Traveling is one of the joys of the satisfying retirement phase of your life. With few or no commitments to an employer and probably an empty nest, you have much greater freedom to pack up and go. No longer must you travel when everyone else does. Midweek departures or hitting the road while families with kids are tied to home are now possible. You don't have to join the crowds mid-summer at popular destinations.
We are healthy enough as I write this to not have many travel restrictions. Would I scuba dive like I used to? No. 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 torture as possible. But, to get to Hawaii or Europe for our river cruise next May means putting up with many hours in a metal tube. Actually, my first choice for long distance travel would be by train but Amtrak pulled out of Phoenix almost 20 years ago (how dumb was that?) so that isn't a viable option. That means we usually drive.
For Betty and me there are two major restrictions on our travel desires: our dog and our budget. A few weeks ago I revisited the idea of adding an RV back into our life, but that has faded as a possibility. We have found an excellent kennel that Bailey can tolerate for 2 weeks.
So, the core issue is really one of health. At some point our physical state 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 paying for medical care or an emergency flight home is more of an issue.
But, for now, none of these scenarios are 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 Should we live with the worn out carpeting or out-of-date bathroom sinks for another few years and put the money into trips?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 decently active schedule of church, volunteer, and social events most of the year. We buy tickets to Broadway shows that visit town, enjoy several Diamondback baseball games a year, like well-produced plays, and will attend a few concerts. I enjoy finding things to do in the area that are different and low cost.
We have talked about taking a train trip across Canada, visiting Montreal and Quebec. Seeing the autumn colors in New England can't be beat. Time in Portland and the northern California coast is always a draw.
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. The way we budget for vacations now is to save for a big, expensive trip by taking small, closer to home excursions for a few years. That approach will not work if we are serious about the bucket list type of travel listed above.
|Me, contemplating my choices|
If you were in my situation would you take the trips? Would you answer that some trips just aren't doable and we should live within our budget? Would you suggest we accept our homebody tendencies and be happy with our life the way it is?
I hope we have at least another 10-15 years to travel. Now, we just have to decide where and how best to pay for it.