Last updated on October 24th, 2023 at 03:28 pm
Retirement is a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of daily life. It’s a time to embark on new adventures, explore different cultures, and discover uncharted territories. Travel becomes a key component of this exciting phase, offering opportunities for self-discovery, relaxation, and creating lasting memories. However, planning your retirement travel bucket list necessitates a unique approach—one that takes into account preferences, health considerations, and budget constraints. In this blog post, I’ll delve into how and where to travel during an active retirement, ensuring a fulfilling and memorable journey.
- How to Travel During an Active Retirement
- Ideas for Your Retirement Travel Bucket List
- 1. Explore National Parks
- 2. Discover Europe’s Rich History
- 3. Enjoy Once-in-a-Lifetime Experiences in Scandinavia
- 4. Embark on an African Safari
- 5. Savor the Beauty of Southeast Asia
- 6. Experience the Wonders of South America
- 7. Relax in the Caribbean Islands
- 8. Cruise the World’s Rivers or Oceans
- 9. Go for a Long Walk
- 10. Take an Epic Road Trip
- 11. Discover Hidden Gems in Your Home Country
How to Travel During an Active Retirement
Assess Your Interests and Physical Capabilities
Before building your retirement travel bucket list, take some time to evaluate your interests and physical capabilities. Consider the activities you enjoy and your fitness level. Are you an avid hiker, a history buff, or perhaps someone who appreciates serene beach getaways? If you’re traveling as a couple think about the things you enjoy doing together as well as those you may want to do separately. For instance, I love strenuous hikes and my husband doesn’t. So I plan one or two hikes on my own at each destination. Tailor your travel plans to suit your interests, ensuring an enriching and enjoyable experience.
Plan Ahead but Stay Flexible
While planning is essential, leaving room for flexibility is equally important. Weather or even health issues can impact your travel plans. Therefore, plan the key aspects of your trip, such as accommodation and major activities, but maintain the flexibility to adapt as needed. This will keep you from being overly stressed on your adventures.
Consider Slow Travel
Retirement provides the perfect opportunity for slow, immersive travel. Instead of rushing from one destination to another, consider spending an extended period in a particular location. This allows for a deeper exploration of the culture, cuisine, and lifestyle of the place, providing a more authentic travel experience. We actually lived and traveled full-time in our fifth wheel for several years and instead of rushing from place to place, we typically stayed a month in each location. It gave us a chance to really appreciate an area, rather than ticking items off a checklist.
Opt for Group Tours or Solo Adventures
Depending on your comfort level and preferences, choose between group tours or solo adventures. Group tours can offer a structured itinerary, companionship, and the opportunity to meet like-minded travelers. It can also save money because meals and activities are often included. On the other hand, sometimes a tour can be tiring as you’re often on the go. In addition, you may not do all the activities you’d like. Solo travel provides freedom, self-discovery, and a chance to tailor the journey to your individual desires. We like a balance of both group tours and solo travel.
Prioritize Comfort and Convenience
In your younger years, you might have prioritized budget-friendly options. During retirement, focus on comfort and convenience. Choose accommodation that aligns with your preferences and consider transportation options that minimize discomfort and stress. When you’re working on your budget ask yourself what are the things you’re willing to spend more money on. For instance, we’re willing to pay a little more on accommodations because a good night’s sleep goes a long way towards our enjoyment of location. On the other hand, we personally don’t choose to fly first class because we’d rather save that money for activities. Again, the important thing is that you personalize your plan to suit your own preferences.
Ideas for Your Retirement Travel Bucket List
In my book, The Epic Retirement Bucket List, I cover a wide range of places to visit and adventures to enjoy. Below are just a few ideas to get you started.See The Epic Retirement Bucket List on Amazon
1. Explore National Parks
The United States is home to 63 breathtaking national parks, each offering unique natural wonders and outdoor activities. Consider taking a road trip through Utah’s Mighty Five: Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, and Zion National Park.
And there are many more national parks to discover in other countries as well.
2. Discover Europe’s Rich History
Europe is a treasure trove of history, culture, and diverse experiences. Explore iconic cities like Rome, Paris, or Athens to immerse yourself in ancient ruins, world-class museums, and delectable cuisine. For many Americans visiting the beaches of Normandy has a special significance.
3. Enjoy Once-in-a-Lifetime Experiences in Scandinavia
From sleeping under the Aurora Borealis to dining in an ice palace, Scandinavia is full of unique adventures for active retirees. Everyone has seen photos of the fabulous Norwegian Fjords, but did you know that you can experience them by boat, train, or even bicycle? For avid cyclists, the Fjord Route runs through breathtaking fjords, picturesque mountains, and charming villages.
