Charting a Travel Strategy
Taking into account your particular combination of interests and resources, you can set forth a travel game plan for the short term and for the several stages to follow. Balancing the abilities of your body and your bank account, you might want to think about a list of travel goals in phases. Start with your early retirement years, a time when you might still be working part-time but when you will have the most energy and presumably the best health. In this phase you might want to accomplish the following:
Take a walking tour through Portugal
Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef in Australia
Once you get some of the adventurous vacations out of your system, you might become more focused on your extended family. At this point you may rent or purchase a vacation home so that your grown children and their families can come visit you and get a break from their work pressures. Be careful not to overextend yourself, though — you don't necessarily want to be running a hotel all the time for family and friends. Save some time and resources to continue seeing parts of the world that interest you. Maybe you will choose a more relaxing mode of travel, such as cruising where you do not have to pack and unpack over and over again. A cruise is a great environment for traveling with longtime friends or old college classmates as well as family. You have plenty of time on the boat to catch up and relax, and you can see the world and create shared memories together. Increasingly, the cruise industry is catering to specific interest groups. You can find cruises with celebrity athletes, bridge tournaments, or notable artists as added attractions.
In this middle phase of retirement travel you may begin to segue from soft adventure, trek trips and the like to experiences that involve more pampering. Many people immediately think of spas when the word “pampering” is mentioned. A spa experience can be challenging, stretching your mind as well as your limbs. What separates a spa visit from most other kinds of travel is its focus on self-improvement. Travel can be broadening, as you taste, hear, smell, and try the unusual. But most of that growth is from outside stimulation. A couple of days or more at a spa generally are designed to take you on a journey inward.
Is there a way to get the convenience of group travel without the cookie-cutter feel?
Find a tour company that caters to the senior market with small group packages. Fewer travelers in a group enable you to see the high points and have the flexibility to get off the beaten path.
The latter phase of your traveling years may find you peeling back layers of where you already are. In Boston, tourists love to follow a red line painted throughout the city known as the Freedom Trail to get a flavor for the rich history of the city. Following the same streets, you can have a tour of the African Freedom Trail and learn about the roles of African Americans in the earliest days of the founding of our country. Same streets; different story. Instead of jetting off to the Caribbean you might book a trip to see the fall foliage in New England. Are you a passionate baseball fan? If the price of major league baseball tickets is out of sight, why not follow the farm teams? It is not unusual to catch some of the big-gun players as they move back and forth between the big leagues and the minor league teams while they are going through rehab after an injury.
Often you can find economical group travel through organizations such as AARP, AAA, or community groups where you reside. This a list of ideas for things you can do as a day trip or an overnight, depending on where you live:
Gambling outing: casino, race track, jai-lai
River boat cruises
Museum or other cultural visits
Garden or show house tours
Harvest or county fairs
Matinee theater performances
Cherry blossom or other festivals
Even when the day comes that you will no longer desire, or feel capable of, long-distance travel, many enriching choices will remain open to you. If you take the time to consider the ten to thirty years you will spend in retirement as one giant calendar, you can make broad plans for what kind of travel you want to do when, and fill in the details a year or so at a time.