather than a job back home. Also, you can make the most out of your time, relationships, and experiences.

We can follow our instincts and pursue the opportunities that present themselves. We can take the time to stop and ask questions or to read a roadside sign; we can add days to our journeys to visit an unfamiliar site; we may decide to stay longer at a favorite spot.

While we acknowledge our logistical limitations and the need for adaptation to new pandemic-related travel protocol, let’s not forget why travel is still a calling. This is why we continue to travel, even into old age.

Discover beautiful scenery and eco-systems

We enjoy moving out of our Great Plains roots to see the mountains, deserts and geological wonders. Our time to see all the glories and sunsets of Earth’s history is limited.

Historical context: Travelers love

We will likely start our trip with museums and historic sites to better understand the local cultural heritage. These experiences add value to travel and often lead us to our next destination (or detour!) You can follow a story’s thread.

A healthy lifestyle: How to travel for your health

More exercise and fresh air can be found in travel than at home. Active travel is the best kind of travel. Walking in cities, hiking in national parks, or enjoying biking and water sports are great ways to keep your body and mind healthy. You will also be more connected to the locals than if you travel by bus. It’s worth it!

Food & culture: Share your concerns

It is hard to deny the pleasure of enjoying a festival, tasting the finest regional cuisines, and sipping local wine. These are windows into the culture and people of a place. We, travelers, are fortunate to be able to taste the food and share the same joys and concerns around the globe.

More resilience and patience. Relax and enjoy the present

Our children may tell us that we are set in our ways, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it is true. It’s difficult to face the unknown, but traveling teaches patience and adaptability. We must be able to deal with delays, changes and adversity. Problem-solving builds confidence and self-reliance, which, in turn, brings joy to traveling.

Senior travelers don’t mind taking a day off. It doesn’t matter what pace you choose; sightseeing can be enjoyable.

Youthfulness – Surround yourself with people of all ages

Traveling makes us feel energetic and young again. Travelers love sharing their experiences and tips. When you travel, it is easy to have conversations with anyone. It’s a pleasure to meet young travelers and hear about their lives and travels. Many are also interested in learning more about us.

Simplify your life: Travel light

Happiness comes more from the experience of being on the road for a long time and packing light. You’ll feel lighter after living with a backpack and a roller bag for a while and will be motivated to downsize or declutter once you return home.

Get Ready to Travel Now

You’ll be much more comfortable about your retirement travels if you do some preparation. These tips will help reduce stress and prepare you for more relaxed travels.

Make sure your home is safe and sound.

  • Install a Wi-Fi remote-controlled thermostat.
  • You might consider installing a home security system that will alert you if any doors or windows are opened.
  • Reduce paper: Get rid of all paper mail, including bank statements, credit card statements, and bills from doctors and insurance. You can now make travel planning easier by becoming paperless.
  • Mail can be held or forwarded by the US Postal Service for up to 30 days. Consider USPS Informated Delivery for longer trips. Or, as we did, forward your mail to a post office box accessible to a friend or family member.
  • Arrange pet and house sitters. Relying on family and friends to look after your pets and house is not a viable option. Many options are available, including boarding your pet or regularly hiring someone to look after your house/plants/house. For example, House Sitters America and Trusted Homesitters.
  • You can sell or park your car.

 


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