Travel — The Great Reward
Is there anything that conjures up images of retirement more than travel? Even if your idea of traveling is reading escapist fiction, you recognize the importance of putting yourself in a different state of mind. Everyone approaches planning for travel in retirement differently. For some it is the culmination of decades of self-restraint, scrimping and saving for the chance to unwind without the pressures of mortgage payments, tuition, and meeting the basics of life. For others it is a seamless transition from a lifestyle vacationing at exotic locales. Maybe now, instead of going to Mexico, Milan, and Maui two or three times a year, it will be four or five times a year, remaining longer each time. However and wherever you go, there are some particular goals a trip will help you reach:
Seeing a long-dreamed-of destination
Visiting family and friends
Revisiting sentimental places from another time of life
Supporting an education or cultural institution
Experiencing different culture, foods, climate
Marking milestones of life
Different trips will satisfy different needs. Some will combine many of these needs. You may organize a family reunion to mark your fortieth wedding anniversary on a cruise, and while on the cruise you can visit places that you have always wanted to explore.
Travel may be used to distance yourself from what has been familiar. Sometimes it can be used as a much needed escape following a long illness and death of a loved one. You just need to understand the difference between running away and going toward something new and fulfilling.
There truly is something for everyone when it comes to travel. If you can imagine it, you can probably find a way to do it. You will have the time, but will you be limited by physical or financial restraints? Most likely you will be in pretty good shape physically because so many people entering retirement in the upcoming years will have spent their lives placing a high value on living a healthy and active lifestyle. If you have managed to follow any sort of disciplined savings path throughout your work years you should have the resources to fund some trips. See Appendix C for a list of Web sites with travel information specifically for seniors.