Of course, your own preferences, interests, retirement lifestyle and finances have a bearing on what your travel itinerary might look like. My wife and I like a combination of big trips every few years mixed with a healthy dose of long weekends or several-day excursions. Next summer I am hoping to spend at least one month out of the Phoenix heat in Flagstaff. I'll still be only a few hours away from my dad, daughters & families, but quite a bit more comfortable.
We are healthy enough as I write this to not have many travel restrictions. Would I scuba dive like I used to? Probably not. That is pretty strenuous. Would I agree to walk across Ireland? Maybe, depending on the accommodations at the end of each day (no tents!). I prefer to avoid air travel simply because airlines have made that form of transport as legally close to punishment as possible. But, to get to Hawaii in a few months I will put up with 6 hours in a metal tube. Actually, my first choice would be train travel but Amtrak pulled out of Phoenix 15 years ago (how dumb was that?) so that isn't a viable option. That means we usually drive.
For Betty and me the only real restriction at the moment is budgetary. And that really gets me to the core issue of this post. At some point our health will begin to limit our travel options. That is as given. It could be something dramatic that changes our lifestyle completely. More likely it will be a gradual decline in physical strength and abilities. There may come a time when one of us is afraid to have the other in a foreign country where medical care is more of an issue. We may decide to spend as much time as possible with family and friends by staying close to home. My dad's health is declining and I may need to spend substantially more time with him.
But, for now, none of these scenarios is in play. So, should we ignore our carefully planned budget for travel and "go for it" while we can? Should we do all we want even if we have to tap into savings and investments that weren't supposed to be for traveling? Should we live with the worn out carpeting for another few years and put the money into trips? Will we look back at some point and kick ourselves for not having the experiences while we could? Or, will we second guess our decisions to put ourselves in a financial hole that may have serious consequences?
In our household, this is a debate without a firm answer. Overall, we are homebodies. We enjoy where we live and the people who fill our lives with happiness. We have a very active schedule of church, volunteer, and social events most of the year. We buy season tickets to Broadway shows that visit town. I enjoy finding things to do in the area that are different and low cost.
Still, the call of the road is always there. Our wish list includes an Alaskan cruise, a trip back to England and Ireland, a visit to Paris, and a trip on a canal boat in the south of France. New Zealand beckons. Germany, Austria, and Switzerland call to us.
Closer to home we want to spend several weeks exploring the eastern shore of Maryland, driving through the Great Smoky Mountains, taking a train trip across Canada, visiting Montreal and Quebec, re-visiting San Antonio and the River Walk, and driving through Wisconsin and Minnesota. Before it is too late I really want to try living in an RV for at least a month while driving the back roads of America. The reality is all of those goals are not likely to be met because the financial resources just aren't there. So, what do we do?
I guess the most important step is to prioritize this list. In that way, if a health issue arises we will have had the experiences most important to us. Then, we must decide how deeply to dig into our retirement fund to pay for this. At present, we would have to save for one of the expensive trips by taking nothing but small weekend vacations in Arizona or Southern California for 3 years. That means it would take almost 30 years to visit all the places we want to see...obviously not a very workable plan.
|Me, contemplating my choices|
I hope we have at least another 15-20 years to travel. Now, we just have to decide where.