The vistas, the glorious landscapes, the sunsets, the quaint towns, the adventures, and the sights and sounds of traveling all beckon many of us during our working years. Is the opportunity to travel lost in retirement?
While you may have to make some adjustments, traveling on a retirement budget is more than just a possibility. It’s a very practical and exciting opportunity to pursue a lifestyle that was likely not completely available to you as a federal employee.
After all, arranging times for travel while gainfully employed, for most of us, involved devising careful plans around busy work and family schedules. Now that you’re a federal retiree, you set the time. You go when it’s convenient for you. You hit the open road when you feel good and ready.
But how do you do it on your retirement budget? Grab your keys and let’s explore. Here are some tips to get you moving:1
➀ PLAN IT
You can plan ahead for a trip by putting money in a separate account for traveling expenses. If your projected expenses exceed your budgeted amount, do some financial trimming. As you build your savings for an upcoming trip, you may decide to eat out less or forgo other home-bound projects. It’s a simple matter of prioritizing. The open road offers quite an allure.
“My husband and I own Harley motorcycles,” said Yvonne, at the time a federal employee. “He promised that once I retire that we would go take trips.”
Like Yvonne, many federal employees long for the ability to travel in retirement.
➁ LOOK AHEAD
“Think through what you want to do every day of your trip,” said Patricia Hajifotiou, owner of a tour company in Greece. “Write it down, and then right beside that, write what that is going to cost.”2
➂ FLEX THOSE TRAVELING PLANS
If it’s just the beaches that are drawing you, factor in more cost-saving times for visiting. While most travelers from the working world may be looking at more convenient or popular times, such as weekends and the traditional holiday season, you can target mid-week days, which helps you to avoid the crowds and the higher travel costs.
➃ BACK TO THE FUTURE
➄ DIG UP THE DEALS
➅ ON THE GO
Many big cities (New York City, Chicago, San Francisco) offer discounted public transportation passes for a day, a week, or longer. If you are just looking to enjoy the museums, restaurants and galleries of urban life, you might want to consider driving to a nearby big city. The United States has more than 100 cities with populations greater than 200,000 residents. 7 After all, do you really need to go to a city of five million busy residents?
➆ DELECTABLE DINING
➇ ATTRACTED TO THE ATTRACTIONS
If you love going to attractions, do some attraction shopping first. Explore local event calendars, chambers of commerce activities events, and tourism sites. You may discover the small, less-traveled attractions are just as delightful as the large ones and are a whole lot less expensive. Many communities provide wonderful events and festivities, which deliver some of the best and surprisingly delightful entertainment offerings that are real hidden gems off the proverbial beaten track.
➈ TAKE THE DISCOUNTS
These organizations provide travel discounts: AAA9, AARP10, American Seniors Association11, Association of Mature American Citizens12, CAP13, National Association of Conservative Seniors14, and The Seniors Coalition15.
➉ CHOOSE YOUR REWARDS
Traveling on a retirement budget can be fun and affordable. All it takes is a little planning and a whole lot of anticipation
Any companies mentioned are for illustrative purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Any investment should be consistent with your objectives, time frame and risk tolerance.