You can’t go wrong with this Finnish Lapland itinerary complete with dog sledding, snowmobiling under the northern lights, and visiting Santa Claus Village.
4. Embark on an African Safari
For an extraordinary adventure, consider going on an African safari. Witness the majesty of wild animals in their natural habitat across countries like Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and Botswana. Safari experiences can range from luxury lodges to more adventurous camping expeditions.
5. Savor the Beauty of Southeast Asia
Discover the beauty of Southeast Asia, known for its diverse cultures, stunning landscapes, and delicious cuisine. Explore the ancient temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, relax on the picturesque beaches of Thailand, or cruise through the scenic Halong Bay in Vietnam.
6. Experience the Wonders of South America
South America offers a fascinating blend of landscapes, from the Amazon rainforest to the Andes Mountains. Visit Machu Picchu in Peru, witness the vibrant Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, or marvel at the unique wildlife in the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador.
7. Relax in the Caribbean Islands
If relaxation is on your agenda, the Caribbean islands offer an abundance of serene beaches and crystal-clear waters. Visit places like Turks and Caicos, St. Lucia, or Barbados for a peaceful retreat filled with beachside lounging, water sports, and tropical beauty. We especially enjoy a Sandals Beach Resorts couples getaway. We love our grandson, but it is nice to be at an adult-only destination from time to time.
8. Cruise the World’s Rivers or Oceans
Consider embarking on a cruise to multiple destinations, providing a comfortable and enjoyable way to travel during retirement. Whether it’s a river cruise in Europe or a Mediterranean Ocean cruise, exploring the world from the water allows you to unpack only once while experiencing various locales. We’ve been eyeing one of the many Nile River cruises to add to our bucket list.
9. Go for a Long Walk
Long-distance walking trails, much like the Camino de Santiago and England’s Coast to Coast Trail, offer an immersive and rewarding way to experience the beauty of nature, culture, and history. For example, the Camino de Santiago has a rich history dating back over a thousand years. It gained significant popularity during the Middle Ages, attracting pilgrims from across Europe. The Camino de Santiago comprises several different routes, with the most popular being the Camino Francés. This route starts in St. Jean Pied de Port, France, and stretches approximately 780 kilometers (485 miles) through northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela. Other notable routes include the Camino del Norte (Northern Way) along the coast, the Camino Portugués from Portugal, the Camino Primitivo, and the Via de la Plata from Seville.
Another great example is the South West Coast Path, a spectacular trail that follows the rugged coastline of South West England, covering approximately 1,014 kilometers (630 miles). Walkers encounter dramatic cliffs, charming seaside villages, and stunning seascapes along this challenging yet rewarding route. The best part about both of these trails is that you can pay a company to move your luggage each day while you spend your nights in a nice inn.
10. Take an Epic Road Trip
There’s no better way to explore the world than by taking an epic road trip. Not only will you get to soak in stunning landscapes, but you’ll also have the opportunity to experience different cultures, cuisines, and languages. Australia’s Great Ocean Road is a bucket-list destination for all road trip lovers. This drive takes you along the spectacular southern coast of Australia and offers panoramic views of the ocean.
Iceland’s Ring Road is a must-see destination for anyone seeking the adventure of a lifetime. This 1,332 km drive takes you through spectacular landscapes, including volcanoes, glaciers, hot springs, and waterfalls. You’ll drive past small fishing villages and have the opportunity to spot seals and puffins.
And don’t forget Scotland’s most popular road trip that spans around 516 miles along the rugged and stunning coastline of the country. This North Coast 500 5 day itinerary will take you through remarkable landscapes, picturesque fishing villages, castles, lochs, and beaches, giving you a true taste of Scotland.
11. Discover Hidden Gems in Your Home Country
Explore lesser-known or hidden gems within your own country. Often, there are beautiful places, historical sites, or charming small towns nearby that we tend to overlook. Take the time to discover these hidden treasures and gain a deeper appreciation for your homeland.
Start Planning Your Adventure Today
Retirement is an exciting phase of life, and traveling during this time offers an incredible opportunity for growth, exploration, and enjoyment. By carefully considering your interests, health, and preferences, and choosing the right destinations and travel style, you can create a retirement filled with enriching experiences and unforgettable memories. So, start creating your retirement travel bucket list, and let the journey of a lifetime begin!
Sharing is Caring! Feel free to save this article on social media or share the image below on Pinterest.