What To Do In Retirement: The Benefits Of Travel
Retirement definitely has its perks, especially when it comes to travel. For starters, it offers a new-found freedom to get out and see the world without the worry of finding someone to tend the kids or putting in requests for vacation time.
But the benefits of traveling in retirement go beyond simply having more time and freedom to get out and explore. Traveling also provides a great way to engage in new life experiences. These experiences not only bring an exciting sense of adventure to our golden years, they also serve to improve our overall wellness. In fact, a study produced by the Global Coalition on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies concluded that taking trips in retirement can provide many immediate mental and physical benefits that promote healthy aging, including reduced stress and depression, an improved outlook on life, and deeper interpersonal connections with other people. Additionally, travel can even provide long-term benefits, such as a reduced risk of heart disease or Alzheimer’s.
So, whether you’re considering a quick day trip or an extended international escapade, here are a few fun options for your next great getaway—as well as a few helpful benefits to ensure it’s an especially great experience.
Take a Tour
Many seniors have aspirations to travel more in retirement. However, the often-intimidating hassle of buying tickets, booking expensive flights and hotels, or simply planning an itinerary can spoil even the best intentions. Fortunately, there are senior travel groups (or travel clubs) that specialize in organizing trips. These groups can range from learning tours, to outdoor adventures, to volunteer vacations, to international travel, and more. And because they are arranged at the group level, they not only provide a great way to meet or travel with friends, they are also a cost-effective option when compared to planning a trip on your own. As an added bonus, most tour groups include an organizer or travel agent responsible for handling all the necessary details, like transportation, activities, and lodging. The key is to research what groups are available in your area and decide which best fits your specific needs and interests.
Hit the Open Road
For many, heading out on a road trip is the preferred road to travel. However, driving can also become tough the older we get. But that doesn’t mean you should resign yourself to remaining homebound in retirement. From driving the iconic Route 66 to visiting the oddest tourist spot in every state, there are countless ideas for road tripping right here in our own backyard. And there are plenty of ways to do it. Many car or RV rental companies offer senior discounts for those looking to hit the road in a new or different way. You might even consider saddling up a motorcycle, if the thought of the wind in your hair gets you revved up. Additionally, most roadside assistance companies, like AAA or National Motor Club, offer support, as well as Driver Improvement Courses that specifically cater to helping seniors continue driving safer for longer.
Sailing the Seas
Cruises can be an easy and fun way to see the world. Once aboard, most everything is taken care of for you. Plus, depending on which cruise you embark on, chances are there will be plenty of others to mingle with. If you happen to be a first-time cruiser and haven’t developed your “sea legs” yet, it might be a good idea to start with a shorter trip to be sure sea sickness or other issues don’t cause any problems. And don’t forget, most cruise lines offer senior discounts, making this form of travel a popular way to sail through retirement.
National Park Hopping
Visiting all the National Parks is a bucket-list expedition for people of all ages, but it has proven to be especially popular among the retired crowd. With 61 National Parks in the United States alone, the options and variety for unique, natural beauty could easily take a lifetime to see. Fortunately, seniors can purchase a lifetime pass that covers entrance fees to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites, including National Parks, wildlife refuges, grasslands, and more.
Research Your Roots
Perhaps you consider yourself a bit of a history buff with plans to dedicate more of your free time to family history and self-discovery. But have you ever visited your family’s country of origin? Retirement not only provides the perfect opportunity to get out and travel, it’s also the ideal time to research your roots and maybe even visit the place of your heritage. It can be quite an awe-inspiring occasion to walk the streets where long-lost relatives once lived (or currently live), see your family’s crest on a coat of arms, or find your surname on a street sign. If you’re curious where to start, ancestry organizations like Family Search make the process simple and exciting, regardless of your knowledge or skill level.
Security at Home or Abroad
Whether you find yourself at home or abroad, there’s enormous comfort and convenience that comes from living in a Life Plan Community. Not only do Life Plan Communities offer a host of built-in amenities and services that facilitate living an active, healthy, and engaged life for those who prefer to stay at home, they also offer round-the-clock security and protection for those interested in pursuing their plans for travel. Simply knowing you, your home, your possessions, and your livelihood will be safe and sound while you’re away—as well as throughout retirement—is the peace of mind that makes it all possible.
And all the free time that comes with retirement doesn’t hurt, either.