Center for a Secure Retirement
Retirement Travel Tips to Make the Most of Your Free Time

Retirement Travel Tips to Make the Most of Your Free Time

For many retirees, the dream of life after work involves travel. This can mean different things to different people: extended time with the grandkids, taking that trip of a lifetime or simply getting out and about more often.

You've worked hard to enjoy this time, but before you head off on your next adventure, there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind. Here are some retirement travel tips to consider before you plan your next trip.

Embrace Flexibility

One of the great things about retirement travel is that you aren't locked into a particular schedule or time of year. You can use that to your advantage, especially when great deals pop up. Many destinations offer much better rates during shoulder seasons or for trips during the week. Because you don't need to worry about the school year or weekends, you can book your trips when they line up with great deals.

Take It Slow

Another benefit of retirement, of course, is the free time. You don't have to go on a whirlwind trip covering three cities in a week — unless you want to, that is. Instead, take your time and savor your travels. Spend a little longer in each place you visit. Take time to see the sites, learn from the locals and have some downtime.

Stick to Your Budget

Retirees generally live on a fixed income. All those years of retirement planning can help ensure that you have the money to fund your retirement travel. However, you still want to keep most of your trips within the budget you've planned.

You might be looking forward to a big trip to celebrate an anniversary once every few years, for example. Just make sure that the rest of your travels stay on budget so that you don't need to dip into funds from other parts of your life.

Explore Unconventional Options

Traveling doesn't necessarily mean getting on a cruise or staying at a hotel. There are all sorts of unconventional options available to retirees today.

You could take a longer trip and book a room or residence through a short-term lodging service such as Airbnb in a place you've always wanted to live. You could embrace the freedom that comes with traveling across the country in an RV. Many retirees explore house-swapping and housesitting opportunities. You could even try teaching abroad — English as a second language is a popular option for those with the proper qualifications.

Check Your Health Insurance

If you receive health insurance through Medicare, you won't have the same coverage if you leave the country. Before you head out on any international trips, you might want to look into getting a travel insurance policy with medical expense coverage for some added peace of mind.

If you're on a Medicare Advantage plan, review your policy. Your plan might have specific travel restrictions and make some coverage unavailable while you're away.

Coronavirus and Travel

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted travel throughout 2020. However, you can still travel safely by following a few extra precautions:

  • Consider your mode of travel. Most viruses don't spread easily on flights, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, because of how airplanes filter and circulate air. However, because airplanes make social distancing difficult and airports put you in contact with lots of passengers and frequently touched surfaces, the CDC says that air travel could increase your risk of getting COVID-19, so you might want to consider another way of getting to where you're going. Many retirees plan to hit the road in rental cars, RVs and even trains to reach their destination. If you opt for any of those routes, be careful about coming in close contact with others.
  • Be prepared. Regardless of how you're traveling, pack some extra bottles of hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes so you can clean and disinfect frequently touched areas. Bring some masks to wear in public places, too.
  • Plan ahead. Check for any travel restrictions in your targeted areas. Some areas might still be under stay-at-home orders, and some might have quarantine requirements upon arrival. Knowing ahead of time can help you plan accordingly and be flexible.

By taking a few extra safety measures, you can enjoy your retirement and keep you and the people around you safe and healthy. Your retirement is yours to enjoy. If you love to travel, you can — all you need is a plan.

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