THE WORLD IS A BOOK. THOSE THAT DO NOT TRAVEL READ ONLY ONE PAGE.
Americans made 2.3 billion domestic trips in 2019 with a whopping 80% of these trips leisure, costing 792 billion dollars (2020 U.S. Travel Association). While travel is still not at pre-pandemic levels, Americans are back on the road and in the skies once again. 67% of 50 plus Americans anticipate taking an average of at least four trips this year and surveys continue to report travel as one of the top retirement planning aspirations (2022 AARP). With a pipeline of 10,000+ people turning 65 each day, this travel trend will continue to grow. The questions retirees and pre-retirees face now – what is travel like in this new era, what has changed in the costs, and how can you plan for travel now and in the future?
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail
The best financial advice always dictates making a plan and setting realistic goals. The same can be said for travel planning, especially in the time of Covid. Things are generally more open, but it’s important to proceed with caution to protect your health and the health of people around you. Reviewing local mask, vaccine rules, and regulations will go a long way to ensure that you’re comfortable and safe. This step is even more important when planning international travel.
Thankfully, some of the old rules still apply. Savvy travelers have always known the best deals are in the “shoulder season,” AKA the time just before or after a major tourism rush. For retirees and others fortunate enough to have flexible schedules, this means you can find bargains and more space availability since there will be fewer fellow travelers. The deals might be limited, however, if you want to travel with your children and grandchildren due to their school vacation calendars. You may need to adjust your dream destination(s) to get the best shoulder season deals, too.
Funding the fun
This year, people over 70 are expected to spend $11,561 and people over 50 are not far behind at $8,369 (2022 AARP). If travel is an important part of your retirement plans, then it’s important to make sure you know how to fund it. This can begin with creating your bucket list and identifying not only where you want to go and with whom, but how much you think it will cost. Inflation is an important factor to consider especially since you can expect to live 30+ years beyond your retirement age and if you are healthy, that means you could still be traveling well into your 80s and 90s! Determining if your retirement income is on track is one of the best ways to be sure your travel budget is secure. Funding success in retirement begins with having enough money to cover your basics and making sure your essential needs are met, so you have the freedom to travel wherever and whenever you want.
WATCH Your Money Map: Getting Away: How travel & travel costs have changed this year
The retirement travel checklist
- Where do you want to go? Making a list makes it easier to prioritize and budget
- What is the optimal age for a trip? Some places will require better fitness, so plan to go when you’re younger
- Will you travel solo or with a partner/friend?
- Do you want to live for months at a time in these destinations or take shorter trips?
- Do you plan to travel with children and grandchildren?
- Will you fund the family trip?
- Is the sharing economy for you? Home swaps can be a great way to save money
- What are your plans to cover unforeseen medical expenses?
In many ways, travel is in our DNA, whether it be 100 miles to your favorite beach or thousands of miles, like it is for Mia Taylor, an award-winning travel writer, who’s about to embark on a bucket-list visit to Italy with her grandmother. Mia is currently a news editor at Dotdash Meredith. Over the past two decades, Mia’s writing talent has propelled an award-winning career that has taken her around the world. That journey has included working for print & online news organizations, Fortune 500 corporations, high-tech start-ups in the robotics and AI industry, leading medical institutions, banks, and non-profits.
She began as a staff writer for Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, Parents, and Health. Now working as an editor, Mia continues to regularly write and contribute articles to Travel + Leisure, Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, Parents, and Health.
Mia’s topic expertise includes travel, wildlife conservation, sustainability, eco-tourism, climate change, the hospitality industry, women and money, personal finance, money management, and single-parent/single mom finances.