From Armchair to Airplane, Lets Get Your Travel Plans Off the Ground

From Armchair to Airplane, Lets Get Your Travel Plans Off the Ground

August 23, 2016

Whether you’re a frequent flyer, globetrotter, backpacker or weekend road-tripper, chances are your retirement wish list includes a lot of travel.

You’re not alone. According to a 2015 study by AARP, a whopping 99% of people over 50 plan to travel for leisure, citing the desire to spend time with family and friends, relax and rejuvenate, and/or get away from everyday life. The majority intend to take four to five trips this year, spending a total of $120 billion. And international destinations figure into about half of those travel plans.

THERE IS ONLY ONE THING WAYLAYING SOME RETIREES’ WANDERLUST: 51% OF THE RESPONDENTS SAID COSTS WERE THE BIGGEST BARRIER TO TRAVEL. SO WHAT’S A WANNABE WAYFARER TO DO? HERE ARE SOME SUGGESTIONS:

1. Start planning before you retire. Rather than saying “I want to travel,” put together a complete list of your desired destinations. Biking through Europe with extended family for a month is a lot pricier than soaking up the weekend sun on a Florida beach.

2. Create a realistic travel budget, then add to it. When researching trips, consider airfare, hotels, meals, tips, excursion/attraction ticket costs, souvenirs and trip length. Then bump up your calculated costs by 20 percent or more, knowing that it’s easy to underestimate how much you will spend during a vacation.

3. Downsize if necessary. If travel is your priority, consider downsizing your home to reduce your housing costs early on so you have time to beef up your retirement travel fund.

4. Consider timing…at some point, you may not want to travel. Be realistic about the fact that you will probably slow down at some point, so plan to take your trips early in your retirement. AARP found that people over 70 frequently cited that health issues prevented them from traveling.

5. Travel off-peak. One of the best things about being retired is your newfound freedom. You can travel when others can’t—like weekdays, during “shoulder” seasons or even off-season—at substantial savings.

6. Ask for senior discounts. Don’t forget to ask about discounts when you book your travel, at restaurants—and everywhere. (After all, there should be an advantage—besides wisdom—to getting older, right?)

7. Investigate rewards programs. Even though it’s not advisable to take on debt when you’re a retiree, it may make sense to use a credit card that racks up travel rewards that you can apply to your next vacation, especially if you pay off balances in full so you don’t incur interest charges. It’s convenient when abroad because you don’t have to deal with obtaining local currency and foreign exchange rates are handled seamlessly by the credit card company. Some cards even offer travel insurance, just read the fine print. Certain hotels have loyalty programs you can take advantage of, too.

8. Meet with your financial advisor in advance. We make it our business to design retirement plans to help you achieve your unique goals, including travel. Let’s make sure your finances are on target for your planned destinations. Call us and we’ll schedule a review.

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