For decades, American workers save up vacation days only to rush through a vacation (mostly likely still working a little while out of the office) and then returning only partially relaxed and refreshed. After years and years of this pattern, many are finally able to retire. WOO HOO!!!
Even though retirement brings a fixed income, it can be the perfect time to explore the places you dreamed about for years – or even revisit those places you loved but just didn’t get to spend enough time enjoying. You now have the freedom and flexibility that you haven’t had in the past and you’re able to spend the extra time you need to truly soak up each place you visit.
We’ve put together a quick list of tips for those retiree travelers who are ready to explore the world…and maybe inspire those who still have some places to check off their travel bucket list.
Flexibility. Take advantage of the fact that you have more than seven days to plan your vacation. Check into non-peak seasons for your desired destination and when you search for flights, check various days to see if you can get better prices. A simple Google search yielded this amazing information on non-peak times to visit Disney World, which is like striking gold! Being flexible can often mean getting the same experiences for a much lower price tag.
Discounts. Never be afraid to ask for senior citizen discounts or event discounts for traveling at non-peak times. If you’re skipping the mad summer rush at a popular destination, it never hurts to ask if they’ll give you a discount on a hotel room or tickets to an event.
Military retiree benefits. If you’re a military retiree (with a valid retiree ID card), don’t forget about the awesome benefits available to you! You can often get retiree rates at military resorts around the world or you can take advantage of the deals available on weekly condo rentals through the Armed Forces Vacation Club. Though you’ll need to be flexible (see #1), flying Space A can be a great way to enjoy the German wine festivals in the fall or the Christmas markets around Europe. There are lots of military retiree travel resources out there - check them out and start planning that trip!
Medical and prescriptions. Whatever you do, make sure you are prepared medically for any trip you plan to take. Ensure that your medications (if you have any) are well-stocked and always travel with these on you instead of storing them in your checked luggage. If you’ll be away from home for a while, do some quick research on the area where you’ll be staying. Ensure you’ll have access to medical facilities and give your insurance company a quick call to find out what the best plan is in a travel emergency situation. Doing some simple research beforehand can save lots of irritation in the long run.
Travel small. Not only do we mean pack light, but we also mean to look for smaller locations – especially airports, train stations, etc. Choosing to use small airports means less crowds and less stress. You generally don’t have to show up as early and you won’t have to walk as far as you would at a larger airport. Also, consider visiting small destinations. This might allow you to better immerse yourself in the culture, meet the locals, and have a more meaningful experience.
For all of the retirees out there, we hope you have some fun and exciting trips planned this year. Enjoy these years and savor these experiences…you’ve earned them!