Searching for the elixir of youth? Perhaps it’s in your suitcase.
Traveling and exploring new cultures has been linked to a healthy aging process – not to mention longer lifespans and overall, more satisfying retirement years. In fact, studies have found that travel keeps seniors moving and physically active – which typically results in better cognitive function and lower rates of ailments like heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes1.
Whether you’re traveling internationally, a short distance from home, or across the country to see relatives or loved ones, traveling could leave you feeling happier and invigorated. But before you board a plane or pack up the car for your next road trip, it’s important to carefully plan your itinerary. A little bit of planning could help you enjoy a stress-free, enjoyable getaway. Consider the following tips for your next great adventure.
- Travel Off-Peak
One of the biggest perks of retirement is having a less stringent schedule. Without having to plan trips and getaways around work or school calendars, you have the flexibility to travel anywhere – at any time. And perhaps it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that the best time to travel is during the off-peak seasons. Off-peak seasons – also known as shoulder seasons – are the times of year that are less popular for travel. For instance, travelling outside of the popular summer months, from April to the middle of June, or September or October, present several benefits. Not only does travelling during these windows come at a generally smaller price tag, but it also will help you avoid massive crowds of tourists, long lines at attractions, and the oppressive heat of Summer.However, when it comes to traveling outside of peak-season, there are a few things to bear in mind. You’ll want to make sure you pack appropriately for the weather that’s typical for your destination. It’s also a good idea to have some indoor activities planned should the forecast call for rain or chilly temperatures. When working on the itinerary for your tip, be sure to confirm the operating hours of the attractions you have your heart set on. Some attractions only operate during peak-season – while others may scale back their hours in the off-peak months.
- Enjoy Trips with Friends or Family
When it comes to traveling (at any age) – companionship is key! Traveling alongside friends, children, or even grandchildren can yield significant savings, as several travel companies offer group discounts. Plus, the cost of fixed travel expenses such as hotel rooms or rental properties or even a rental car become less expensive when split among more travelers. So, call up your closest friends or family members and invite them to join in on your next adventure! Not only will it bring down the per-person cost for everyone, but also present a fantastic opportunity to bond and create lasting memories. You can’t put a price tag on that!
- Make Copies of Your Travel Documents
Regardless of when and where you are travelling, you will want to make sure to bring extra copies of all travel documents. This includes everything from travel insurance to your passport ID page, driver’s license, or any visas, emergency contacts, and medical information you may have. Whether you have printed copies in a folder or digital copies on your mobile device, having this information easily accessible could come in handy should your passport or wallet be lost or stolen during your travels. If you are travelling via plane, it’s also a good idea to send a copy of your itinerary to those picking you up from the airport so that they can plan their arrival accordingly.
- Keep Medications Accessibly Packed
When it comes to packing for a trip, some of the most important items to remember are your medications. And it’s a good idea to pack extra– more than enough to last you the entire trip should you encounter a delay in your travels. Also, keep in mind that not all medications may be readily available in other countries. If international travel is in your future, be sure to ask your doctor for an extra copy of current prescriptions as well as generic names of the prescriptions you’re currently taking.You’ll also want to make sure that your medications are easily accessible during travel– including flight time. This means having them in your carry-on bag, readily available right at your seat. When it comes to medication, you can never be too prepared. After all – better safe than sorry!
- Notify Your Bank/Credit Card Companies
There’s no worse feeling than going to swipe your card and finding out it’s been declined. And this happens frequently when traveling. Many banks flag accounts that are shown to be spending in unusual areas – especially if outside of the country. To avoid your card being flagged or frozen, you’ll want to alert your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans prior to departure. Some banks allow you to submit your travel dates and destinations online, but you can always just pick up the phone and make a quick phone call. You’ll be glad you did!
- Don’t Let Your Passport Expire
Time flies – do you know the last time your passport was renewed? While passports are valid for 10 years, many countries are now denying travelers entry if their passport expires within six months from arrival date. The best way to prevent this from happening is to renew your passport early.If you’re planning an international trip and need to renew your passport, keep in mind that the process to do so can take up to three months. While the renewal application is typically completed in 6-8 weeks, there are instances where it may take longer – especially during peak travel times. Be sure to give yourself ample time to receive your new passport prior to embarking on your next trip. The earlier you apply, the less likely you will be to incur costly expedited service charges.
- Research Senior Discounts
Ask and you shall receive! When it comes to booking a trip, do not hesitate to ask if there is a special rate or discount for seniors. While these discounts are not always advertised, they do exist. Many attractions including museums, gardens, and even trains have discounted ticket prices for seniors. And all you need to claim them is a valid passport or ID. The same goes for restaurants and local eateries. Plus, if you’re an AARP member, you may have access to even additional travel discounts – including cruises, car rentals, hotels, and complete vacation packages. Doing some research on potential senior discounts before you book your next trip could pay off – literally!
We could all use a vacation – including you. And now that you’ve reached retirement, there has never been a better time to venture out and see the world. But with retirement comes a decrease in income – can you afford the trip you’ve been dreaming of?
A Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) – also known as a reverse mortgage – may provide the financial means to do so. By tapping into your home equity with a reverse mortgage, you can access an additional source of cash flow to be used for what matters most to you. There are several methods for receiving reverse mortgage funds and how you use the money depends on your individual retirement goals and personal financial situation.